Temperatures in North Karnataka are touching record levels but it is not just the heat that the people are worried about. Extreme conditions are rapidly dehydrating newborns. With temperatures ranging between 41 and 43-degree celsius on a daily basis, doctors are being flooded with complaints of babies suffering from dehydration.
The temperatures in Ballari and Raichur are touching 43 degrees while in Kalburgi the temperature is oscillating between 41 and 42-degree celsius. The heat is taking a toll on newborns in the region with Gulbarga Institute of Medical Sciences in Kalburgi alone reporting 30 percent rise in dehydration cases among infants. VIMS, the largest government-run hospital in Ballari is full of newborns suffering due to the heat.
While 50 infants are being treated as outpatients daily, VIMS alone has 80 infants admitted and being treated for dehydration while other hospitals in Ballari have reported at least 200 such cases.
Newborns from poor families are worst affected since families mostly live in asbestos-roofed sheds which make matters worse. In Kalburgi, around 200 newborns are admitted to the postnatal ward and at least 60 are diagnosed with acute dehydration. Doctors fear that if not treated at the right time, dehydration in infants can lead to multiple organ failures.
Government hospitals are catering to people with meagre means and are encouraging new mothers to breastfeed the newborns to keep them hydrated. With the heat taking a toll on the new mothers, the effects are trickling down to the newborns as well.