Natsubate: Summer’s sneak attacks

natsubate - heat stroke in Japan

Before we know it, we’ll be in the midst of Japan’s hot humid summer and with it comes the infamous Natsubate. It’s a term used to describe your body’s defeat to the temperature during summer, as is the meaning of the word, natsu “summer” and bate “fatigue”. It’s not something to be taken lightly as all around the world, high temperatures can sometimes lead to deaths.  This is especially true if you are not aware of its effects on you or those who may be more susceptible to the heat like children or older populations, even pets – it affects everyone.  The good news is that you can take some simple precautions to stay healthy in the heat.

Common signs of Natsubate:  Fatigue, loss of appetite, decreased attention span, troubles sleeping, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, fever, nausea and vomiting.

Simply put, your body is always trying to regulate its temperature. When it’s too hot you sweat to cool down to release the heat, but sometimes it can’t keep up causing overheating.  If you are thinking, “well, I’ll just stay indoors and keep cool and won’t need to worry about it”, think again. Sudden temperature changes when stepping in and out of a cool place is a good way to shock your body into overwork. Doctors during this season end up seeing many patients who didn’t realize they had Natsubate until it was too late.

Here are a few tips for beating Natsubate:

• Take fluids! Even if you think you’re not sweating much, drink! Why? Believe it or not its summer time, your body’s actually sweating a lot more than you may think.

• Include salt and vitamins – you’re sweating out the necessary sodium and other important nutrients when it’s hot – especially when you’ve been perspiring for a long period of time.

Try a cucumber + miso cool down. Cucumber is a natural coolant, miso contains all sorts of good minerals and nutrients PLUS salt!

• Eat a balanced diet – don’t just eat and drink only cold things because you feel hot. Include a variety of proteins and lots of vegetables; don’t forget warm foods, too. You can actually be cooling down too much inside so that your body has to work extra hard to balance out the temperature of your body to the that of the atmosphere.

Enjoy a nice cup of warm tea after meals

Spicy foods and vinegar-based foods help boost recovery processes in your body

• Avoid sudden changes in body-to-room temperatures – your body has to adjust constantly and it can wear you out. Carry a light jacket or cardigan with you when you go in and out of air-conditioned buildings.  Try to stay out of the direct cool stream of air if possible.

• Children and the elderly are less likely to realize the extent of the effect until it may be too late. Take breaks, hydrate, cool down in the shade. Summer is long; encourage your loved ones to take care as well.

• Have pets? Take them for walks? – Go during early mornings, late afternoons or nights when it’s not scorching outside and the streets aren’t burning hot to the touch!

Basically, you want to avoid having to make trips to the doctor because of something you could have taken measures to avoid.  Don’t and end up having to lie in bed with a rehydrating IV hanging beside you as an unspoken reminder for not listening to your body.  Take precautions, but if you do succumb to some of the symptoms of Natsubate definitely visit a doctor ahead of time to stay healthy!


Above image courtesy of saphatthachat at

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