Health Problems that Love Shanghai Summers
As the temperatures heat up, so do some heat-related problems commonly suffered by Shanghai residents. Here are some issues to watch for and tips to stay healthy and comfortable this summer!
Fungus loves summer in Shanghai! The heat, humidity and consumption of sweet foods and drinks are the perfect environment for fungal infections. Closed shoes, locker rooms, pools and public showers are breeding grounds for fungus such as athlete’s foot.
Make sure to eat a balanced diet, reducing sugar and sweets. It is best for people prone to fungal infections to avoid foods and drinks which promote internal dampness such as tofu, cheese, mushrooms, shellfish, sweets, chocolate and alcohol. Include phlegm-clearing and Qi-tonifying foods in the diet, such as daikon, vinegar, yam, squash, pumpkin and grains. A small amount of spicy food can also help reduce phlegm accumulation and kill the germs. TCM can help keep your body in balance, with herbal remedies to boost your immune system for fighting off fungus. It is important to practice good foot hygiene, such as regularly cleaning and drying feet. Read more about summer foot health here.
Our podiatrist, Scott Blake, can assess possible fungal infections and create a treatment plan for you (fungus typically needs to be treated with chemical solutions, topical or oral, though TCM can be used to support the healing process). Fungus on the nails usually appears as a thickening or discoloration and “athlete’s foot” consists of peeling, red, itchy skin or hives. Don’t delay seeking help if you think you might have fungus, as it can be quite persistent and spread to other areas of the body. It is also contagious!
The cold chain for food storage and handling is often broken in Shanghai (just picture food being delivered on bikes and sitting out in the air at wet markets). This means food is prone to bacterial growth, which develops more quickly in the heat. Street food bring more risk this time of year. But, you’d also be surprised how many restaurants and stores do not handle food properly .
It is best to eat meat and fish thoroughly cooked; avoid raw preparations. Also, be careful of dairy and egg products. Don’t let food sit out for too long. When possible, find out from suppliers how they source and handle food. Ask friends for trusted sources.
When weather warms up, cold drinks sound appealing. But, drinking icy beverages can be hard on digestion and cause stomach pain and indigestion. An excess of cold, sweet drinks and food can contribute to digestive problems in summer.
If you experience digestive problems, we can prescribe highly effective Chinese herbs for diarrhea and other digestive ailments. It is easy to become dehydrated when ill, so seek treatment quickly and replace fluids.
A lot of people suffer from occasional heat rash. This occurs when sweat glands become clogged and inflamed. Wear natural fibers such as cotton or linen and light, loose garments. The skin needs to be able to breathe so the heat escapes and moisture dissipates. Keep the area clean and cool. It usually resolves itself when the body cools down.
Some people also suffer from sun rash (heed medication warnings that tell you to avoid sun as some cause photosensitivity), allergic reactions or worsening of chronic skin issues such as eczema. Keep the skin as cool and dry as possible (avoid outdoor exertion during midday), and try not to scratch the area. If you have ongoing problems, we can help with treatments to relieve symptoms and herbal decoctions to lower internal heat and balance qi.