How awful is the heat wave? As much as we wait for the summer to bring us the Bengali new year and delicious summer fruits, this summer has started on the wrong foot with averaging to nearly 40 degrees in celcius! It is particularly difficult in the urban areas where lack of planning has led to filling up of natural waterways, buildings blocking air circulation, and congestion in general causing further discomfort. In the rural areas, there are problems of their own with limited electricity supply and challenges in accessing adequate clean water. This is the season when people tend to fall sick due to and. It is particularly a difficult season for children and the elderly. Here are some good tips to keep in mind as you go about with your work and life during this summer.
Hydration, hydration, hydration!
Nothing compares to the need for water and liquids during this heated season! Keep a bottle of water with you at all times. Try to carry a glass water pot as oppose to plastic bottles to be environmentally friendly and conscious. Many people have a hard time drinking water (yes there are folks like that!). In that case try the following:
1. Fruity water: fill up about a quarter of a glass bottle with small pieces of seasonal fruits (mainly citric ones such as lemon/lime, oranges, mangoes, grapes) and fill up the rest with water. Keep the bottle in the refrigerator for some time. Have the ice cold fruit flavor water which is both refreshing and healthy with no added sugar or coloring.
2. Sugarless ice tea: Instead of filling your system with carbonated drinks and packaged fruit juices which contain sugar and additives, get similar flavors from your tea. Stores nowadays carry different flavored teas that are both home-grown and imported. Depending on availability and affordability, get a box of flavored tea (preferably fruit flavored) and instead of hot water, pour cold water in your cup and voila – sugarless ice tea! An average of three cups of ice tea can be made with one tea bag so keep pouring the cold water and refresh yourself!
Block the Sun
While your body needs a daily dosage of vitamin D from natural sunlight, the scorching heat can also burn you, especially young children since their skin is still very delicate. Sunblocks are readily available of different brands and price range. Apply the sunscreen generously before going out. For especially, make the investment in good sunscreen. If you are not a fan of sunscreens, you can carry a small umbrella. Keeping yourself shaded is a great way from preventing direct exposure to the heat. If you or family member feel burning sensations after a long day out, apply the natural aloe vera gel that is readily available in local markets. Break the chunky aloe leaf and bring out the gel. Apply that on burning areas for immediate relief and quick healing.
Cool in the Inside, Cool on the Outside
Food makes a huge difference in our abilities to deal with the heat. There is such a thing as “cool” food that helps your digestive system. As a rule, try to avoid greasy food but particularly in the summer, avoid it even more! Eat as much fruits and vegetables as possible including watermelon, cucumbers, and pineapples. Green coconut water or daaber paani are particularly great for the summer because it is full electrolytes. Lime-water or lemonade (lebu-paani/lebur shorbot chini-chhara) is also good for your during the summer but keep in mind to not to overdo with the sugar intake. Traditional Bengali food such as chira khoi are known to keep the bodies cool. Add a little bit of sweet or sour homemade yogurt and you are good to go for the day.
Other things like wearing cottons and staying inside as much as possible will also help you go through this heat wave. At Maya, we also understand that for majority of the people in Bangladesh, staying out of the heat is a luxury especially in the various labor intensive work. The mudir dokans at every corner in urban areas usually keep a gallon of water (free of cost) for the street children and rickshaw pullers. Maybe the same act of kindness can be carried out by our Maya community members. Little things like keeping an old fashioned kolshi (natural way of keeping water cool with no electricity cost) full of water at your residence gate for the less fortunate is a great way of giving back to the community and teaching children a valuable lesson in charity.
So, while we eagerly wait for our first kaal baishakhi zhor, let’s try and stay safe and be considerate towards those less fortunate and help each other from beating the scorching sun and blazing heat.
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