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Body care in the rains…

June 12, 2011

From intense bright sunshine and high humidity we are pushed almost overnight into damp moist high humidity and heat. There are a number of  body responses that take place as this happens but we are not always aware of them. Suddenly we are drinking less water because we don’t feel so thirsty.  Digestion is either slowing down or the liver’s response to the moist humidity is taking its toll and foods that we can normally digest efficiently now seem to cause some problems. Any drop in external temperature impacts our immunity and since viruses  multiply during this season cold and flu are the main threats. Flies proliferate during this time and are natural carriers of bacterial gastro-intestinal infection. Mosquitoes multiply and are carriers for malaria and dengue. Rats carry leptospirosis and infect rain water on the roads and in drains. Other illnesses associated with this season are hepatitis A, bacterial infections such as E coli and a range of viral infections causing flu and fever. Asthma is also exacerbated during this season. Mold for example is known to cause asthma in children. Keeping stuff dry as much as possible is important.

The most important point thing to do is to build up our natural immunity. And this we can do with paying closer attention to what we eat and drink. Immunity is also a function of ‘exposure’ to microbes to which the body needs to build immunity. In this context there is a balance that we need to maintain over obsessive cleanliness and good hygiene. (Read all about the immune system here: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/immunesystem.html)

The one  organ that relishes this season is our skin. But not our hair.

Things I do to keep going during the rains:

  • Drink water every hour on the hour  – tough but try it any way. Carry water with me when I am out. Do not drink water outside. Get the water purifier serviced and cleaned before the monsoons!
  • Give up raw salad  and fruit that cannot be peeled (says common wisdom)
  • Avoid fish (although with better refrigeration the problem of spoiling should not be there, but still…)
  • Take up my intake of Vitamin C and B
  • Start the day with a glass of 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1/2 tsp cinnamon dissolved in hot water with a tsp of  good honey added in (excellent immunity booster, which is what this weather requires)
  • Wash my feet every time I return home specially if I have walked on the road
  • Dry my hair immediately on return if it is wet. Leaving it wet is never a good idea. And in fact this is the only season my hair dryer gets a real outing because in principle blow drying hair is not a good idea.
  • Change out of wet clothes without delay
  • Do ‘jal neti’ twice or three times a week to keep the sinuses clear
  • Keep up the daily exercise regimen
  • Light up the mosquito repellents during the night in all rooms where people sleep. Although I have to say that the old method of using a mosquito net – the machchardani, as we used to call it in our childhood  – is still the best.

 

Here are some sites that give you more information on boosting natural immunity:

http://online.prevention.com/flu_immunity/index.shtml

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/family-nutrition/foods-boost-immunity/8-foods-boost-immunity

http://www.mapi.com/ayurveda_health_care/newsletters/boost_immunity__food_ayurveda.html

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From → General Health

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