Mumbai: The heat is killing, with seven people dying in the state between March 15 and May 17 and 438 being hospitalised with heatstroke. Akola tops the list of weather casualties, while Nagpur, Latur and other districts in central and eastern Maharashtra have also reported hospitalisation.

Of the 438 heat-related illnesses reported in the state in the past two months, 186 were from Akola, 156 in Nagpur, 66 in Latur, 23 in Nashik, six in Aurangabad and one in Pune.  Dr Pradeep Awate, the state surveillance officer, said “Seven deaths have been reported, of which one death each was registered from Parbhani, Beed and Dhule, while two deaths each were reported from Aurangabad and Hingoli.”

Heatstroke is a form of hyperthermia or 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.

According to officials at the Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services (MEMS) – a state health initiative operated by BVG India Limited, providing 108 toll-free emergency medical services — ambulances were sent to assist as many as 51 patients affected by heatstroke across the state.

Until May 17, eight cases of patients with symptoms like vomiting, dizziness and fainting due to heat were recorded in Nanded, five each in Amravati and Chandrapur, four in Osmanabad, three each in Akola, Ahmednagar and Jalgaon and the rest from other districts in the state, MEMS officials said..

The internal temperature of the human body is 37 degrees Celsius. An increase in this temperature by 3-4 degrees can cause overheating of the body and may lead to a heatstroke.

As per state surveillance officials, advisories have been issued to state health centres and hospitals in the affected districts of Maharashtra. Dr Rahul Ghule, general physician, said, “On an average, we get about two to three cases daily. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures, along with dehydration, could lead to a heatstroke. People come with complaints of dizziness and vomiting. It is advisable to stay hydrated.”