Sunshine brings cheer to the heart and light helps dispel depression.

However, being slaves of habit, we often overdo things in summer and allow the heat and sunshine to spoil our enjoyment by damaging our health.

Children and people with a fair complexion and sensitive skin are more likely to get sunburn, characterised by redness of the skin, irritation and a burning sensation, a feeling of heat in the skin and even blistering.

Even a ten-minute exposure to direct sunlight can cause problems. Therefore it makes good sense to cover most parts of the body and keep in the shade as much as possible. The harmful effects of sunlight on the skin are caused by the ultra-violet light which penetrates the lower layers of the skin and can cause burns and skin cancer.

To protect the skin from the UV light one therefore needs to apply generous amounts of a protective sunscreen cream with the appropriate SF factor. There is some evidence that massaging the skin with oils like sesame seed, almond or solid coconut oil derivatives can block up to 20 per cent of the sun's rays. But prolonged exposure to the sun after applying oil on the skin, though, can cause a burning sensation.

Wiping the skin frequently with cool water is a simple and effective remedy. If you get sunburn, applying live yoghurt, milk, cream of milk, coconut milk or coconut water are all beneficial. (you can add two to three drops of lavender and camomile essential oil to 30gms of live yoghurt).

Ayurveda recommends pure Aloe Vera gel or juice to treat sunburn. Keeping the skin well moisturised with moisturising creams helps to prevent cracking, damage and early ageing of the skin. Headaches, vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy are all symptoms of heat exhaustion, while high fever may be a symptom of sunstroke and you need to consult a doctor.

My most useful trick on my visits to India is to carry a flask of fresh lemon juice squeezed into a litre of cool water. Add half a teaspoonful of salt (to replace salt-loss due to perspiration), four to six teaspoonfuls of sugar or glucose and ice. Drink this re-hydrating fluid frequently. Blend a tablespoon of sweet yoghurt in a glass of water and add some salt and cumin powder to make a very cooling and refreshing drink. Drink plenty of water, coconut milk and mango juice.