August 2, 2022
TOKYO – The increase in the number of heatstroke patients, combined with the largest surge in coronavirus cases, has strained emergency services and medical facilities.
The similarity of symptoms between heatstroke and the coronavirus has limited the number of heatstroke patients that hospitals can accept. In some areas, the number of cases that hospitals were unable to accept has reached a record high.
The Japanese Association for Acute Medicine, as well as other entities, have created guidelines on preventing heatstroke amid the pandemic.
According to the guide, air conditioners can help prevent heatstroke when indoors. However, proper ventilation is still recommended at offices, schools and restaurants, even if it is air-conditioned. Windows should be opened on different sides to allow air to circulate through the room, and in some cases setting the temperature 28 C or lower is also effective.”
The guidelines also stress that removing your mask does not lower the risk of heatstroke. Studies in Japan and abroad have found no significant difference in body temperature among healthy young people when they do a light workout with or without a mask in the heat. The most important things are to stay hydrated and avoid exercising in the heat.
“To prevent heatstroke, take basic precautions rather than removing your mask,” said Jun Kanda, a lecturer at Teikyo University Hospital, who created the guidelines. “If you think you have any symptoms, immediately consult a medical institution rather than judging for yourself.”