MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) has reminded the public against dehydration amid rising temperatures and tetanus during the Holy Week when some devotees observe the Lenten traditions.
In a radio interview on Friday, DOH Undersecretary Enrique Domingo reminded children and the elders not to stay outdoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. “to avoid overheating of the body”.
Temperatures in the country have risen to as high as 39 degrees Celsius. This week, the heat index, or the temperature as felt by the human body, in Dagupan City, Pangasinan reached 51.7 degrees Celsius.
Domingo said when the ambiance temperature reaches 40 degrees and above, which is equivalent to the highest body temperature during a fever, the body cools itself down by perspiring.
“When our body perspires, we get dehydrated and the water in our body gets depleted. Thus, we need to keep replenishing the fluid in our body,” he said in Filipino.
Domingo also urged those who would participate in flagellation and crucifixion to observe best practices. Penitents who will be nailed to the cross should sterilize the nails, as well as the sharp objects that will be used during the flagellation.
“What is scary is tetanus. The penitent’s wounds — especially those who are going to be crucified — might get infected. So we request the local government units to sterilize the nails that will be used because many things could happen if these are unclean,” he said.
Apart from washing wounds with soap and clean water, Domingo said they must be dressed with antiseptics.
“A penitent should get an anti-tetanus vaccination in advance because this creates antibodies. If the penitent has been vaccinated, a booster shot would be effective,” he said.
Citing that flagellation and crucifixion are performed during the hottest hours of the day, Domingo said bleeding and dehydration would cause too much stress on the body.
“If we are not careful this Holy Week, things could get complicated. Let us be cautious against tetanus and dehydration,” he said.
All DOH hospitals and their emergency rooms are ready to accept patients during the Holy Week, Domingo said.
“We raise alerts in emergency hospitals near the highways. Our health emergency medical bureau and trauma centers are on standby so in case of health emergencies, we can quickly mobilize (our medical staff),” he said.
Ma. Teresa Montemayor /PNA – northboundasia.com