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1800 – 88 – 6722

Pusat Panggilan Farmasi Kebangsaan (NPCC)

Waktu operasi: 8 pagi – 5 petang
(Isnin – Jumaat, kecuali Cuti Umum)


Laman web:
Sistem Pengurusan Aduan Awam Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia




Toll free line:
1800 – 88 – 6722

National Pharmacy Call Centre (NPCC)


Operating hours: 8 am – 5 pm
(Monday – Friday except Public Holiday)


Sistem Pengurusan Aduan Awam Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia


7 July 2023

The Malaysian Meteorological Department forecasts that the nation will experience El Nino until September. This phenomenon leads to a decrease in rainfall and the onset of hot, arid weather. It seems probable that this situation will impact public health. On top of that, a child has reportedly died of heat stroke recently. The public should therefore be informed about heat-related illnesses, including their causes, risk factors, and preventative measures.


Heat exhaustion and heat stroke


Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are two of the most significant heat-related illnesses. These conditions occur when an individual is continuously exposed to elevated temperatures to the point of dehydration. A person with heat exhaustion is at risk for heat stroke if not treated promptly, which occurs when his body temperature rises dramatically above 41 degrees Celsius.


When a person is exposed to a combination of several risk factors for an extended period of time, both of these conditions develop. A significant cause of heat-related illnesses is engaging in physical activity during long periods of hot and dry weather. In addition, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are associated with a person's age, such that infants under the age of four and the elderly are at greater risk.


Furthermore, those with preexisting conditions like diabetes, hypertension, or cardiovascular disease or who are using dehydration-inducing drugs are at a higher risk of getting heat-related illnesses. In addition, people who are overweight, smokers, or persistent alcoholics are at greater risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Problems with liver and kidney function are risk factors for some other individuals.


Use of drugs that increase the risk of heat-related diseases


The rise in body temperature that medications cause may be the result of several mechanisms of action. An increase in body temperature can be caused by the effect that medication has on the brain's body temperature control center, cardiac output, blood vessel dilation or constriction, rate of sweating, kidney function, and the body's hydration and electrolyte status. However, environmental factors and a person's state of health also affect the effects of a rising body temperature. In fact, it is also possible for heat-related illnesses to occur in individuals who are not taking any medications.


Diuretics, beta blockers, and calcium channel blockers are among the medications that might cause an elevation in body temperature. These medications are used to treat hypertension and other cardiovascular conditions. Drugs in the diuretic class have the potential to cause dehydration, whereas beta blockers and calcium channel blockers influence heart rate and blood pumping capacity. In addition to diuretic medications, prolonged use of laxatives may also result in dehydration. This is due to the fact that this form of medication causes excessive water loss.


Taking medications that affect the central nervous system can also increase the risk of developing heat-related illnesses. These medications include antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, and antidepressants like lithium, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and tricyclic antidepressants. The majority of these medications affect the brain's temperature control centers and the way the body responds to changes in body temperature. Both of these effects delay down the body's natural cooling process.


Alcohol and antihistamines are also likely to increase the body's temperature. Consuming excessive alcohol can impair a person's concentration and ability to interpret thermal stimuli, as well as cause blood vessel dilation. Antihistamines, which are frequently used to treat allergy and flu symptoms, will cause blood vessel constriction and slow down the body's natural cooling process. In addition to medications, the consumption of weight loss products such as carnitine and green tea extract can increase the body's heat production. This effect is a result of the body's increased metabolic rate.


Advice for patients and the general public


Even though it is known that some medications might increase the risk of heat-related illnesses, patients should still take them exactly as instructed by the doctor or pharmacist. Patients should not decrease the dose or stop taking the medication on their own, particularly for medications used to treat chronic diseases. If there are concerns about the possibility of developing heat-related diseases, patients are encouraged to communicate their concerns with their treating physician and seek his or her opinion.


In addition, patients are advised to take precautions to reduce their risk of developing heat-related illnesses. Among the most important things that can be done is to ensure that the body is adequately hydrated at all times. In addition to plain water, isotonic beverages can be used to replenish the electrolytes and minerals that the body requires. Reducing the consumption of alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and sugary drinks is necessary.


Additionally, the patient must reduce the duration and intensity of physical activity performed at home. If at all feasible, schedule these activities during dry weather. When leaving the home is unavoidable, the use of sunscreen products is strongly advised. For example, a sunscreen cream with SPF15 or higher can protect the body from direct sunlight. Before leaving the home, apply the cream to skin that will be exposed to sunlight. Application on a consistent basis can have a greater protective effect. Also, umbrellas and caps are highly recommended.




In addition to environmental factors and the condition of the body, heat-related illnesses can occur as a result of taking certain medications. In this regard, individuals taking these medications should seek the advice of a healthcare professional to ensure that the medicine can be taken to treat diseases while minimizing the risk of heat-related illnesses. Additionally, patients are advised to take preventative measures.


If there are any inquiries regarding medicines, please call the National Pharmacy Call Centre (NPCC) at the toll-free number 1-800-88-6722 during weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on public holidays.













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