Scorching weather not yet too hot to handle, says ministry

A man pulls his jacket over his head to hide from the heat in Kuala Lumpur. — Picture by Arif Kartono
A man pulls his jacket over his head to hide from the heat in Kuala Lumpur. — Picture by Arif Kartono

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 — It might feel like it has been exceptionally hot the last few days but Malaysians are told not to worry about a heatwave.

The Health ministry does not have a standard operating procedure to deal with a severe heatwave as it does not expect temperatures to soar to dangerous levels in spite of the prolonged hot and dry weather

“This is not an issue because the current hot weather is not at an alarming stage,” said a spokesman of the ministry as some members of the public worry that a heatwave was bearing down on the country.

According to the Meteorological Department, it was a scorching 36.7°C in Lubok Merbau and 35.8°C in Alor Star, while in Petaling Jaya it was 34.6°C.

Today, Kedah and Perlis are expected to experience a maximum temperature of 36°C, while Klang Valley was to experience a maximum temperature of 33°C.

The ministry’s spokesman, nonetheless, advised the public to stay indoors and avoid going outside if possible.

“If one must leave their home, then they should be sure wear proper protection and avoid walking under the blazing sun,” he said.

Moreover, people are told to keep hydrated as dehydration may cause one to be more prone to getting flu infection.

“When the lining of the airways (nose, mouth, and lungs) are dry, that will increase the likelihood of coming down with infection,” he said.

The spokesman added contracting a headache or feeling thirsty were normal symptoms in the hot weather.

He also added there were no current cases of heat strokes or heat waves related illnesses reported at the hospitals or clinic.

Meanwhile, in the event of global warming boosting the probability of heat waves, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) had issued a precautionary guideline for the public to take in the prolonged period of hot weather.

The public are advised to slow down and avoid strenuous activities, avoid being outside for a long duration and to wear light clothing and appropriate footwear when outdoors.

They are also told to drink at least 10 glasses of water per day, eat small set of meals but more frequently as it would reduce metabolic heat, and avoid high protein food and spicy food as well.

Among the precautionary steps to take when indoors are to run the wrists under cold water for five seconds every couple of hours as it helps cool the blood, and possibly stay in an air-conditioned location.

Some of the health effects that could take place due to heat waves are hyperthermia, heat cramps, heat rash, and psychological and sociological effects.

The highest temperature recorded in Malaysia was on April 9, 1998, in Chuping, Perlis, with a temperature of 40.1°C.

Heatwaves are a prolonged period of excessive hot weather that may be followed by high humidity, particularly in oceanic climate regions and the period should last at least one day.

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