Public Health officials in Thailand have issued a health warning as a heatwave sweeps across many regions, with the peak temperature in Bangkok’s Bang Na district expected to hit 50 degrees Celsius.
The intense summer heat, according to Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, permanent secretary for public health, could harm people’s health, especially children, the elderly, and those with underlying illnesses.
He added that outdoor labourers are at risk of dehydration due to excessive perspiration and heat exhaustion.
Temperatures will be above 40 degrees Celsius in many locations on Thursday, with the Meteorological Department predicting a high of 40.6 degrees Celsius in Phetchabun, 41.5 degrees Celsius in Si Sa Ket, 49.4 degrees Celsius in Chon Buri’s Laem Chabang area, and 47.9 degrees Celsius in Phuket.
Temperatures are recorded in the shade because readings in the sun can easily exceed 50 degrees Celsius during Thailand’s hot season. On April 28, 2016, the highest temperature ever officially recorded in the nation was 44.6 degrees Celsius in Mae Hong Son’s Muang district. That shattered the previous record of 44.5°C established on April 27, 1960 in Uttaradit.
The unofficial peak temperature in Bang Na on Wednesday hit 45.5 degrees Celsius, making it the country’s second hottest spot after Chon Buri, which recorded 45.8 degrees Celsius. There was also no getting away from the hot weather in Phangnga (43.3C), Tak (41C), and Si Sa Ket. (38.4C).
April is traditionally the warmest month of the year. Dr. Opas stated that if a person is exposed to heat for an extended period of time, the most severe condition may develop in the form of heat stroke.
He warned that temperatures of 41 degrees Celsius or higher are hazardous because they can cause cramps in the legs, abdomen, or shoulders, as well as spasms and even heat exhaustion. He advised people to consume plenty of water at regular intervals rather than waiting until they were thirsty.
Dr. Opas also advises against drinking tea, coffee, fizzy beverages, or alcohol, as well as spending too much time outside.
Northern Thailand Air Quality
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, people in northern Thailand regions were still choking on hazardous amounts of smog.
The Department of Pollution Control found red-zone levels of ultrafine dust in 20 areas where PM2.5 levels were above 90 microgrammes per cubic metre (g/m3), which was hazardous to health.
PM2.5 levels in the preceding 24 hours ranged from 10 to 356 microgrammes per cubic metre (g/m3) as of 11 a.m. The government-established safe limit is 50 g/m3.
PM2.5 levels in Bangkok and surrounding regions ranged from 29 to 99 g/m3. Twenty-six locations exceeded the 50 g/m3 safe treshold, with one spot on Kanchanapisek road in Bang Khun Thian district in the red zone at 99 g/m3.
PM2.5 levels in the north varied from 35 to 356 g/m3. Twenty-eight areas exceeded the safe limit of 50 g/m3, with 20 of them exceeding 90 g/m3. The highest PM2.5 level, 356 g/m3, was reported in Pai district, Mae Hong Son province’s tambon Wiang Tai. Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lampang, Nan, Phrae, and Phayao districts were also in the red zone.
PM2.5 levels in the Northeast varied from 33 to 125 g/m3. There were eight areas that exceeded the safe limit, three of which were in the red zone: 100 g/m3 in tambon Kut Pong, Muang district, Loei province; 125 g/m3 in tambon Meechai, Muang district, Nong Khai province; and 103 g/m3 in tambon Bung Kan, Muang district, Bung Kan province.
The Central region had ultrafine dust levels ranging from 32 to 63 g/m3, with seven locations exceeding the safe treshold of 50 g/m3.
PM2.5 levels in the east varied from moderate to excellent.
The Pollution Control Department predicts that PM2.5 readings in Bangkok and its environs will be mostly safe on April 6-7. Because of the stagnant air over the region, the situation in the north, particularly in areas adjacent to neighbouring countries, would have to be carefully watched.