As hospitals see uptick in heat-related cases, HMC launches safety campaign

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Responding to an increase in heat-related illness cases in Qatar this month, Hamad Medical Corp. has launched a new awareness campaign to educate low-income expats and their sponsors on the dangers of working outdoors.

The initiative, which the Peninsula called “belated but laudable,” comes as some 30 people a day, mostly construction workers, report to Hamad Hospital’s emergency room complaining of heat-related problems. 

Speaking to the media, Dr. Khalid Abdulnoor Saifeldeen, chairman of the safety campaign Kulluna, said:

“During summer days and nights, numerous cases of dehydration and heat-related illnesses are reported to emergency departments and the vast majority of cases are seen among outdoor workers.”

Just last month, Qatar saw a record number of Nepalese deaths, which an embassy official has attributed to the heat and a lack of food and water.

The nation’s four-week-long “Beat the Heat” initiative will focus on prevention, educating residents about the signs of heat-related illness and reminding them to stay hydrated and take breaks in the shade.

Water, coolers, hats and fruit will also be distributed at various work sites and public places across Qatar.

Some of the warning signs of dehydration and other heat-related problems include:

  • Thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Confusion
  • Seizures; and
  • Rapid heart rate

Here are some tips on avoiding landing in the ER. 

Meanwhile, Qatar Tribune reports that HMC will conduct the country’s first review of all heat-related cases it received over the past three years.

Dr. Baha Hamdi Al Kahlout, an HMC specialist emergency physician, told the newspaper:

“We will get accurate statistics of the cases, including the patients’ length of hospital stay, treatment cost and their sponsors….The study will focus on heat exhaustion and heat stroke cases and will, hopefully, serve as a good reference for policymakers in Qatar.”

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo by Dan A’Vard

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