Scores of high school students in Tboung Khmum province fainted over the weekend due to high temperatures and personal health factors, authorities said.
Deputy provincial governor Hak Sok Makara yesterday said 41 students at Kroch Chhmar High School fainted during classes on Friday and Saturday, resulting in hospitalisation.
Mr Sok Makara said 25 students are still receiving treatment in hospital as of yesterday.
“Sixteen students have recovered and doctors will allow them to go home Sunday evening,” he said.
Mr Sok Makara said health officials suspect the incident was caused by high temperatures, fumes from a brick manufacturing facility 200 metres behind the high school and health problems caused by calcium deficiencyand low blood sugar.
“Many students are weak because they have irregular meal schedules and lack rest,” he said. “Five of them had low blood sugar, three had calcium deficiencies and the rest fainted because they were either fatigued or shocked when seeing their friends fainting.”
Mr Makara said school officials will analyse the fainting and take steps to prevent future incidents.
Keo Vannak, director of the provincial health department, and his deputy Chhorn Mony could not be reached for comment yesterday.
A female student who fainted at Kroch Chhmar High yesterday said she was studying when she started feeling shortness of breath and light-headedness. She said she fainted shortly after.
“I did not eat anything before coming to school and while I was studying, I suddenly had a headache – felt dizzy and had difficulty breathing,” the student said.
Ros Soveacha, spokesman for the Education Ministry, yesterday said provincial education departments and schools are instructed to disseminate information on how to prevent fainting incidents.
“The ministry calls for more participation from parents, communities and officials to prevent fainting cases and improve student welfare,” Mr Soveacha said.
He noted the ministry has been conducting a food safety awareness campaign in schools to ensure meals do not contain harmful chemicals and are hygienically prepared.
Ouk Chhayavy, president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers Association, yesterday said fainting could also be caused by lack of sleep.
She said some students stay up at night browsing social media instead of sleeping.
“Being on Facebook for example can give us information, but if it causes lack of sleep then our health is affected,” Ms Chhayavy said. “I think the ministry, parents and other stakeholders must instruct students to be more careful about taking care of their health.”
Fainting cases is also common among garment factory workers. However through education, these numbers have decreased.
Earlier this month, the National Social Security Fund reported a decrease of more than 60 percent with only thirteen cases of fainting episodes in factories last year, compared with 17 cases in 2018.