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Home remedies won’t work vs rabies, says doc

A doctor who oversees Valenzuela City’s Animal Bite Center has warned residents against using traditional or old-fashioned remedies as city officials noted that two people have died of rabies since the start of the year.

In a statement, Dr. Matty Torres, coordinator of the Animal Bite Center, said that  rubbing garlic over the bitten area or sucking blood from it might lead to other ailments.

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“Garlic has corrosive properties and can burn the skin,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, the traditional practice of “tawak”—cutting the patient’s skin open and sucking blood from the wound—and “tandok,” where a piece of deer horn is placed over the bite to reportedly suck the rabies virus out, could lead to complications.

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“The patient runs the risk of contracting tetanus, an illness marked by sore muscles. Its cause, the clostridium bacteria, is present in saliva, human and animal dung, and the soil,” Torres said.

Should someone be bitten by an animal like a dog or cat, the wound must be washed with soap and water to reduce the probability of contracting diseases such as rabies. The patient should then immediately proceed to an animal bite center to be treated.

“Running water and soap wash the rabies virus out,” Torres said, noting that the patient should also monitor the animal that bit him or her for the next 14 days.

Earlier, the Valenzuela City government said that so far, two men in their 50s have died of rabies this year. These were the first cases of death due to rabies in the city since 2011, it added.

The data for the total number of animal bite cases so far this year was not immediately available but in 2013, the Valenzuela Animal Bite Center recorded 6,795 cases with more than half of the patients below 15 years old.

Rabies is a disease that can be transmitted to humans through animal bites. It attacks the central nervous system and may lead to death in a few days’ time. Its common symptoms include restlessness and fear of water, while in severe cases, there can be paralysis and eventually, the patient lapses into a coma and dies.

Torres said that the disease has no cure but patients bitten by animals can be immunized against it. They can be given antirabies, antitetanus and antibiotic vaccines when they go to the Animal Bite Center.

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TAGS: alternative medicine, animal bite, Health, home remedies, rabies
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