DOH warns public vs. El Niño, heat-related illnesses

Posted by watchmen
May 22, 2024
Posted in News


The Department of Health (DOH) warned the public amidst the constant forecast of extremely hot temperatures in several areas in Western Visayas due to the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

Based on the report of the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-Pagasa), since April this year, heat index, or the measure of how hot it feels when relative humidity is factored with the actual air temperature, in the region ranged from 40 to 45 degrees Celsius or categorized as “extreme caution” to “danger.”

Under this category, heat cramps and heat exhaustion are likely, while continuous activity with exposure to heat may result in heat stroke.

In a press release, DOH-6 noted that prolonged exposure to extreme heat and the conduct of vigorous activities may cause dehydration, heavy sweating, fatigue, warm, flushed skin, fainting, dizziness, weakness, headache, very high fever of 41 degrees Celsius, rapid heartbeat, convulsion, and unconsciousness, and might cause untimely death untreated.

The health department further stressed that such symptoms should not be ignored and immediately move the affected individual to a shady area and elevate the legs once such signs are observed.

As an immediate aid, encourage the affected individual to sip cool water if able to drink liquids.

“It is also recommended to remove the clothing, apply cold packs onto the skin, on the face, neck, wrists, ankles, and especially those covered areas, such as armpits, groin, and provide proper ventilation,” DOH 6 added.

Further, the patient must be brought to the nearest health facility for immediate medical management.

Apart from heat-related illnesses, the DOH-6 also cautions the public of the other effects of El Niño on health, such as the increase in cases or exacerbation of non-communicable diseases like in patients with hypertension and asthma, among others, and the increase in respiratory and skin diseases.

The current weather condition may also cause an increase in cases of vector-borne diseases like dengue, typhoid, and leptospirosis, animal bite diseases, and food- and water-borne diseases like acute gastroenteritis and cholera.

During the recent Regional Inter-Agency Committee on Environmental Health meeting, DOH-6 Health Emergency Medical Services Cluster Nurse I Jefferson Agregado noted that the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit is on watch for the unusual trend of increasing diseases related to the El Niño phenomenon in the region.

As part of the preventive measures, the DOH-6 urged the local government units, health facilities, and all communities to prepare for the dwindling or intermittent water supply, control water contamination in the facilities, and use water efficiently.

Agregado added that the DOH also augmented 14,000 water purification tablets, 600 testing kits, and 40 collapsible containers to the LGUs as a response to this concern. These are on top of the sanitary inspection being conducted in water sources regionwide.

For patient referrals and other urgent medical concerns, the Regional Patient Navigation and Referral Unit of DOH-6 may be reached by the public through 0939-988-1818.

“The Department of Health appreciates each and every Filipino family who continues to support our campaigns. Your cooperation and support in disseminating timely and relevant information have indeed been significant para sa isang safe at healthy na Pilipinas,” said DOH-6 Regional Director Dr. Adriano P. Suba-an.

Based on the recent situation report of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council-6, a total of 291,931 families or over 1.1 million residents across 2,238 barangays in the region were affected by the effects of El Niño.

Meanwhile, the province of Antique along with its five municipalities, including the 13 other towns and cities from Negros Occidental, Iloilo, and Guimaras were already declared a state of calamity due to the prolonged dry spell and drought. (PIA-6)


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