DOH, WHO warn public anew of e-cigarettes harmful effects

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2019   •   616

FILE PHOTO: An exhibitor staff member uses an electronic cigarette at Beijing International Vapor Distribution Alliance Expo (VAPE CHINA EXPO) in Beijing, July 24, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Lee

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) once again called on the public, especially pregnant women and young adults, to refrain from vaping and using electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and other heated tobacco products.

The DOH made the call after the World Health Organization (WHO) introduced new International Classification of Diseases (ICD) 10 code U07.0, an international tool for classifying and monitoring diseases, following its warning on the harmful effects of e-cigarettes and other similar devices.

The tool, according to WHO, will be used for immediate reporting of acutely ill patients who have used e-cigarettes in the last 90 days, with no other plausible causes for illness.

“Electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products are sold in the market as alternatives for smokers trying to wean themselves off tobacco. Some studies claim that they contain fewer toxic chemicals and are less harmful alternatives to cigarettes,” DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

“We do not support their claim of reduced harm. These products endanger the health of both users and non-users, and are clearly not meant for children,” he added.

The WHO introduced new ICD codes in response to the epidemic in the United States involving healthy young people who were reported to have developed vaping-related illness in recent months.

With 1,299 cases and 26 deaths reported, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration are currently investigating the reports.

In support of WHO’s efforts, the DOH urged all government and private hospitals, clinics and other health facilities to use proper codes for designating vaping-related disorders to allow existing health information systems to capture data on vaping-related disorders.

Information on the potential harm of novel and emerging nicotine products can guide future policy directions for electronic cigarettes.

All health and allied health professionals are urged to be vigilant in identifying risks during routine clinical evaluations by taking the history of tobacco use and use of e-cigarettes or vapes in all patients.

DOH also called on the medical community, parents and teachers to help address the widespread use of electronic cigarettes, particularly among the youth and young adults.

“People who have recently used e-cigarettes or other vaping products should immediately seek medical attention if they develop respiratory symptoms,” Duque said.

“Every scenario on the table” in China virus outbreak – WHO

UNTV News   •   February 18, 2020

The latest data provided by China on people infected with coronavirus indicates a decline in new cases, but “every scenario is still on the table” in terms of the epidemic’s evolution, the World Health Organization said on Monday (February 17).

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva that China’s detailed paper on more than 44,000 confirmed cases provided insight into the age range of infections, disease severity and mortality rates.

Asked whether the outbreak was a pandemic, Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme, said: “The real issue is whether we are seeing efficient community transmission outside of China, and at the present time, we are not observing that”.

WHO expert Sylvie Briand said the agency was working closely with Japanese authorities and the chief medical officer on the Diamond Princess docked off Yokohama on infections and evacuations, adding: “Our focus is on our public health objective that we contain the virus and not contain the people”. (Reuters)

(Production: Marina Depetris, Johnny Cotton)

Lifesaver tips: What to do if someone is having a stroke

Robie de Guzman   •   February 14, 2020

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stroke is one of the leading causes of deaths worldwide.

In its report, the WHO said that of the 56.9 million deaths worldwide in 2016, stroke and Ischaemic heart disease accounted for a combined 15.2 million deaths.

A stroke occurs when there’s bleeding in your brain or when blood flow to the brain is blocked or limited.

Its risk factors include having high blood pressure, had a previous stroke, smoking, diabetes and heart disease. A person’s risk of stroke also increases with age.

A stroke is a true emergency that needs quick action.

When a person is having a stroke, every second counts and quick intervention may increase a person’s chance of survival and reduce the risk of long-term disability.

Strokes, depending on its severity, can carry a number of sudden, telltale signs, including:

  • Drooping on one side of the face
  • Difficulty in lifting of one or both arms to its full weight
  • Slurred or difficulty with talking and understanding speech
  • Loss of vision
  • Difficulty in walking, dizziness
  • Loss of balance or consciousness

The WHO said that having sudden severe headache with no known cause is another potential sign that one might be having a stroke.

According to UNTV’s Lifesaver program, a bystander should use F.A.S.T to help remember warning signs in the event of possible stroke:

  • Face. Does the face droop on one side when the person tries to smile?
  • Arms. Can the person lift his/her one arm to its full weight?
  • Speech. Is the person having a slurred speech or difficulty with talking and understanding speech?
  • Time. If you observe any of these signs, immediately call a local emergency number.

What should you do while waiting for the emergency medical service to arrive?

  • Remain calm. Talk to the person and reassure him or her that help is on the way.
  • If the person is conscious, gently place them into a comfortable position but do not try to move them any further.
  • Do not give them any food or liquids.
  • Note the person’s symptoms and look for any changes in condition. Also try to remember the time when symptoms started. It is important to give the emergency medical responder as much information as possible about the person’s situation.
  • If he or she falls unconscious, monitor their airway and breathing by lifting the person’s chin and tilt their head slightly backward. Look to see if their chest is moving or listen for breathing sounds.
  • If there are no signs of breathing, start performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

During a medical emergency situation, always remember to stay focused and take action quickly.

Watch these episodes of Lifesaver below for more information on the early signs of stroke:

WHO concludes global research and innovation forum on novel coronavirus

UNTV News   •   February 13, 2020

The Global Research and Innovation Forum held by the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak concluded on Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland.

The two-day forum attracted scientists and representatives of health institutions from around the world to attend or participate in remote discussion.

“We also identified transmission and epidemiology as an important priority to be studied fairly quickly, because we really need to understand this virus, of course, where it originated and how it jumped to humans, but also about its transmissibility, the age groups that affects, what are the underline conditions or the environmental conditions that sometimes makes this disease more severe in some people as opposed to others,” said Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist of the WHO.

Chinese scientists who are on the front lines of the fight against the epidemic joined the forum via remote links to share their research findings on and treatment experiences of the virus, promoting a consensus among scientists of all countries for cooperation, the WHO said.

“The Chinese scientists and researchers participate in this meeting because they have the hands-on experience of what is happening. Most of the working groups have Chinese scientists as part of the groups, so I think the outcomes of the meeting were very much influenced by the contribution of the Chinese scientists,” said Swaminathan. (Reuters)

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