FEATURE: For many in Japan's sizzling summer, heatstroke hits at home

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) - About 45 per cent of 4,429 heatstroke victims taken to hospitals by ambulance in Tokyo from July 16 to Aug. 5, or 1,969 people, became ill at home, the Tokyo Fire Department said Friday. 

 About 70 percent of the 1,969, or 1,350 people, were 65 or older. The department said many of them became ill as they failed to keep hydrated sufficiently or to use air conditioners to avoid heatstroke. 
 The department urged people to take thorough measures against heatstroke since the severely hot weather is likely to continue.
 According to the department, the number of people taken to Tokyo hospitals by ambulance for heatstroke because of record high temperatures this year had reached 6,014 as of Aug. 5, greatly surpassing the total of 3,454 in all of last year. 
 According to the department’s urgent survey on the three-week period, during which about 74 percent of the 6,014 people were taken to hospitals, the percentage of those who became ill at home or at nursing homes rose about eight percentage points compared to last year.
 Many elderly people, who accounted for about 70 percent of the 1,969, were taken to hospital in the evening or at night. There were apparently many cases in which it took time for victims to go to the hospital, even though they became ill during the day, the department said.
 The department urged people to visit a hospital as soon as they start feeling ill.
 Also because of the heat, an increasing number of people are experiencing worsening symptoms of chronic disease, even if they do not suffer heatstroke itself, Toshimitsu Morizumi, chief at the Tokyo Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Service Division, said at a press conference Friday. “I want them to use air conditioners to avoid heatstroke and take care of their health.”