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Staying healthy and safe during heatwave

22/07/2021 09:47 PM

By Zahir Valenteno

KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 -- Malaysians are advised to keep hydrated and watch out for symptoms of heat-related illness caused by dehydration and loss of electrolytes in the current heatwave nationwide, said medical experts.

Medical Associate Professor and Public Health Physician Dr Mohd Dzulkhairi Mohd Rani from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia advised the public to avoid exercising during peak heat weather conditions to prevent elevating one’s core body temperature and risking additional strain.

“Staying hydrated during exercise is also important to avoid raising the body temperature as well,” he told Bernama in an interview. 

Malaysia is experiencing the Southwest monsoon, which results in a hot and dry climate, from now until mid-September, according to the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia). 

Dr Dzulkhairi said constant showering is also advisable as it cools the body and will reduce the body temperature, he added. 

Apart from that, he cautioned that heat exhaustion may occur as a result of dehydration, with non-specific symptoms such as malaise, vomiting and circulatory collapse. It occurs when the core body temperature is between 37ºC and 40ºC.

“Left untreated, heat exhaustion may evolve into heatstroke, a more severe illness in which the body’s thermoregulation mechanism fails,” he explained.

Dr Vinod RMT Balasubramaniam, senior lecturer of Monash University Malaysia, meanwhile said as for individuals receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations, there are no links between the hot weather and increased side effects experienced by those vaccinated. 

However, he advised recently vaccinated individuals to avoid strenuous activity and to drink plenty of fluids. 

Dr Vinod also said that young children need to be watched carefully during hot weather.

“Children sweat less, thus reducing their ability to cool down, and they generate more heat during exercise compared to adults. They are at higher risk of overheating and developing a heat-related illness. Heat can also make existing illnesses worse,” he said.

Dr Vinod also cautioned that employees exposed to hot and humid conditions outdoors are at risk of heat-related illnesses, especially those doing heavy work tasks or using bulky or non-breathable protective clothing and equipment.


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