Summer blues

Summer is in full swing and the temperature is soaring up every day in Kathmandu. People are suffering from excessive heat in many parts of the country. It is very hard to go out of home due to the humid condition.  As there is no sign of monsoon yet, the days rolling by will be hotter and more humid. As the crisp spring days melt into the heat and dust of our tropical climate, we gear ourselves to get used to the long, hot days ahead. Come summer and our mind switches to thoughts of wearing crisp white cotton, sipping glasses of chilled lemon juice, relaxing in air-conditioned comfort, a holiday in the faraway hills and a cool dip in the swimming pool, and what not.

However, summer is also the time to pay special attention to hygiene. The hot weather is ideal for breeding of flies and germs, and a little carelessness may cost us dearly. First, be very careful about food; since infection (germs) occur readily in a combination of warmth and dirt, and buy your foodstuff only from clean areas.

Pay special attention, as non-veg items decay very rapidly in the heat. Buy these only fresh and minimise their use, as they are heavy to digest. We should avoid eating from roadside stalls in summer. The ‘Golguppas and Panipuri or chaat may look and taste delicious, but we may go down with a bad attack of food poisoning. The roadside stalls attract dust and grime, and the potatoes and other ingredients may spoil quickly on long exposure to heat. Also, avoid having ‘sherbets’, fruit juice and pieces of chopped

coconut, watermelon, guava and cucumber etc from roadside vendors. I do not mean that we should not eat out at all during the summer. Going to well-known restaurants or fast food outlets would be a better idea. School and college students and office-goers should carry their food and water, as far as possible. The hygiene in their canteens leaves much to be desired.

In our own kitchen, we should pay special attention to hygiene when handling or cooking food. Get frozen food home as quickly as possible and put them straight in the freezer. After buying meat/fish/chicken, clean and put them in the freezer, preferably in small packets. Discard any food that smells or tastes rancid. When in doubt, never use it. The health of our family is far more important than the cost of the food item. Be especially careful of canned food. Invest in a water-purifying device. Avoid drinking water outside.