RITM: ‘Reserve’ face masks to those who really need it

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 4, 2020   •   708

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) is not recommending the general public to wear face masks, saying it should be “reserved for those who really need it”.

In a press conference in Malacañang on Monday (February 3), RITM Director Celia Carlos said the wearing of face masks is recommended for health workers and people with respiratory illness.

“There is now a current shortage of this valuable commodity and let us give them to those who need them most, especially the health workers,” she said.

“Currently, since there is no community transmission of the novel coronavirus in the Philippines, we are not recommending its use for the general public who do not have respiratory symptoms,” she added.

Instead, the health official advised the public to practice proper hygiene by regularly washing their hands. She also advised people to avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands or unwashed hands.

“We need to observe good hand hygiene and we need to eat and drink from safe, clean and reliable sources,” she said.—AAC

RITM to further scale down operations after staff test positive for COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 15, 2020

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) announced it would further scale down its operations as several of their staff tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

On Wednesday (July 15), the Department of Health (DOH) said contact tracing is currently being conducted.

“So they had to do contact tracing and some of these employees na kasama natin gumagawa sa lab ay na-quarantine sila, (that we work with at the lab are already under quarantine),” said DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire.

The DOH also said that the RITM currently has backlogs due to the amount of specimen being submitted to the laboratory. Vergeire assured that the DOH is coordinating with other laboratories to examine the specimen.

“We are now coordinating with the Philippine Red Cross para iyong backlog na iba ay mapakiusap natin sa kanila. Kapag nag-scale down, hindi ibig sabihin na totally wala gagawin, (so that the backlogs can be given to others. Scaling down does not mean operations have stopped)” she said. AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

Police frontliners to undergo physical, mental health check—PNP

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 17, 2020

Police frontliners will undergo physical and mental check up beginning July 1, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP).

PNP Spokesperson PBGen. Bernard Banac said their troops that are manning checkpoints and other areas are also at risk for stress and anxiety, particularly when most of them have not been home for months.

Banac said a group of psychologists will monitor the physical and mental health of police officers.

“Kasabay niyan ang laboratory, X-Ray at ang ECG… so titingnan ang physical well-being mg mga pulis ( It includes laboratory, X-Ray, and ECG…so we will monitor the well-being of the police),” he said.

Banac also said they will prioritize police officers age 40 years old and above and those who will undergo the health check up should wear their complete uniform.

“Alam natin na kapag 40 years old and above mas marami nang dinaramdam physically at madali na silang maka-experience ng stress at fatigue (We know that 40-year-olds and above are more susceptible to experiencing physical fatigue. They experience stress more easily),” he added.

Police officers with the birth month of January will be scheduled for the physical and neuro-exam from July 1 to 3. Meanwhile those born in February and March will be scheduled from July 6 to 8 and July 9 to 13, respectively. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Beat the heat: How to prevent heat exhaustion, heat stroke

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 5, 2020

Metro Manila recorded the highest air temperature so far on Monday (May 4).

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) recorded a soaring 36.5 degrees Celsius or an equivalent to a heat index of 41.0 degrees Celsius

With the intense heat and the ongoing enhanced community quarantine, anyone can suffer from heat exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion is a condition marked by weakness, nausea, dizziness, and profuse sweating that results from physical exertion in a hot environment.

Emergency Doctor Dr. Rich Santos said heat exhaustion can result in heat stroke. Heat stroke happens when an individual’s temperature reaches 41 degrees Celsius.

“Pwede ring magkaroon ng manifestation na nagkakaroon ka ng totoong stroke gaya ng paghina ng katawan. Kapag tumagal ka sa ganoong kundisyon pwede itong maging sanhi ng pagkamatay, (You can also have manifestations of a real stroke like fatigue. If the condition lasts if might become a cause of death)” he said.

Santos also said that recovering from a heat stroke can take weeks to months.

Symptoms of heat stroke:

  • Warm, flushed skin
  • Faintness
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Very high fever of 41°C
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Convulsion
  • Unconsciousness

Here are several lifesaving tips when someone is having heat exhaustion or heat stroke:

  • Move the person to a shady spot or indoors
  • Have him/her lie down with legs elevated
  • If able to drink liquids, have him/her sip cool water
  • Remove clothing, apply cool water to the skin, & fan the person
  • Apply ice packs to the armpits, wrists, ankles & groin

The Department of Health (DOH) said to always keep hydrated to prevent heat exhaustion and schedule heavy-duty activities for the beginning or end of the day, when it’s cooler. AAC

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