More in Singapore ill amid August heatwave

SINGAPORE - The blisteringly hot days have not only caused discomfort among many, but also led to a spike in the number of people coming down with flu and heat-related issues, doctors said.

Dr Ng Kai Sum of Galilee Clinic in Ubi Avenue 1 said he now sees up to 70 patients a day - 1 1/2 times more than the usual number - some of whom are down with flu and other illnesses, such as rashes, caused by the warm, dry weather.

"Drink lots of water and don't overexert yourself," he cautioned.

Dr Philip Koh of Healthway Tampines Clinic in Tampines Street 71 has seen a 15 to 20 per cent increase in the number of patients with flu, high fever or headaches of late.

He said: "Aside from the heat, it's also because of a lack of water. Singaporeans have a habit of not drinking as much water as they should."

Dr Koh - who is chairman of the Healthway Medical Group's medical board - said that these, coupled with the Muslim fasting month, have made more people fall ill.

Those looking for a respite from the heat will have to wait a bit longer - the warm weather is expected to last until the end of next month, said the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS).

This is because it is generally drier during the South-west Monsoon season - from June to September - as compared to other times of the year, said an MSS spokesman. Daily maximum temperatures ranging between 32 and 34 degrees C can be expected for now.

 

Cooler days next month

Occasional short showers can also be expected in the late morning and afternoon, the MSS spokesman added.

The highest temperature for this month, up till Sunday, was 32.3 degrees C, recorded last Friday and Saturday.

That was just below the record of 32.4 degrees C for the same period last year, recorded on Aug 12, 2011.

The highest temperature recorded for the month of August in Singapore was 34.2 degrees C, on Aug 17, 1986.

According to information collected by the MSS climate station, it is usually warmer from April to August, as compared to the other months of the year.

"Cooler days can be expected towards the end of the South-west Monsoon season next month," said the MSS spokesman.

Associate Professor Matthias Roth, deputy head of the Department of Geography at the National University of Singapore, said that current temperatures in Singapore are not record breaking.

However, he told my paper: "People are feeling particularly hot because we have had a lot of sunshine, and not a lot of clouds. So there is a lot of radiation."

Marketing executive Francis Yeo, 31, said: "I try not to get out of the office these days if I don't have to. It just feels so hot all the time these days."

Said Mr Wong Jia Hao, 42, an IT professional: "I feel baked when I go out, especially in the afternoon."

He added: "I also notice that my colleagues and family have been coming down with flu suddenly.

"I think it's the combination of the heat, and how dry it is, these days."


chanch@sph.com.sg


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