Heat waves are common in summer, especially in Indian states like Odisha where the maximum temperature often soars to as high as 45.5 degree Celsius.
Keeping in mind that most homes, especially of those living in the interiors, do not have air-conditioners, it becomes quite difficult to survive the extreme temperatures.
Here are a few tips to survive heat wave:
1. Before the sun starts getting hot, close all doors and windows, curtains and blinds so that the heat cannot enter your house and the indoors remain as cool as possible. Keep the ceiling fans on.
2. In the evening, as the temperature starts dropping, open all doors and windows to facilitate proper air circulation. Use box fans to push out hot air outdoors and draw cool evening air indoors.
3. Use water as a cooling agent. Take showers at least twice a day. You may keep your feet soaked in a bucket of water or wet towels and put them on your shoulders or head for a cooling effect.
When outside, keep a spray bottle filled with cold water handy, so that you can find some relief in the refreshing spritzes throughout the day.
4. Stay indoors as much as possible. Head downstairs around midday as top floor is always hotter than ground floor and basement.
5. Turn off incandescent light bulbs, computers, gas ovens and other electrical appliances that generate heat.
6. Stay hydrated. Heat wave may lead to severe dehydration and collapse. Consume more water than you usually do.
In case of severe sweating, drink specially-formulated electrolyte replacement drinks like Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS). You may also try sugarcane juice, lemon juice and green coconut water, which are excellent for hydro-therapies.
7. During heat wave, avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine as they are diuretics and promote dehydration.
8. During extreme temperature, you may consider spending the noon at public buildings with centralized air-conditioning system, like libraries, shopping malls and cinema halls.
9. Avoid large meals and protein-rich food as they may increase metabolic heat and make the body warmer. Go for boiled vegetables, salads and fresh fruits like cucumber, watermelon and mangoes.
10. Wear loose and cotton clothes during summer that are comfortable and promote air-circulation. Go for light colours as dark shades absorb more heat and makes the clothing as well as you warmer.
11. Physical exercise is good for health. But make sure not to exhaust yourself during heat wave. Keep your daily walks for early mornings or late evenings. Avoid weight exercises.
12. Always carry umbrella, cap, sunglasses when outdoors. Try to cover yourself as much as possible to avoid direct sun rays.
13. Educate yourself so as to recognize symptoms of heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat stroke. Seek immediate medical help during such incidents.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.