Record high 5,467 people taken to hospital for heatstroke July 16-22

TOKYO —

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Tuesday that 5,467 people were taken to hospital nationwide to be treated for heatstroke in the week from July 16 to July 22.

It was a record high number of heatstroke victims for one week and more than doubled the figure of 2,622 for the previous week as temperatures soared across the nation for five days in a row, the agency said.

The highest number occurred on July 17 when 1,323 people were treated for heatstroke, the agency said.

Seventeen deaths in 11 prefectures had been attributed to heatstroke, NHK reported. The most number of heatstroke cases were reported in Tokyo, Saitama, Aichi and Osaka. 

Japan Today

  • 2

    Zybster

    What were the numbers in the years before the earthquake? Can the "electricity savings" be attributed to these numbers or is it just the high temperatures?

  • 0

    SquidBert

    Good question Zybster,

    I would like to see comparisons to weeks with similar temperatures from previous years. I think most people suffer heat stroke outdoors, so I do not think "electricity savings" are to be attributed, but some comparison stats would be nice.

  • 1

    smithinjapan

    Zybster: Stupidity is likely the greatest cause. I guarantee 80% or more of the victims were kids doing club at school during peak sunlight hours.

  • 3

    gaijintraveller

    Were there any deaths in Okinawa, the hottest prefecture, or are people there different in some way? Perhaps, they have more common sense in hot weather. It could be that their sports teachers have more common sense.

    Of the 5,467, how many were foreigners? I suspect the answer is none.

  • 0

    Schopenhauer

    I always think it is crazy that the national high school baseball championship is held in Osaka at this time of the year. Have it in Hokkaido!

  • -2

    bass4funk

    I think there is a lot of correlation between the "electricity savings" and this heatstroke. I went to my local coin laundry and the temp. inside was around 39.8 degrees. My local Costco, almost non-existent. And yes, kids doing extreme sports in schools, not intaking proper fluids, drinking hot drinks, covering up too much, not taking the necessary breaks. People here often don't take the heat seriously or worry about things that are less important than listening to their bodies or the proper precautions. Seems like it's going to get worse before it gets better.

  • 0

    gaijinTechie

    Heatstroke increase that could be statistically tied to electricity savings would make very good investigative journalism.

    In 2010, 53 843 people were taken to hospitals for heatstrokes (http://tinyurl.com/ch2lm8f). That was a four-fold increase from 2009. Extrapolating the present rate, peak of 2010 might not be reached this year.

    There seems to be lots of info on how to prevent heat strokes that is not going through. Those taking preventive action being ridiculed and put back in their place, perhaps?

  • 1

    6wings

    I wish some of that heat would find its way up to Hokkaido. It's been an unusually cool summer so far.

  • -2

    Wolfpack

    Seems as though Setsuden isn't going over well in Japan this year. Time to fire up a few more of those nuclear reactors - at least until several dozen more fossil fuel power plants can be built.

  • 1

    Wanda-kun

    This just in: A record number of Japanese out in the midday sun without proper hydration proving that it's not only "mad dogs and Englishmen" who do this!

  • -3

    Serrano

    And with is with the aircons and fans still running. What happens when there's a major electric power shortage?

  • -5

    peanut666

    Yep, just like I predicted when Japan started shutting down Nuclear power plants. Everyone was all scared and stupid saying that Japan should turn them all off for safety reasons without having any alternative energy source. Currently, it's only beginning to get hot. Wait until Aug - Sept. when things really start to warm up.

  • -2

    bass4funk

    @Serrano

    What happens when there's a major electric power shortage?

    We are already experiencing it. Cutting back the power is essentially for a better lack of word a power shortage.

    @6wings

    Wanna trade? Be happy to be up there where you are, really!!

  • 3

    sfjp330

    Drink plenty of water and wear a loose clothes and a hat. The Japanese homes or condos could be much much cooler if they could add on one room where they spend the most time, a efficient R30 insulation on the ceiling and R19 on the wall add another layer of double pane windows with blinds and curtains. This will become ike a cave where it would be cool in the summer, and warm in the winter. You only need cheap small air conditioner and the utilities increase will be marginal.

  • 2

    CrazyJoe

    Keep hydrated. Do not ECO in regards to air-conditioning.

  • -1

    Wakarimasen

    That's a lot!!! Can we have a breakdown of what they were doing to get heatstroke?

  • 2

    borscht

    If you're in a house without air conditioning but you're drinking plenty of water and have a fan in your hand, you're not going to suffer from heat stroke. You might be very tired and lethargic, but not dead. Emphasis on drinking and a fan.

