Kerala

Keep a tab on health for trek

Cardiac casualties are going up every year at the pilgrim destination

Young and middle-aged pilgrims succumbing to heart attack while undertaking the holy trek has become a major health concern at Sabarimala over the past 10 years.

The sacred grove witnessed 29 cardiac casualties during the previous 62-day pilgrim season. The number of deaths due to heart attack was 37 during the two-month pilgrim season of 2017-’18.

Thanchavur Damodaran, leader of the Ayyappa Seva Sanghom stretcher service, said the number of cardiac casualties was going up every year.

Health tips for pilgrims

Sureshbabu, Health Department nodal officer at Sabarimala, said for pilgrims with cardiac history or those with hypertension and diabetes it should trek slowly to the temple.

Dr. Sureshbabu said undertaking the arduous climb of the Neelimala and Appachimedu hills with a sportsman-like spirit would only increase the pilgrim’s health risk, besides spoiling the spirit of the pilgrimage.

It is always advisable to trek the hills on an empty stomach or after light food. Pilgrims of all ages should adopt a slow climbing technique and relax at regular intervals, he said.

G.Sukumaran, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, said pilgrims above the age of 45 years, especially those having family history of cardiac problems and hypertension, should unfailingly undergo a medical check-up before undertaking the trek to Sabarimala.

Those who are under regular medication for high blood pressure and diabetes should promptly continue their medicines, instead of abruptly stopping it in the name of penance as part of the pilgrimage, he added.

Breathing problems

Pulmonologist Kurien Oommen said asthma patients and those suffering from allergy-related breathing problems should take extra care while undertaking the trek.

Dr. Oommen said such patients should not forget to carry reliever inhalers and make use of the oxygen parlours opened by the Health Department along the trekking path.

Asthma patients should prepare themselves for the trek, introducing running and aerobic exercises in their fitness routine, to increase the lung capacity, he said.

Dr. Oommen said the patient should know his asthma triggers as it would help them better prepare for the climb and avoid an attack while trekking.

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 11:47:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/keep-a-tab-on-health-for-trek/article29933238.ece

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