Research Article
Volume 4 Issue 2 - 2020
The Effect of Heat on those Exposed to Hot and Humid Environment and their Awareness Regarding Heat Related Illness
Firjeeth C Paramba1*, Hany Ebeid2, Osama H Mohammed3, Vamanjore A Naushad1, Nishan K Purayil1, Naseem Ambra3 and Silas Benjamin1
1Medicine Department, Hamad General Hospital, Qatar
2Johns Hopkins Aramco Health care, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
3Medicine Department, Hazm Mbreik General Hospital, Qatar
*Corresponding Author: Firjeeth C Paramba, Medicine Department, Hamad General Hospital, Qatar.
Received: December 05, 2019; Published: January 27, 2020




Abstract

Introduction: Qatar is a peninsula in the Arabian Gulf with hot dry climate and low annual rainfall. Increasing heat waves particularly in urban areas where construction is most prevalent highlights a need for heat exposure assessment of those exposed to hot environment. 

Heat related illness (HRI) affects those individuals who work or excercise in a hot environment where their body is unable to dissipate excess internal heat. The workers at risk of HRI include outdoor workers and those people who work in hot environment such as firefighters, factory workers and those playing outside.

Objectives: The aim of the study is to assess the awareness regarding heat related illness among workers exposed to hot and humid environment and the clinical and biochemical effects of heat on their health. 

Methods: All individuals coming to emergency department (ED) at Alkhor hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) during summer 2016 with features of HRI is included in the study. All participants are asked to fill up a questionnaire regarding their age, socio demographic information, nature of work, history of illness, individual preventive measures, hours and duration of work and heat related symptoms experienced during work. They are evaluated in details including physical examination and blood investigations. Data is analyzed using SPSS 22 and ANOVA.

Results: A total of 174 participants were enrolled in the study. All patients were males. Eighty percent of participating individuals are from Bangladesh, India and Nepal as they constitute a major work force in Qatar. 127 patients (73%) are diagnosed as heat cramps (HC) and 47 (27%) as heat exhaustion (HE). The mean temperature of days when patients presented as heat cramps and heat exhaustion was 42.2°C and 42.47°C and mean humidity was 49.27% and 54.28% respectively. Nearly 86% of the individuals are working outdoor and 79.3% is taking break in between. 93% the participants were drinking fluids during their work. 37% of participants has some basic knowledge regarding HRI. 38% of the workers started developing their symptoms after working for more than 6 hours. The commonest complaint at the time of presentation to ED was muscle cramps (73%) followed by dizziness (68%) sweating (40%) and vomiting (29%). Creatinine was high in 57.6% of patients among which 63% was patients with heat cramps. Hyponatremia was found in 17.4% of participants. There was hypokalemia in 18.6%. Creatine phosphokinase and myoglobin were elevated more in heat cramps compared to heat exhaustion. There was no mortality.

Conclusion: This year the number of individuals visiting emergency department with features of HRI was less compared to previous years, probably due to strict implementation of summer working hours and increase in the awareness regarding HRI among target population. Companies should provide for its workers proper covered area at the time of rest. Workers should be encouraged to attend ED whenever they feel any discomfort while working in hot environment.

Keywords: Heat; Hot; Humid; Heat Related Illness

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Citation: Firjeeth C Paramba., et al. “The Effect of Heat on those Exposed to Hot and Humid Environment and their Awareness Regarding Heat Related Illness”. EC Emergency Medicine and Critical Care 4.2 (2020): 01-13.

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