ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Navi Mumbai Heatstroke Deaths: Could They Have Been Prevented? Doctors Speak

What happens to a person's body when exposed to prolonged heat – like during the open-air event in Navi Mumbai?

Published
Fit
3 min read
story-hero-img
i
Aa
Aa
Small
Aa
Medium
Aa
Large
Hindi Female

At least 11 people died and over 120 others suffered from heat-related health problems after attending an event in Navi Mumbai, organised by the Maharashtra government, on Sunday, 16 April.

This may be the largest heat-related death toll from a single event in the state.

But could the incident have been prevented with better planning? What happens to a person's body when exposed to prolonged heat, like at the Bhushan award ceremony event in Navi Mumbai? FIT reached out to experts for answers.

Navi Mumbai Heatstroke Deaths: Could They Have Been Prevented? Doctors Speak

  1. 1. Heatstroke & Its Impact On Human Body

    "A heatstroke occurs when your core body temperature goes beyond 40.5 degree Celsius. Normally, our body temperature is about 36 to 27 degree Centigrade. However, it changes when someone is exposed to a large amount of heat for a prolonged period of time – like at the event, which went on for many hours," Dr Nihar Mehta, Consultant Cardiologist, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre, Mumbai, told FIT.

    "In a situation where they cannot hydrate themselves well, or cool themselves well, or where they can remove themselves from excessive heat in the environment, they are susceptible," he added.

    The event took place in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai – and the nearest India Meteorological Department's (IMD) Santa Cruz (Mumbai) observatory recorded a maximum temperature of 34.1 degrees Celsius on the day of the event.

    This (the heat), combined with high humidity in the area, can make such events deadly, the expert added.

    Speaking to FIT, Dr Bharat Agarwal, Consultant General Medicine, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai, said: "The first signs that the person is suffering from a heatstroke are sudden weakness and nausea, combined with dizziness. If not immediately tended, it can lead to dehydration, kidney failure, and cardiac problems. This is what may have happened at the event."

    Expand
  2. 2. How To Prevent Heatstroke Deaths During Such Events?

    Several photographs shared online showed that those attending the event were not provided shade – a reason that is being attributed to multiple deaths.

    Dr Mehta suggests the following steps to be taken at any open-air event that is being organised, especially during summer:

    • As far as possible, there should be shaded environments where people gather, especially in areas where we know there is a lot of heat.

    • There should be access to water and to enough hydration, as these events occur over a long period of time.

    • There should be channels made so that these people can remove themselves from environments.

    "If there are groups of people and if you are caught in a crowd, it gets very difficult to get out. So, channels or pathways where people can exit or enter the crowded areas should be made and cordoned off – so that people don't stand there," Dr Mehta explained.

    There should be enough medical access on the ground as well, he added.

    "People might need IV lines, cooling blankets, and the re-hydration of all electrolytes that have been lost. And care needs to be taken of the heart beats. Blood pressure will also have to be monitored. This should also be arranged at the earliest."

    While some patients were referred to the medical booths set up at the event, others suffering from heatstroke were taken to different hospitals near the venue. Some who attended the event are now on ventilator support, reported PTI.

    Expand
  3. 3. What Can Be Done Immediately if Someone Suffers From a Heatstroke?

    According to Dr Agarwal, people attending such events should take steps to adequately cover their head – with caps or umbrellas – to reduce their exposure to heat.

    "Access to hydration, liquids, and fluids is most important," he added

    Dr Mehta suggested that once a person is feeling nauseous or dehydrated, they should try and remove themselves from the situation.

    "When you start finding that the heat is getting a lot, try to remove yourself from the situation/environment and go to a place where you have some protection," he added.

    If you are at a higher risk of suffering from a heatstroke, it's better to avoid events in the afternoon during summer months, as it can be fatal.

    "It is also important that the patient knows whether they are at a higher risk. If people are more prone to getting a heatstroke – such as people who are older, people who are extremely young, or people who have pre-existing cardiac or kidney issues, who have blood pressure – it is better that they avoid exposure to the afternoon sun," he said.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

Heatstroke & Its Impact On Human Body

"A heatstroke occurs when your core body temperature goes beyond 40.5 degree Celsius. Normally, our body temperature is about 36 to 27 degree Centigrade. However, it changes when someone is exposed to a large amount of heat for a prolonged period of time – like at the event, which went on for many hours," Dr Nihar Mehta, Consultant Cardiologist, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre, Mumbai, told FIT.

"In a situation where they cannot hydrate themselves well, or cool themselves well, or where they can remove themselves from excessive heat in the environment, they are susceptible," he added.

The event took place in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai – and the nearest India Meteorological Department's (IMD) Santa Cruz (Mumbai) observatory recorded a maximum temperature of 34.1 degrees Celsius on the day of the event.

This (the heat), combined with high humidity in the area, can make such events deadly, the expert added.

Speaking to FIT, Dr Bharat Agarwal, Consultant General Medicine, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai, said: "The first signs that the person is suffering from a heatstroke are sudden weakness and nausea, combined with dizziness. If not immediately tended, it can lead to dehydration, kidney failure, and cardiac problems. This is what may have happened at the event."

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

How To Prevent Heatstroke Deaths During Such Events?

Several photographs shared online showed that those attending the event were not provided shade – a reason that is being attributed to multiple deaths.

Dr Mehta suggests the following steps to be taken at any open-air event that is being organised, especially during summer:

  • As far as possible, there should be shaded environments where people gather, especially in areas where we know there is a lot of heat.

  • There should be access to water and to enough hydration, as these events occur over a long period of time.

  • There should be channels made so that these people can remove themselves from environments.

"If there are groups of people and if you are caught in a crowd, it gets very difficult to get out. So, channels or pathways where people can exit or enter the crowded areas should be made and cordoned off – so that people don't stand there," Dr Mehta explained.

There should be enough medical access on the ground as well, he added.

"People might need IV lines, cooling blankets, and the re-hydration of all electrolytes that have been lost. And care needs to be taken of the heart beats. Blood pressure will also have to be monitored. This should also be arranged at the earliest."

While some patients were referred to the medical booths set up at the event, others suffering from heatstroke were taken to different hospitals near the venue. Some who attended the event are now on ventilator support, reported PTI.

0

What Can Be Done Immediately if Someone Suffers From a Heatstroke?

According to Dr Agarwal, people attending such events should take steps to adequately cover their head – with caps or umbrellas – to reduce their exposure to heat.

"Access to hydration, liquids, and fluids is most important," he added

Dr Mehta suggested that once a person is feeling nauseous or dehydrated, they should try and remove themselves from the situation.

"When you start finding that the heat is getting a lot, try to remove yourself from the situation/environment and go to a place where you have some protection," he added.

If you are at a higher risk of suffering from a heatstroke, it's better to avoid events in the afternoon during summer months, as it can be fatal.

"It is also important that the patient knows whether they are at a higher risk. If people are more prone to getting a heatstroke – such as people who are older, people who are extremely young, or people who have pre-existing cardiac or kidney issues, who have blood pressure – it is better that they avoid exposure to the afternoon sun," he said.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from fit

Topics:  Heatwave Deaths 

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More
×
×