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Seniors Health in Summer

Written by Lauren Pegoli

Summer is a time of heightened energy and increased creativity. The warmer weather allows us to spend much more time outdoors, however extremely hot weather can also be the cause of some unwelcomed physical symptoms.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine there are five seasons. Being February, we are currently entering into the fifth season of ‘Late Summer’. The prevalence of cold and flu like symptoms in Summer are caused by the hot and humid external environment invading the internal environment of the body and is therefore aptly referred to as a ‘Summer Heat invasion’. Common symptoms includerespiratory issues, fevers, nausea, diarrhoea, sweating, cough, stuffiness of the chest, irritability, dizziness and a heaviness of head and limbs.

Summer Heat can affect anyone but is most likely to target those with weakened or fragile immune systems like the elderly or young children.

If you notice yourself for someone you know beginning to feel dizzy, experiences increased rapid heart rate, confusion, throbbing headache, red and dry skin, dark-coloured urine – please seek immediate medical attention as you could be suffering from heat stroke.

When someone has a Summer Heat invasion, Traditional Chinese Medicine focuses on cooling the body down and expelling the pathogen through various means such as cupping, guasha, acupuncture and herbal formulas.

There are also a variety of foods to help keep your temperature down:

  • Watermelon is known as the ‘natural white tiger’ because of its heat clearing properties
  • Tofu, Mung Beans and Kelp
  • Electrolytes – coconut water, an electrolyte tab or a pinch of salt in your water
  • Oats and Celery have a calming effect on hypertension and are helpful in managing stress
  • Avoid Fatty foods which are usually too heavy for summer
  • Dandelion tea is an excellent choice in summer as it reduces heat and damp and can also assist with bladder infection
  • Peppermint, oregano, elder flowers and radish may also help with signs of heat

The Heart is the organ associated with Summer and the element is Fire. Exposure to severe heat conditions can cause the bodies internal Fire to flare up causing complications. If you have elderly parents and especially if they have high blood pressure, be sure to look after one another and pass on this information.

References: Food for the Seasons Dr. Lun Wong