Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Philippines - 3 crucial things to know about dengue that could save you and your kids’ life

An Aedes aegypti mosquito is seen at the Laboratory of Entomology and Ecology of the Dengue Branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in this March 6, 2016 file photo. REUTERS/Alvin Baez/Files

Fact: Dengue cases in 2015 increased by 60% year-on-year, from 121,000 cases in 2014 to 200,415. Data from Department of Health’s data showed nearly 32,000 cases have been reported in the first three months of 2016. The disease is quite common during the rainy season although anybody can get dengue all year round.

Rapid population growth, international trade and climate warming contribute to the expansion and unpredictability of the disease, which is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes Aegypti mosquito infected with one of the four dengue virus serotypes. The mosquito becomes infected when it bites a person with dengue virus in the blood.

According to the World Health Organization, symptoms appear within 3 to 14 days of a person being bitten.

“Severe dengue (also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever) is characterized by fever, abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding and breathing difficulty and is a potentially lethal complication, affecting mainly children. Early clinical diagnosis and careful clinical management by trained physicians and nurses increase survival of patients,” said WHO in its Web site.

“There’s been a 30-fold increase in the incidence of dengue in the past 50 years,” said Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy of the DOH-National Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Philippines Inc., along with other organizations in the Philippines, including Department of Health, Philippine Pharmacists Association, and Mercury Drug Corp., to name a few, launched a campaign dubbed “Allied Against Dengue.”

The campaign supports the effort to defeat dengue and empower healthcare providers, organizations and communities; and reduce the impact of dengue on the nation in a holistic manner from prevention and control to management. Allied Against Dengue is a GSK regional initiative that’s also active in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Dengue is prevalent in Southeast Asia and in the Philippines and the disease outbreak is spreading to more areas and impacting more lives.  The Allied Against Dengue Movement was founded to lead a change and create a bigger impact through collaborative partnerships, healthcare providers, industry and community empowerment and a holistic public education approach that combines prevention with management.

Allied Against Dengue hopes to bring down the death rate caused by dengue in 3 to 4 years by helping inform and educate the public on the disease. How does the campaign aim to do this?

Close to 1,200 healthcare providers including doctors, general practitioners and pharmacists will help educate patients and consumers in detecting dengue fever at its onset and provide the appropriate treatment.

Allied Against Dengue will also assist in integrating preventive and control activities driven by DOH, academia and organizations, with education on dengue fever management and advocate through healthcare providers, drugstore partners and GSK.  The campaign will also deploy education campaigns through multiple channels including digital, mainstream and social media and ground activations. There will be Dengue Warriors who will effect positive action and social change within their families and society. They will distribute 50,000 dengue primers in public schools via the DOH to help increase awareness.

“GSK was motivated to initiate Allied Against Dengue as we were concerned of the escalating hazard and effects of dengue on the nation including our employees and their families who have experienced the dreaded disease. Uniting forces and actions enable greater empowerment across stakeholders, education delivery to communities nationwide and allow us to help people do more, feel better and live longer,” said Heather Pelier, general manager at GSK Consumer Healthcare.

During the launch of the campaign, representatives from the different organizations spoke about dengue. Dr. Sally Gatchalian, vice president of the Philippines Pharmacists Association, talked about the disease’s symptoms, prevention, treatment and even how dengue can be avoided.

Calpol brand ambassador Jolina Magdangal-Escueta said children love playing in still water. Thus, she said it is very important for parents like her to be aware of the child’s surroundings because even the most innocent looking vase can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Here are important things to remember about dengue:

1. Know the warning signs. The symptoms include high continuous fever that lasts two to seven days; bleeding of nose and/or gums; nausea/vomiting; skin flushing (rashes); and loss of appetite.

2. Don’t take any medication. No medicine or antibiotic can treat dengue but it is important to have bed rest and take lots of fluids. For fever, give the patient paracetamol.  Avoid aspirin or NSAIDS like ibuprofen, which can cause stomach bleeding.

3. Always practice the 4S. And these are: Search and Destroy (change water in vases, clean your roof’s drain, clean the inside and outside of pails and other water receptacles, ensure that no water is left in dish holders, cover all reservoirs and overturn all receptacles used for storing water); Say “No” to  indiscriminate fogging; Seek medical advice if the fever persists for two days; and Self-protection measures such as wearing mosquito patches

D. C. Vasquez

You can find older posts regarding ASEAN politics and economics news at SBC blog, and older posts regarding health and healthcare at IIMS blog. I thank you.

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