Jakarta’s scorching heat drives hundreds to health center daily

The Kramat Jati community health center in East Jakarta has said that up to 800 people have visited its clinic every day for the past few days because of scorching heat that has engulfed the capital.

“On average, about 600 patients have been visiting per day, but for the 24-hour service, it can be 700 to 800 patients,” the head of the health center, Inda Mutiara, said on Wednesday as quoted by antaranews.com.

Inda said the number of patients who complained about hot weather was worthy of attention as such patients needed various services, ranging from medical examinations to medical treatment if they were sick.

The dominant complaint, she said, was acute respiratory infection, which was triggered by polluted air and made up 29 percent of all cases.

In addition, many patients also complained of dehydration triggered by a lack of water intake.

“Meanwhile, diseases caused by high blood pressure comprised 18 percent [of cases], diabetes 12 percent, gastric problems 8 percent and joint pain 8 percent,” Inda reported.

The medical team and some staff members at the Kramat Jati health center, she said, also said they experienced severe heat in Jakarta over the past few days, not only outside but also inside the building.

“The weather in Jakarta at this moment is indeed hot. The air even flows into the rooms during the day, making us feel like we are on the seashore. Hopefully, it does not affect the patients seeking treatment here,” she said.

Inda further suggested that, in facing the hot temperatures, the public should increase their water intake, maintain a healthy diet and eat more fruit to avoid dehydration and becoming susceptible to disease.

“Don’t forget to wear nose shields or masks to block out dust, to wear proper clothing and to apply sunscreen as well as to bring an umbrella whenever taking part in activities outdoors to protect our skin from direct sunlight,” she added.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) previously issued warnings that areas at the south of the equator, predominantly across Java and Nusa Tenggara, would be exposed to hot temperatures until Sunday.

The agency’s meteorological stations across the country recorded that the average maximum air temperature had been 37 degrees Celsius since Oct. 19, with three stations in Sulawesi exceeding the maximum temperature on Oct. 20, with temperatures ranging from 37.8 C to 38.8 C.

In Java and on the Nusa Tenggara islands, temperatures ranged from 35 C to 36.5 C on Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile, the intense heat spread across the capital on Monday was measured at 36.5 C during the day despite strong winds.

A general practitioner at Pertamina Jaya Hospital in Central Jakarta, Daniel Bramantyo, advised the public to be aware of potential diseases during this extreme weather, saying that coughs, colds and respiratory conditions were common complaints during the dry season.

“However, the medical condition [most are] susceptive to is heat stroke, where the sufferers may feel extreme dizziness, exhaustion, throbbing headaches, light-headedness, nausea, vomiting and a rapid heartbeat,” Daniel said. “In more severe cases, it can also lead to seizures.”

The extreme weather also had an impact on endurance as the body needed to adapt to significant temperature changes, he said, adding that consuming healthy food was important to protect the body from disease.