Heat and haze affecting health

Heat and haze affecting health

03 March 2014

published by www.thesundaily.my

Malaysia — Over the past few weeks, hospitals and clinics have seen an increasing number of patients seeking treatment for respiratory, skin and eye problems due to the current heat wave and haze.

A check at several of these private and government-run health centres revealed that there have been many patients complaining of asthma attacks as well as eye, nose and throat irritation.

Malaysian Medical Association president Datuk Dr N. K. S. Tharmaseelan said even private medical practitioners are seeing “more than a marginal increase” in respiratory problem cases.

“The environment is not at all healthy and people should try to reduce going outside or doing outdoor activities,” he said.

“Those with a history of sinus problems or sensitive nose are more likely to develop nasal congestion, sore throat and coughing. There may (also) be increased incidents of skin irritations like eczema,” he said.

He added that the haze could cause respiratory conditions such asthma attacks and bronchitis.

“Children and elderly (people) with medical problems such as asthma, chronic obstructive lung diseases, heart diseases and diabetes should take precautionary measures at this time,” he added.

Meanwhile, Director-General of Health Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah told Bernama that Malaysians should be on the alert for heat stroke, which happens when the body temperature exceeds 40.5°C. A person’s normal temperature is 37°C.

“Among the early symptoms of a heat stroke are throbbing headache, nausea, lack of perspiration despite the hot weather and a fast pulse. Other signs are weak muscles, spasms, vomiting, dry and reddish skin and seizures and blackouts,” he said.

Noor Hisham said high temperature triggers complications to the nervous system of the brain, which could result in a coma and cause death.

“Drink lots of water and avoid being outdoors too long, if possible,” he added.

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