Simple Ways To Combat Heat

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Minds and Machines

Going out in this scorching heat can be a pain. While most schools and colleges are shut, those who work have no option but to leave the comfort of their homes. Even those who don’t work need to go out. Most newspapers and magazines usually suggest to avoid going out when the temperatures are soaring. At times however, many of us are faced with an inevitable circumstance and are forced to go out. Such an ‘inevitable circumstance’ happened to fall on me last week. I really had to drag myself out of the house. Before leaving, I went through the usual routine of applying sunscreen and deodorant and so on. The thing I took the most time for was deciding on what to wear. After quite some time I decided on a really loose light – coloured shirt with jeans.

 

When I met my friends, I had to stop myself from staring at them with wide – eyes; the reason being? Two of them were wearing really tight long sleeved black tops and the other one a net blouse of polyester. Let me just add that the errand imposed on us didn’t allow anyone of us to be in an A/C room of any kind or even in a room with fans. We had to walk in the unbearable heat with barely a shade for respite. All of us were in pools of sweat but my friends seemed to be in a really bad condition compared to me. While returning home I couldn’t help but think – what prompted them to wear such uncomfortable outfits in this heat?

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Yet they aren’t the only ones. It is very common to see several men and women wearing outfits during summer that make you feel uncomfortable and sweaty simply by looking at them. Why do so many do this? Aren’t people aware that if one does not wear appropriate clothes during summer one exposes themselves to severe health risks? So what should one do?

 

Before I step out of the house, I bear in mind two important things – where am I going and will I be in shade or a cool and comfortable room? While growing up one learns in school that light colours reflect the rays of the sun whereas dark colours absorb them. Why don’t we follow this? Light colours like white, beige, pastels even yellow are the best options during the summer. Dark colours like black are a complete no. I like calling this the ‘Golden Rule’ to remember whilst going out. Loose and flowing outfits also make quite a difference. It gives your body a natural form of ventilation that keeps it cool and allows the sweat to dry. Heavily embroidered salwar suits, sarees should also be avoided.

 

It is not only colours that one has to keep in mind. The type of material we wear makes a huge difference. Most studies have suggested cotton as the ideal fabric during summer. In India too, cotton is one of the most used for of fabric as it seems ideal for the tropical Indian Climate. Cotton allows the movement of air from the skin through the fabric and drives away the heat allowing you to combat the humidity. It absorbs extra moisture and helps in keeping the skin dry by increasing the evaporation of your sweat. However, if you are going to be in a place with high humidity it is better to opt for cotton fabric that is thin in its texture. Cotton has the tendency to stick to the body and ends up making you fell sticky as well.

 

Many of us Indians are unfamiliar with this fabric but after cotton it is the most ideal for summer. In fact, some believe it to be better as it is thinner. Natural cellulose, after being processes chemically gives us the fabric rayon. Most of the kurtas/kurtis are made of this material. It keeps the body cool and comfortable. More importantly, it doesn’t let your body trap heat and has the ability to absorb water. Unlike cotton, rayon isn’t a very durable material. While cotton is durable, can be machine – washed, dried and ironed easily, rayon usually needs to be dry – cleaned.

 

Along with cotton and rayon, another material for the summer is linen. It has the ability to lose water quickly and has similar qualities like its counterparts. However, its only drawback is that it gets wrinkled way too easily, thus making it difficult to iron. Also, wearing sleeveless and shorts don not always help. One needs to cover the skin from the sun.

 

Lastly, one of the major faults (if I may call it so) of many of us is the utter avoidance in wearing a cap, hat or a scarf to cover our heads and/or face. Many young women I know simply refuse to cover themselves with scarves during summer because ‘it doesn’t suit their dress’ or ‘it isn’t fashionable’. Such silly excuses are the reason why many people today are affected with sunburn and other skin ailments. Wearing a sunscreen isn’t enough. Your face and even your hair need to be protected from the sun. Not covering one’s hair while going out in the sun is of the primary reasons behind dry hair.

 

Summer is unavoidable, but following such simple rules can definitely help us combat it.