80 deaths due to confirmed and suspected heat strokes, 605 deaths due to cardiovascular diseases in May: Health Ministry data

Over last three months, 56 confirmed deaths due to heat strokes; worst affected States are M.P., Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh; NCDC to submit data daily on heat stroke cases and deaths

Updated - June 03, 2024 06:37 am IST

Published - June 02, 2024 10:07 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Christian Volunteers supplying  butter milk to people at a camp set up to prevent heat stroke on a hot summer day in Andhra Pradesh.

Christian Volunteers supplying butter milk to people at a camp set up to prevent heat stroke on a hot summer day in Andhra Pradesh. | Photo Credit: G.N. Rao

There were at least 80 deaths due to heat strokes, including both confirmed and suspected cases, reported across the country in May, as well as 605 deaths reported due to various cardiovascular diseases, according to the Health Ministry’s data on heat-related illnesses and deaths. In fact, there have been 56 confirmed deaths due to heat strokes between March and May, of which 46 occurred in May alone.

Madhya Pradesh reported the highest number of suspected heat stroke cases in May, with 5,204 cases, followed by Rajasthan (4,357), Andhra Pradesh (2,183), and Chhattisgarh (2043). While extreme heat can be a risk factor for all ages, older people, pregnant women, and people with chronic morbidities, more specifically those with impaired cardiovascular health, are particularly at risk of mortality and morbidity associated with (extreme) heat.

The highest number of confirmed heat stroke deaths were 14 in Madhya Pradesh, followed by Maharashtra with 11, and Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh with five deaths each. 

Daily monitoring

In an advisory to State Health departments on heat wave season, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said that the country may observe above normal seasonal maximum temperatures in line with the observed trend of summertime temperatures. In order to reduce the health impacts of such extreme heat, health departments must ensure preparedness and timely responses, it said.

The NCDC asked States to start daily submission of data on heat stroke cases and deaths, emergency attendance, and total deaths from March owards, using the Integrated Health Information Platform under the National Programme on Climate Change and Human Health. States were also asked to ensure that all hospitals and other health facilities maintained a digital line list of heat stroke cases and deaths, both suspected and confirmed.

Managing heat linked illnesses

Health facilities have also been asked to be prepared to prevent and manage severe heat-related illnesses and ensure the procurement and supply of adequate quantities of ORS packs, essential medicines, IV fluids, ice-packs, and equipment to support the management of volume depletion and electrolyte imbalance.

“Health centres are also required to identify active cooling strategies that can be used at health facilities and field levels based on resources available, develop internal protocols, train health care staff, identify/procure resources at health facilities and for ambulances to ensure emergency, rapid cooling of severe heat related illness patients, ensure availability of sufficient drinking water at all health facilities and sufficient availability of general cooling appliances in waiting and patient treatment area and their functioning. Also cases with suspected heat stroke should be rapidly assessed and actively cooled using standard treatment protocols,’‘ said the advisory.

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