Heat makes Delhi ill; doctors say situation not alarming

Due to prolonged exposure to too much heat, the temperature of the body increases which leads to a heatstroke

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New Delhi: As several hospitals in Delhi witnessed a surge of patients with heat-related ailments amid a scorching summer, doctors Monday said the situation so far is “not alarming” and adequate arrangements are in place.

The mercury shattered all records on Monday, with parts of the national capital recording a high of 48°C.

Professor and consultant at the Department of Medicine, RML Hospital, Dr RS Taneja said a number of patients are visiting the emergency ward with complaints of dehydration, fever, heat and muscle cramps, heat stroke, diarrhoea, low blood pressure and headache. In severe cases, people are experiencing abnormal electrolyte levels, leading to drowsiness and fainting, he said.

“We are immediately attending to such patients and putting them on intravenous fluids. People should avoid going out in the sun, keep themselves hydrated and avoid eating spicy food. One should consume fresh food and wear light-coloured cotton clothes,” Taneja said.

There is a rise in the number of patients visiting the emergency wards at AIIMS and Safdarjung as well, doctors said.

At various Delhi government-run hospitals too, more patients are coming with heat-related complications but doctors said there is nothing worrisome so far.

Satyawadi Raja Harish Chandra Hospital’s Medical Superintendent Dr Sanjay Jain said no death has occurred so far due to heatstroke at the hospital.

“More people are coming to hospitals, but nothing alarming so far. Just general heat-related complications, such as headache, abdominal pain or listlessness,” he said.

“Since heat is increasing every day, I will instruct the emergency and medical wards to be on alert,” he said.

Medical superintendents of GTB Hospital also said there was nothing to worry and heat-related cases were just regular ones.

Deep Chand Bandhu Hospital’s Medical Superintendent Dr Vikas Rampal said the hospital has adequate facilities and even a separate disaster ward.

“We have about 250 beds in our hospital and the disaster ward has about 20-25 beds, most of which are empty,” he said.

“Only people who are spending more time out in the sun are the most affected,” Rampal added.

Asked what precautions need to be taken, he said people should avoid going out or not spend more than 30 min in the sun. He added that people should take a lot of fluids and not venture out with an empty stomach. “Also, they must cover their heads with a cap or any other headgear,” Rampal said.

A senior doctor at Safdarjung hospital said one should carry an umbrella and a bottle of water while going out in the sun.

“Due to prolonged exposure to too much heat, the temperature of the body increases which leads to a heatstroke. It is an emergency condition and if not treated on time, it can quickly damage one’s brain, heart, kidneys and muscles,” he said.