Shankar Kumar being treated for dehydradation at Ranchi Sadar Hospital on Tuesday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Monday evening showers may have shooed off the prevailing heat wave, but the combined effect of 40-plus temperatures and prolonged power cuts are taking their toll on Ranchi residents with a spurt in life-threatening heat strokes.
Severity varies, but outpatient departments (OPDs) of state-run sadar hospital on Purulia Road, and Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Bariatu, are reporting around six and 12 cases a day since the past one week.
Sanjay Kumar Singh, associate professor of department of medicine at RIMS, said on an average, 10-12 patients with high temperatures of 105-106°F, body ache and dehydration, are turning up daily.
“In our medicine department at RIMS, we have 225 beds. Half have heat stroke patients,” Singh said.
Excess heat results in lowering of salts in the body. So, serious or critical patients are admitted and given IV fluids while the rest are given electrolyte powder and told to rest.
“We give IV fluids to seriously dehydrated patients and advise attendants to sponge them with wet towels to bring down temperatures,” the RIMS associate professor said.
Patients come from Ranchi as well as Palamau, Hazaribagh, Ramgarh and Daltonganj, where maximum temperatures have pole-vaulted the 40°C mark, he added.
At sadar hospital, five patients on an average showing symptoms of dehydration and high temperatures visit the OPD, of which two or three are hospitalised.
Gopal Srivastawa, civil surgeon, said they had stocked up on electrolyte packets and IV fluids.
“Ours is a 100-bed hospital. On an average, two patients suffering heat stroke are admitted. Electrolytes and IV fluids give immediate relief but for the long-term, we are advising people to drink plenty of water, avoid being out in direct sunlight between 1pm and 5pm and carry umbrellas,” the civil surgeon said.
As June proves to be cruellest month for schoolchildren, college students, office-goers and daily labourers alike, with temperatures hovering around 40-42°C or more across the state, the health department has asked district civil surgeons to make adequate provisions for IV fluids and electrolyte powder packets.
A.K. Choudhary, state health services director, said the threat of heat strokes would last till the arrival of monsoon. “High temperatures are taking a toll on common people. We have told respective civil surgeons to be prepared with electrolyte packets and IV fluids,” he added.