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Poor air quality in India’s capital triggers health concerns

by admin   |   Posted on Monday, November 12th, 2018

 

New Delhi in smog | REUTERS

Pollution levels in New Delhi, the capital of India, are over 50 times more than the allowed limits, raising people’s concerns over health especially for children.

Four-year-old Avyan suffers from severe wheezing and chest infections, which often leading to multiple hospitalizations. Although he is under the protection of air purifiers and anti-pollution masks, his mother still worries about his health condition because the pollution in the city shows no sign of improving.

“Whenever I put a mask on him for doing the nebulizer, every time some part of me inside me cries. Because once I am pumping him with all those strong medicines, just to manage those symptoms, the other is his body really needs that to survive in this environment. So we would want him to have a very nice happy healthy childhood, but it’s sad that we are not able to give him that, just because we’re in a place which has so much of pollution,” said Anchal Garg Karanth, mother of Avyan.

Recent studies have shown that one in every three children in Delhi has impaired lung function according to the Center of Science and Environment. Doctors also say newborn babies in Delhi take in gulps of polluted air equivalent to smoking 25 cigarettes on the first day of their lives.

According to the World Health Organization, over 100,000 children died below the age of five due to the air pollution in India in 2016, which is the record high in the world. Children are particularly vulnerable to bad air because they breathe more rapidly than adults and absorb twice as many pollutants.

“If you are not oxygenating very well, your cognitive function in terms of behavior, intelligence, has a major impact, especially if it happens in the younger years because that is when the neurological system is really developing. Other than that, any chronic lung issue can impact the cardiovascular system as well,” said Anupama Gupta, a pediatrician.

Delhi’s smog is said to be a toxic mix of vehicular pollution, construction dust, and fumes from crops burnt by farmers in neighboring states. This year, the Delhi government banned all construction, digging and excavation work when the pollution levels started rising. The government might also act by taking private cars off of Delhi’s roads if pollution levels deteriorate further.

“In emergency response, you are not really solving the problem, but what you are doing is you are stopping from adding more where the situation is already very bad. But the more fundamental solution will come when you are doing a round-the-year plan and with stringent implementation of that plan,” said Anumita Roy Chowdhary, an environmentalist.

The Indian government is currently working on a national clean air plan and has suggested it aims to reduce air pollution by 30 percent in the next five years. — Reuters

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Dengue on the rise: How to protect your family against dengue virus

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday declared a national alert due to spiking dengue cases in several regions.

READ: DOH declares dengue alert in several regions

Data from the DOH showed that from January 1 to June 29, 2019, there have been 106,630 dengue cases this year. This is 85 percent higher than the 57,564 cases reported in the same period in 2018.

Regions where the dengue alert was raised include Regions 1, 2, 4A, 5, 8, 9, 11, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), and the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection commonly occurring in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world, including the Philippines.

The dengue virus (DEN) comprises four distinct serotypes (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4) which belong to the genus Flavivirus, family Flaviviridae.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is the main vector that transmits the viruses that cause dengue. The viruses are passed on to humans through the bites of an infective female Aedes mosquito, which mainly acquires the virus while feeding on the blood of an infected person.

How dengue virus affects your body?

Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Cybele Abad, in an interview with UNTV Digital program Lifesaver, said that when dengue virus enters the human body, it spreads through blood and infects the cells by binding itself to the cell membrane.

When this happens, an infected person may feel sudden, high fever followed by severe headaches, pain behind the eyes and severe joint and muscle pain. A person may also feel fatigue, nausea and skin rash which would appear two to five days after the onset of fever.

Watch this online episode of Lifesaver for more information on how dengue affects your body.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of dengue typically last two to seven days. Most people infected by the virus will recover after about a week.

However, some people who get sick with dengue may develop severe dengue, a more serious form of disease that can result in shock, internal bleeding and even death.

Symptoms of severe dengue include stomach or belly pain, bleeding from the nose or gums, vomiting blood or blood in the stool. Warning signs generally begin in 24-48 hours after your fever has gone away.

If you or a family member develops any of the following symptoms, immediately go to the nearest hospital.

How to prevent dengue?

To protect yourself and your family from dengue, the DOH advises the public to follow the 4S strategy: Search and destroy, Self-protection measures, Seek early consultation and Support fogging/spraying.

The DOH said it is important to search and destroy the breeding sites of mosquitoes such as containers that can store water; employ self-protection measures by installing screen on windows and doors in homes and schools, wear long socks, clothes with long sleeves and daily use of mosquito repellent.

It is also vital to seek early consultation when a person is starting to experience the symptoms. The public is also urged to support fogging or spraying only in areas where increase in cases is registered for two consecutive weeks to prevent an impending outbreak.

Experts said dengue virus-carrying mosquitoes are usually active from 9 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.

Lifesaver is a UNTV Digital program that offers basic first aid training essential to anyone who happens to be a bystander to an accident or emergency. It also educates viewers of imperative emergency response lessons and indispensable disaster preparedness tools to be able to save lives in times of calamities.

For more information on dengue, other basic first aid and emergency response tips, visit Lifesaver’s Youtube and Facebook accounts.

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WHO warns against the spread of antimicrobial resistance

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, June 20th, 2019

A person holds pharmaceutical tablets and capsules in this picture illustration taken in Ljubljana September 18, 2013. REUTERS/SRDJAN ZIVULOVIC.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns against the spread of antimicrobial resistance around the world.

A recent UN report showed that 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases. Among the 700,000 there are around 230,000 people who die from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.

“Drug-resistant diseases could cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050 and damage to the economy as catastrophic as the 2008-2009 global financial crisis,” the report reads.

On June 18, the WHO launched a campaign which aims to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance, adverse events and costs. 

The AWaRe tool or Access, Watch, Reserve tool aims to make antibiotic use safer and more effective. The tool specifies which antibiotics to use for the most common and serious infections.

Dr. Hanan Balkhy, WHO Assistant-Director General for antimicrobial resistance said tackling antimicrobial resistance requires a careful balance between access and preservation

“The AWaRe tool can guide policy to ensure patients keep being treated, while also limiting use of the antibiotics most at risk of resistance,” she said.—AAC

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Heatwave pushes death toll in India

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Courtesy : Image grabbed from a Reuters video

INDIA – As many as 28 people have died in India’s Gaya city due to heat stroke, Bihar state health minister, Mangal Pandey, said on Monday (June 17).

Hospital wards at the Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College were full of people lying on hospital beds suffering from heat exhaustion over the weekend.

Speaking at a news conference, Pandy said that in some cases people had been brought into hospitals already dead.

The government of Bihar has ordered that all schools in the region remain closed until June 22 due to the intense heat after being previously due to reopen on Monday following the end of summer holidays.

At least 36 people have died from a heatwave this year, with the nation’s capital Delhi recording its highest-ever temperature of 48 degrees Celsius (118 Fahrenheit), and temperatures in Churu in Rajasthan state hitting 51C.

India typically witnesses water scarcity during summer months, but the situation this year is particularly bad due to less than normal rainfall in the 2018 monsoon season.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) had predicted that a heatwave would hit India from mid-March but the weather turned extreme in mid-May and is expected to last until mid-June. – REUTERS

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