Coping with the hot season | Bangkok Post: learning

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Beating the heat

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Outdoor workers survive the hot season in various ways, all useful to know as the Meteorological Department says the hottest day of the year has not yet arrived. 

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Construction workers cover up completely and drink plenty of water to quench their thirst while working in the sweltering heat at a building site in the Sutthisarn area. THANARAK KHOONTON


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How to beat the blistering heat

Natchapon Jindanon
Phanida Wonganan

As the mercury starts to boil, outdoor workers find ingenious ways to keep cool.

The sweltering weather poses few problems for people working indoors or in air-conditioned workplaces, but for many people who have to work outside, it takes some creativity to beat the heat.

The Bangkok Post talked to several people who earn their living outside – traffic police, construction workers, street cleaners and street vendors – about how they cope with the sweltering weather.

From stockpiling cold drinks, to wearing protective clothing with ice packs underneath, the workers shared several ideas about how to survive in the sun.

Kim, a 40-year-old foreman at a construction site on Rama III Road said the workers spend most of the day in the sun.

Their main strategy is to wear long-sleeve shirts, trousers and headscarves.

The Thai smiles survives the hottest weather. THANARAK KHOONTON

The more skin coverage, the better, Kim said. It's not long before their clothes are soaked with sweat, he said.

When that happens, there's a simple solution.

"We just take a break under a tree," he said.

"Our clothes are soaked, but we don't mind because when the wind blows through our wet clothes, we feel cool."

A snack vendor in front of Platinum Fashion Mall in the Pratunam area said he converts a towel into an ice bag and wraps it around his neck.

"When the ice melts, I put new ice in the towel," he said. "It helps keep my body temperature down."

Most of the outdoor workers agreed Bangkok's hot season seems to be getting hotter every year.

Some workers said they believe the increasing number of high-rise buildings is making the city hotter as the glass panes and concrete trap the heat.

The Meteorological Department has projected the highest temperature of the year in Bangkok could hit 42C. That day is coming soon as April is typically the hottest month of the year.

The department said the average high temperature in the hot season, from March to May, is 38-40C. It predicted the hottest day of the year will be April 27.

Pol Sen Sgt Maj Suthat Thongwichai, a traffic police officer from Huai Khwang station, said he keeps a bucket filled with ice, soda and energy drink nearby while he clears traffic. The energy boost pays off, he said.

"The faster I finish clearing the road, the faster I can take a break," Pol Sen Sgt Maj Suthat said, as he wiped sweat from his face.

Nopparat, a junk dealer, showed off a large jar filled with water at his makeshift shack in Huai Khwang district.

He said the easiest way to cool down is to dump the water over his head and body.

Twice protected: from the heat and pollution. PATIPAT JANTHONG

A 59-year-old street cleaner in Klong Toey district named Tim, said she drinks more water than usual while at work in the hot season.

In her view, a bigger problem during the hot season is pollution caused by traffic.

She said street cleaners are at risk of various health problems, including skin cancer, heat stroke, and eye problems spent from too much time in the sun.

"Working in the hot weather and air pollution is tough, but I have no choice," she said. "I have a family to feed."

quench thirst – to drink so that you no longer feel thirsty  ระงับความกระหายน้ำ
sweltering – to be very hot in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable ร้อนมาก
site – a place where something is located  สถานที่
blistering – extremely hot in a way that is uncomfortable ร้อนระอุ
mercury – a chemical element. Mercury is a poisonous silver liquid metal, used in thermometers สารปรอท
ingenious – very suitable for a particular purpose and resulting from clever new ideas ชาญฉลาด, หลักแหลม, เฉลียวฉลาด
pose a problem  – to be a possible difficulty or danger อาจก่อให้เกิดปัญหาต่อ
creativity – the ability to create new ideas or things using your imagination ความสามารถในการสร้างสรรค์, ความคิดสร้างสรรค์
vendor – someone who sells something, but not in a shop พ่อค้าแม่ค้าแผงลอย
cope – to deal successfully with a difficult situation  รับมือกับ
stockpile – to collect large amounts of things that may be needed เก็บสะสมไว้ใน
ice pack – a container filled with ice that is used to cool parts of the body that are injured, very hot, etc. ถุงน้ำแข็ง
survive – to continue to exist อยู่รอด  
foreman – a worker who is in charge of a group of other factory or building workers หัวหน้าคนงาน
strategy – a plan that is intended to achieve a particular purpose ยุทธวิธี, กลวิธี
sleeve – a part of a piece of clothing that covers all or part of your arm  แขนเสื้อ
headscarf – a piece of cloth worn on the head and tied under the chin ผ้าคลุมศีรษะ
soaked – very wet  เปียกโชก
sweat – the tiny drops of salty water that form on your skin when you are hot  เหงื่อ
convert – to change from one form to another  เปลี่ยนระบบ
wrap – to cover something completely in paper or other material คลุม
melt – to change from a solid form to liquid (e.g. ice to water) ละลาย
temperature – a measurement of how hot or how cold a place or object is อุณหภูมิ
pane – a single sheet of glass in a window บานกระจกหน้าต่าง
trap – to keep something such as air, gas or energy in a particular place ติดค้าง  ไม่ระบายไปสู่ที่อื่น
Meteorological Department – the government department in charge of determining what the weather will be in the future กรมอุตุนิยมวิทยา
project – to calculate based on information already known คาดคะเน, ประเมิน
typically – usually; normally อย่างเป็นแบบฉบับ
predict – to say that an event or action will happen in the future, especially as a result of knowledge or experience คาดการณ์ว่า พยากรณ์จากสถิติว่า
bucket – a container with an open top and a handle, often used for carrying liquids ถัง
boost – an action or event that helps something to increase, improve, or become more successful การส่งเสริม
pay off – to be successful and bring good results ประสบความสำเร็จ
junk – things that are considered useless or of little value เศษของที่ไม่ใช้แล้ว
dealer – a person or company that buys and sells a particular product ผู้จำหน่าย
makeshift – using whatever is available and therefore not very good   สำหรับใช้ชั่วคราว, ใช้ประทังไปก่อน
shack – a very simple and small building made from pieces of wood, metal or other materials กระท่อม
at risk – in danger ตกอยู่ในความเสี่ยง
cancer – a serious disease in which growths of cells, also called cancers, form in the body and kill normal body  cells. The disease often causes death มะเร็ง
heatstroke – an illness with fever and often loss of consciousness, caused by being in too great a heat for too long ลมแดด
tough – difficult to do or to deal with ยาก  ยากลำบาก

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