THE Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) warned the public against “common” summer diseases after the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) officially declared the onset of the dry season on Tuesday, March 21, 2023.
DOH Officer -in-Charge Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that common conditions during dry season are heat stroke, dehydration, and skin diseases, and other common health problems associated with the dry season.
“Ang pinakaimportante ngayon po talaga ay makainom tayo ng tamang amount ng tubig dahil marami sa atin, lalong-lalo yung mga matatanda, nagkakaroon po sila ng dehydration [What is important now is to drink the right amount of water because many of us, especially the elderly, may experience dehydration],” Vergeire said.
Meanwhile, PRC Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gordon reminded Filipinos to remain vigilant this dry season while enjoying family gatherings, travels, and celebrating fiestas and important events to avoid hospitalization.
Gordon warned that extreme heat could cause exhaustion, heatstroke, and water, food, vector, and air-borne diseases (e.g., diarrhea, dengue, measles, influenza, sore eyes, hypertension and blood pressure, chickenpox, food poisoning, heat stroke, sunburn, and prickly heat rash).
To reduce the risk of developing heat-induced diseases, the PRC is urging the public to practice the following summer safety tips to have a problem-free summer:
1. Stay hydrated and replenish your water intake often. Drink water only from safe sources. If unsure, boil the water.
2. Wash hands frequently with soap and water. Maintain proper hygiene at all times.
3. Eat only well-cooked foods since undercooked food spoils quickly. Observe proper food handling and storage.
4. Eat more fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods.
5. Apply sunscreen lotions with SPF 30 or greater for skin protection.
6. Use wide-brimmed hats and umbrellas when outdoors.
7. Wear light-colored cotton clothing. As much as possible, limit sun exposure from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
8. Try to do outdoor activities in the morning or in the late afternoon hours when it’s cooler.
9. Use mosquito repellant when needed.
10. Cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. When blowing your nose, do it gently.
11. Remember to avoid direct contact with persons you suspect to be infected.