Sweltering weather sending kids, elderly to HCMC hospitals

Ho Chi Minh City hospitals are reporting an increase in the number of children being diagnosed with heatstroke, respiratory illnesses and acute diarrhea due to the recent surge in temperatures. More elderly patients are also flooding in as a result of the scorching weather.

Gastrointestinal department wards at the hospital are chock-a-block with babies, children and their relatives crowding waiting areas

The influx has overwhelmed hospitals with two to three children forced to share a single bed, while crowds of other kids, the elderly and their families wait in long lines to see doctors.

Healthcare workers at the city’s Children Hospital II say they have been run off their feet examining young patients over the last few days after the onset of the roasting weather.

The hospital’s Dr. Nguyen Thi Hong Loan said several infants and children had been brought in suffering acute diarrhea and severe dehydration.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Anh from HCMC’s Thu Duc District said she first thought her child was suffering severe diarrhea after consuming low-quality milk. She brought her son to Children Hospital II on March 8 where it was discovered he was suffering dehydration, dry skin, and fever due to heatstroke.

Ms. Dinh Thi Kieu Xuyen from the southern province of Binh Duong, meanwhile, said her six-month-old twins had also suffered heatstroke recently and while they are now recovering, the infants are still unhealthy and pale.

Dr. Vu Quang Vinh from the Children Hospital II said they normally admit around 80-100 patients daily, but currently, they are seeing numbers as high as 140 per day. Dr. Vinh attributed part of the problem to worse food hygiene and safety due to the blistering weather.

Gastrointestinal department wards at the hospital are chock-a-block with babies, children and their relatives crowding waiting areas.

Pediatricians say an increase in respiratory illnesses, especially bronchitis, is often seen during periods of extreme temperature fluctuations. Dr. Tran Anh Tuan from Children Hospital II said when hot weather peaks, parents often turn on air conditioners and give their children ice water to drink. This can promote the development of respiratory illnesses.

A spate of elderly patients, meanwhile, has been rushed to the city’s People’s 115, Nguyen Tri Phuong, Thong Nhat, and Medicine hospitals with heatstroke.  Many more report feeling lethargic and have no appetite.

In addition, Dr. Le Bich Lien from Children Hospital I, said diseases such as hand-foot-and mouth and dengue fever are likely to see a resurgence this month while Dr. Tran Van Ngoc from HCMC’s Tropical Diseases Hospital said instances of rubella also looked to be on the rise. Twenty patients with the disease had recently been admitted to his hospital, he said.

Doctors advise drinking lots of water, taking vitamin C, and consuming fresh vegetables and fruits to help stave off negative effects of the hot weather.

By Tuong Lam - Translated by Hao Thien

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