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Government issues advice amid heatwave

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Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng (centre) has urged people to follow the ministry’s advice in hot season, especially frequently drinking boiled or bottled water, staying cool and remaining in the shade and avoiding prolonged exposure to the heat. Photo supplied

Government issues advice amid heatwave

The Ministry of Health has issued advice on avoiding health problems as temperatures continue to rise this hot season, warning some conditions brought risks to life.

The announcement comes as the weather heated up across Cambodia, with the dry season predicted to prolong into the middle of the year as the Kingdom feels the effects of the El Nino phenomenon.

Temperatures are expected to hit 40 to 42 Celsius in April and May, with the central northwest plains and northern plateau areas hardest hit.

The instruction includes how to avoid heart attacks, lung infections, diarrhoea and ailments resulting from a lack of food.

The ministry warned that as well as causing widespread drought, the hot weather could affect mental health, especially causing high levels of stress, and lead to sunburn and other skin conditions.

“Symptoms from hot weather include skin becoming red and dry, headaches, dizziness, weakness, fever, muscle cramp, nausea and vomiting."

“The heat can lead to increased heart rate, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, frailty and loss of muscle control, and unconsciousness. It can even lead to a loss of life,” the announcement said.

The ministry advised people to stay hydrated by consuming plenty of boiled water without waiting until they were thirsty. It recommended avoiding alcohol, sugary food and beverages, overly cold soft drinks and hot food.

People should wear thin, loose clothing in light colours. It particularly urged people to keep lots of water at hand for daily consumption

Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng said everyone must stay vigilant regarding health issues when the weather is so hot, especially in regards to children and the elderly. Old people were at an increased risk of strokes, which can result in disability and death.

Watch an exclusive interview: Environment Ministry discusses the El Nino phenomenon

He urged people to follow the ministry’s advice, especially in drinking boiled or bottled water frequently, staying cool and remaining in the shade, and avoiding prolonged exposure to the heat.

“I would like all people to be cautious about diarrhoea and infectious diseases which could result from drinking water or eating food that is unhygienic. Please drink and use clean or boiled water and make sure your food is safe to eat."

“If you develop diarrhoea or a fever, start vomiting or fall unconscious, please seek treatment at the health centre or hospital nearest to you,” Bun Heng said.

Yuong Vichany, a student in Phnom Penh said she appreciated the advice, which warned people what to expect and how to prepare themselves.

“The ministry issues these instructions every year but some people still do not pay attention. So it is an important reminder that the weather is getting hotter every year and people should take it seriously."

“It is not a simple matter, and one that people should pay attention to and prepare themselves for,” she said.

Chhuom Chhoeun, a 53-year-old farmer in Kandal province, said the weather is already extremely hot, much hotter than last year when he and other villagers suffered health problems.

“It is so hot, and it affects us whether in the day at night, but especially when I work on my farm. It makes me so weak so quickly,” he said.

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