The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines – With thousands of people unable to avoid exposure to monsoon-induced floods this week, the Department of Health has urged the public to take precautions after soaking in floodwaters, and watch out for symptoms of the deadly leptospirosis disease.
Dr. Eric Tayag, DOH’s chief epidemiologist and assistant secretary, said the DOH will provide prophylaxis for flood victims as needed. “The DOH will distribute free doxycycline as prophylaxis when conditions permit.”
Symptoms of leptospirosis take an average 10 days to develop, and may include, according to health experts: fever, dry cough, intense headache, muscle pain, nausea and diarrhea. In some cases, patients exhibit violent chills. Sometimes abdominal and bone pains, skin rashes and sore throat are also felt.
For those unable to avoid soaking in floodwaters, here are basic reminders:
1) Take a bath or wash thoroughly with soap and clean water those body parts exposed to flooding; or at least cleanse well with alcohol if you’re still in the office or outside the home.
2) If you know you will have to wade through floods, bring a bag beforehand with: a bottle of alcohol, antibacterial soap, small towel or cloth and/or thick paper towel, and extra change of clothes. Wear rubber or plastic slippers or sandals that can be easily washed and bring along a clean change of footwear, especially if you still have to work for hours after wading. Also don't forget to take your usual vitamin supplements or at least eat healthy food that boost the body's immunity.
3) After wading in floodwaters, remove at once the flood-soaked clothes and have these laundered thoroughly, with antiseptic solution dropped into the water.
4) If symptoms of leptospirosis are noticed, consult a doctor immediately; and take doxycycline as prescribed by doctor.
5) Watch out for fever, as further treatment may be necessary.