Soaring temperatures blamed for rise in heatstroke patients

After five consecutive days of orange alerts, indicating mercury scaling 38 degrees Celsius, Shanghai is expected to brace for its eighth hot day this year on Tuesday even though the maximum temperature will be slightly lower at between 36 and 37 degrees.

However, it will still be hot and residents should still stay alert, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

This round of heatwave will finally take a break from Wednesday, when rains will arrive, bringing the temperature below 35 degrees. However, the high humidity means it will still feel hot and muggy, the weathermen warned.

The weather will be clear and the mercury will rise gradually again from Sunday.

The current hot streak has led to a rise in the number of patients with heatstroke, including some with serious heatstroke such as heat apoplexy, a fatal condition.

Shanghai Pudong Hospital has received 17 heatstroke patients, including 16 with heat apoplexy, since the temperature rose to over 38 degrees Celsius in the middle of last week, officials said.

These patients were mainly farmers and workers, who stayed outdoors for a long time.

According to Dr Wang Zhihua, director of the hospital’s emergency department, said he received four patients with heat apoplexy last Thursday, the first day of the five straight days when Shanghai triggered its orange alert for high temperatures.

Soaring temperatures blamed for rise in heatstroke patients Ti Gong

Dr Wang Zhihua from Shanghai Pudong Hospital treats a patient with serious heatstroke.

“All these patients, between 40 and 70, were working outside for a long time and fell to the ground. They were all in critical condition with body temperature over 42 degrees when they arrived by ambulance,” Wang explained.

“We initiated a green channel for them and immediately launched treatment. Their temperatures dropped to normal level finally and they were sent to the ICU for further observation and treatment. Now they have regained consciousness and there was no damage to major organs.”

Officials from Pudong New Area People’s Hospital also reported a record high of patients with serious heatstroke.

Since last Friday, the hospital has received more than 10 such patients. Doctors said the rapid rise in temperature last week following the end of the plum rain season was the main cause for the sudden rise in the number of heatstroke patients, as people’s body function was not prepared for the high temperatures, resulting in heatstroke.

Soaring temperatures blamed for rise in heatstroke patients Ti Gong

Medical staff at Pudong New Area People’s Hospital treat a patient with heat apoplexy.

Tips for heatstroke prevention and control:

Types of heatstroke:

  • Premonitory heatstroke – symptoms including nausea, headache, sweating, red face.
  • Slight heatstroke – symptoms including vomiting and dizziness.
  • Serious heatstroke including heat cramp, heat exhaustion and heat apoplexy, with symptoms such as leg cramp, blood pressure drop, quick heartbeat, fainting.


Patients with premonitory and slight heatstroke can be treated on the spot like removing the patient to a cool place, applying warm water and then cold water on the head, feeding water and giving sponge bath with cold water.

It is important to call an ambulance if the patient suffers serious heatstroke, while emergent temperature-dropping measures should be given at the same time.


  • Drinking enough water if you are outdoors and wearing hat and light-colored clothes.
  • Avoiding staying outdoors for too long. If staying outdoors, slowing down the speed of activity.
  • Having a balanced diet and enough sleep.
  • Special people like children, elderly persons, pregnant women and those with chronic disease should be especially alert.



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