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DOH ‘lepto’ watch: Wearing shorts adds risk

/ 12:47 AM August 22, 2013

Health and safety in flooded areas start with what you wear.

The Department of Health is again warning the public against leptospirosis as communities in Metro Manila and surrounding areas remain flooded after days of torrential rains.

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Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag urged residents or those traveling in the affected areas to avoid wading in the flood. If they really have to, they should wear boots or other protective clothing.

“It’s better to wear long pants rather than shorts when you have to wade into a flood. While the risk is still there, at least you have a barrier against the bacteria that could get into your skin,” Tayag said in an interview.

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He said the leptospirosis bacteria, found in water or solid waste contaminated with rat urine, usually enter through a wound or a cut in the skin and its symptoms are felt seven to 10 days after infection.

The symptoms include high fever, body ache, reddish eyes, tea-colored urine, and the patient’s skin turning yellow.

“You have to see a health practitioner once you have these symptoms, especially if you have difficulty urinating,” he said.

Tayag said the DOH was closely monitoring the situation in evacuation centers to prevent the breakout of diseases.

“You don’t have to worry if you have fever. But once you also get rashes, chills, or infected wounds, see a doctor,” he said.

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TAGS: Department of Health, DoH, Eric Tayag, Health, leptospirosis, solid waste, torrential rains
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