Heat-Stroke turns fatal for Pakistanis


The current scorching heat wave has turned murderous as 9 people in the city of Sehwan lost their lives due to Heat-stroke recently. While the 762nd Urs at Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s shrine is being celebrated in Sehwan, attracting thousands of devotees from all over the country, the weather conditions have become simply unbearable as the temperature exceeded 50 degrees centigrade in Dadu district of Sindh. The heat also caused several others to faint due to exhaustion.
The urge to take a cooling bath, led hundreds of people to the banks of the river Indus, but unfortunately, the tide caused the drowning of two more devotees; Imran and Qamar Zaman, who were there to enjoy a refreshing dip in the water. Both the bodies were later recovered from the river by some fishermen. 
Among the victims of heat-stroke in Sehwan were; Hidayatullah, Gul Hassan, Mumtaz, Abdul Majeed, Abdul Aziz and a female named Tahira Asghar. The remaining two victims were not identified till the filing of this report.
This signifies the need to take immediate action, to spread awareness about the possible damages caused to human health, while the common people endure such excessive Heat.
An extremely high level of temperature can quickly cause heat-exhaustion heatstroke or dehydration, without the victim realizing his vulnerability. These heat-related illnesses are very common in our geographical region, however, the conditions can be easily prevented, with a few precautionary measures.
Researchers have also identified numerous pathological inflammations caused by heat exhaustion, thus necessitating timely intervention, otherwise the patient may suffer failure of multiple organs and even death.
There are certain non-specific symptoms characterizing Heat exhaustion, like; headache, malaise or nausea. The patient needs to be immediately shifted to a sheltered and cool environment, with constant monitoring and ample amounts of liquid intake to overcome his dehydration.
If left untreated, the heat exhaustion will quickly lead to a heatstroke, which proves to be a very serious health threat, causing a dysfunction or collapse of the  central nervous system. Such patients may even suffer from delirium or go into a coma.
Healthcare experts also highlight some more serious effects of excessive heat, commonly seen on the human body systems, like; hepatic failure, rhabdomyolysis, disseminated intravascular coagulation, arrhythmias or even loss of life.
One needs to promptly identify heat exhaustion before it causes a heat-stroke. Immediate response is critical, for cooling down the body by splashing ample cool water or by submerging the patient in a tub full of iced water. The doctor should also monitor for any abnormalities in the electrolytes level of the patient.
A delayed response may also cause renal or hepatic failure. There is a need to immediately replace the body fluids in a heatstroke patient. According to a published report, medical experts believe that public healthcare officials should focus on prevention. Initiate some programs that identify vulnerable individuals, disseminate information about the unhealthy levels of heat waves, and provide heat shelters at bus stops, play grounds, open markets, beaches, picnic spots and other public places, to prevent illnesses caused by hot weather. Such preventive measures, coupled with timely identification of signs and symptoms, can enable the doctors to avert any serious health damage.
Over exposure to hot weather makes millions of people to suffer around the globe, every year. Among those, a large number of outdoor laborers face heat-related illnesses, while it also affects; athletes, children and the elderly.

June 18, 2014

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