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Five cool ways to beat the heat
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Many Beijing hospitals reported a sharp increase in the number of outpatients and emergency cases last week because of the heat wave.

Besides sunstroke and dehydration, most of the patients suffered from high fevers, heart disease, vomiting, asthma and other heat-related problems, according to Dr Li Jianren of the Beijing Emergency Center.

The number of people complaining of cold and rheumatism, caused by long exposure to air conditioners, also saw a big increase, says Dr Li Jian from the Beijing Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital.

Li and other medical experts offer the following tips to keep fit during a heat wave.

1. Try to plan your day in a way that allows you to stay out of the heat and avoid going out in the hottest part of the day (11am - 3pm).

2. If you cannot avoid strenuous activities like sports or gardening, keep it for the cooler parts of the day such as early morning or dusk.

3. If you must go out, stay in the shade. Wear a hat and light, loose-fitting clothes, preferably cotton. If you are likely to be outside for some time, take plenty of water with you.

4. Inside, stay in the coolest rooms. Ventilate the room at night but shut the windows and draw up the curtains during the day. Indoor plants will help keep your home cool due to evaporation. Take cool showers or baths and splash yourself several times a day with cold water.

5. Drink regularly, even if you do not feel thirsty. Water and fruit juice are best. Avoid alcohol, tea and coffee. They make dehydration worse. Eat as usual. Try to eat more cold food, particularly salads and fruit that contain water.

(China Daily July 6, 2009)

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