One of the most common problems associated with staying outdoors for too long is catching a heat stroke. According to Dr. Simran Saini, Nutritionist at Fortis Hospital, New Delhi, “Heat exhaustion is a temporary phase where your body is overloaded with heat, but a heat stroke is a more serious condition. It is caused due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures which may overheat your body and raise its temperature more than the normal body temperature which is 37 degree Celsius. If your body temperature rises above 40 degree Celsius it can even damage your vital organs.”
Simply put, your body tends to absorb more heat than what it can handle. First things first, look for these symptoms if you think a person may be experiencing heat stroke –
1. Throbbing headache
2. Rapid breathing
3. Increased heart rate
4. Flushed skin or redness
5. Nausea and vomiting
6. Excessive sweating and dizziness
A heat stroke may hit you as a result of low fluid levels in your body or severe dehydration. If you are not drinking enough water to replenish fluids lost through sweating, you tend to expose yourself to the risk. Your body needs to be hydrated to be able to respond to the heat. Moreover, alcohol and caffeinated drinks may make the situation worse as they affect your body's ability to regulate your temperature.
“During summers, it is very important for you to maintain your body electrolyte and fluid levels. In order to prevent being attacked by the heat, make sure you drink plenty of water or have something like lemonade before you step out. In fact, you can make an oral rehydrating solution for yourself which should be consumed if you plan to stay outdoors for a long time. Mix a teaspoon of sugar, two pinches of salt and one pinch of baking soda or sodium bicarbonate. Take this with about 200 to 300 ml of water. You can also add it in juices or other drinks,” suggests Dr. Simran.
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“This solution helps in many ways. Firstly, the amount of water that you drink should be retained in your body for you to feel hydrated. Salt helps in retention. Secondly, your body uses up energy in trying to maintain its normal temperature and sugar boosts your energy. And lastly, baking soda or sodium bi carb promotes the functions of electrolytes and minerals in your body,” she adds.
Has the heat got to you? Before you pop any pills, try these natural remedies to beat the heat and feel better.
1. Onion Juice
This is one of the best remedies for treating a heat stroke. Lot of Ayurvedic practitioners suggest that this should be the first thing that you must reach out for. Applying onion juice behind the ears and on your chest can help bring down your body temperature. For therapeutic purposes onion juice is more desirable, but you can roast some raw onions with cumin and honey and have it. Raw onions in chutneys or salads can also cool your system.
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2. Tamarind Drink
Tamarind is rich in vitamins, minerals and electrolytes. Soak some tamarind in boiling water. Strain it and drink it with a pinch of sugar. This decoction lowers your body temperature. Tamarind juice also acts as a mild laxative and helps in treating stomach disorders.
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3. Aam Panna
Aam Panna refreshing drink that doubles up as a health tonic. It is made with raw mangoes and spices that cool your body. This drink should be consumed at least two to three times in a day. ““Aam panna is enriched with cooling spices like cumin, fennel, pepper and kala namak which provides both energy and electrolytes,” says Dr. Simran.
(Recipe: Aamiya ka Panna)
Plums are a great source of antioxidants and are known to be very hydrating. These antioxidants lend anti-inflammatory properties that help in soothing internal inflammation that may be caused due to a heat stroke. Soak some plums in water till they are soft. Mash them in the water and strain it. This drink should be consumed as a remedy for a heat stroke. It is known to calm your body.
(Why Plums Are Good for You)Plums are great antioxidants.
5. Buttermilk and Coconut Water
Buttermilk is a good source of probiotics and helps in replenishing your body with essential vitamins and minerals that may be lost due to excessive sweating. Similarly, coconut water rehydrates your body by naturally balancing the electrolytes in your body.
(10 Reasons to Drink More Coconut Water)Buttermik with coconut water.
6. Juice of Coriander and Mint Leaves
Extracting the juice of coriander or mint leaves and drinking it with a pinch of sugar is an easy home remedy to bring down the body heat. According to Ayurveda, these herbs have a cooling effect on the body. Due to its cooling properties, coriander water is also considered as a great remedy for reducing menopausal heat and flushes. In fact, coriander juice can also be applied for soothing hot itchy skin.
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Coriander and mint juice
7. Tulsi Seeds and Fennel Seeds
A concoction of tulsi seeds mixed in some rose water is known to cool your system instantly. Fennel seeds are also known as a cooling spice. Soak a handful of them overnight in water, strain and drink the water in the morning. This is will keep your body cool and guard you against the heat.
Tulsi and fennel seeds
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Add few drops of apple cider vinegar in your fruit juice or mix it with plain cool water and honey. This helps in replenishing the minerals and electrolytes that are lost. You may lose minerals like potassium and magnesium through sweating; these can be restored by consuming a decoction made with apple cider vinegar.
(The Many Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar)Apple cider vinegar
9. Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera is high in vitamins and minerals. Besides this, it is known as an adaptogen it boosts the body’s natural ability to adapt to the external changes and stimulates the defensive mechanisms of the body. Adaptogens are known to stabilize the various systems of the body. Herbalists also suggest one to use aloe vera gel to cure prickly heat.
(Healthy Juice with Aloe Vera)Aloe Vera juice
10. Sandalwood Paste
Mix some sandalwood powder and apply it on your forehead and chest. Its cooling properties will bring down your body temperature. Alternatively, massage some sandalwood oil on your forehead. You can also use the oil to soothe irritable skin.
“In very serious conditions, you should wet the patient’s hair and forehead with cool, icy water. This provides channels for the heat to escape,” recommends Dr. Simran. While all of these may act as cures, they can also be consumed regularly during these sultry days to actually prevent a heat stroke.
The angry summer sun is unforgiving and makes most of us run to the hills. It’s hot outside and inside too. Sweltering summer days don’t just make the environment uncomfortable; they also tend to raise your body temperature.