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Ministry warns of severe heatwave

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Children sit on a fishing boat in Kirivong district, Takeo province as drought remains a serious threat. Chhorn Norn

Ministry warns of severe heatwave

The Ministry of Health warned on Wednesday that the expected heatwaves could affect the health and lives of the elderly, children and those with heart or lung diseases and other infections.

The warning came after the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology forecast that in the next few days, the maximum temperature in Cambodia would reach 41C.

The heatwave is due to a weak low-pressure system. The phenomenon can cause slight intermittent rain, strong winds and thunderstorms.

“When the weather is too hot, the lack of oxygen in the atmosphere is higher, which can cause people to have heart failure and respiratory illnesses. Dangers also include weakness, fatigue, suffocation, fainting, and stroke that could cause death.

“Everyone should pay greater attention to personal and family health issues, especially children and elderly people,” ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said.

She advised people to practice regular hygiene by washing their hands, bathing, drinking water frequently and wearing long-sleeved but thin clothes to prevent skin irritation and itching caused by the heat.

People should not stay longer under the sun than necessary and should avoid going outdoors when it is so hot.

Vandine said the hot weather will cause dehydration and salt loss due to excessive sweating that affects the bloodstream and disrupts brain function.

This is particularly true for people who already have heart, lung, or kidney problems, or who are on a diet of salty food or may be prone to fatigue.

Also, the heat will cause a loss of essential nutrients such as potassium and magnesium, which can cause leg cramps, and more seriously, the body’s ability to cool itself down.

“Although we currently have no new cases of Covid-19 infection, it would be highly risky for us if we did not implement proper sanitary measures regularly,” she said.

Vandine said the implementation of sanitary measures following ministry guidelines will not only protect one from the heat but also prevent the spread of Covid-19.

However, she urged those with diarrhoea, cough, fever or fainting spells to seek treatment at the nearest health centre or hospital.

The Ministry of Water Resources issued a statement on Tuesday calling on people to be more cautious about weather conditions that will increase temperatures to a maximum of 41C from May 8 to 10.

There will also be rain, wind and thunderstorms, especially in the central plains, the Dangrek mountains range, and the Northeast plateau, it said.

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