PETALING JAYA: Drinking ice-cold water during sweltering weather poses no health hazard as claimed by some, say health experts.
International Islamic University Malaysia public health medicine specialist Assistant Prof Dr Mohammad Farhan Rusli said there is nothing wrong with drinking cold fluids during hot weather as the principle of keeping oneself hydrated at all times should always be the emphasis.
“I know a lot of messages has been going around saying that (it is harmful). But the only thing you will get if you drink ice-cold water is a sensitive tooth.
“In the case of a heatstroke, our first priority is to always cool down the body, ” said Dr Farhan, who advised Malaysians to stay indoors as much as possible, while ensuring these places have good ventilation.
“If you need to go outside, make sure that you shield yourself with an umbrella and always stay hydrated, ” he said.
Universiti Malaya’s Department of Social and Preventive Medicine’s Prof Dr Moy Foong Ming said there is inadequate evidence to suggest that drinking cold water is bad for the health.
However, she said some people may experience stomach cramps when they consume cold water.
“Those who are unaffected can continue consuming cold or room temperature water. To ensure they are well hydrated, they should drink regularly, ” said Dr Moy.
She also advised people to minimise their exposure to the sun and to moderate their alcohol consumption as this can cause dehydration.
Both experts agree that coconut water is a nutritious drink that is abundant in electrolytes such as potassium, sodium and magnesium.
“The electrolytes in coconut water can help regulate the body’s fluid balance and ensure proper muscle function, ” said Dr Moy, adding that one must not add sugar to their coconut water.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) stressed that the current hot weather is not something to worry about as it is an annual phenomenon.
MetMalaysia director-general Jailan Simon explained this was due to the last phase of the northeast monsoon season, which will see low rainfall in Peninsular Malaysia, particularly in the interiors of Pahang and Kelantan.
“Nevertheless, MetMalaysia is not expecting extraordinarily hot weather. The current weather is a normal occurrence that happens from February till mid-April each year, ” he said.
Jailan added that there will be rain and thunderstorms in the evenings in the interiors of Peninsular Malaysia, as well as Sabah and Sarawak.
“We don’t expect rain in the other states, ” he said, adding that the highest temperature recorded was 37ºC on March 2 at the Alor Setar Meteorology Station in Kedah.
“Nevertheless, that recorded temperature is lower than the highest temperature recorded in March in Alor Setar, which is 39.1ºC in 1998 and 2016, ” he said.
Jailan assured Malaysians that things are expected to cool down beginning mid-April, adding that Thailand and Indonesia are also experiencing similar weather at present.
“We urge the public to obtain the latest information through MetMalaysia’s website, the myCuaca app, or our social media platforms.”