Over the last few days we’ve been having a heat wave over Telangana with temperatures touching 45 degrees Celcius. Either there is no breeze, or it blows hot scalding air which will burn your cheekbones and give you a headache. Hyderabad (the capital of Telangana) is a hot and dry place in summer, with very minimal humidity – so there is not a lot of sweating. Heat strokes are quite common, and every year people die from the heat.
So how does one beat dry heat? How does one go from the left to right below?
The answers are the usual – drinking water, hydrating etc, but the approach to beat heat is more important than the solutions. I had got the answer to this around 6 years back, during a boot camp in a remote village near Chennai (Tamil Nadu) during the peak of summer. The boot camp was being organized by an ex army Major who explained the importance of following a military like approach to beating heat and avoid dehydration / sun-strokes.
So here is what I would do:
a. Drink a glass of cool water (never drink cold water) compulsorily every 1.5 hours. Set a timer on your watch or mobile phone or iPad.
b. Prepare a pitcher of lime juice (buy lemon, add sugar and salt) and take little sips throughout the day, at every 45mins or hourly interval.
c. Drink coconut water every day; say around 3:00 PM. It is very cooling and tasty.
d. Drink buttermilk after lunch. It will help in digestion as well as cool the body.
Do NOT drink soft drinks. Not only do they not quench your thirst, they also make you thirstier and give you a bad throat. Trust me, you don’t want a bad-throat and fever during peak summer.
1. Eat very light food. Avoid spices and meats during this time.(See Note)
2. If you do eat meats (chicken or mutton), it is better to have Continental preparations (essentially boiled stuffs with veggies, chicken and minimal oil), soupy stuffs etc
3. Definitely have curd during/ after lunch. You can also have curd-rice (a South Indian preparation) if you like that sort of thing. During my visit to archaeological town Hampi in Karnataka (a very hot place), I would only have cool curd-rice for lunch every day.
1. Do not directly go from an AC room to outdoors. Wait outside for 2-3 minutes to acclimatize yourself before stepping into the sun.
2. Do not under any circumstances switch on the fan, especially if you live in the top floor of an apartment (like I do). The fan will blow hot air down, and will only increase your discomfort.
These are some of my ideas on how to beat dry heat. I shall talk about how to beat humidity in a latter post. If you have any suggestions, do let me know.
Note: Traditionally, many people who work outdoors, prefer to actually have more spicy food (including red chili powder etc). As the spices break down in the body, it causes the body to sweat – and as the sweat dries up, the body cools down.