Brace for rainy season-associated illnesses, DOH warns

By Analou De Vera

The Department of Health (DOH) advised the public to prepare early against illnesses that are known to be common during the rainy season.

Department of Health (MANILA BULLETIN) Department of Health (MANILA BULLETIN)

The DOH said that the common diseases associated during the rainy season include diarrhea, water-borne diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera, leptospirosis, and vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue.

“It is best to arm ourselves with weapons against these diseases even before the onset of the rainy season by building a strong resistance against these illnesses and practicing personal hygiene and environmental sanitation,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III in a statement on Friday.

The DOH said that diarrhea is an increase in the frequency of loose or liquid bowel movements usually caused by a variety of bacterial, viral, and parasitic organisms. Typhoid fever, on the other hand, is an infectious disease commonly spread through contaminated food and water or through close contact with someone who is infected.

Cholera, meanwhile, is an acute intestinal infection caused by food or water contaminated with the bacteria known as Vibrio cholera. The said bacteria could cause watery diarrhea that can lead to severe dehydration and death.

"Diarrhea, typhoid fever, and cholera are all food- and water-borne diseases. These can be prevented by drinking water only from safe sources. Or if unsure, to boil water for three minutes or do water chlorination. Cook food well and always have it covered to prevent contamination from flies and other insects. Always wash hands before preparing or handling food and after using the toilet," the health department noted.

The DOH also advised the public to avoid swimming or wading in potentially contaminated waters to avoid contracting leptospirosis, which is a bacterial infection transmitted by many animals, such as rodents and other vermin.

The public should also watch-out for dengue. Dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever are acute viral infections that are caused by the bite of the dengue-carrying mosquito, the DOH said.

"Dengue can be avoided by practicing the '4-S' against the disease which stands for search and destroy, self-protection measures, seek early consultation, and say yes to fogging when there is an impending outbreak or hotspot," it said.

The public should also be vigilant against malaria, which is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans, the DOH said.

"It can be prevented by using long lasting insecticidal mosquito nets, especially during nighttime, and by following the advice of health workers on how to take anti-malaria drugs," the DOH reminded.