Delhi hospitals see spike in heat-related ailments
As the national capital copes with a severe heatwave -- temperatures went above 49 degrees Celsius in parts of Delhi on Sunday -- hospitals have reported a noticeable spike in the number of heat-related ailments. Doctors said women and senior citizens made up a major chunk of those who reported symptoms including dehydration, cramps, dizziness and fluctuations in blood pressure.
Doctors at Delhi’s major government hospitals said there has been an increase in patients reporting symptoms that are directly or indirectly related to the high temperatures since April this year, because of the higher than normal temperatures this summer, but over the past one week, that increase is more visible.
“We have been seeing patients who are coming in with symptoms that could be connected to heat exposure. Delhi is seeing a prolonged heatwave and people who have to stay out for longer durations are at a greater risk of developing symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness and heat stroke,” said Dr Suresh Kumar, medical director at Delhi government’s Lok Nayak Hospital.
Doctors said while a majority of these patients comprised people who had higher exposure to high temperatures for long durations because of their jobs, even among them women made up a sizeable chunk. Many women who came into the outpatient department of government hospitals reported symptoms of severe dehydration, doctors said.
“Many women construction workers and labourers have to work outdoors for long durations, and they do not drink water despite the severe heat because they do not have toilet facilities. We are seeing so many such patients. Heat impact is not just limited to heat strokes or dizziness, but also cause urinary tract infections, severe muscular cramps and rashes, among other ailments,” said a senior doctor at Kasturba Gandhi Hospital in Daryaganj, requesting anonymity.
Doctors said exposure to very high temperatures --- it was 49 degrees Celsius in parts of Delhi on Sunday -- can also be fatal.
Dr Satish Koul, director (internal medicine) at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, said 10am to 4pm was the worst time to be outdoors as the sun’s rays are at its severest.
“While we caution senior citizens and children to take extra care in such extreme heat, currently we are seeing a lot of young people coming in with heat-related ailments. This is because people have started going out more as the Covid-19 cases have decreased,” said Dr Koul.
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