Sales of face masks and Chinese herbal tea go up in Malaysia

PETALING JAYA - The rising levels of heat, humidity and particulate levels in the air are driving up the sales of Chinese herbal tea and face masks.

A survey by The Star at pharmacies and traditional Chinese medicine shops found that sales of these items are brisk.

The shop assistant of a Chinese medicine outlet in SS2, Tan Chia Boon, said there was about a 35 per cent increase in the sales of herbal tea by those reporting flu, coughing, shortness of breath and other respiratory symptoms.

"Besides herbal tea, customers also preferred traditional medicine in tablet form that contain ingreĀ­dients such as chrysanthemum and ginseng," said Tan, 26.

Another Chinese traditional medicine shop-cum-clinic reported that it sold only slightly more herbal tea, but had been receiving significantly more patients due to the weather.

According to Norhaiza Abdul, a sales assistant at the Section 17 branch of Caring Pharmacy here, customers were eager to purchase facial masks due to the haze.

"Customers also complained about sore eyes, breathlessness, coughing and flu," she said.

Kota Damansara's Well-Being pharmacy sales assistant Melissa Chan said there were a dozen more customers yesterday compared to a typical Monday before the arrival of the prolonged dry weather.

Monday's rain over certain parts of the Klang Valley certainly brought relief to residents such as Chew Ai Ling, 63, who complained that the haze caused her chronic cough to recur after a month of remission.

"I have to wear a facial mask now. It was so bad that I couldn't stop coughing," she said.

Shafina Ali, 23, who works at a pharmaceutical company, said her eyes hurt as if pepper had been applied there.

Those without air-conditioning are finding it hard to cope as well, with medical student Paul Khan waking up yesterday drenched in sweat.

"It wasn't just hot, it's also hazy. I don't know how long more I can handle this," he said.