This summer weather forecast promises 'extreme heat'. But to be fair, similar forecasts are announced almost every summer. However, the beginning of June turned out to be so sunny that strawberry, raspberry and red current appeared in markets earlier than usual. Long-awaited fruits and vegetables directly from the garden are a nice surprise, but the baking sun is not, especially for those who plan spending summer in the city. ForUm has talked to primary care physician of the central policlinic of Shevchenko district of Kyiv Rita Gofman to learn how to survive in concrete jungles with the air temperature over 35 degrees.

Whom the sun likes

The summer is high, and temperature keeps rising, but the organism seems not ready for the new stress. "Unfortunately, the major part of Ukraine's population is not used to huge temperature swings. Our people are soft, not hardened and do not take well temperature rises and falls. Against the background of such pampered life, the number of allergic and autoimmune diseases increases," Gofman warns.

According to her, some people can get a heat or sun stroke  to their own surprise. We can be predisposed to heat shock even if we can stand high temperatures. "Heat can make blood pressure low, and people, who take certain medicines, should take it into account," the doctors recommends.

Girls between 12 and 18 years of age are also predisposed to heat strokes. "In hot period girls should train their cardiovascular system, but only at cool time of day or in a room with good ventilation. I speak about standard exercises for  shoulders, abdominals and thighs. Regular exercises will help the body to stand the heat," the doctor says. Thus, to enjoy summer in the city, it is recommended to change day regimen and diet and use wisely such benefit of civilization as an air-conditioner.

Air conditioners: dangerous to health

Air conditioners safe from heat, but also can do harm, Gofman says. "When a person sits under the stream of cold air, it can cause a number of problems, including neuritis. Local cooling of certain body parts, more often feet and hands, may cause their dysfunction. You will not feel pain, but you will not be able to move your feet. Cold stream in the face may harm facial nerve and cause  facial asymmetry," the physician says. Moreover, fast air motion reduces the moisture level, which may cause sinusitis and virus infections. 

"There is also a problem of old air conditioners, which collect dust and microbes for years but do not get cleaned. Ukrainians should insist on improving of their work places and urge the management to organize safe working conditions," she says. 

"Once it was said that medicine and poison are the same sort of thing. Everything depends on a doze. This saying can be applied to the air conditioner as well. It should not work 24 hours, but switch on and switch off. In fact, when the air conditioner is on, people should leave the room and wait for it to cool and humidify the air." 

According to her, house plants also will not save the air from overdrying. "Importance of house plants is overestimated. Some plants even absorb oxygen during the night, so they should be removed from the room where people stay. However, plants require watering, and watering means air humidification, so they do certain good after all," the doctor states.

What to wear

Fabrics of summer clothes should not be synthetic. "Though there are certain types of synthetic fabrics which surpass in fineness the natural ones, in hot weather it is still better to dress in light and loose clothes made of natural, green fabrics, which do not constrict vessels. Tight trousers and snug sleeves are not recommended, as the body should be open to the air moisture," Gofman recommends. 

Heels are not forbidden in hot weather, but shoes must be comfortable with ventilated sole. "It is harmless to wear heels for some hours, but it is better to change shoes within the day. Women predisposed to swelling or with varicose veins are better not to over-indulge," she recommends.
However, it is not all that simple. Some companies or professions require specific dress code. "If you work in a well-ventilated premise, tight dresses or shirts will do just fine. But well-ventilated places are rather rareness than a common practice. Thus, ask your management either to cancel strict dress code or to install proper ventilation in the office," the doctor says.

Drink or not to drink

In hot period we always want to drink more, and beer and kvass points of sales become very popular. "Beer and black tea acidify gastric environment, which is harmful for the organism. Green tea, on the contrary, alkalifies, thus is very recommended in hot weather. Kvass is good, but only if it is home-made. Kvass you buy in a store is conserved (contains burnt sugar or caramel), which is no good at all for the organism," Gofman informs and adds that fresh juices are the best drinks for summer.

"It is better to make fresh juices at home. You can even mix fruits with vegetable. Juices being sold in stores also contain preservation agents and sugar. I would also recommend drinking dry fruit compotes. They allay thirst and alkalify the organism. Moreover, drink still water, not soda. carbon dioxide gas is a preservation agent, which can spoil even healthful mineral waters," the doctor notes.
The doctor also recommends Ukrainians not to drink spring water, as it is contaminated by ground waters, which in turn bear the main weight of worn-out sewage pipes.

So, dress lightly, drink juices and do not sit close to a conditioner. These simple recommendations will make summer enjoyable no matter where you find yourself - at the sea or in the city.

Tetyana Hryhoriyeva


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