    All the electricity in the world isn't going to save you if you insist on playing sports outside or work your rice field in the heat of the day without drinking water.

    By the way, in last week's report on JT it mentioned that most of the sufferers from heat stroke were students doing sports. In Australia a couple of years ago, the vast majority of heat stroke victims were over 65 and in poor health, even bedridden. What does that say about Japan's education system?

  • 0

    Apsara

    In 2010, 53 843 people were taken to hospitals for heatstrokes (http://tinyurl.com/ch2lm8f). That was a four-fold increase from 2009. Extrapolating the present rate, peak of 2010 might not be reached this year.

    2010 was one of the hottest summers on record- in Tokyo it was close to 35 degrees for day after day without any let up, a lot more hot days than there were last summer.

  • 3

  • 1

    LostinNagoya

    I am glad I escaped Japanese humid summers. And the kafunshoo season too.

  • 1

    Disillusioned

    Yeah, it did heat up very quickly over a fortnight or so, which it does every year. You'd think these people would learn how to cope with hot weather. Summer happens every year, right? They need to ban the sales of green tea during the summer months. It will make you dehydrated. Sorry, but I think most of these victims of heatstroke are just plane ignorant and stupid

  • 2

    UsagitoSaru

    I can agree with some of the "electricity savings" attributing to some of these heat strokes. My house can get up to 39 sometimes without the aircon on. The Jidokan I work it almost never has their air on and I begin to suffer during my working hours I have to carry two bottles of water around with me. Even when we ask them to turn the air on in our class room they only turn it up a little bit then after awhile shut it off..I have 30 something kids coming in and out of these rooms all day running around and playing turn the damn air on!

  • 0

    Thomas Anderson

    Thank you global warming.

  • -3

    Thomas Anderson

    In 2010, 53 843 people were taken to hospitals for heatstrokes (http://tinyurl.com/ch2lm8f). That was a four-fold increase from 2009. Extrapolating the present rate, peak of 2010 might not be reached this year.

    Man! If only people weren't stupid enough to turn off the nuclear plants in 2010! Oh wait...

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    bass4funk: I doubt it has anything to do with power saving, unless someone who suffered from heatstroke spent all their time at home with a fan instead of normally using their air-con. The majority of the victims are likely school students, who are either out on bone-dry sports fields when the sun is at its zenith, or in gymnasiums with poor air movement (if the windows are open at all). One of the schools in the town I live with saw the ambulance come FOUR times on Tuesday, all junior highschool girls playing badminton in the stuffy gym with all the doors and windows closed.

    Some seniors might suffer more from the electricity saving, but to be honest most seniors I know dislike air-conditioning and such appliances to begin with.

  • -6

    wipeout

    Of the 5,467, how many were foreigners? I suspect the answer is none.

    Tourists would be quite vulnerable to heatstroke, because they're often packing more activity into the day than they should, they may have limited understanding of the weather conditions before they arrive here, some will overconsume alcohol, and they'll visit places like Kyoto, which can get extremely hot in the summer. And some tourists aren't exactly in the best condition to start with.

    You're really confident that none of them will succumb?

  • -7

    wipeout

    They need to ban the sales of green tea during the summer months. It will make you dehydrated.

    Will it, though?

  • 0

    CharlieCard

    @Smith look at least year..a simple search will show you the facts..and the facts are the majority of the people who suffered from heat stoke and the majority of deaths last year were the elderly.

  • 0

    iceshoecream

    And I thought last week was cold.

  • 1

    Ms. Alexander

    Setsuden might have something to do with it but I doubt the numbers would be much different. I really believe that Japanese people have that "gaman" and/or "shoganai" engrained in their brain because they're taught that it's supposed to be hot because it's summer. Just like they think reading scary ghost stories in the summer is good because it's supposed to "cool" you (samuke). The continued old school thinking continues to hurt Japan big-time. Yet no one wants to do anything cuz Japan is afraid of changes or even accepting that what they've been doing in "wrong".

  • 4

    Mike Critchley

    I wear shorts onto the campus when it's hot...and I get older male teachers dressed in full suits and sweating like dogs --prime heatstroke candidates -- looking at me and saying, "Suzushii desu ne." Which is passive aggressive Japanese for "Stop being a bum and wear an inappropriately hot suit just like me so we can share the suffering." Madness.

