CEBU CITY -- The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) is encouraging the public -- children and adults -- to undergo deworming and rid their bodies of parasites as the country observes the National Deworming Month this July.

Dr. Ronald Jarvik Buscato, DOH-7 medical officer, assured the public that deworming is safe and that the health department has been administering deworming medicines for years now.

“We want to remind all parents and people that deworming has been done long time ago and there is no bad effect,” Buscato said Wednesday during the Kapihan sa PIA (Philippine Information Agency).

Buscato said deworming is the giving of an anthelmintic drug to a human or animal to rid them of parasites, such as flukes, roundworm, and tapeworm.

The most common infections in humans are caused by unclean hands and food, which are vehicles for parasites, Buscato said.

Children are the most vulnerable to intestinal worms because outdoor activities take up most of their time, he added.

He clarified that deworming is different from vaccination.

“It (deworming) is a preventive therapy where the child or adult will be tested for worms in the stomach. If found positive, they will be treated by just taking medicines,” he said.

Buscato said that after the Dengvaxia vaccine issue last year, the number of people who underwent deworming decreased by 50% because of concerns.

“The problem that we are facing now is the decrease in our accomplishment in deworming in 2018 because of the issue regarding the Dengvaxia vaccine,” Buscato said.

“Some may respond differently and some may tolerate. Stomach ache and vomiting after deworming may result due to improper preparation prior to deworming. It is important to have a full meal before taking the medicine,” said Buscato, who also assured that despite these adverse effects, the treatment is safe and effective.

To help them regain the trust of parents and the people, the DOH-7 has coordinated with local government units in the dissemination of information regarding the deworming program.

Those interested to avail of deworming medicines may go to their health centers, where these are given for free. (With Bebie Jane Casipong/PNA)