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Dubai summer: Here’s how to stay healthy in the heat

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Here are some health problems that can happen in the heat, how to identify them and what to do…

Remember, the hottest time of day is generally between 12pm and 4pm, so plan to stay indoors over that period as much as possible (and remember, there’s even a midday work ban in the UAE, that disallows anyone from working in the sun from 12.30pm to 3pm throughout the summer).

HEAT CRAMPS

Warning signs: Heat cramps bring on sudden pains in muscle tissue, usually in the stomach, arms and legs area.
What to do: Exercising? Stop, and look for somewhere cool to rest. Sip water and rest for a few hours before doing anything too strenuous.

HEAT EXHAUSTION

Warning signs: A person may suddenly look pale. Heart rate will increase and the victim may complain of feeling dizzy and nauseous. A feeling of weakness is also common.
What to do: Seek shade immediately and lie down, especially if you’re feeling lightheaded. Apply a cold compress to the forehead and remove extra layers.

HEAT STROKE

Warning signs: Heat stroke is a type of hyperthermia where the body temperature is greatly elevated. If not treated it can be fatal. Symptoms can be similar to those of a heart attack, along with nausea, headaches, hallucinations, difficulty in breathing and agitation.
What to do: Apply cool water to the skin to encourage sweating and evaporation. Placing ice packs under the arms will also do the trick to reduce temperature quickly.

ASK AN EXPERT…

Eat and drink your way through the heat with tips from Victoria Tipper of the Dubai Herbal Treatment Centre.

• Sip water all day long, rather than just when you are thirsty. If you are thirsty it means you are already dehydrated.

• Some fruit and vegetables can rehydrate the body even more than water. Their combination of minerals, natural sugars and water content act as a whole package. High water fruits include watermelon, papaya, strawberries and grapefruit. Hydrating vegetables are celery, cucumber, iceberg lettuce and tomatoes.

• Broth-based soups are a great way to rehydrate, and cold homemade soups are particularly cooling, such as gazpacho or cucumber.

• Water is important, but too much water can be dangerous as it can cause electrolyte depletion.

• Boost electrolytes through your diet by eating Greek yoghurt, sardines, pumpkin seeds, kale and spinach. Adding a little sea salt to food will also help replace electrolytes if you have been sweating excessively.

• Avoid drinks containing alcohol and caffeine because they will dehydrate you further.

• Humid weather makes it more difficult for the body to cool down, so avoid exercising outdoors.

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