Heat-related deaths on the rise in Kerala, doctors urge caution

Two days after Souda reached Kollangode near here to attend a wedding, she was admitted to the Palakkad District Hospital with severe fatigue, thirst, dizziness, and black patches all over the body.

Though doctors identified it as a suspected case of heatstroke, medicines failed to bring her back to life. The 52-year-old, from a forest village in Coimbatore, collapsed in the hospital ward.

Souda, who hails from a place where the sun’s rays are less severe, was exposed to the scorching heat of Kollangode, and it took time for her relatives to decide on the treatment to be followed. No one thought it was a case of heatstroke.

Four casualities

According to statistics available with the district hospital, four cases of death with findings suggestive of heatstroke were reported last week. The number of deaths due to extreme heat is rising steadily, warn doctors.

“Most men who died from heatstroke had consumed alcohol, which has a dehydrating effect. Most victims sustained ultraviolet burns in an intoxicated state,” he said. As for the women who died, they had a history of sudden rise in body temperature, as they used to work in the kitchen without proper ventilation, police surgeon P.B. Gujral said.

“Adequate intake of water and salt is a must to fight the situation. Continuous exposure to hot and humid conditions must be avoided. Cotton clothes should be preferred. Alcohol consumption during day time must be avoided. Fatty meal at noon must also be avoided,” he said.