A visit to the native place, a short stay at a hill resort, attending family functions is the standard tour package for our friends and cousins in the overseas, but of late planning elective surgeries too in the summer season has become a routine. But is this correct? Is it advisable to undergo surgery during summer and how does one go about it…
Why is summer a favourable time for patients?
Summertime is vacation time and many patients especially women like to slate their operations during holidays. And the reason they cite is that they have people to take care of at home and hospital !
ENT surgeries are planned during school vacation and these day-care procedures with short hospitalization do not produce any difficulty. Major elective surgeries with need for prolonged hospitalisation and long periods of intravenous fluids can be troublesome during peak summer. Sweating and electrolyte imbalance are added problems.
Fever in extremes of age like in infants and in the geriatric group can produce systemic complications when compounded with increased ambient temperature. Hyperpyrexia, meaning high fever can be a difficult problem to treat in kids.
The problems associated with surgery in summer:
- The very young (under 4) and the elderly (over 65) are more vulnerable. Hence, it is prudent to avoid elective surgeries in pre-school kids during the peak summer period- “Agni Natchathiram” days.
- Sweating and the resultant sogging of surgical wounds can increase infection rate. Certain drugs like Atropine can produce hot flushes and they cannot be used during summer.
- When the humidity is high, sweat will not evaporate as quickly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly. Other conditions related to risk include age (the elderly and young children), obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and certain drugs.
Avoid using fans directed on individuals when the ambient temperature exceeds approximately 100 degrees F. Fans can actually increase heat stress at temperatures above 90 degrees with humidity over 35%. Bedridden elderly can develop lung and kidney complications. Dried secretions and dehydration can produce pneumonia and parotid gland abscess.
However present day ‘short stay surgeries’ are safe during summer for all age groups.
Pic courtesy: avsurgery.com