Summer Woes

Words: Dr Rajgopal NIDAMBOOR

Hot summer days, as the World Economic Forum articulates, are associated with a higher risk of a number of other conditions that are not typically thought to be heat-related, such as kidney problems, skin infections and pre-term birth among pregnant women. In fact, heatstroke, heat exhaustion and dehydration account for a relatively small fraction of the total health risks associated with days of extreme heat. A growing body of evidence also suggests that days of high temperatures may negatively affect mental health. A study found that hot days were associated with higher risk of hospital visits for substance abuse, mood and anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and dementia. Other studies showed that hot weather is linked to lower performance on standardised tests.

The sweltering heat of summer is nothing short of a get-away-from-it-all outline.  For children, it often means a happy break from textbooks and examination tension. For others, it may be the usual theme of Ooty, or Nainital, calling.

While summer may also activate a riot for many of us with its range of problems — from tummy upsets to the most common prickly heat and other complaints — for a happy minority, it is just one of those seasons that come and go every year.

The most common complaint, when the heat is really on, is summer diarrhoea. This is caused from infection with microorganisms to contamination of water, milk and also unhygienic surroundings. The problem is a real cause for concern, more so in children, in the tender age group. It is not without reason that mothers fear the first five summers of their child’s life the most.

Healing With Homeopathy

Homeopathy has much to offer in the treatment of a host of summer complaints — safely.

Arsenicum album is, by far, the first and primary remedy. It is useful when the individual complains of diarrhoea caused by spoiled food. The stools are loose, dark and offensive, accompanied by tiredness, quite out of proportion with the quantity expelled. Veratrum album is another useful remedy. It is efficacious when the individual has a cold sweat on the forehead, cramps in the legs and pain in abdomen preceding loose stools.

Other useful remedies are Podophyllum for early morning diarrhoea, especially in infants; Dulcamara, when changes in temperature and weather result in the complaint. Aloe socotrina is useful when loose stools pass involuntarily while releasing gas and vice versa. Nux vomica is useful in diarrhoea caused due to overeating at social parties; and, Mercurius solubilis is useful when the person complains of a ‘never-get-done feeling,’ with slimy, bloody stools.

Dyspepsia and flatulence [gas] also form a disgusting duo in the ‘summer-ful’ distress. While simple cases respond to Calcarea carbonica, the stubborn forms often respond to Phosphorus and Nux vomica.

For fever states in summer, it would be best to treat them in the early stages. Ferrum phosphoricum, Belladonna, Baptisia tinctoria, Gelsemium sempervirens and Rhus toxicodendron are often most useful.

Prophylactic, or preventative, treatment for jaundice, measles etc., may also be considered, even when there are only sporadic cases in the locality, in consultation with a professional homeopathic physician.

Jaborandi is most effective in prickly heat. It may be taken, in its mother tincture form, in drop doses, internally.

Heat exhaustion is best treated with Natrum carbonicum, which has a curative action on summer headaches too.  As regards sunstroke, the foremost remedy is Glonoine. 

Self-Help 

  1. Keep yourself well hydrated — drink adequate water. Water is the only wholesome beverage.  It should be taken in profusion, but never in its chilled form, especially after over-exertion
  2. Always maintain a regular, simple, nourishing and plain diet, and good hygiene
  3. Alcohol, soft, spirituous beverages, or colas, and smoking should be best avoided
  4. Cotton clothing is ideal summer wear
  5. The use of cotton socks is ideal too, especially for those who sweat profusely. These individuals should be asked to dust feet with a mild talc before wearing shoes
  6. Exposure to heavy exhalations should be avoided, as also the possible predisposing factors that may lead to endemic summer diseases
  7. The idea of using laxatives for easy bowel movement should be strongly avoided
  8. A cold/tepid water bath, twice daily, is most beneficial
  9. Daily changing of undergarments is compulsory.  Else, fungal infections may rule the roost. The condition is best treated with Mercurius solubilis, Graphites and Chrysarobic acid.

Most important. When diarrhea-affected children don’t improve within 24 hours, it is imperative to seek professional help — promptly.

Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of newspaper, magazine, web articles, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy. He is Chief Wellness Officer, Docco360 — a mobile health application/platform connecting patients with Ayurveda, homeopathic and Unani physicians, and nutrition therapists, among others, from the comfort of their home — and, Editor-in-Chief, ThinkWellness360.

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