As the mercury levels soar in many parts of Thailand and more people come outdoors for the Songkran celebrations, the Department of Disease Control (DDC) on Sunday has warned people to beware of heatstroke.

Department director-general Dr Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoen, citing statistics during the summer months from March-May in 2015-18, said there were 56, 60, 24 and 18 deaths by heatstroke in those respective years.

He also cited the Public Health Ministry’s Strategy and Planning Division report that 3,054, 3,523, 4,002, and 3,409 patients suffered from heatstroke during 2014-2017 respectively. Symptoms include high body temperature at 41 degrees Celsius, flushed skin, rapid breathing, racing heart rate, low blood pressure, anxiety, hallucination, seizure and unconsciousness, he said.

Suwanchai urged people to avoid exercising or working under the sun for a long time, to avoid hot and poorly ventilated places, drink 8-10 glasses of water per day, wear well-ventilated clothing, and avoid alcohol drinking.

Besides those carrying out activities in the sun, others at higher risk of heat stroke include children, the elderly, people with chronic diseases such as hypertension, obese people, those who have not had enough sleep and heavy drinkers.

For more details, call the DDC hotline 1422, he said.