AS many Malaysians can attest, the current heatwave is among the worst in living memory. It has been a worldwide phenomenon with region-wide heatwaves leading to record-high temperatures.
In a recent article, various tips were shared on how to make your surroundings and living spaces a little bit cooler and less like an oven.
This time around, here are some tips on what you can do to stay cool:
Soak hands and feet in water
When the weather gets hot, the blood vessels just under the skin body dilate. Blood carries heat from inside the body to the surface allowing the sweat pores to do its job by cooling the body down.
To cool off easily, focus on parts of the body with lots of blood vessels such as hands, wrists, feet, ankles, and armpits. Try cooling pads or just submerging those areas in cool water.
Of course, if you can submerge your entire body in water, all the better for heat dissipation. A dip in a swimming pool or a quick shower can do wonders.
But beware of taking cold showers when stepping in from hot environment as the sudden change in body temperature can be extremely detrimental to your well-being.
You can also spray your skin with water or wet your t-shirt. This cools the skin down like sweat but without costing the body any of its own moisture.
Avoid gorging on food
Yes, it’s a tough one given Malaysians’ fondness for all manner of gastronomic delights but eating lighter meals like salads is another common-sense bit of advice with scientific backing.
This is because light foods require less energy to digest and produce less heat inside the body. However, note that hot weather can cut your appetite, so it is important to make sure you are eating enough.
Also, as Malaysians well-versed with the concept of “heaty foods”, try avoid foods that tend to make you feel hot and uncomfortable. So, gorging on durians at a roadside stall in the afternoon heat may not be such a good idea.
Don’t wait until you are parched before having a drink. People start getting thirsty after losing 2% of their body fluids. It is better to drink before that happens. Experts recommend continuous sipping throughout the day to ensure your body remains hydrated. Drinking large amounts of fluid in one go will see most of it go to the bladder and leave the body quickly.
The best way to ascertain if you are drinking enough fluids is to check the colour of your urine – the darker the colour, the more you need to hydrate.
Avoid strenuous outdoor workouts
With the ultra-hot and dry weather conditions, it is advisable to avoid overly-strenuous exercise, especially in outdoor areas. This is because there is competition between the muscles and blood flow to the skin.
Oddly, people who exercise regularly can be at higher risk of heat exhaustion because they are overconfident and push past their limits.
So, try not to be a hero – instead of playing a 90-minute football match in an open field under the hot sun, why not arrange for shorter futsal sessions in suitably climate-controlled indoor courts?
Typically, it is the very fit people who run into trouble during heat waves as they tend to overestimate their abilities. If you have a very active lifestyle and want to continue with outdoor exercise, be sure to adjust your water intake to counter the hot weather.
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