Summer illnesses on the rise again

This summer, the heat is getting the better of Delhiites. With temperature soaring to a record 47.8 degree Celsius and transforming the city into an oven, cases of summer-related illnesses are also rising sharply.

Hospitals across Delhi/NCR are reporting a steady stream of patients coming in with heat stroke, heat exhaustion, cases of diarrhoea, jaundice, typhoid and skin problems.

Doctors are advising staying indoors and taking all precautions possible till the weather relents.

Dr Mukesh Mehra, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Patparganj, says, “There have not been as many cases of heat stroke which is an advanced condition, but complaints of heat cramps and exhaustion have gone up by at least 40 per cent in the past two months. These include school and college students, professionals who have to go out frequently and even children and the
elderly who stay at home.”

Classical symptoms include fatigue, headache, dryness of mouth and skin and cramps in the legs and abdomen.

In some cases hypothermia (fever), vomiting and altered behaviour are also experienced.

“This is a result of the body losing the capability to regulate its temperature by means of sweating, radiating heat from the skin etc.,” he explains, “At such times, the affected person must be rushed to a cooler environment and administered electrol.”

A bigger scare than heat exhaustion is food and water-borne diseases which peak during summer and monsoon.

At least 50 per cent of the patients flooding OPDs at this time are those with cholera, typhoid, diarrhoea and jaundice. Dr Naresh Gupta, HOD, Internal Medicine, LNJP hospital, says, “Firstly, with water scarcity setting in in summer, the quality of even piped water supplied at homes goes down.

Then people tend to drink nimbu-paani, shikanji, fruit juices etc. from roadside.

Ganne (sugarcane) ka juice is the biggest cause of gastroenteritis cases as it often has traces of faecal matter and is infected with E Coli.”

Taking lunch and adequate amount of water from home is an absolute must in this season, says Dr DS Chadha, Associate Director, Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital, “Do not eat at roadside dhabas.

Avoid cut fruits, sauces and chutneys outside like the plague as they harbour the maximum amount of germs. Also, do not take caffeine and alcohol as they dry the body instead of cooling it down.”

Dr Atul Gogiya, consultant, Internal Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital says the children, elderly and those on medications must be even more careful not to let the heat get to them.

“The diabetic, those suffering from heart and kidney ailments are already weak and cannot regulate their body temperature as efficiently as normal persons can. They must stay indoors and continue to take as much fluid as possible.”

Doctors also caution against heat-related skin problems which annoy children
especially.

Dr Satish Koul, General Physician, Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurgaon, says, “Keep the head and body covered to avoid skin burns and blisters. Also, take bath twice a day to prevent fungal and bacterial infections arising from sweat. In times of loo (hot dry winds), it’s best to stay inside.”

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