JOHOR BARU: Drink lots of water and refrain from working under the heat for a long period these are some of the tips for those in the high-risk group of getting heat-related illnesses during the current dry spell.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek said farmers, labourers, athletes, fishermen, and those below the age of five and above 40 were prone to contracting illnesses resulting from the hot weather.
Those suffering from hypertension, diabetes and asthma should also take extra care under the present condition, he said after attending Johor MCA Youth Chinese New Year dinner on Friday night.
They were advised to drink more than six glasses of water a day, take frequent rest and avoid working under the heat for a long period.
If the air quality reached very unhealthy levels, he said people should limit their outdoor activities, stop smoking and wear a mask.
It can cause heat rash and in certain cases affect one's concentration. One can also get heat cramps and exhaustion followed by heat stroke, he said.
If our body temperature is too high it can affect our organs especially the brain, heart, kidneys, and in some cases, it can lead to death, he added.
Dr Chua said the mortality rate was between 20% and 50% for those suffering from heat exhaustion and if they failed to obtain treatment, they could go into convulsions.
He also noted that accidents in factories could increase because workers could get tired easily.
He said studies also revealed that those below the age of five and above 40 were 10 times more susceptible than others in getting heat-related illnesses.
At a press conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, Dr Chua revealed that the number of patients who suffered from asthma, respiratory problems and conjunctivitis had tripled from last December to January.
He said a ministry's survey showed 4,297 people, mostly children, visited the clinics in Port Klang last month compared with 1,412 in December.
A ministry's survey shows cases of respiratory tract infection have increased from 419 last December to 1,322 cases this January while the survey shows an increase of 92 asthma cases to 124 while conjunctivitis cases have increased from seven to 32,'' he added.