Rising mercury: high alert in Kollam

People told to be cautious to avoid sunburn

In view of soaring mercury and the strong possibility of sunburn cases, the Health Department has sounded a high alert in the district.

Apart from random incidents of people developing burns and redness, a 53-year-old Vengara resident had to seek medical assistance for sun exposure. The person engaged in masonry was taken to the Thodiyoor Primary Health Centre (PHC) for treatment on Monday. People who are part of electioneering, migrant labourers, farmers, persons engaged in hard labour in open spaces, headload workers and two-wheeler riders have been advised to stay cautious and take all precautions.

In 2019 March, the district had reported around 50 sunburn cases in 10 days, most of them from Punalur and Chadayamangalam. In 2020 hardly any case was reported due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown.

Heat rash, dehydration, burns and blisters due to sun exposure, fatigue, body pain, cramps, shivering, general weakness, yellowish urine and dry mouth are the primary symptoms. Those who develop symptoms, including sunken eyes, dry skin, urinary obstruction and fainting, should immediately seek medical aid. Those doing hard labour in open are more susceptible to sunstroke.

“Dry body, loss of consciousness, light-headedness, severe headache and slow pulse are the symptoms. If not treated on time, it can lead to muscle damage and kidney failure. Some of the cases can be fatal, if left untreated,” said District Medical Officer R. Sreelatha.

In take of fluids

The department has also issued a set of guidelines that includes setting up water corners and kiosks in all institutions. “Staying in sun should be avoided between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Drink a lot of water along with other fluids like buttermilk even if you are not thirsty. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables while alcohol should be avoided as it causes dehydration. Use sunscreen and umbrella while venturing out. Sunburn victims should be immediately moved to places with shade.”

The Health officials have made all arrangements to tackle any emergencies and all medical facilities in the district from PHCs to the District Hospital are fully equipped at present. “All hospitals have stocked ORS packets, IV fluids and emergency medicines,” said the DMO.

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