BATU PAHAT, MALAYSIA - Many clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and even Chinese medicine shops are receiving more patients due to the worsening haze in the district.
Private practitioner Dr King Ban Siang said he had more patients who complained of sore throat and coughs at his clinic yesterday.
"The badly affected ones are children, especially those with asthma," he said. "Patients with respiratory tract diseases had increased to about 20 per cent to 30 per cent.
"They complain that the haze this time around is worse as the air is not only cloudy, it also has ashes and fine particles," he added.
Dr King urged the people to cover their food often as there was an increase in patients with mild food poisoning.
"But we cannot determine if these were caused by the haze," he added.
Pantai Hospital consultant physician Dr Ho Lee Ming said 39 outpatients were treated for upper respiratory tract infection from Sunday to Wednesday.
She said the hospital also received four food poisoning cases but could not confirm if it was related to the haze.
Chinese medicine shop assistant Pua Zhi Hao said more people were coming to his shop to buy herbal tea packets that were said to help reduce body heat and relieve sore throat and coughs.
A pharmacist said sales of Vitamin C pills and fever medication would also go up whenever there was haze.
In Johor Baru, there was a scramble to buy disposable masks, which were fast running out.
Jeff Liang, an assistant at a pharmacy along Jalan Maju here, said that over 300 customers bought the masks in the past two days alone.
Kalsom Razi, a worker at another pharmacy along Jalan Sutera 1 here, said that proprietors of kindergartens and nurseries were enquiring about face masks for children.
"Due to limited stock, we had to limit sales to a maximum of five to 10 face masks per person," she added.
Another assistant at a pharmacy in Plaza Sentosa here, who declined to be named, said face masks were snapped up within hours daily.
The prices of the three-ply masks range from 40 sen (S$0.16) to 80 sen each. The durable N95 face masks are sold at RM4.50 (S$1.80) each.
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