DOH: Vaccinate ahead of flu season

Marje Pelayo   •   July 2, 2019   •   2429

FILE PHOTO: Vaccination (Ina Fassbender / Reuters)

MANILA, Philippines – Influenza is among the rainy-day diseases that highly threatens people’s health around the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Unlike the common cough and colds, influenza or ‘flu’ is most of the time accompanied by muscle pains and fever that lasts for several days.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), a new strain of flu virus develops every year that’s why it is important to also develop an appropriate vaccine.

Likewise, a yearly vaccination against flu is highly necessary to prevent it.

“Iyong advice natin sa ating mga kababayan, iyong mga kailangan mabakunahan, pabakunahan pa habang maaga para protektado sila lalo na kapag time na madami nang flu, (We advise the public to vaccinate especially those who need the vaccine to keep protected during flu season,)” explained Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo.

The DOH noted that flu season usually begins from September and lasts until February.

The agency emphasized, however, that it prioritizes children and senior citizens in its vaccination programs.

Domingo said a new strain of flu virus has been discovered this year in the country though it is weaker as compared to a strong flu virus recorded in 2017.

In fact, the mortality rate and complication rate brought about by the current flu virus remains low.

Still, the DOH advised the public to undergo a regular health checkup because flu infection might lead to complications that can become fatal.

Parents are advised to complete their children’s flu vaccination shots and avail them for free in hospitals and barangay health stations.

“Ang number 1 pa rin natin kasi kung magkakaroon ng complication sa flu iyong mayroong mahihina ang katawan, meaning iyong mga batang- bata at tiyak iyong matatanda, (Our number one concern is the complications of flu in patients with weak immune system, meaning the children and the elderly),” Domingo said.

The health official also recommends a healthy diet to boost the immune system and have a regular take of vitamin C, orange juice, and six to eight glasses of water every day.

If possible, sleep for up to eight hours and exercise regularly.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

It will also help to wear face masks especially when going in crowded places or when travelling so as not to contract the flu virus. – with details from Aiko Miguel

Ash-covered fruits, veggies still safe to eat after thorough washing, DOH says

Robie de Guzman   •   January 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) assured the public that fruits and vegetables covered with layers of ash from the Taal Volcano are still safe to eat after some thorough washing.

“’Yung gulay tsaka prutas na nalagyan ng abo basta hugasan lang ng mahusay ‘yun at linisin, puwede po kainin ‘yun,” Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said at a Palace press briefing on Wednesday.

He said even plants cultivated in farms affected by the ashfall brought about by the Taal Volcano eruption are also safe for consumption as long as these are thoroughly washed with water.

Ashfall from Taal volcano blanketed crops and livestock in surrounding areas since its eruption began on Sunday.

The Department of Agriculture earlier reported that damage to crops and livestock has reached more than P500 million.

Meanwhile, Domingo advised the public to be cautious and refrain from eating fish caught in Taal lake and other bodies of water affected by the Taal eruption as these may contain toxins that can have harmful effects on human health.

“Might as well be cautious because we know that toxic substances have been thrown out of the volcano and na-dissolve ‘yan sa tubig,” he said.

Taal Volcano spewed ash on Sunday that sent thousands of residents scrambling for safety.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has reiterated that no one should stay in the Taal Volcano island and other nearby areas susceptible to volcano tsunami, base surge, and ballistic projectiles as a result of the eruption.

Phivolcs said that Taal Volcano remains under alert level 4, which means that a hazardous eruption is possible within hours to days.

Confirmed polio cases in PH climb to 16 – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   January 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday said it recorded four more confirmed cases of polio, bringing to 16 the total number of cases since the outbreak was declared in September 2019.

The DOH said two of the new cases were from Maguindanao – both males, two and three years old, as reported by the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM).

The third case is a two-year-old boy from Sultan Kudarat while the fourth case is a three-year-old boy from Quezon City.

The children were said to have manifested with fever, diarrhea, muscle pain, asymmetric ascending paralysis and weakness of extremities.

In light of this, the DOH reiterated its call for parents to have their children vaccinated against the disease through its Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio (SPKP) campaign.

The department said the campaign’s succeeding rounds are scheduled from January 20 to February 2 in all regions of Mindanao, and from January 27 to February 7 in the National Capital Region.

“I urge all parents and caregivers of children under five years old to take part in the coming SPKP campaign rounds scheduled in your respective areas. Have your children, including those with private physicians or pediatricians, vaccinated with oral polio vaccine by health workers and bakunators,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

“Additional polio doses can provide additional protection to your children. There is no overdose with the oral polio vaccine,” he added.

In September 2019, the department confirmed the re-emergence of the disease in the Philippines 19 years after it was declared polio-free by the World Health Organization.

DOH orders price control on medical supplies in areas affected by Taal eruption

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 15, 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday (January 14) ordered price control on medical supplies in areas affected by Taal volcano eruption.

In a memorandum, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III ordered a price freeze on over 200 essential medicines and medical supplies in Batangas, Cavite and other areas.

Among the essential medicines include anti-asthma, respiratory tract medicines, and other medical supplies.

“Essential medicines have been identified as a basic necessity especially in times of natural calamities and man-made disasters that put the health and lives of Filipinos at risk because of unfavorable conditions that cause or aggravate disease which may lead to epidemics or massive deaths,” the memorandum reads.—AAC

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