Doctors’ advice: Guard your kids against infections due to hot weather


New Delhi: With temperatures soaring in the national capital, doctors have cautioned people, especially those living in slum areas, to guard their children against diseases like mumps and typhoid which occur during the season.
According to the doctors, recent medical check-up camps in Delhi slums have found that contagious diseases, such as mumps, typhoid and gasterointestinal infections, have risen over 20 per cent compared to other seasons.
The areas where the medical camps were conducted include the slums of Rohini and Subash Nagar, among others.
“Microbial activities increase during hot and humid climate that causes infections and worsens acidity, causing indigestion. Parents of the suffering kids need to be informed on how to avoid these.
“Water is the best source to keep the body cool and it is extremely important to boil water before drinking,” said Ravinder Pal Singh, gastroenterologist at city-based Saroj Super Specialty hospital and co-founder of — the organisation that conducted medical check-up camps in the slums.
According to health statistics, one child dies every two minutes in India due to diarrhoea, which is an intestinal bacterial infection and painful due to severe gastroenteritis.
“Although infant mortality rate has reduced during the past few years, preventable diseases are still a leading cause for death of kids under the age of five years. Diseases during summers are a big contributor,” said Singh.
Hospitals in the national capital have seen a surge in the number of patients of dehydration and diarrhea due to the soaring heat.
Three hospitals in the city — Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital and Saroj Super Specialty Hospital — have reported an almost 30 per cent surge in patients in their OPDs (Out Patients Departments). 
The patients mostly comprise children and people above 50.
“Eighty per cent of the patients were above 50 years and kids below three years. Excess sweating leads to dehydration and disrupts the metabolic processes causing belching, heart-burn, bloating and nausea,” said P.K. Malhotra, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, at Saroj Super Specialty Hospital.
The hospital has seen nearly 350 patients in the last two weeks, while Sir Ganga Ram Hospital also reported receiving nearly 700-800 dehydration and diarrhoea cases.
Elaborating on the reasons for the increasing number of patients, Malhotra said: “During summers, microbial activities increase under the hot and humid season that cause infections and aggravate acidity along with indigestion.”
Atul Raheja, associated with the Medicine Department of RML Hospital, said: “When the exposure to heat continues, the cooling mechanism breaks down, leading to life threatening heat strokes.
“To beat the summer heat and prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion and cramps, keep yourself well hydrated. The heat makes sweat, resulting in loss of a large amount of fluid, which although cools you down, leaves you dehydrated. Drink water throughout the day to prevent dehydration or over exhaustion.”
He added: “Consuming healthy foods during summers is also an important factor. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables with high water content will keep the body light and hydrated.”
The RML Hospital has also conducted workshops among patients to make them aware about the ways to prevent heat strokes.