A record number of patients were admitted to Tungs’ General Hospital with heat-related conditions last month, the hospital said yesterday.
The hospital said its emergency room last month treated 14 people who were admitted with heat-related conditions, including heatstroke, heat exhaustion and heat cramps.
The cause of the increase in heat-related cases could be a combination of abnormally high temperatures and the late arrival of the plum rain season, the hospital said, adding that Central Weather Bureau data showed the average temperature for this year’s plum rain season was the highest since 1947.
Wu Chao-hsin (吳肇鑫), director of the emergency room, said heatstroke can occur when a person’s body temperature rises to 41.1°C or higher, causing neurological disorders, such as a seizure or a coma, and is often the result of prolonged exposure to high temperatures.
Symptoms of heatstroke include a flushed face, thirst, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, chest tightness, a drop in blood pressure, or a loss of consciousness, and can result in death, Wu said.
As for heat exhaustion and heat cramps, which can occur when the body loses too much water or electrolytes, Wu said death rates are much lower and most patients make a full recovery after receiving emergency treatment.
He said a majority of patients admitted to hospital with heat-related conditions were suffering from heat exhaustion.
Wu said he rarely meets a patient who has suffered a heatstroke, but if heatstroke is not treated fast enough, the death rate can be as high as 80 percent.
First-aid treatment for heat-related injuries include removing clothing, using a strong electric fan and spraying water mist to lower the body temperature, Wu said, adding that it is important not to treat heat-related conditions by drinking ice water or taking an ice bath.
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