The heat can cause a lot of health problems. Here's what you need to look out for.

The scorching heat, dry weather and mercurial temperature signal the arrival of summer. Staying healthy during summer requires care and the best way to do this is to take the necessary precautions.

Kidney problems

In summer, as temperatures soar, people tend to sweat more. This leads to loss of water. To make up, drink extra glasses of water or natural coolers like lassi, butter milk, coconut water. Many people opt for flavoured drinks, beer, colas and coffee, which gradually lead to kidney stones due to a reduced intake of water.

A person with kidney stone may pass smelly urine (sometimes accompanied by blood). A frequent burning sensation while urinating, fever and vomiting are associated symptoms.

If these symptoms arise, tests are advised. If the stone is small it will pass out on its own. If the stone is larger than 5-6mm, then lithotripsy (a procedure in which large stones are broken down into very small pieces which can come out in the urine easily) is advised.

Urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections are a common problem in summer. Due to dehydration, infections set in causing bacteria to invade the bladder. Usually more women fall victim to this problem because the female urethra is shorter than that of the male.

High fever, severe pain, burning sensation while urinating and increased frequency of urination are some of the symptoms. Drinking plenty of water, wearing cotton undergarments, frequent urination, a hygiene check on genital areas help avoid such infections. If infections recur, then consult a physician

Bed sores

Bedsores are another common ailment. Pressure sores/ulcers, or bed sores as they are commonly known, occur in the skin of a bedridden person who is neither conscious nor able to sense pain. These are caused due to friction, pressure of the skin, humidity, shearing force, temperature, age and medications. In summer there is an increased incidence due to high temperature.

Treatment involves changing the patient's position every two hours, applying talcum powder antibiotic lotions and cream over the sore regularly to promote faster healing and eating food that is nutritionally rich diet in proteins, vitamins, minerals and calories

Cardiac diseases

Usually summer sees an increase in cardiac diseases. Excessive sweating increases thickness of blood resulting in clotting (embolism) and narrowing of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) thus elevating blood pressure.

But one can prevent severe consequences by taking certain measures like regular and timely medication for the heat prescribed by the doctor, taking multivitamins, eating a healthy diet of vegetables, fruits, and salads.

Dehydration is the most common result of heat and a cause for many summer diseases. It can be treated in a day care unit and does not require a long hospital stay.

The writer is a Laparoscopic and GI surgeon.