KUALA LUMPUR: The scorching temperatures prevailing in many countries, including Malaysia, have been confirmed as the El Nino weather phenomenon, which is a threat to people and animals due to the risk of heatstroke.
Malaysian Medical Association president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai said heatwaves can cause a range of health issues such as rashes, cramps, exhaustion, heatstroke, and damage to internal organs. It can also worsen pre-existing conditions such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, diabetes, and the gradual loss of kidney function.
“The corporate sector and schools have been urged to refrain from making neckties and jackets compulsory in their dress codes during this period. Schools have been advised to put a halt on all outdoor activities while the heavy labour sector should consider adjusting to the weather changes.
“The Health Ministry has also warned the public to pay close attention to daily weather updates, as exposure to abnormally high air temperatures can have serious consequences on physical health. It also advised the public to avoid outdoor activities during the hottest periods of the day and spend most of their time in air-conditioned environments. It is also recommended to wear light clothing, stay hydrated, and get regular medical check-ups if feeling unwell,” he said.
Muruga Raj said it is vital that the public stay informed about the situation and follows the Health Ministry’s advice on necessary precautions during a heatwave.
“People should recognise the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and seek medical help immediately if needed. It’s especially important to check on elderly individuals who live alone as they can be vulnerable to high temperatures,” he said.
“Large cities are particularly impacted due to the urban heat island effect caused by dense concentrations of pavement, buildings, and other surfaces that absorb and retain heat. Climate change is expected to result in more extreme weather events like this, and experts have warned that they will become more frequent and severe in the future,” he added.
Considering this, Paws Animal Welfare Society shelter manager Edward Lim said: “If you have pets at home, make sure to have fans to improve air circulation and maintain a cool environment.
“To ensure the animal’s well-being, avoid exposing them to direct sunlight while playing or exercising. Instead, provide them with a shaded area that has enough ventilation and clean water. It is also important to constantly monitor their physical condition and temperature throughout the day. If your pet seems to be suffering from the heat, immerse them in a tub of water until they feel better. After your pet has recovered, seek a veterinarian’s evaluation of their health.
“If your dog or cat’s heartbeat is faster than normal, or they have difficulty moving, seem confused, drool excessively, or have a bluish tongue, and gums, it may indicate a lack of oxygen in their blood. The animal’s body temperature may rise above 42°C, and it may struggle to maintain balance on all fours. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is crucial to stabilise your pet’s temperature and seek veterinary care immediately,” he said.
“Each of us has a role to play in mitigating climate change by reducing our carbon footprint, making smarter travel choices, consuming food sustainably, and being mindful of our purchases,” Lim said.
Source : TheSunDaily