Malaysia: Schools should stop outdoor activities if heatwave persists

The Star 15 Mar 16;

KUALA LUMPUR : School heads have been told to stop outdoor activities if the weather gets too hot.

“A ministry circular empowers principals and headmasters, under such instances when the weather is too hot, to take action such as stop having classes outdoors,” said Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan.

“If a school decides to close, it will need to replace the day but it does not have to do so if it has been instructed to close,” he said after opening the International Policy Dialogue on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Education 2016.

On Sunday, Kamalanathan said the ministry would decide if schools should be temporarily closed due to the heatwave.

He said since it was the school holidays now, children could stay indoor and minimise outdoor activities until the schools reopened next week.

On the dialogue, he said: “When we look at the applications that come in for universities, 60% of students are applying to enter the arts stream.

“The ministry is laying down the foundation work for STEM.”

Docs: Take extra care over outdoor activities
The Star 15 Mar 16;

PETALING JAYA: Outdoor enthusiasts should refrain from getting exposed to excessive sunlight due to the unusually hot weather.

“Being outdoors can stimulate one’s body temperature to rise,” said Medical Practitioner Coalitions Association of Malaysia (MPCAM) vice-president Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah.

There has been about a 10% increase in patients who visited Dr Raj’s clinic over illness related to heat wave such as leg eczema, heat rash and body aches.

“Initially, I suspected it was viral fever but it turned out that it was because of the hot weather,” he said.

Many of Dr Raj’s patients are children and senior citizens. He believes adults are healthier as they can protect themselves.

“Generally, adults drink more water during hot days and stay in air-conditioned rooms compared to children and senior citizens,” he said.

Family medicine registrar Dr Shaiful Ehsan said the sudden change in weather can cause dehydration due to loss of fluid in the body.

“Following this, several vital organs may not function well as a result of insufficient oxygen supply,” he added.

“Dehydration does not happen in a short time.

“It will only happen because of long hours of exposure to the sun,” he said, adding that symptoms of heat stroke are headache, rapid heart rate, shallow breathing and muscle cramps.

“If you experience any of those symptoms, it is best to get some rest so that your body can cool down,” Dr Shaiful said.

Malaysian Medical Association president Dr Ashok Zachariah Philip recommended Malaysians to stay indoors during these days.

“If you need to go outdoors, make it quick.

“Protect your skin by wearing long sleeves or apply sunblock to your skin,” he said.

General practitioner Dr C.S. Foo said that with sudden changes in the weather, drinking sufficient water daily would help prevent one from getting dehydrated.

“Living in this tropical weather, it is best to drink about 2.5 litres of water daily.

“But, this may vary between age, gender and body weight of a person,” he said.

“There are four pillars to optimal health, namely regular exercise, balanced diet, lifestyle and supplement consumption,” said Dr Foo, adding that one’s immune system was not built overnight.

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