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Heat wave: Maharashtra drawing up action plan to prevent fatalities

Health experts said the number of deaths is a matter of concern as the temperature will continue to surge in the coming days.

Swapnil Mishra | Updated on: Tuesday, April 05, 2022, 09:15 AM IST

Representative Image
 | Pixabay
Representative Image | Pixabay
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The state health department has reported four heat stroke deaths across Maharashtra in the last one week – two deaths were reported in Jalgaon, and one each in Akola and Osmanabad.

Health experts said the number of deaths is a matter of concern as the temperature will continue to surge in the coming days. Heatstroke or hyperthermia is heat-related illness, with abnormally elevated temperatures accompanied by physical symptoms, including changes in the functioning of the nervous system.

Unlike heat cramps and heat exhaustion, heatstroke is a medical emergency that can prove fatal if not properly and promptly treated. State surveillance officer Dr Pradip Awate said they have issued guidelines on drawing up a heat action plan that has already been circulated. Spells of abnormally high temperatures were recorded in March and district health officials directed to set up cooling rooms, he said, adding that officials had been directed to step up response coordination to protect the most vulnerable populations. He said,

“The cases were reported from Barshi Talki tehsil in Akola on March 30 and Kalam tehsil in Osmanabad district on March 31,while two fatalities had occurred in Jalgaon,” he said. Senior health experts said high temperatures can lead to exhaustion, especially when a person spends a lot of time outdoors.

A human body sweats to reduce its core temperature in a normal situation. In the case of a heatwave, the body’s core temperature increases owing to prolonged sun exposure or physical exertion. An expert said, “Some common symptoms of heat exhaustion include high body temperature, nausea, altered mental state, changes in sweating patterns, rapid breathing, and severe headache.” He added that while heat exhaustion is preventable and rarely life-threatening, when untreated it can quickly damage the brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles.

“The damage worsens when the treatment is delayed, increasing the risk of serious complications or death. It is important to seek immediate medical care, especially if the situation does not improve in an hour,” he said.

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Published on: Tuesday, April 05, 2022, 09:15 AM IST