Ways to stay healthy this wet season

Robie de Guzman   •   July 1, 2019   •   1220

FILE PHOTO: Filipinos wade in a flooded street during a downpour in Quezon City, Philippines. (Ritchie Tongo/PVI)

MANILA, Philippines – Rainy season has officially started in the country.

But apart from preparing and bringing umbrella, coats, boots and other rain gears, the public is urged anew to take simple health precautions to ward off diseases common at this time of the year.

Among the common illnesses during wet season are influenza, dengue fever and leptospirosis.

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a highly contagious and year-round disease but usually peaks during the rainy season.

To prevent coming down with the flu, health authorities are encouraging the public to get a vaccine against the virus and to boost the immune system by having a healthy diet.

Frequent and proper handwashing can also be one’s defense against the flu virus.

During rainy season, a spike in the number of leptospirosis cases is also observed. Humans may contract leptospirosis through skin abrasions and the mucus of the nose, mouth and eyes when wading in flood waters contaminated with animal urine, particularly from rats.

To avoid getting leptospirosis, one should wear boots or cover open wounds or broken skin if wading through floodwaters is inevitable.

The public is also reminded to take precautions against dengue fever which usually peaks during the wet season.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti.

To prevent contracting dengue virus, the public is urged to take these safety precautions, including searching for and destroying the breeding sites of dengue-carrying mosquitoes, wearing long sleeved shirts, using insect repellants and seeking early medical attention for fevers.

Health authorities also strongly advises the public against self-medication, especially when dealing with antibiotic medicines, as it can lead to antimicrobial resistance.

The World Health Organization defines anti-microbial resistance as the ability of a microorganism to stop an anti-microbial medication from working against it.

The DOH advises the public to immediately seek proper medical advice if they are experiencing symptoms of any diseases. (with details from Aiko Miguel)

Number of dengue cases in NCR exceeds alert threshold – DOH

Maris Federez   •   August 16, 2019

A child suffering from dengue fever receives medical treatment at an isolation ward of a government-run hospital in Manila, Philippines, 16 July 2019. (Photoville International)

The National Capital Region (NCR) has recorded more than 11,000 dengue cases from January to August 10 this year.

This is 33% higher than what was recorded in the past five years.

“It’s starting to rise and just like the other regions that began with the alert levels, naging epidemic level na sila [they’ve reached the epidemic level]. Pwede pa ring sumipa ang dengue. Kaya hindi ho tayo pwedeng magpahinay-hinay [Dengue case can still go up. That’s why we should not be complacent],” Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque said.

The cities in the NCR where dengue cases have spiked include Paranaque, Malabon, Taguig, Makati, and Mandaluyong.

The DOH clarified that no medicine, supplement, or vaccine had been proven to cure dengue.

The health department also supports the move of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to fund the distribution of food supplements which may help increase an individual’s platelet count to avoid dengue.

“Wala namang gamot ang dengue. Wala ring bakuna. At kung meron man sila ng inaalay na makakagamot, hindi po totoo iyan. Ito po ay food suppmement lamang at kinakailangan merong FDA certificate of product registration [There is no medicine for dengue. No vaccine either. And if there are some who offer something that’s supposed to cure dengue, it’s not true. It’s just a food supplement and it needs to have FDA certificate of product registration],” Duque added.

The health official then reminded the public to clean their surroundings and eradicate dengue-mosquito breeding areas through the 4 o’clock habit using the 4S strategy:

  • Search and Destroy
  • Self- Protection
  • Seek Early Consultation
  • Support Space Spraying

This is to further prevent the number of dengue cases in Metro Manila to further exceed the health department’s alert threshold. (from the report of Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

Sanofi Pasteur optimistic Dengvaxia will be restored in PH market

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 15, 2019

French Pharmaceutical firm, Sanofi Pasteur expressed optimism that the Dengvaxia vaccine will be restored in the Philippine market.

In a statement, Sanofi Pasteur Philippines General Manager Jean Antoine Zinsou said they are open for a discussion with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Health (DOH).

He also clarified that Dengvaxia is safe and effective to use.

According to Zinsou, the said vaccine was only banned in the Philippines because of incomplete documents or due to “administrative consideration.”

“We definitely need to settle this issue. One way to do it is to discuss with FDA and see what is needed to have this revocation lifted,” he said.

Zinsou also said Dengvaxia is registered in 20 countries across the globe and is acknowledged by the United States Food Drug Administration and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Meanwhile, Sanofi agrees with the DOH that Dengvaxia is not a solution to the Dengue epidemic in the country.

READ: Dengvaxia won’t bring dengue cases down – DOH

“The vaccines that we are mentioning is not a solution or a silver bullet for the ongoing outbreak. We are open to any discussion with the health authorities to see what is needed, what do they need for the future,” Zinsou said.

In February this year, the FDA revoked the certificate of product registration of Dengvaxia.

Sanofi already filed an appeal two weeks ago and the DOH will release their decision on the issue on August 19.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

DOH clarifies: no mutant strain of dengue virus

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 12, 2019

The Department of Health (DOH) said there is no mutant strain of dengue virus in the country.

In a statement, the DOH said that there are only four strains of dengue virus in the country.

DENV-1 causes pain behind the eyes while DENV-2 is associated with nose bleeding and blood-streaked vomiting. DENV-3 and DENV-4 cause the symptoms of fever, muscle pains, headaches, loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea.

READ: DOH: Dengue death cases reach 661

DOH Spokesman Usec. Eric Domingo also clarified there are no official statements saying a new strain of dengue virus had caused the surge of dengue cases in the country.

“Neither the DOH official nor the Secretary of Health mentioned a new strain of dengue virus,” he said.

Meanwhile, the DOH assured continuous coordination with local governments to avoid an overflow of dengue patients in hospitals.

The latest number of dengue cases which is now over 157,000 is the highest in the last five years, Domingo added.

“This is one of the highest and it’s the first time that we’ve actually talagang nag-declare tayo ng dengue na national epidemic (declared dengue as a national epidemic). This is the highest in the last 5-6 years,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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