EXTREME SUMMER heat has claimed the lives of as many as 21 people this year, officials said yesterday.
Dr Amnuay Kajina, director of the Department of Communicable Disease Control, said Thailand continued to be hit by a heatwave affecting many parts of the country.
“People must take extra caution against illnesses caused by the sweltering heat,’’ he said.
He said the mercury in some areas might rise above 40 degrees Celsius, adding that if people’s bodies cannot release heat continuously, they could fall ill and die from heat stroke.
He said heat stroke was caused when people’s bodies could not adjust to or release excess heat. The symptoms include headaches, blackouts, convulsions, shortness of breath, an irregular heartbeat and shock. “Without immediate treatment, heat stroke can lead to death,’’ Amnuay said.
He said 56 people had died as a result of the heatwave last year, most of whom were men and 33 per cent were labourers. Another 33 per cent died while doing activities or work in the sun.
The department reported that from March 1 to April 33 this year, the heatwave claimed 21 lives, comprising 20 men and one woman. The average age of people killed was 51, while victims ranged from 29 to 72. Thirteen died outside of their residences, two died in vehicles, one in a temple and five in houses.
Heat stroke risk
Those who are at risk of heat stroke include people who work outdoors or do activities in the sun such as exercising, children under five and the elderly, people who suffer from high blood pressure, obese people, people who are sleep-deprived, and alcoholics.
Amnuay suggested that people wear light-coloured clothes that release the heat, stay indoors with good ventilation, refrain from extended outdoor activities, wear sunglasses and hats, drink more water than usual, and avoid alcohol. He also cautioned against leaving pets, children and the elderly in cars and urged people to exercise in the early morning or evening when the sun is not too harsh.
Anyone who is affected by heat stroke can call 1669 for assistance or 1422 for more information.
Meanwhile, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) said power consumption peaked for the sixth time this year with consumption reaching 29,403 megawatts. It was the fourth consecutive power-peak day. The average temperature across Thailand was 37.8 degrees yesterday.
Last year, power consumption peaked at 27,345MW on June 11 and the average temperature was 36.7 degrees.
Egat governor Sunchai Kamnoonset said power consumption peaked because of increased usage by the service and industrial sectors. Also there has been more consumption at residences as students stay home during the long summer vacation.