Summer has officially come to northern Thailand and Chiang Rai and its the best time for kids and parents to spend quality time together like a trip to Chiang Rai beach. Parents however are also being warned as summer can also be the worst time of year for those who struggle to cope with the heat and humidity.
These two factors can, in fact, be dangerous. They don’t just make us sweaty and uncomfortable but can also make us sick from sun heatstroke and intense sweating.
“When we are outside in this weather, our body heats up more than normal. Our temperature goes up, causing overheating. And when the body overheats, it starts sweating. If we’re sweating a lot, we have to drink a lot of water and rest. Sweating cools the body and let’s our body temperature return to normal.
If that doesn’t happen, we can get sick,” says Suwapat Kittibunchakul, an academic attached to Mahidol University’s Institute of Nutrition.
“When the body is really in trouble, we might develop heatstroke. This requires immediate medical attention; otherwise, it can lead to death.” Earlier this month, the Department of Disease Control under the Ministry of Public Health warned people to beware of heatstroke.
Highest risk of heatstroke
In the warning, the Department of Disease Control’s director general Dr Opas Karnkawingong said heatstroke is a life-threatening condition. It can occur if the body temperature rises to 40 Celsius degree or higher.
People who experience heatstroke may have confusion and slurred speech. They may also feel nauseous or vomit. Their breathing may become rapid and their pulse rate may significantly increase.
Those at the highest risk of heatstroke are agricultural workers toiling under the hot sun, children, the elderly, people with chronic diseases including heart problems and high blood pressure, obese people, those who do not get enough sleep and heavy drinkers.
It’s difficult to escape the sun if you venture outdoors but a good way of coping with the soaring temperatures is to eat the right foods.
Ms Suwapat says we should all add cooling foods to our daily diet. She suggests eating and enjoying a light breakfast every morning comprising fresh fruits and lots of liquids. Lunch should be the heaviest meal of the day in summer and a light dinner can ensure better digestion.