New Delhi: The extreme heat condition is taking a toll on Delhiites. City hospitals claim they are getting up to a dozen cases of high grade fever and severe dehydration daily. In some cases, the symptoms are so acute that patients have to be kept in the ICU.
No death as a result of heat-related illness has been reported so far though.
We have received at least two patients in the past week who had to be admitted in the ICU because of heat-related illness. They suffered from 106 and 107 degrees of fever with kidney dysfunction, said Dr Sumit Ray, vice-chairperson, critical care at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. This happens if the bodys cooling mechanism is overstressed, he said.
Our body temperature is controlled from a part of the brain called hypothalamus. In extreme heat conditions, this control centre gets reset, which causes the body temperature to remain persistently high. We have to administer a lot of fluid solution to keep the body hydrated, he added.
Ray said kidney was the first major organ to be affected but the function of other organs, such as the heart, can also be compromised because of severe dehydration and high fever.
Dr. R K Singal, Head of Internal and Emergency Medicine at BLK Super Speciality Hospital, said that they had received close to a dozen patients suffering from heat-related ailments in the past few days.
According to Dr Pranav Kumar, neurosurgeon at Apollo Hospital, severe dehydration is also linked to sinus thrombosisclotting of the blood in the brains venous sinuses.
Because of severe dehydration, the concentration of blood thickens. We do come across cases where there is clotting of the blood because of this and an urgent treatment is required to prevent fatal consequences, he said.
Those working outdoor as well as people with pre-existing illnesses and small children are at higher risk of severe dehydration, said doctors. Regular fluid intake is a must in heat conditions.
Dr Rommel Tickoo, senior consultant (internal medicine) Max Hospital, Saket, said roadside food and drinks should be avoided as they could worsen the situation by causing gastro-intestinal illnesses, another common medical problem during summer.
Early symptoms of a heat stroke are weakness, dry tongue and cramps. Sweltering heat can affect the skin too if precautions such as appropriate clothing and application of sunscreen are not taken