Taiwan sees drop in heat-related hospitalizations this year

Taiwan sees drop in heat-related hospitalizations this year (TVBS News)
Taiwan sees drop in heat-related hospitalizations this year (TVBS News)

TAIPEI (TVBS News) — Taiwan has seen a decrease in heat-related hospitalizations this year, with 413 cases reported from the beginning of June through June 23, down from 517 during the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare (衛生福利部, MOHW).

Dr. Chiu Hsin-hui (邱馨慧), director of the pediatric intensive care unit at Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital (台北慈濟醫院), noted that high temperatures impair the body's cooling mechanisms, potentially leading to heat injuries (熱傷害), which are particularly common among vulnerable groups such as infants, the elderly, and outdoor workers.

Heat injuries can escalate from mild symptoms like heat cramps and exhaustion to severe conditions such as heat stroke, Dr. Chiu explained. Initial symptoms include facial flushing and dry mouth, which can progress to more severe issues like dizziness, nausea, and fainting if not quickly addressed with hydration and electrolytes. "Heat exhaustion is only a step away from heat stroke,"

Dr. Chiu cautioned, highlighting the critical differences: heat exhaustion typically presents with a body temperature below 40 degrees Celsius and cold extremities, whereas heat stroke involves a body temperature above 40 degrees and can result in a mortality rate between 30% and 80%.

Dr. Chiu emphasized the importance of prevention, advising vigilance for signs of heat stress such as reduced activity or fatigue in children. She advocates for prompt action in hydrating and replenishing electrolytes to prevent severe outcomes and ensure a safe summer.

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