DOH warns: Firecracker wounds can lead to tetanus infection, death

Marje Pelayo   •   December 26, 2018   •   2670

FILE PHOTO: Fire-cracker injury

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) is expecting more cases of firecracker-related injuries until the first week of next year.

In line with this, the DOH advises merry-makers to immediately go to the nearest hospital and seek medical help once hurt by firecracker to prevent tetanus infection.

Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo explains that any open wound such as burn or a cut caused by a firecracker is more likely to attract tetanus infection.

“Basta tayo ay naputukan kahit minor lang siya nasunog tayo kailangan talagang pumunta sa hospital kasi bibigyan ka ng anti- tetanus na injection kasama iyong toxoid at anti- tetanus serum,” Usec. Domingo said.

Domingo said only a few patients survive tetanus infection especially if the patient has not received the anti-tetanus vaccine.

Suspected cases of tetanus infection can be determined if a cut or a wound is followed by:

Stiffness of the neck, jaw, and other muscles, often accompanied by a distorted, grinning expression; difficulty swallowing; irritability; and uncontrollable spasms of the jaw commonly known as ‘lockjaw’.

Domingo said it is better to act ahead before the symptoms of tetanus infection manifest.

“Talagang nakakamatay po ang tetano. Maninigas. Iyong kanilang panga ay hindi gumagalaw. Nagku- kumbulsyon at sa katagalan ay namamatay within a week siguro or a few days so gusto natin i- prevent iyan,” the health official said.

In case of firework-related injuries, follow these three simple first-aid tips.

First, wash the injured part of the body with clean water.

Second, wrap the wound using clean cloth and bring the victim to the hospital immediately.

Third and for big wounds, use alkaline soap to clean the wound. Do not apply toothpaste or anything to the wound or burn.

As of press time, the DOH has recorded a total of 24 firecracker-related injuries since December 21, still lower than the same period last year.

Most of the victims are males age 2 to 49 years old.

The DOH has again reminded the public to refrain from purchasing and using strong and unauthorized firecrackers to be able to welcome the new year with a smile. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

DOH orders public hospital to increase bed capacity for COVID-19 patients

Marje Pelayo   •   July 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — One after the other, major hospitals in Metro Manila last week declared full capacity of its designated beds for COVID-19 patients.

According to their respective statements, the hospitals fear that operations would collapse with the daily surge of COVID-19 patients.

Thus, the Department of Health (DOH) has required all public hospitals to increase their bed capacity to accommodate more COVID-19 patients.

“ [For] public hospitals, we require them to allocate 30 percent of their bed capacity for COVID-19 patients,” said Heath Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Kapag nag-surge ang cases, 50 percent [dapat], at ‘pag kailangan pa, dapat 70 percent of their bed capacity should be allocated for COVID-19 patients, [When cases surge, hospitals’ bed capacity for COVID-19 patients should be 50 percent and if necessary, 70 percent),” she added.

Private hospitals, meanwhile, are required to initially allot 20 percent of their bed capacity for COVID-19 patients and if necessary, expand further to 30 percent bed capacity as dictated by the “One Hospital Command” launched by the DOH.

Under the program, an incident command system network between hospitals will be established to coordinate transfers in case one hospital can no longer accommodate incoming COVID-19 patients.

“That is our answer to this problem, the One Hospital Command. Kasi kung di magtutulong tulong bawat mga ospital both public and private in a specific locality, we will not be able to have this proper referral system,” Vergeire expalined.

Gaya ng puno na ICU ng hospital, kapag di nya maaccept ang isang pasyente, meron silang incident command system, kung saan ibabato lang nila ang pasyente, enroll the details and ang system ang maghahanap kung saan pwedeng dalin among all of the hospitals in NCR,” she added.

The official noted that due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases, government hospitals like Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, Heart Center and other hospitals for specific specialization also have been accepting COVID-19 patients in response to the demand after major hospitals declared full bed capacity. MNP (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Philippines eyes 30,000 daily COVID-19 tests by end of May

Robie de Guzman   •   May 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) is eyeing to achieve 30,000 daily tests for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by the end of the month as it works to ramp up the country’s testing capacity.

The DOH set the target after it finally attained its first target to conduct 8,000 COVID-19 tests in a day.

On Sunday, May 10, the agency reported it has conducted 8,637 tests in one day. This is, however, 10 days past its target date of April 30.

According to Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the tests were done on 158,176 unique individuals.

She explained that one of the causes of the delay was the slow processing of samples after the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) had to scale down its operations in April when over 40 of its medical staff contracted COVID-19.

The RITM has since returned to normal operations after most of its personnel recovered from the disease.

So far, the Philippines has 26 accredited laboratories capable of detecting the strain of coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19.

Vergeire said they are eyeing to open additional testing facilities to reach its target of 30,000 daily tests.

This way, the country will be able to improve efforts on contact tracing, isolation and treatment of COVID-19 patients to effectively curb the spread of the disease.

“Hindi pa po tapos ang laban ng World War C (COVID-19) sa bawa’t bagong impormasyon bawa’t bagong teknolohiyang nadidiskubre upang malabanan ang COVID-19 tayo’y dapat maging manatiling alerto dahil ang bawa’t bagay na nagagawa natin ay mayron buhay na mailigtas,” Vergeire said.

To date, the Philippines has recorded 11,086 confirmed coronavirus infections, with 726 deaths and 1,999 recovered patients. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Number of firecracker-related injuries recorded in 2020 revelry decreases — DOH

Maris Federez   •   January 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III considers their campaign banning the use of firecrackers in the New Year revelry a success.

This, after the department on Wednesday, reported around 164 cases of firecracker-related injuries amid the festivity.

This is lower by 87 cases from the 2019 record of 251.

At a press conference at the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC), Duque said the number is 71% lower than the five-year average of 403 cases.

He attributed this decrease to President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 28 issued in 2017 which regulates the use of firecrackers.

“Data would show that indeed the downward trend became evident since the president issued out E.O. 28.” he said.

Duque also underscored that the information campaign of the Department of Health (DOH) about firecrackers — which includes the promotion of community fireworks displays — in causing the downward trend of such cases.

The health secretary also acknowledged the efforts of local government units and the media in the information dissemination on firecrackers.

Based on data from Dec. 21, 2019 to January 1, 2020, the National Capital Region has recorded the most number of cases with 84, followed by CALABARZON with 13 cases.

Most of the victims were male between the ages of one and 71 years old.

Most of the injuries were blasts and burns, which totaled 71 cases reported. This was followed by eye injuries with 26 cases.

Most of the injuries were due to kwitis, luces, fountain, piccolo, and baby rocket.

Duque noted that legal firecrackers caused 69% of all injuries.

The DOH also confirmed that there were no injuries due to stray bullet, fireworks ingestion or deaths recorded amid the revelry. — (with details from Asher Cadapan, Jr.) /mbmf

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