KARACHI (PAKISTAN): Heatwave across Pakistan is creating a major health crisis with mercury shooting as high as 51° Celsius in Jacobabad, Sindh on Saturday.
Citing The News, Geo News reported that numerous cases of acute kidney injury (AKI) caused by heatstroke, acute water diarrhoea and gastroenteritis have been reported from all over the country, especially Sindh and Punjab as extremely hot weather scorches these areas.
Residents said that prolonged drought and unavailability of clean water are compelling people to drink contaminated water to beat the heat.
Unconfirmed reports suggest at least three people died of acute water diarrhoea in a remote area of Sindh, Kaccha, in Dadu as the temperature rose to 49°Celsius, reported Geo News.
Director Gambat Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS) Dr Rahim Bux Bhatti said patients with AKI, acute gastroenteritis and other symptoms of heatstroke due to prolonged exposure to the sun are being brought to their heatstroke camp.
“The entire area is in the grip of an intense heatwave for the last few days,” he said while speaking to The News.
Director-General Health, Sindh, Dr Jumman Bahoto, said there were some ‘confirmed’ reports of deaths and sickness due to heatstroke and waterborne diseases in some cities and towns of the province, which were experiencing an intense heatwave these days, adding that he had directed all the District Health Officers (DHOs) to collect data as well as establish heat stroke camps in their jurisdiction, reported Geo News.
“A rise in the cases of acute watery diarrhoea and other waterborne illnesses are being reported from Dadu’s remote areas while some cases of heatstroke have also been reported as temperature shot up to 51° Celsius in some areas of the province. We have issued directives to the health authorities to establish heatstroke camps, provide clean drinking water and ORS to patients and provide timely medical treatment to them,” DG Health Sindh added.
As daytime temperatures became unbearable in many cities of Punjab, health authorities said many traffic wardens and common people who remained exposed to sunlight in Lahore had acute kidney injuries due to dehydration. They were taken to different city health facilities, including Jinnah Hospital Lahore for treatment.
“Dozens of people, especially traffic wardens in Lahore, fainted due to dehydration over long exposure to sunlight in the intense heat and they were shifted to different hospitals. We have decided to distribute umbrellas and awareness pamphlets among people in Lahore to prevent them from permanent disability and death due to heatstroke,” eminent physician and Vice-Chancellor of University of Health Sciences (UHS) Lahore Prof Javed Akram said.
The National Institute of Health (NIH), Islamabad, also warned of an increase in the cases of heatstroke and water-borne diseases due to extremely high temperatures in different parts of the country, saying heatstroke is a medical emergency and proves fatal if not managed properly, reported Geo News.
“A dehydrated person may not be able to sweat fast enough to dissipate heat, which also causes the body temperature to rise. Common signs and symptoms of heatstroke are hot and dry skin or profuse sweating with hot red or flushed dry skin, weakness/lethargy, throbbing headache, elevated body temperature, irritability, dizziness, decrease urine output, heat rash (red cluster of pimples or small blisters),” an advisory issued by the NIH in the wake of intense heatwave said.
The advisory further warned that heatstroke can cause death or organ damage or disability if not properly managed in time, adding that infants, elderly persons who are above 65 years of age, diabetics, hypertensive, athletes and outdoor workers are at high risk for heatstroke.
On the other hand, Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) said temperatures remained 50°C or above in three cities of Sindh including Jacobabad where 51°C was recorded on Saturday while in Nawabshah (Shaheed Benazirabad) 50.5°C was recorded and in Moenjo Daro 50°C was recorded on Saturday.
“Most parts of the country are likely to remain in the grip of a heatwave like conditions during the next week. There is, however, slight relief expected in most parts of the country from the evening or night of May 14 to 17, 2022, that is, mainly due to dust storms/gusty winds, rain-thunderstorm at scattered places in most parts of the country in the afternoon and evening/night. Day temperatures are again likely to rise from May 18th, 2022,” an advisory issued by the PMD said.