Keep Your Cool: How to Stay Healthy During a Heatwave with Dr Mark Yap

heat, Dr Mark Yap

As temperatures soar in Singapore, doctors are reporting more heat-related health conditions in patients. 

With the temperature rising to a high of 37 degrees, it is important to take all necessary precautions to protect ourselves from the heat. We invited Dr Mark Yap, a family physician from Cashew Medical and Surgery to speak with us on heat-related conditions and ways to manage our health during this heat wave.

Beyond the basics of taking care of ourselves, it is important to monitor any symptoms that may lead to severe heat-related conditions. The signs tend to be very generic, so it is important to treat each symptom seriously. Instances of light-headedness, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness may not seem serious, but they can lead to heat cramps and even loss of consciousness. Once these severe conditions have been reached, you should seek medical treatment immediately. 

If you suffer from existing medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, or blood pressure-related issues, the heat may actually increase the severity of your ailments. In this instance, it is recommended that these individuals should continue to take their medication and follow up with their primary care physician on a regular basis. They should also be vigilant when faced with any symptom of a heat-related condition, as it may be linked to an illness flare-up caused by the heat. In the case of infants, parents should be vigilant of their child’s body temperature and take precautionary measures to cool them down. When infants are dehydrated, they are unable to alert others of their predicament and can easily overheat, so it is best to take extra safety precautions during this time.

Avoid the heat by staying indoors and limiting time spent in the sun. Should you need to be outdoors for long periods of time, ensure that you are regularly applying sunscreen, staying hydrated, and staying in the shade. You should also take short breaks to give yourself time to rest and cool off. If the heat is truly unbearable during the day, you may want to find out if your workplace will allow you to work at night rather than during the day, ensuring that your environment is much cooler when you are moving around. Resting during the day will also allow you to conserve your energy and sweat less. Parents should limit the time their children spend outdoors and companies should ensure that employees stationed outdoors are given regular breaks and are adequately hydrated.

One of the easiest ways to ward off heat-related conditions is to keep yourself well hydrated, which can be monitored via the colour of your urine. If it is dark-coloured, you are not adequately hydrated. Making sure that you drink enough water is key in preventing the development of heat-related conditions, as a lack of hydration will result in the inability to sweat to cool your body down. This results in your internal body temperature rising to dangerous levels that may potentially lead to heat stroke.

Dr Yap has seen many patients who have suffered from heat-related illnesses and is well-versed in how to stay cool in the heat. Watch the full interview with Dr Yap in the video below to find out more:

Beat the Heat: Tips for Staying Cool and Healthy During a Heatwave | Dr Mark Yap, Family Physician

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