  • 0

    FightingViking

    sweating like dogs

    Problem is, dogs don't sweat and cannot "change their fur"... so they suffer even more... It would therefore seem MUCH better for them to wear the same kind of attire you do...

  • -1

    Cletus

    It"S ME

    Hope those people recover soon and take more care in the future.

    Agreed

    People look strange at me as I carry a 500ml Bottle on my hip while cycling/walking.

    Should see the looks you get when you use a camelbak. I dont ever go for a ride without it, even take it on the motorbike works a treat.

  • 0

    almxx

    Easiest thing to do indoors is to keep a large wet towel around your chest and back. Who says you have to wear a shirt or blouse indoors? Just keep wetting it after it gets dry ;do it all day and night. You will feel much better. Especially older people. Also a good idea to keep your hair wet.

  • 1

    FightingViking

    You don't know much about Dogs. Yes, they have no sweat-glands but they still sweat via their tongues. So dress or no dress makes zilch difference

    Well thank you for telling me !!! My Labrador Retriever is lying at my feet "sweating" through his tongue as I write... I have had dogs all my life so obviously I know they sweat through their tongues, however, imagining a Japanese business man sweating through his tongue was just too funny to imagine !

  • 0

    smithinjapan

    CharlieCard: "and the facts are the majority of the people who suffered from heat stoke and the majority of deaths last year were the elderly."

    The majority, if not all, of the deaths were elderly to be sure -- people out in their rental fields taking in crops at 2 p.m., etc. Take a look at the earlier report this week, though, and you'll see that most were students:

    "In many prefectures, the heatstroke victims were students taking part in or watching sporting events being held on Monday, which was a national holiday, according to Fuji TV."

    Fortunately for them, they tend to recover a lot more easily and quickly than the elderly who succumb to heatstroke.

    wipeout: Yes, green tea is a diuretic and a caffienated beverage so it will dehydrate you. Wheat tea, on the other hand, will not.

  • -6

    wipeout

    Yes, green tea is a diuretic and a caffienated beverage so it will dehydrate you. Wheat tea, on the other hand, will not.

    So when you say "will", you mean this will definitely happen? How many millilitres of green tea would I need to drink before I can expect dehydration to set in?

  • 0

    Waxman

    I read heartstroke because of new electricIty bills

  • 2

    basroil

    http://www.examiner.com/article/41k-suffer-145-dead-from-summer-heatstroke-japan

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/13/world/asia/13briefs-Heatstroke.html

    Well, we know that 5467 is not a record for heat stroke, but lets check hospitals:

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/no-of-heatstroke-cases-reaches-record-in-july

    As you can see, the average there would be about 4400, so we would need another week of even more poeple going to the hospital to break the record. That includes 2010, which was unusually hot.

  • -8

    wipeout

    Well I'm starting to feel that the "green tea is a diuretic" camp don't have much to back up their words with.

  • 3

    A+b/a=a/b≡?

    @wipeout

    Well I'm starting to feel that the "green tea is a diuretic" camp don't have much to back up their words with.

    There are several types of diuretics. The most prominent is called "High ceiling loop diuretic", but there a few other types. As for green tea, it falls in the "Osmotic diuretics" group which (if consumed in large quantities) the caffeine can cause vasoconstriction, thus leading to a diuretic effect from increasing bradycardia. However, the key word is quantity.

    Of course, I am not privy to the medical records of any of the hospitalized patients, but I am pretty certain some were not classic heatstroke patients -and rather were struck by heat-exhaustion, which is a different type of medical condition.

  • -7

    wipeout

    The question in my mind - this is for the people who say "green tea will dehydrate you" - is how much of it would you have to drink to become dehydrated?

    If you were to match, litre for litre, the amount of green tea you drank on one day with the amount of water you drank on the next day, assuming the temperature, conditions, and your activity level were the same, would it make much of a difference? Either way, in the hot sun, you need to keep your liquid intake up. Too little liquid and you dehydrate. Tea is perfectly acceptable choice of liquid.

  • 2

    A+b/a=a/b≡?

    @wipeout:

    would it make much of a difference?

    Yes. One day you are well hydrated. The other you are not.

    Either way, in the hot sun, you need to keep your liquid intake up. Too little liquid and you dehydrate.

    Completely agree with you.

    Tea is perfectly acceptable choice of liquid.

    As a medical professional I completely disagree with this.

  • -7

    wipeout

    As a medical professional I completely disagree with this.

    No doubt you do. Again, I would be interested to know how much green tea a person would need to drink to become dehydrated. It seems to be argued by some that tea dehydrates, and by others that it hydrates.

