SUMMER indeed is here- hot, sultry, and scorching with almost burning heat, with sunburst energy all over the place.
No wonder, even males, have taken to using umbrellas walking in public with their head up high, to show that their much-vaunted machismo very much intact and gender identity beyond question. And who cares if the umbrella has the rainbow colors like violet, orange, red, yellow and yes, even pink.
The important thing is, they want themselves like the ladies to be protected from the harmful rays of the sun, period! How's that for gender equality? Besides, the Spanish word for umbrella is "parasol" for the sun.
Humans are among the warm blooded members of the animal kingdom. Cold blooded animals are those whose body internal body temperature merge or jibes, to use a word, with the ambient or the surrounding temperature. Humans maintain a normal 37 degree Celsius or 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit anywhere in the world in any season of the year whether he/she is sloshing in snow in Aspen Colorado in winter or on a donkey journey in the Sahara desert in summer. Inside our brain, at the PreOptic area anterior hypothalamus is our Thermostat or the so-called Thermo regulating Center, which if the person is healthy and normal, is able to maintain within certain variation our internal body temperature. By the way, this is where drugs called antipyretics exert their effects when you give someone with fever aspirin or paracetamol. However, at this juncture, it is also wise to say that the brain has other connections with the different parts of the body to help it maintain a normal body temperature.
In a sense, the nervous system works very closely with the integumentary system- the skin and its appendages or the structures found in its three layers- epidermis- topmost layer, dermis- middle layer and subcutaneous or deepest skin layer. One of them is the sweat gland, a tubular gland which secretes a salt-like fluid-NaCl- the release of which is triggered by various stimuli the most common of which is hot temperature.
Our entire skin gets 15 percent of the total 5000 ml of blood circulating in the adult body and this amount is used for excretory as well as in temperature regulation. The transfer of heat from inside the body to cool it off comes in various mechanisms. For example, conduction is when heat is transferred from warm body to a cooler substance; try using your telephone for a long time and soon the next user would almost feel it very hot. Radiation is the normal transfer of body heat in the form of invisible infra-red rays; which happens if you feel hot if you sit beside someone who just ran a mile and sits beside you even if your bodies are not touching. It used to be that one way our mother’s lower fever by is by gently stroking our warm bodies with their hands moist with isopropyl alcohol with the intent of drawing heat by their cooler hands- which is the process of convection. And who can forget the more common method of dipping hand towel into lukewarm water then rubbing our feverish body with it- in the process opening our skin pores to let the heat get out, which uses the principle of evaporation.
Needless to say, notwithstanding the presence of natural mechanisms the good Lord has integrated into our bodies, it still makes sense that, again may sound cliché - the usual 8-10 or probably even more glasses of water- unless you have chronic kidney disease or other contraindications- juices from fresh fruits and vegetables to help hydrate the body, wide brimmed hats, sunglass with UV protection, sunscreens, loose long sleeved apparel, preferably cotton and as much as possible , enjoy summer under the shade. Have fun!
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on May 13, 2017.
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