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How to stay hale and hearty this summer

The bright sunshine brings with it a plethora of illnesses. But don’t let the heat dampen your spirits. Dr Parul R Sheth lists few ailments that are common this season and tells you how to prevent them

Summer is the time to take a cool dip, indulge yourself with chilled beverages, popsicles and ice-creams and go on a vacation. But you are also likely to suffer from common problems such as heat stroke, sunburn, conjunctivitis and prickly heat due to the rising mercury. How to battle these issues is a well-known fact. So, we list some other ailments that can plague you this season and tell you how to cope with them.

Allergies

What is it: Summer brings with it allergies caused by pollen, mold, insect bites, poison ivy, weeds, grass and dust mites etc. Hay fever is a common summer allergy that occurs due to certain kinds of pollen from plants and grass.
Symptoms: Runny or blocked nose, sniffling, sneezing, watery eyes, cough, itchy throat, eyes and nose are the most common symptoms.
How to deal with it: While lozenges, nasal sprays, eye drops and steam inhalation provide you relief from cough and cold, painkillers, calamine lotion and topical creams help to ease insect stings.
Preventive measures: Keep allergens at bay by ensuring that your home and office are dust free. Vacuum often, wash beddings and rugs in hot water and wear a mask when you mow your lawn.

Viral fever

What is it: High temperature coupled with humidity leads to viral fever.
Symptoms: High fever, sore throat, skin rash, nasal congestion, headache, nausea and vomiting are the most obvious symptoms.
How to deal with it: Painkillers, antipyretics for fever, nasal decongestants, etc. help. Intake of plenty of fluids, salt water gargling and steam inhalation provide respite. Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid oily food.
Preventive measures: Viral fever occurs as an epidemic and is difficult to prevent. You can strengthen your immunity by consuming foods rich in antioxidants such as fruits and vegetables, yogurt and green tea, etc.

Chickenpox

What is it: During the transition from winter to summer, varicella-zoster viruses multiply to spread chickenpox in children, adults, pregnant women and even newborns. It usually lasts from 5-10 days.
Symptoms: Red itchy rash shows up on the face, chest and back and spreads to the rest of the body. The rash turns into fluid-filled blisters and eventually into scabs that fall off. Other symptoms include fever, headache, loss of appetite and fatigue.
How to deal with it: Calamine lotion and oatmeal baths ease itching. Antiviral medications maybe prescribed in people with weak immune systems.
Preventive measures: Once you get chickenpox, the virus stays in your body and you may contract herpes zoster commonly called shingles. A chickenpox vaccine can prevent it or make it less severe if you do get it.

Hepatitis A and E

What is it: Hepatitis is the inflammation of the liver. It’s very easy to get infected with hepatitis A and E viruses during this time of the year because these enter the body through contaminated food and water or if you are in close contact with someone who is infected.
Symptoms: If you are suffering from Hepatitis A and E, you are likely to suffer from loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, abdominal discomfort, low-grade fever, jaundice, clay-coloured stools and joint pain.
How to deal with it: To ease nausea, snack more. Eat fruits, vegetables, non-oily food and foods that are easy to digest. Do not drink alcohol. Your liver will heal in less than six months.
Preventive measures: Hepatitis A can be prevented with a vaccine. However, there is no vaccine for hepatitis E. Practice good hygiene. Avoid raw or undercooked meat and fish, wash salad vegetables and fresh fruits before eating. Drink boiled water. Wash your hands often especially after using the toilet or changing a diaper or before preparing food or eating.

Food poisoning

What is it: Eating food contaminated with bacteria such as staphylococci, staph aureus, salmonella, E. coli etc. can cause food poisoning. Avoid consuming stale food or food that is left and out of the fridge for long.
Symptoms: Diarrhoea, frequent loose motions, stomach cramps, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dehydration and fatigue are the most common symptoms.
How to deal with it: Replace lost fluids with water and electrolytes. Keep sipping on oral rehydration solution (ORS) to supplement the loss of electrolytes. Medications maybe prescribed to relieve stomach cramps and oral antibiotics to get rid of the bacterial infection.
Preventive measures: Practice good personal hygiene, kitchen hygiene and good food handling practices. Avoid eating stale food and unwashed raw salads, fruits,etc. and drink safe water. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water to prevent spread of infection.

Swimmer’s ear

What is it: Taking a dip is one of the best ways to cool off during summer. But if you don’t take proper care, you can end up with an infection of the outer ear canal. This is a harmless but painful ailment medically termed as acute external otitis.
Symptoms: If you have contracted swimmer’s ear, you are likely to suffer from discomfort, pain in the ear, itching and discharge from the ear.
How to deal with it: Pain-relief medication and eardrops for infection control can help.
Preventive measures: Wear earplugs when you go swimming, especially in the sea. Wear a waterproof bathing cap that covers your ears. Dry your ears thoroughly after a swim.

Rajendra .

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Rajendra .

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