The Korea Herald


Staying healthy in the summer heat

By Korea Herald

Published : June 14, 2012 - 19:58

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The summer heat has gripped the nation early, pushing the mercury above 29 degrees Celsius around the country.

Premature hot weather often causes illnesses. Here are some tips to keep you healthy in the summer.

Take extra care when working outdoors: heat cramps prevail when you lose salt after sweating too much. Spasms can last for 2-3 minutes on the arms, legs and abdomen. Massage the body parts and take saline water.

In case of heat exhaustion, which can occur when working in the heat for more than two days, move to a cooler place, have some rest and visit your doctor.

Heat rashes may also form when sweat clogs the sweat gland. Cleanse the skin thoroughly, take a break from work and head indoors.
Children enjoy running through a large fountain in downtown Seoul. (Yonhap News) Children enjoy running through a large fountain in downtown Seoul. (Yonhap News)

The Ministry of Employment and Labor said outdoor workers should try to take a break every 2-3 hours in order to prevent exhaustion and other problems. The authorities are also considering imposing compulsory breaks around 2 p.m.-5 p.m. if the temperature rises above 35 degrees for more than two days.

Take care of your joints: Joints are very sensitive to temperature, humidity and air pressure. During the rainy season, inflammation in the joints could increase and worsen. It often makes the muscles around the area go tense.

Applying hot towels around the joints could relieve the tension and remove humidity lingering around the body parts. If the weather is too hot, apply cold towels to soothe the swelling.

“Make the most moderate use of air conditioners or electronic fans. Don’t let the wind get to your joints because they may instantly shrink and cause even more problems,” said Dr. Song Eun-sung of TnTn Spine Hospital.

“Also, try to place your legs above the level of your heart. This will improve the blood circulation and contain the swelling symptoms,” he added.

Refrain from going outdoors unnecesarily: The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that a total of 15 people have been diagnosed with heat-related illnesses this month, which is about double the number of the same period last year. “About 80 percent of them where males mostly in their 20s and 30s spending a lot of time outdoors,” a KCDC official said.

The authorities asked people to refrain from staying outdoors for a long period of time and take extra care to drink water to keep themselves hydrated.

Skin matters: Amid the heat wave, skin exposure to massive ultraviolet rays could lead to major problems such as skin cancer. In the U.S., about one out of every 50 old people is diagnosed with skin cancer and the main culprit is assumed to be ultraviolet rays.

The World Health Organization advises people to apply 2 milligrams of sunscreen on every square centimeter of the skin every two hours. Make sure that children wear abundant sunscreen, too.

By Bae Ji-sook (