27 May 2010
New Delhi, India
The scorching heat is taking a toll on Delhi. With mercury staying above normal for most of the month, city hospitals have reported an increase in gastroenteritis and heat exhaustion cases. The state health department this year has reported 65 cases of cholera of which 48 were reported in May itself. City doctors caution that the current heat wave can prove to be fatal if proper precautions are not taken.
Dr MP Sharma, head of the department, internal medicine, Rockland Hospital, said: “Heatstroke is very common during this season. With temperature continuing to rise this year, one needs to be very careful before going out in the sun. Direct sun exposure for long duration can mar temperature balance in the body. Hypothalamus, which regulates the body temperature, is affected and it results in lowering of blood pressure and rise in body temperature. It can also hamper kidney function and in some cases can be fatal.”
Though not many heatstroke cases are being reported, doctors say heat exhaustion is very common. “Heat exhaustion happens because of deficiency of fluid in the body, but the body temperature is not very high, whereas in heat stroke the body temperature rises. Heatstroke cases should be reported to a doctor as in some cases it might result in multiple organ failure if not treated in time,” said Dr AK Bali, senior consultant, internal medicine, Moolchand Medcity. In both the cases, it is important to restore the electrolyte balance in the body. “The body should be well hydrated. But it is important to take juice, preferably lemon water (shikanji), as it helps in maintaining the electrolyte balance,” said Dr S Chatterjee, senior consultant, internal medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.
Apart from heat stroke, water and food borne diseases such as jaundice, viral infection, infective diarrhoea are very common during summer. Doctors warn against eating outside, especially from roadside dhabas and small eateries. “One should eat freshly cooked food, as due to high temperature the food gets stale very fast,” said Dr GC Vaishnava, head internal medicine, Fortis Healthcare.
“Close to 25% of our OPD rush comprises patients with seasonal problems. One should not drink water from outside, especially if one is not sure about its quality. Hepatitis A and E infections are very common,” said Dr Monica Mahajan, senior consultant internal medicine at Max Healthcare.
Beating The Heat
- Heat exhaustion, stroke
- Hepatitis A & E
- Gastroenteritis – viral and bacteria
- Lack of fluid intake
- Direct exposure to sun
- Ingesting contaminated water while swimming
- Drinking contaminated water or juices
- Eating unhygienic cut fruits and salad
- Always carry water whenever you go out in the sun
- Eat freshly-cooked food
- Avoid cut fruits or juices from market
- Wear loose and light colour clothes
- If you sweat a lot then increase your salt intake (not for blood pressure patients)
- Avoid prolonged exposure to sun Cholera cases in Delhi | 65 – 48 cases reported in May