April is the hottest month in Thailand. During extremely hot weather, the body can become dehydrated which can cause a range of health problems from relatively minor issues such as heat rash or heat exhaustion, to serious conditions, such as heat stroke.
To prevent these heats – related illnesses try our tips to stay cool and hydrated on hot days.
Use fans to promote air circulation throughout your home. Opening doors in the house and using fans to push hot air outdoors can function as an “exhaust” system and draw cooler evening air into the house. In the cooler evenings, open all windows for the same reasons. When the sun rises, close all doors and windows, making sure to close curtains and blinds as well, to keep the indoors cool for as long as possible. When the outside air cools to a lower temperature than inside (usually in the evenings or at night), open up the windows and turn on the fans again.
Take advantage of the cooling power of water. Fill buckets or basins and soak your feet. Wet towels and bandannas can have a cooling effect when worn on the shoulders or head. Take cool showers or baths, and consider using a spray bottle filled with cold water for refreshing spritzes throughout the day. For a homemade “air conditioning” system, sit in the path of a box fan that is aimed at an open cooler, or pan filled with ice.
Avoiding Heat Sources
Head downstairs because hot air rises, the upper stories of a home will be warmer than the ground floor. A basement may be a cool refuge from the midday heat. Eliminate extra sources of heat. Incandescent light bulbs can generate unnecessary heat, as can computers or appliances left running. Eat fresh foods that do not require you to use the oven or stove to prepare.
Eating & Drinking
Avoid alcoholic beverages and caffeine, as both of these substances can act as diuretics and promote dehydration. Don’t eat large, protein-rich meals that can increase metabolic heat and warm the body.
Remember to maintain an adequate level of hydration, which means you’ll need to consume more water than you usually do when it’s hot. If you’re sweating profusely, you will also need to replace electrolytes by eating a small amount of food with your water or by drinking specially-formulated electrolyte replacement drinks. Thirst is the first sign of dehydration; you should drink sufficient amounts of fluids before you feel thirsty in order to prevent dehydration.
Try to visit public buildings with air conditioning during the hottest hours of the day if the heat becomes unbearable. Shopping malls and movie theatres can all be good places to cool down. Be able to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and true heat emergencies (heat cramps, heat rash, heat exhaustion, heat stroke). Don’t delay seeking medical help when these symptoms appear, they can be life-threatening. Try to cool the victim until help arrives.
Remember that pets also suffer when the temperature rises. Cooling animals (dogs, rabbits, cats) by giving them a “cool” bath or shower will help keep their body temperature down. A cool towel on a tile floor to lay on, a cool towel or washcloth laying over the skin next to a fan will also help cool the animal. Make sure they have plenty of cool water to drink as well.