    As a medical professional, do you suggest that medical professionals are broadly in agreement on the dehydration effect?

  • 0

    Ben Jack

    As a medical professional I completely disagree with this.

    Really, Doctor? I just did a quick Google search. Have a gander at this:

    Researchers used to believe that caffeinated drinks had a diuretic effect. This means that you would urinate more after drinking them, which could increase your risk of becoming dehydrated. Recent research shows that this is not true and that caffeine has a diuretic effect only if you consume large amounts of it — more than 500 to 600 milligrams (the equivalent of 5 to 7 cups of coffee) a day.

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/caffeinated-drinks/AN01661

    By the way, green tea probably has around a quarter of the caffeine of coffee. Of course, water is better if you are going to drink liters and liters. However, a moderate amount of green tea should not cause any problems.

  • 3

    A+b/a=a/b≡?

    @wipeout:

    No doubt you do. Again, I would be interested to know how much green tea a person would need to drink to become dehydrated.

    No doubt many people do, not just me. The amount is OFF topic, but as you should surmise, there is no one specific volume. Many factors come into play.

    It seems to be argued by some that tea dehydrates, and by others that it hydrates. As a medical professional, do you suggest that medical professionals are broadly in agreement on the dehydration effect?

    You are making a paradoxical argument.

  • 4

    A+b/a=a/b≡?

    @Benjack:

    Really, Doctor?

    Silly.

    Researchers used to believe that caffeinated drinks had a diuretic effect. This means that you would urinate more after drinking them, which could increase your risk of becoming dehydrated. Recent research shows that this is not true and that caffeine has a diuretic effect only if you consume large amounts of it — more than 500 to 600 milligrams (the equivalent of 5 to 7 cups of coffee) a day.

    You proved my point. Thanks!

    By the way, green tea probably has around a quarter of the caffeine of coffee. Of course, water is better if you are going to drink liters and liters. However, a moderate amount of green tea should not cause any problems.

    Let's see... one small pet bottle contains 500ml of (for sake of this post... green tea). If my memory serves me right.. ONE cup = approx. 230ml thus 1-pet bottle would already contain 1/2 of the daily intake of caffeine which would lead to dehydration in the summer.

    How many small pet bottles do you think you would need to drink in the summer to become dehydrated? Two. That is correct! So, once again, you proved my point.

    PS: I never said drinking a small amount would automatically and magically dehydrate a person. Read my post carefully.

  • -1

    Ben Jack

    Silly.

    ?? Why, may I ask? If you are going to wear the badge of a medical professional, I assume it is one that has done extensive research or work in the field such as a doctor. Did you mean you file papers in a clinic? Sorry for the misunderstanding. Anyway, you seemed to have thrown that in to suggest your knowlege was more informed and I beg to differ with that.

    You proved my point. Thanks!

    Ummm, only if your point was in reference to drinking 20 to 27 cups of green tea, which it clearly was not.

    ONE cup = approx. 230ml thus 1-pet bottle would already contain 1/2 of the daily intake of caffeine which would lead to dehydration in the summer.

    ?? Ummm, for most healthy adults, moderate doses of caffeine — 200 to 300 mg aren't harmful. There is aproximitely 25mg in a cup of green tea. That is not half of the daily intake of caffeine by any calculations.

    I never said drinking a small amount would automatically and magically dehydrate a person. Read my post carefully.

    I read it just fine. Drinking a moderate amount of tea is just fine. Depending on the person, even ten cups of green tea would not dehydrate you.

    Speaking of reading other people's posts, I did write in my above post and you decided to ignore it that, of course, water is better if you are going to drink liters and liters. However, a moderate amount of green tea should not cause any problems.

    • Moderator

      Readers, please stop this petty bickering. Focus your comments on what is in the story and not at each other.

  • -2

    Ben Jack

    People need to be careful all around in the heat. Drinking fluids, keeping in the shade and wearing hats, wearing sunglasses and using air conditioning wisely will all help people avoid getting heatstroke. Moderation is the key.

  • -1

    Ben Jack

    Anyway, these posts will be gone tomorrow morning. If you would like to continue posting about this, feel free. I have successfully spoken my piece and have nothing further to add. Stay cool, stay healthy.

  • -7

    zichi

    In the hot weather we eat mostly salads and fruits. Yesterday made cold melon soup with peaches, mango's and kiwi served with a big scoop of choc icecream sprinkled with vanilla and almond flakes.

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