5 most common summer illnesses and tips to avoid them
Temperatures during summer in Qatar can be quite high, nearing 50C in some areas. While most of us would want to stay indoors to avoid the scorching heat, it is inevitable to step outside for whatever reason.
Be it for work, to run some errands, or simply entertain the kids during the long summer holidays, going out during the hot weather becomes as much a necessity as any other slightly more pleasant day.
While there is a slew of summer-specific activities you can enjoy to beat the heat, you should also remember to follow a few tips to guard yourself against heat-related illnesses as you step out in the sun.
Here are 5 of the most common summer illnesses coupled with some tips on how to avoid them:
1. Summer Colds and Flu
As odd as it sounds with the two contrasting words joined together, summer colds are quite common during the hot weather. It is just like the common cold that you may catch in the winter, except it comes at a time when you least expect it.
With the usual symptoms including runny nose, cough, sore throat, a cold during summer is even more annoying because the heat is already too much to deal with.
How to avoid:
Ensure hand hygiene as much as possible. Wash your hands frequently as it helps prevent the spread of infection.
Increase your intake of Vitamin C that is a known immunity-booster. Fruits like strawberries, blackberries, kiwi, and oranges are a great source of Vitamin C and can help you keep summer colds at bay.
Drink plenty of water, particularly when outdoors! Cold viruses are more likely to creep into dry nasal passages.
2. Dust Allergies
While dust maybe a year-round phenomenon here in Qatar, it seems to be more persistent during the hotter days. Dust can trigger different kinds of allergies causing discomfort and unease during high temperatures.
The most common kind of allergy is known as the dust mite allergy caused by dust mites. These are tiny creatures that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Dust mites dwell in clothing, bedding, carpets, and furniture with fabric, among other things.
Typically, the symptoms may include a stuffy or runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, difficulty in breathing, and shortness of breath.
How to avoid:
You may love fresh air, but if you’re prone to allergies you need to keep the windows and doors of your home closed as much as possible to avoid pollens and dust mites to make their way into your house.
Dust mites thrive in warm weather and humid environment. To prevent them from spreading, you need to ensure low humidity in your house. This can easily be achieved through the use of a dehumidifier, or growing plants that absorb humidity.
Another very important tip is to make sure you keep those AC filters clean. While air-conditioning is an easy way to dehumidify, it will only be successful with filters that are cleaned regularly.
3. Skin Rashes or Prickly Heat
Prickly heat or heat rash is a common concern during very hot summer days. It typically occurs when an individual is exposed to high temperatures that cause excessive sweating.
The most common areas for prickly heat to occur include the face, neck, shoulders, and chest. Although it may affect anyone, children are at a higher risk of getting it as compared to adults.
Some common symptoms include tiny red bumps and itching on skin.
How to avoid:
Ensure proper hygiene and bath often, particularly when you’ve been out in the sun for long. Remember to take a shower before and after you take a dip into the water at pools or beaches.
Avoid wearing tight clothes that may make you perspire more.
Try to stay indoors and avoid direct sun as much as possible. Use a battery-operated fan to keep you cool when you can’t avoid stepping outside.
4. Food Poisoning
Hot weather increases the chances of catching foodborne illnesses because bacteria thrive in warmer temperatures. Anything from food handling to preparation may cause food to become contaminated causing symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea.
How to avoid:
Follow proper hygiene when handling, storing and preparing food. Experts at Hamad Medical Corporation have shared valuable advice on this earlier.
Wash your hand properly with soap and water before and after handling food, particularly raw meat, eggs, and fresh produce. This will lower your risk of getting affected by cross-contaminated food items that contain harmful bacteria.
Plan your shopping wisely. Keep groceries for the very end to ensure raw meat or fresh produce doesn’t go off until you reach home.
Avoid eating out frequently, but if you really must, choose where to eat carefully. If you bring in leftovers, make sure to store in the refrigerator within two hours, and reheat only once before eating.
5. Heat Stroke
Too much heat and prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to a heat stroke. It happens when your body becomes overheated, with the body temperature rising to 104 F (40C) or more. This is a serious condition and requires emergency
Some of the common symptoms include difficulty in breathing, nausea, disorientation, dizziness, and a throbbing headache.
How to avoid:
To protect yourself from heat strokes or other heat-related illnesses, make sure to stay indoors during peak hours of the day.
Be sure to take in the recommended intake of water i.e. 8 to 12 glasses every day. Staying hydrated will allow your body to sweat and maintain normal body temperature.
Never leave anyone in a parked car. This is a common cause of heat-related diseases and can be detrimental to you and your loved one's health. According to Mayo Clinic, when your car is parked in the sun, the temperature inside can rise 20 degrees F (more than 6.7 C) within10 minutes.
To ensure your safety and good health, it is highly recommended that you follow weather updates and advisories regularly shared by Qatar's Meteorology Department.
We wish you a happy and safe summer!
Feel free to share your thoughts and tips with us and the community in the comments below!
DISCLAIMER: This article is for general information and is not a substitute for medical advice. Consult your local physician should you suffer from any illnesses or symptoms.
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