THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Scorching sun and smoke have never deterred a devotee from taking part in the Attukal pongala. For hours women stand under the blazing sun and brave the smoke from the hearth to complete the annual ritual successfully. This year too the summer is harsh and the pongala  experience will be better if certain precautions are taken, caution medical experts.

Devotees who come to the pongala festival need to take some precautions. The best way to prevent a sunstroke is to avoid direct exposure and by drinking plenty of water, say doctors. Rising temperature and smoke cause tremendous loss of water from the body.

“Lack of water and sodium in body results in lowering of blood pressure, dizziness, extreme fatigue. Adding a pinch of salt in the drinking water will compensate its loss due to sweating. Nothing can beat lemon juice seasoned with salt,” says  additional professor of medicine at Government Medical College, Dr Sreenath S. The practice of going without water during fasting will prove to be detrimental to your body, he said.

Doctors strongly advise ladies to take medicines if they are under medication and not wait for the ritual to be over. “It will be a wrong idea to not have medicine and food. If you are under medication and you choose to skip it your body will suffer. I have seen people even die because of it,” said Dr Sreenath.

For those suffering from breathing problems, keep you medicines and inhalers with you. Also make sure that you perform pongala at a location where you can easily access a medical facility in case of an emergency.

Those who are not accustomed to smoke from the wood fire are advised to wear masks. If you are performing pongala in multiple lines watch out for the hot hearth behind you. Because burns have become a common thing during the festival.

According to Dr Sreenath the chances of suffering from heat stroke are less. But keep a towel soaked in water handy. The atmospheric temperature is maximum between 11 am and 3 pm. Direct exposure can cause sun burns. Sun stroke causes the body temperature to rise and this leads to drying of skin etc. As first aid the patient should be allowed to lie on the floor or mat under the fan with legs raised. Clothes soaked in water should be put on the body.

Those with sun burns should avail medical treatment immediately at the nearby hospital. As per the Meteorological Centre, Thiruvananthapuram the weather in the city is likely to be cloudy with a spell of rain. The city recorded a maximum temperature of 33 degree Celsius and a minimum of 25 degree Celsius on Saturday.