Heat stroke is a risk for anyone who is exposed to an extremely hot environment, regardless of a person's level of health, said a public health expert at the Ministry of Health.

Physician Dr Norlen Ahmad said the elderly, children and those with chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity are more at risk of heat stroke.

"The elderly are more at risk because they usually have various diseases that make them more sensitive and their mechanism of sweat production or body temperature control is no longer efficient," she said on Bernama Radio’s Jendela Fikir programme today.

According to Dr Norlen, heat stroke is a medical emergency that can happen quickly and immediate steps must be taken to reduce body temperature to prevent the victim from experiencing more serious conditions, such as brain function failure, convulsions and also death.

She said among the immediate steps that can be taken is to place a wet towel on the victim's head, underarms, thighs and neck in addition to moving the victim to a cooler and dim place.

“Placing a wet towel on those parts of the body will speed up the process of heat transfer in the body and further reduce the body temperature," she said.

She also said the public should reduce physical activity in hot areas, drink more water, especially plain water, wear loose and thin clothes and monitor the health of family members at risk.

Last week an 11-year-old boy from Kampung Perupok, Bachok Kelantan, died at Balai Health Clinic, Bachok, due to heat stroke and dehydration.

The Department of Meteorology Malaysia (MetMalaysia) has issued a warning for some areas in the peninsula and Sabah to experience Level 1 hot weather alert with maximum temperatures of up to 35 and 37 degrees Celsius.

The situation is expected to improve in a few days.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency