In Chinese medicine, summer heat can be divided into 2 categories of Summerheat-heat or Summerheat-damp. Summerheat-heat is what we commonly know as heat exhaustion, or sunstroke/heat stroke which is life threatening. Summerheat-damp refers to an externally contracted disease occurring in hot weather. As an example infectious encephalitis B is a summerheat-damp condition.1
The signs and symptoms of summerheat-heat are high body temperature, thirst, irritation, absence of sweating and a surging pulse. In many instances a person may sweat profusely, feel nausea or have muscle cramping. If a person is experiencing these symptoms they should immediately be cooled off. It is important to have them lie down and raise their feet slightly. Have the person drink plenty of water or a sports rehydration drink. Cool their skin with a damp cloth.
If a person has any of these symptoms you must call 911 immediately. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat or sun stroke that can be fatal. A person may begin having rapid breathing, lose consciousness or is not responsive.
With Summerheat-damp there is more fatigue, feeling of heaviness, temporal headaches and no appetite.
Some examples of foods that are cool in nature are celery, spinach, mint, watermelon, pears, plums, barley, millet and certain fish. Acupuncture or acupressure points that help with heat are Large Intestine 11 at the crook of the elbow, Stomach 36 below the knee on outer leg or Urinary Bladder 40 in the middle of the back of the knee. Chinese herbs that decrease heat are Hyacinth bean (Bai Bian Dou), Gotu Kola (Ji Xue Cao) or Chrysanthemum (Ju Hua).