Mercury Rising – Here is How You Can Avoid Heat Stroke

Summer has come and with it, arrived weather-related illnesses. The weather change may bring slight discomfort and fever in little children but everyone has to know of a potential heat stroke. Did you know? Your body is an amazing machine that manages its temperature by producing its own heat in the winter times and cooling the body by sweating in the summer times. Your body can take care of itself around 37 degrees, but as soon as the mercury rises, your body’s mechanisms to cool may not keep up and it should. So, when your body cannot cool itself down in extreme temperatures, heat-related problems creep up.

Heat-Related Illnesses

Hot environments are a threat to your body. The most common heat-related illnesses are heat stroke followed by heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is similar and also serious but not fatal like a heat stroke can be. There is a general weakness, heavy sweating, vomiting, partial loss of consciousness or pale skin.

Whether you are shopping outside, working in your garden or fields, exposure to extreme humidity and heat impedes your body’s ability to cool off. You may get heat rashes, faint due to heat exhaustion but a heat stroke is a deadly condition. If you don’t get to the doctor on time, it can even be fatal. You should know the warning signs of a heat stroke to make sure you and your loved one get immediate medical attention.

Warning signs of a Heat Stroke

If you were having a heat stroke, you may not know it! it’s funny, isn’t it? Well, knowing these signs will help you recognise the discomfort in your loved ones so you can get them help. While the signs may vary in different people, keep a lookout for these warning signs of a heat stroke:

  • No sweat and dry/hot skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Strong pulse or heart rate
  • High temperature (above 39.4 degrees)
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Seizures

What causes heat strokes?

Knowing the causes will help you do things to avoid heat stroke. Any kind of heat-related disease is because of your body’s failed heating and cooling system. When our body sweats, it is a natural way to cool it down. Working out in hot weather, wearing heavy clothing in the heat, consuming alcohol and dehydration are of the causes for heat exhaustion. Feeling exhausted by overheating for an extended amount of time can lead to a heat stroke. Even though anyone experiencing overheating is at risk for a heat stroke, other factors can also increase the risk of heat stroke.

Who is at risk for heat strokes?

As a general rule of thumb, little children under the age of four and seniors over the age of 65 are more at risk for heat-related diseases. This is because their bodies experience difficulty in regulation at such an age.

Do you or your loved one take medication for high blood pressure? Such medications and heart-related illnesses may cause dehydration which increases the risk of heat stroke.

Are you overweight? If you or your loved one weighs more than normal, your body retains heat more and finds it difficult to cool down fast also.

Planning a vacation to a warmer or cooler climate? If you go to a place with extreme temperature, your body may struggle to keep up and maintain balance. If you going to a hotter climate, your body may not regulate itself which may cause a heat stroke.

Focus on preventing heat stroke

Here are five ways to avoid heat stroke.

  1. Avoid overexposure to the sun: Even if you have to work outside, find a cool place in the shade and away from the heat of the sun. If that is not possible, then make sure you take a lot of breaks or reschedule to avoid working in the heat all together. Use sunscreen.
  1. Stay hydrated: Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of heat stroke apart from extended heat exposure. Drink water at regular intervals even before you feel thirsty. Remember, if you are thirsty, then your body is already dehydrated. Seasonal fruits like sugarcane juice, lemon juice, and all sorts of melons are excellent hydrates of the body.
  1. Wear appropriate clothing: Some people have a tendency to put on extra clothes on babies, even in the heat! Avoid this because even babies and little children need to regulate their body temperatures and are more at risk of a heat stroke. If you have to go outside or work outside, make sure to cover your head with a scarf or a hat. Wear cotton clothes that are loose and airy to help instant cooling of our body in the summer heat.
  1. Avoid heat-y foods: Replace caffeine and alcohol with smoothies, fresh fruit or vegetable juices. Eating spicy food also increases your body temperature. So eat light meals to keep your body cool this summer.
  1. Avoid sitting in a hot car: Don’t leave little children, the elderly or your pets in a parked car. In the hot summer heat, cars tend to heat up quickly and as the mercury rises, they are at most risk of heat stroke.

With heat stroke, it’s so important to focus on the prevention methods. Do you have more tips?

A Bright and Healthy Summer for Your Kids!

Schools are going to be shut for a few more weeks now. It’s that time of the year for which the kids wait all year round to enjoy the thrill of not having to go to school or sit and complete their daily homework. They sure have a gala time this season but the same creates feelings of anxiety and insecurity in parents. Parents do not have all day to spend with their children so taking care of how the kids spend their time becomes very important. As a responsible parent, it is your duty to ensure that they do not indulge in any kind of wrong activities and also stay fit and healthy!

There are a lot of ways in which you can take care of their health. Children need at least an hour of physical activity per day so getting them registered for a fun activity or sport, such as football, volleyball or badminton would really help. Find out what they like and make sure they enjoy the classes. This will not only keep them occupied but also teach them values such as teamwork, punctuality and maintaining a daily schedule. Do not let them get addicted to playing video games or watching TV. Too much of these will adversely affect their eyesight and also make them lazy.

Although children do not have to wake up early in the morning and get to school, maintaining a rough schedule for their day will really help. Make sure that they do not stay up too late in the night. Sticking to an agenda will make them organized and also make the transition of getting back to the routine of school a lot easier. Place unhealthy snacks out of their sight and reach. Surely, kids love munching on chips and biscuits, or resorting to a bowl of Maggi for their late night hunger pangs. By keeping them away, you can reduce their temptation and avoid the kids from mindlessly reaching out for them time and again. Instead, have a bowl of fruits such as banana, orange, and apple on the dinner table along with a jar of dry fruits such as cashews, almonds and pistachios. These will keep them from eating unhealthy and also provide health benefits.

