As the nation nears its yearly observance of Holy Week or Semana Santa, the Department of Health (DOH) strongly urges the public to drink lots of fluids in order to avoid heat stroke especially during rounds of Visita Iglesia.
Health Secretary Paulyn Rosell-Ubial reminds pilgrims to bring water, packed food, and umbrellas when visiting churches across the country. By doing this, one can avoid heat stroke, severe exhaustion, and diseases common during the summer such as high-blood pressure, sore eyes or conjunctivitis, cough and colds, rabies, and various skin diseases one can pick up while swimming in public pools, she adds.
Heat stroke—considered a medical emergency—is caused by the body overheating, usually as a result of too much sun exposure or strenuous physical activity. Its symptoms may include: confusion, agitation, nausea, vomiting, headache, rapid pulse, breathing difficulty, and muscle weakness. Heat stroke is usually accompanied by electrolyte imbalance causing irregular heartbeats, heart failure, or stroke and usually occurs in the elderly and babies.
People with high-blood pressure are advised to stay home, especially between 10 am to 3 pm, when the temperature is at its peak. It is dangerous for people with heart problems to suffer heat stroke as this may lead to severe complications.
Sore eyes are also common during the warm months and may cause blindness if not treated properly. The eye infection is also easily transferred from one person to another but can be prevented through frequent and correct handwashing. Meanwhile, coughs and colds are common this summer due to the erratic weather. Senior citizens are advised to get their flu vaccine shots against influenza before the onset of the flu season in June.
The DOH also advises against bringing small children and babies to crowded places due to their low resistance to infections.
“We must remember that Holy Week is a time for solemnity. It can also be fun if it is disease-free and stress-free,” Ubial concludes.