More falling ill in Malaysia as heatwave takes its toll

The heatwave in Malaysia took its toll on some of the policemen taking part in the 209th Police Day celebrations on March 25.
The heatwave in Malaysia took its toll on some of the policemen taking part in the 209th Police Day celebrations on March 25. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The extremely hot weather is taking its toll in Malaysia, with the number suffering from heat-related illnesses doubling in the last two weeks.

"Don't mess with the heat. If people have a heat-related illness, they must seek treatment from a doctor quickly. Patients can die from heatstroke," said Hospital Kuala Lumpur Emergency Department head Abu Hassan Asaari Abdullah.

The number of people with heat illnesses increased from 14 in mid-March to between 25 and 30 yesterday, he added, after the launch of the first National Continuous Medical Education/Continuous Professional Development Conference 2016 yesterday.

The event was launched by Deputy Health Minister Hilmi Yahaya.

Datuk Seri Abu Hassan said those who suffered from heat exhaustion comprised mainly police and military personnel, security guards and construction workers.

"We advise that they reduce their exposure to the sun and drink more water," he said.

Signs of heat illness include a rapid heart rate, weak pulse and cramps. A body temperature of above 39 deg C can lead to heat exhaustion and subsequently, within an hour or two, a heatstroke.

In an interview with The Star, Dr Abu Hassan said the heat could also aggravate the condition of patients with illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis.

He added that those below the age of five and above 60 were also in the high-risk group for heat illness.