Another activity which kids will heartily enjoy this season is swimming! Get them to join swimming coaching classes if they need to learn the sport or simply a club where they can go and swim. You will have to keep an eye out and ensure that they play it absolutely safe in the water. Once the safety precautions have been taken, swimming is one of the best summer activities for kids! Be it whatever sport you get the children to play, you have to make sure that they keep having a lot of water throughout and do not get dehydrated. Keep a bottle of water handy with them at all times and remind them to keep taking sips since kids often tend to get too involved with their surroundings and forget. Lack of water can cause serious problems such as dehydration and kidney stone. You can also give them fresh fruit juices of watermelon, lemon, orange and sweet lime. These will keep them hydrated and be tasty too.

Protect the kids from harmful UV rays. Make sure that they wear a cap when they step out in the afternoons, encourage them to put sunscreen and wear full sleeves to protect their skin. Too much sun can cause heat boils, causing feelings of itchiness and uneasiness. Direct exposure to strong afternoon sun can even cause heat strokes. Give them light coloured clothing and involve a lot of cotton in their wardrobe. Cotton keeps the body feeling light and absorbs heat easily.

Summer sunshine brings along feelings of joy and happiness. A little weariness from the sun and a few safety measures to protect kids from the scorching heat will keep them feeling fit and healthy throughout the season, and in perfect shape for the next academic year at school!

Can Your Child Bid Goodbye To His Glasses?

Little Rahul was a naughty child but at the same time always stood among the top three rankers in his class. He also loved television and watching cartoons all day. When he turned four, he started complaining about frequent headaches and blurry vision while reading. On getting his eyesight tested, his parents realized that they need to get their son a pair of glasses. His parents were shocked that their child had been detected with a flaw at such a young age! Convincing him to wear his glasses at all times when all the other kids had clear visions was another difficult task that Rahul’s parents had to go through.

Rahul’s parents are not alone. Myopia and Hypermetropia are cases that a lot of kids these days are seen to be suffering from. A recent study published in the medical journal Paediatrics states that one out of every 20 pre-school aged children has a vision problem. Such incidences can be quite hard on the parents. They get overwhelmed and start stressing about the news. They also start worrying too much, worrying about buying new glasses, worrying that their child would have lifelong vision problems and that he would always be called the ‘boy with the glasses’. However, worrying does not solve any issues. More than taking stress about his current situation, as parents, you should focus on doing the right thing for your children and help them in developing a good vision.

While eyesight problem in children is not a disease that can be solved simply by taking a dose of medicines or performing a surgery, there are a lot of home remedies that can help your child to get rid of his spectacles. Their lifestyle and the food they consume play a major role in the healing process. Make sure that you give them food that has enough nutrients and vitamins to make their eyesight better. Green vegetables, fish like salmon and tuna, citrus fruit juices like orange and lemon, fruits like banana and nuts are very good for the eyes. Include more food that has vitamin E, C and A in their diets. Make sure that they drink a lot of water during the course of the day – water keeps the body hydrated and prevents dry eyes.

Simple exercises at home are safe for the children and are also designed to strengthen the eye over time, thus improving vision. Try the eye shift exercise using a pencil and a calendar. Place a calendar on the wall and have your child stand at least 10 feet away while holding a pencil in front of his/her face. Ask your child to focus on the pencil, and then to look at the numbers on the calendar. Then, have him look back at the pencil. Repeat this at least 10 times. You can also change the amount of distance between your child and the calendar.

Another great exercise is the tracking exercise. Kids who struggle with skipping over words, switching up the order of letters, and losing their spot while reading a text can benefit from this exercise. Hook a ball to some string or a shoe lace. Hang the ball so that it is in line with your child’s nose, and tell him to watch the ball as you swing it back and forth. Repeat this exercise as you swing it side to side. Your child should be following the movement of the ball with his/her eyes only – no head movements!

Restricting the TV watching and video games time also helps because these activities put additional strain on the eyes. Spend a “No TV” Sunday evening with your children, play

some games with them, cook dinner together, read stories to them – this will also help you strengthen your bond with them 🙂

Most importantly, make sure that your kids wash their eyes often and keep them clean so that it reduces chances of infection or any kind of dust particles settling on the surface of their eyes. As long as you make your child stick to a healthy diet and spare some time daily for these exercises, he is definitely on his way to a clearer vision and can get rid of his glasses sooner than you’ll know!

Chubby is not ‘cute’: Why Indian city kids are getting fatter and what we can do

image courtesy: www.topnews.in
image courtesy: http://www.topnews.in

Obesity in children has become this ugly fact disguised as a cute trait among Indian families. It is defined as a 20% excess of calculated ideal weight for age, sex and height of a child. Obesity is visible when there is an excess of accumulated fat in the subcutaneous tissue (below the skin) and other parts of body. A study in 2010 found over 42 million overweight children below the age of 5, globally. A staggering 35 million of them are from urban areas of developing countries. What this means for school children across the globe: as good as 10% of them (between 5 and 17 years) are obese.

Obesity in India

Considering the traditional Indian diet was supposed to be balanced and nutritious, the situation in India has gotten even worse. Nearly 15-20% of children in India are obese and about 30% more are on the edge and are likely to fall into the obese category.

About 10% to 30% adolescents are obese in India. The most dangerous concern, according to this study, is that as many as 60% to 70% of these will remain overweight / obese even in their adulthood. If obesity runs into adulthood, it may result in diabetes and other cardiovascular issues. Continue reading Chubby is not ‘cute’: Why Indian city kids are getting fatter and what we can do