The Emergency Department of Hamad Medical Corporation ( HMC) treated 288 heat-related illnesses in June and July, the corporation said on Tuesday.
With the levels of humidity continuing to rise across the country, HMC has reminded the residents to take precautions and protect themselves against heat related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Within the past week, the Emergency Department at Hamad General Hospital (HGH) has been receiving patients with heat exhaustion on a daily basis. “We are again asking people, especially outdoor workers, to continue to take care and protect themselves against heat illnesses due to the rise in humidity,” said HMC’s chief consultant of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Warda al-Saad.
She explained that people who work outside are highly susceptible to heat exhaustion. “To avoid heat illnesses, outdoor workers should increase their water and fluid consumption even before they get thirsty. But they should avoid drinking caffeinated drinks as this will help prevent dehydration. It is important to ensure people rest between 10 am and 3 pm, which is the hottest period of the day, because that is when we see more cases at the Emergency Department,” she cautioned.
According to Dr. al-Saad, the majority of patients seen at the Emergency Department are young men and outdoor workers, including those with underlying illnesses which aggravated their conditions. “A few of these patients were required to stay for a short period because they have other health conditions aside from heat exhaustion. Otherwise, a good number are mild cases.”
“Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion may develop suddenly or over time, especially with prolonged periods of working under high humidity or whilst exercising. Possible heat exhaustion symptoms include: cool, moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat; heavy sweating; faintness; dizziness; fatigue; weak, rapid pulse; low blood pressure upon standing; muscle cramps; nausea; and headache.”
Dr. al-Saad pointed out that every patient suffering from heat exhaustion was given prompt treatment including administering intravenous fluids and electrolytes to quickly rehydrate them.
HMC has also urged anyone experiencing signs and symptoms of heat illnesses to seek urgent professional advice or dial 999 for the Ambulance Service.
Causes of heat exhaustion include exposure to high temperatures, particularly when combined with high humidity and strenuous physical activity. Heat exhaustion is preventable but without prompt treatment, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, a life-threatening condition.
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