Chennai

Summer ailments

It’s that time of the year when jokes about eggs frying on terrace floors are doing the rounds. But it’s also the season of heat strokes, heat exhaustion, skin ailments and viruses doing the rounds.

With the city at a scorching 42.2 degree Celsius on Monday, doctors are warning patients to stay hydrated, dress in cool clothes and not venture out during the hottest parts of the day.

“Skin infections, dehydration, loose motions and viral infections have been on the rise. We have even seen one or two cases of dengue,” said Padma Appaji, consultant paediatrician, Vijaya Group of Hospitals. Since children, along with senior citizens form the high risk group, she said they should be kept well hydrated at all times. “Avoid synthetic clothes and do not let children play out between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. There should be plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet and very little fatty food,” she added.

Senior citizens are more prone to heat exhaustion, muscle cramps and fainting, said senior geriatrician V.S. Natarajan. “One problem is that the elderly do not experience a lot of thirst. When they get dehydrated, their blood pressure drops, their urine output comes down and they sometimes faint. It is essential for them to drink 2-3 litres of fluid per day,” he said.

Explaining that sweating led to a loss of sodium too, he said senior citizens who did not have kidney or cardiac ailments could include a little salt in their diet, for instance in buttermilk. “Caregivers should ensure they are in well-ventilated room with fans or air-conditioners and that they stay hydrated,” he said.

On the hottest day of the year so far, the outpatient departments at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospitals saw fewer patients than usual. “Generally, on a Monday, we have a huge number of patients coming in. But it was so hot today that perhaps many patients delayed non-emergency treatment to another day,” said a senior doctor.

He added that GH has not seen any cases of heat stroke so far but high risk groups must stay careful. “Try and take a bath once you get back home from a day outside,” he said.

How does heatstroke occur?

Heatstroke can occur due to prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures. Symptoms include:

High body temperature

Altered mental state or behaviour

Nausea and vomiting

Racing heart rate

Rapid breathing and flushed skin

If you see someone experiencing these symptoms, get the person in shade, cool them by whatever means available and seek medical attention.

Source: mayoclinic.org

How to protect yourself this summer:

Drink at least 2-3 litres of water a day, drink fresh fruit juices and stay hydrated at all times

Include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, stay away from junk food

Avoid synthetic fabric, dress in loose cotton clothes

Do not go out between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. unless unavoidable, and if you do, use an umbrella

Ensure your room and home are well-ventilated

Make sure elderly citizens and children are protected from the sun

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 5:55:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/summer-ailments/article7245082.ece

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