Wednesday , May 29 2024

Cold wave hospitalizes northern Vietnam’s vulnerable


Severe cold in Vietnam over the past week has sent increased numbers of the elderly and children to hospital for respiratory illness.

Ta Huu Anh, deputy head of the Intensive Care Department at the National Geriatric Hospital in Hanoi, announced on Monday that hospitals have admitted increasing number of patients with sudden, and often severe, respiratory distress over the past few days.

He said there are currently 56 such patients being treated by his department, while there are only 51 beds available, which means some of the sick must share beds.

“The number of patients is 1.5 times higher than normal,” said Anh.

Doctor Ta Huu Anh takes care of a critical patient at the National Geriatric Hospital on December 25, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Thuy An

Doctor Ta Huu Anh takes care of a critical patient at the National Geriatric Hospital in Hanoi on Dec. 25, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Thuy An

At Hanoi Medical University Hospital, Vu Quoc Dat, deputy head of the Department of Tropical Diseases and Harm Reduction, also reported an upward trend in patients coming for examinations and admissions due to flu symptoms.

He said the uptick has been present for two weeks, but so far, none of the new patients have been in critical condition.

However, Dat said if not detected and treated promptly, patients are still at risk of developing severe complications.

The number of hospital admissions in Hanoi due to strokes, internal bleeding, blood clots, and other cardiovascular issues has increased by 10-15% compared to the previous month.

He said patients aged between 30 and 50 years of age were the most significant demographic.

The situation is the same at E Hospital in Hanoi and the General Hospital in Phu Tho Province, which borders Hanoi, and the number of pneumonia patients has increased drastically at both localities through November and December.

At Bai Chay Hospital in the northern province of Quang Ninh, home to Ha Long Bay, cases of acute stroke due to cerebral artery infarction have surged, with 15 cases in three days since the cold wave intensified on Dec. 22.

Nguyen Huu Thao, head of the Intensive Care and Toxicology Department at Vinh Phuc Obstetrics and Pediatrics Hospital in Vinh Phuc Province, said that many children have been admitted to the hospital for flu, acute pharyngitis, acute bronchitis, and pneumonia.

Doctors said the increase in hospital admissions can be attributed to various factors, including the cold weather exacerbating respiratory issues, elevated blood pressure, cerebral artery infarction, and strokes.

They said prolonged cold weather also weakens people’s resistance to infections, creating favorable conditions for viruses and bacteria to thrive.

Furthermore, many patients tend to delay seeking medical attention when they are unwell during cold weather, leading to more severe conditions.

Temperatures across the north plunged to below 10 degrees Celsius on Saturday morning, with Hanoi recording 7-8 degrees. Ice and frost have formed in several mountain peaks.

Northern provinces and the north central region have been braving a severe cold spell since Dec. 16, the longest cold streak so far this winter.

The cold wave ended on Tuesday when Hanoi’s temperatures on Tuesday stayed around 10-22 degrees Celsius. In the following days, the daytime temperature will rise to 25 degrees, and 17-18 degrees at night, according to forecasts.

Temperatures in mountainous areas such as Sa Pa will increase from 3-12 degrees to 6-18 degrees, said meteorologists.

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