DOH warns Filipinos against heat stroke

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

April 2, 2024, 6:45 pm

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday warned the public against heat-related illnesses that become more prevalent with extreme temperatures.

This was after the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) recorded high temperatures, over 41 degrees Celsius, in multiple locations from March 28 to April 1, 2024. The same trend is forecast until April 3.

The PAGASA classifies temperatures ranging from 33 to 41 degrees Celsius as “extreme caution” and temperatures from 42 to 51 degrees Celsius as “danger.”

“Such temperatures can lead to heat cramps and heat exhaustion, characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, headache, vomiting, and light-headedness,” the DOH said.

“Prolonged heat exposure increases the probability of heat stroke, a serious condition characterized by loss of consciousness, confusion, or seizures, which can be deadly if left untreated,” it added.

In a radio interview on Tuesday, DOH Undersecretary Enrique Tayag urged other schools to consider the students’ conditions as other schools and local government units have already suspended face-to-face classes due to hot weather.

“Tama naman po ‘yun kasi unahin muna ang kalagayan ng mga mag-aaral. Kailangan talaga ang mga paaralan ay tignan kung kakayanin ng mga mag-aaral na pumasok sa tindi ng init (That’s right because the students’ condition must be prioritized. Schools must check if students could study, go to class amid the extreme heat),” he said.

Tayag also advised schools to open their windows during classes and to remind their students regularly to stay hydrated.

Earlier, the DOH released a public advisory on what to do in case anyone experiences symptoms of heat stroke. The person concerned must be moved to a shaded and cool area and must be provided ventilation.

The person’s outer clothing may be removed and cold compresses, ice packs, cold water, or cold wet cloth must be applied on the skin, especially the head, face, neck, armpits, wrists, ankles, and groin.

The DOH also encouraged the public to regularly monitor temperature reports from the PAGASA and to take preventive measures against heat-related illnesses.

These include drinking plenty of water; avoiding consumption of iced tea, soda, coffee, or alcoholic drinks; limiting time spent outdoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.; usage of protection against sunburn such as hats, umbrellas, and sunblock; and wearing of loose fitting, lightweight clothing. (PNA)