Doctors see rise in cases of heat exhaustion
Doctors said that most require oral hydration therapy, but a small number of patients have required hospitalisation for 24 to 48 hours due to severe dehydration resulting in low blood pressure
Mumbai As temperatures soar, city doctors have been seeing cases of heat exhaustion with patients complaining of acute headache, giddiness, fainting, muscle cramps, nausea among other things.
Doctors said that most require oral hydration therapy, but a small number of patients have required hospitalisation for 24 to 48 hours due to severe dehydration resulting in low blood pressure.
“A lot of patients with heat-related illnesses that I have seen in the outpatient department (OPD) have field jobs, who forget to hydrate themselves,” said physician Dr Gautam Bhansali from Bombay Hospital, who has been seeing two to three heat-related cases every day since the past two weeks.
He has admitted at least five patients during this period, including a case of severe heat stroke, wherein a 45-year-old construction worker had to be put on ventilator as his condition worsened rapidly.
“He was brought to the hospital with drowsiness on May 1. His blood pressure declined rapidly, his kidneys started to shut down and he reached a stage of acidosis eventually requiring ventilator support,” said Bhansali adding that the patient was given two rounds of dialysis.
Acidosis is a condition in which there is too much acid in the body fluids. According to Bhansali, the patient is still on a ventilator, but is showing signs of recovery.
Physician Dr Hemant Gupta, who practises at his clinic in Worli, said that he has seen a slight spurt in cases of heat-related illnesses. “People are coming in with typical symptoms of giddiness, headaches and muscle cramps,” said Gupta, adding that he has been seeing two to three such cases every day for the past 10 days.
“There is at least a 30% rise compared to last year. In most cases, oral hydration therapy works. I advise them to increase their fluid intake, drink water with sugar and salt etc to settle the electrolyte imbalance,” he said.
Several parts of Maharashtra have been experiencing a heat wave since the past week. On April 29, Mumbai experienced its warmest April morning in a decade, with the minimum temperature settling at 28.8 degrees Celsius (three degrees above normal), up from 25.8 degrees Celsius a day prior.
“The impact of heat is definitely being felt in Mumbai, with one or two patients walking in with heat exhaustion symptoms,” said Dr Mohan Joshi, dean of the civic-run Sion Hospital, adding that none of the patients have required hospitalisation.
“However, many have required intravenous fluids for which we have kept them in the emergency room for a few hours,” he said.