Lifestyle Health and Wellbeing 04 Apr 2016 Summer sensitising: ...

Summer sensitising: Sweat production increases to dissipate body heat

Published Apr 4, 2016, 12:33 am IST
Updated Apr 4, 2016, 12:33 am IST
People who move in and out of air-conditioned surroundings have to be extra careful.
The sudden change in temperature can cause heat exhaustion.
 The sudden change in temperature can cause heat exhaustion.

This summer, the sudden shift from extreme heat to cold can lead to uneasiness in those who are immune-compromised, especially the elderly, or those suffering from diseases like diabetes and uncontrolled hypertension. Also, extra care should be taken for skin and hair as they tend to get dry when exposed to the sun.

Excessive sweat causes itchy rashes


Dr P.L. Chandravathi

During summer, sweat production increases to dissipate body heat. Increased sweating, especially in humid places, it leads to miliaria (prickly heat) causing red itchy rashes around the neck, armpits, groin and under the breasts. This problem is found more in people who wear tight dresses and also sweat more.

Dr P.L. Chandravathi, senior consultant dermatologist at Care Hospitals said, “Bacterial infection causing boils are seen more commonly in children and adults with diabetes. They come mainly because of itching and scratching. Fungal infections due to excess sweating are also found.”

Those who suffer from diabetes, hypertension, hypothyroid and heart diseases are more prone to allergies of the sun as their skin is sensitive because of the disease.

Avoid sudden temperature change

Dr Radha Shah

When one moves from an air-conditioned room to a hot, sweaty atmosphere, there is a feeling of sudden heat and the skin becomes red. The sudden change in temperature can cause heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

Dr Radha Shah, consultant dermatologist at Apollo Hospitals said, “Heat exhaustion causes headache, giddiness, muscle cramps, redness of the skin and fainting. It can also cause thirstiness, reduced urination and nose bleed. A severe form causes persistent high body temperature, more than 102º C.”

The usual comfortable environmental temperatures are between 22ºC and 27ºC with relative humidity of 35 to 65 per cent. But the body has a great potential to adapt to climate changes. When exposed to such sudden change the body’s thermostat signals for more blood flow to the skin, causing redness and increases perspiration.

Dr Shah added, “When this happens, the heart pumps more blood, increasing the pulse rate and blood pressure. There is also throbbing headaches with loss of concentration. But if the individual returns to a cool environment these settle down.” The elderly, very young children, obese individuals or those doing heavy workouts are more likely to suffer from these problems.

High temperatures mean high ultraviolet radiation and damage like sunburn on exposed areas of the body. If such exposures are repeated, chances of skin aging like wrinkles, age spots and skin growths increase. Those who cannot expose themselves to a cooler environment develop prickly heat in skin folds, chest and back.

Increase in Hair fall

During summers there is an increase in hair fall as it becomes very dry and luster less. They also become tangled more because of sweat and breakage. The scalp also gets itchy. The problems of dandruff and psoriasis get aggravated because of sweat. Protection is advised by staying in cool places to decrease sweating. Washing body and hair frequently is important.

Seeking relief is a normal defence of the body to protect the organs from malfunctioning. Best ways to avoid heat-related damage is by avoiding going outdoors in afternoons, wearing light-weight  cotton clothes, drinking plenty of water, juices and ORS with electrolytes and using broad spectrum sunscreen.