Maharashtra has reported 21 heatstroke deaths in various districts since March 2022 which is the highest in the past five years (19 were reported in 2016), according to the data provided by the state health department. Moreover, 338 heatstroke cases have been reported in the last two months, of which the highest number of cases were reported from Nagpur (262), followed by Akola (29), Pune (21), Nashik (14), Aurangabad (10), Latur and Kolhapur (one each). State Health officials said they are expecting cases will increase more in the coming months following which they have sent out alerts and advisories. Moreover, they have urged people to take precautions to prevent adverse effects of heatwave by staying hydrated, wearing light cotton and loose clothes, and eating high protein food.
A yellow and orange alert warning has been issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and state health department for various parts, including Vidarbha and Madhya Maharashtra.
Of the total deaths in Maharashtra, seven were reported from Nagpur, followed by Jalgaon (four), Akola (three), Jalna (two), Amravati, Aurangabad, Hingoli, Osmanabad and Parbhani (one each).
Dr Pradip Awate, State Surveillance Officer, said, “This year the number of deaths is the highest in the last five years and we believe there will be surge in cases and deaths in the coming months. Moreover, Nagpur has the most number of heatstroke cases.”
A 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.
Health experts suggest people should avoid going out in the afternoons and look out for symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, heartburn, muscle cramps and fatigue. Moreover, the symptoms could lead to the development of heatstroke, heat exhaustion, severe dehydration and acute cerebrovascular accidents (stroke).
Dr Sandeep Patil, Chief intensivist, Fortis Hospital said high temperatures can lead to heat 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, because of prolonged sun exposure or physical exertion in high temperatures. Heatstroke occurs when a person’s body temperature rises to 104F (40 degrees Celsius) or higher – a condition most common in the summer months.
“Some common symptoms of heat exhaustion include high body temperature, nausea, altered mental state, changes in sweating patterns, rapid breathing, and severe headaches. While heat exhaustion is preventable and rarely life-threatening, untreated heatstroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles. The damage worsens when the treatment is delayed, increasing the risk of serious complications or death. If a person has symptoms of heat exhaustion, it is important to seek immediate medical care, especially if the situation does not improve in an hour,” he said.
Dr Kishore Sathe, Specialist Emergency Medicine, P.D Hinduja Hospital & Research Centre said, “Not drinking enough water each day increases the risk of stone. In humid climates dehydration can occur in any age group if water intake is not optimal. This year typically since March we are seeing 3- 4 patients every day with kidney stones. There is a 20-30% rise in no of patients with kidney stone problems as compared to last year.”
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