Heat keeps doctors and cold drinks stalls busy


Weld Quay Oo Gio owner Koay Beng Tatt, 40, ( in black ) and her sister Koay Lay Ming,38 preparing the Oo Gio Jelly desserts for customer during hot weather at Weld Quay, Penang. ( April 12, 2024 ) — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: More people are falling sick here, no thanks to the extreme heat with temperatures rising and no rain in sight.

Many have been seeking medical attention for common ailments like colds and sore throats but there have been more serious cases like heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

“One can easily fall ill because of the heat. It usually causes sore throats and sniffles,” said Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Bertam medical centre family medicine specialist Dr Mastura Mohd Sopian who noted an increase in the number of patients with coughs and colds.

“My general advice is to avoid staying under the hot sun. Stay hydrated and keep water with you, if possible. Limit your outdoor activities,” she said.

Doctors are not the only ones being kept busy.

Stalls selling cold drinks and desserts are also experiencing brisk business, as many customers were willing to wait in line to get their hands on a cold treat.

Koay Beng Tatt, 40, who runs a stall selling various cold desserts along Weld Quay, said the most popular one at his stall is “Aiyu jelly”, made with a kind of fig, lychee, fresh lemon and honey topped with shaved ice.

“During the Raya break, we had a queue of customers from all over Malaysia.

“The weather has been very hot and anyone selling cold drinks will see brisk business,” he said.

Koay, whose family has been in business for generations, said their home-made cendol was another popular dessert.

Ong Bee Peng, 48, who works at a shop selling herbal drinks, said many people came with ulcers, dry throats, and sore throats throughout the day.

“We give them khor teh (bitter tea), and sometimes we add herbal powder to strengthen the dose.

“If they complain of feeling heaty, then we give them luo han guo (monk fruit), which has a cooling effect.

“Otherwise, we offer an array of teas like chrysanthemum and hawthorn, which are thirst quenchers,” she said.

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