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Images: Ng Kai

Extreme Temperatures Across Southeast Asia: How To Beat The Singapore Heat

As temperatures soar to alarming levels across South and Southeast Asia, countries in the region are grappling with an unprecedented heat wave:

  • Cambodia: Ministry of water and meteorology warns of 43°C temperatures in certain areas, emphasising health monitoring during hot weather.
  • India: Severe heatwave conditions persist, with temperatures exceeding 44°C in some regions.
  • Myanmar: Temperatures soar 3-4°C above average; national forecaster predicts 43°C in Mandalay.
  • Philippines: Record-breaking heat in Manila hits 45°C, leading to the suspension of in-person classes at public schools.
  • Thailand: At least 30 heatstroke deaths reported this year; temperatures exceed 44.1°C in northern provinces, prompting severe heat warnings.
  • Vietnam: Forecasted highs of 41°C during a national holiday in the north, with intense heat expected until the end of April.

In Singapore, the latter half of April 2024 will “still likely be warm”, according to the National Environment Agency, with daily temperature on most days ranging between 25°C and 34°C, and hitting 35°C on some afternoons.

The relentless heat and humidity in the Lion City can take a toll on both our bodies and our daily routines. However, a few simple adjustments and smart choices, can help us stay cool, comfortable, and productive even in the hottest months.

1. Dress smart

Choosing the right clothing can make a world of difference in staying cool. Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics such as cotton, linen, or moisture-wicking materials that allow air circulation and help sweat evaporate faster. Loose-fitting clothing in light colours reflects sunlight and reduces heat absorption, keeping you cooler outdoors.

Due to the consistently high temperatures recently, certain schools have recommended that students wear physical education (PE) clothing until further notice.


2. Stay hydrated

In Singapore's humid climate, staying hydrated is crucial to maintaining your body's temperature regulation and overall well-being. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and consider carrying a reusable water bottle with you to ensure easy access to hydration wherever you go. Electrolyte-rich drinks or coconut water can also replenish minerals lost through sweating.

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3. Seek shade and cool spaces

When outdoors, look for shaded areas or use umbrellas to protect yourself from direct sunlight. Plan outdoor activities during early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are milder. Indoors, create a cool sanctuary by using fans, air conditioning, or dehumidifiers. Consider energy-efficient options to balance comfort with sustainability.

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4. Eat light and refreshing foods

Opt for light meals that are easy to digest and hydrating. Incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables with high water content such as cucumbers, watermelon, and citrus fruits into your diet. Cold soups, salads, and smoothies are not only refreshing but also help maintain hydration levels.

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5. Embrace cool rituals

Take cool showers or baths to lower your body temperature and refresh yourself after outdoor activities. Use cooling products like mint-infused lotions or facial mists to soothe and invigorate your skin. Keep a damp cloth or towel in the fridge for quick cool-downs when needed.

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6. Stay active wisely

Engage in physical activities during cooler parts of the day or choose indoor workout options such as swimming, yoga, or indoor cycling. If exercising outdoors, wear appropriate clothing, use sunscreen, and take frequent breaks in shaded areas to prevent overheating and sunburn.

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7. Create airflow at home and work

Maximize airflow in your living and working spaces by strategically placing fans or opening windows to promote cross ventilation. Use curtains or blinds to block direct sunlight during peak hours while maintaining natural light. Consider using energy-efficient appliances and air conditioners with programmable settings for optimal comfort and savings.

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8. Protect your skin and eyes

Wear lightweight, UV-protective clothing, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses with UV-blocking lenses to shield yourself from harmful sun rays. Apply sunscreen with a high SPF rating and reapply as directed, especially if spending extended periods outdoors.


9. Plan outdoor activities thoughtfully

Schedule outdoor activities such as picnics, walks, or outings to parks during cooler times of the day or evenings. Check weather forecasts for heat advisories or air quality alerts and adjust plans accordingly to prioritize safety and comfort.

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10. Stay informed and adapt

Stay informed about heat-related advisories, air quality levels, and local initiatives for heat relief. Be mindful of vulnerable groups such as children, elderly individuals, and pets, and take extra precautions to ensure their well-being during hot weather spells.

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