300 Days of Summer

Summer is definitely the dominant season here in Dongguan. It takes a lot not to lose your cool in the endless months of heat and accompanied humidity. Check out our summer safety tips.

One of the memories that I wish I could erase, took place on a beautiful summer afternoon in Beijing. I was taking a mindless stroll alongside the lake shore of Houhai, the “Rear Lake,” where some of the old traditional establishments had been converted into restaurants, bars and cafes. Despite being extremely popular with foreign tourists, locals continued their way of living there. This mixture of old and new, Chinese and exotic really fascinated me. That was, until a surreal call-out disturbed the resting summer air; I turned around to see an elderly local man in baggy underpants, diving into the mirror-like open water from the stone guardrail, with no lifeguard around and no other safety measures. It certainly wasn’t a designated swimming spot. He believed he knew how to beat the summer heat. I, on the contrary, was a little bit more anxious: on average, 372,000 people drown in the world every year, what if he was one of them?

How to survive summer has always been a pressing problem in Dongguan for its long-lasting hot weather. Summer could trigger a series of health hazards.

Swimming Safety
Switch to a shady spot at the beach (watch out for any falling coconuts, in worst case scenario, durian) or just plunge into the water! But before you do that, make sure you are in safe waters, better equipped with trained lifeguards who can perform timely mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compression if needed. According to a WHO (World Health Organization) report, alcohol use around water is an important risk factor for drowning worldwide, in adolescents and adults. So, take it easy with those beers when sat by the pool or the sea.

Protection from the Sun
Many people love to enjoy sunbathing at the beach in summer. But in reality, there is merely a thin line between getting tanned or toasted. Luckily, we are living in the era of smart phones. Download an app on your phone, SunZapp for example, and upload your basic information including skin type, location, environmental conditions, clothing etc. It will considerately remind you to apply or reapply your sunscreen, and alert you when UV levels and sunburn risks are high. Even better, take a tube of aloe gel with you, it can soothe your skin and accelerate the healing process as well.

How to survive summer has always been a pressing problem in Dongguan for its long-lasting hot weather. Summer could trigger a series of health hazards.

When basking in the bright sun and reveling in the heat, be aware of heat exhaustion or even a heatstroke. “If you experience any kind of weakness, dizziness or fainting, nausea and vomiting, heavy sweating, headache, loss of consciousness, rapid heartbeat or flushing, you can move to an air-conditioned room and apply a cooling pad over your skin while keeping yourself well hydrated.” Doctor Chen Lianggan from YYL Hospital advised, “If the symptoms don’t go away, call an ambulance immediately.” This is advised because heatstroke can kill or cause serious damage to the brain and other internal organs. But it is totally preventable. An electrolyte-rich sports drink or some refreshing universal oil available at most pharmacies can be very helpful.

Prevent Mosquito Bites
When you have a beer in the evening, save a drop of it in the glass. Many people are troubled by buzzing mosquitoes at night. Pour the end of your beer into a small dish and place it in a corner. The sweet aroma of the malt and hops can lure the mosquitoes and then trap them.

There are tons of mosquito repellents on the market, most of which have DEET in it. DEET, short for diethyltoluamide, is a slightly yellow oil intended for the skin or clothing and provides protection against mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, chiggers, leeches and many biting insects. Read the ingredients before you invest your money. As a soft advocator for a greener lifestyle, I much prefer natural remedies, such as eating uncooked garlic, spicy chili and purple perilla leaves. The strong smell will cast the mosquitoes away. According to Science Daily, scientists in the U.S. found something interesting in a mosquito stomach: a chemical that tells them when to stop eating. The similarity between this chemical and one found in tomatoes is uncanny. DEET keeps 78 percent of mosquitoes away. Tomatoes, however, keep 91 percent away. Don’t be surprised if you see someone covered in tomato juice. Perhaps!