Remedy worsened kids’ stomach ache after deworming—DOH
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Was it a case of mass hysteria? Or was it because the children indeed have worms?
The Department of Health’s deworming campaign, targeting 16 million school children, was marred with parents bringing their kids to hospitals in several provinces in Mindanao.
On Wednesday, some 3,600 school children were rushed to hospitals after taking deworming pills. But the DOH said of the total number, only 351 were admitted while 226 were brought to the emergency room for observation.
Dr. Ruby Constantino, DOH assistant regional director for Western Mindanao, said some parents panicked upon receiving reports that some children were brought to hospitals.
Earlier on Wednesday, a radio station in Pagadian City reported that 10 children died after taking the deworming pills in Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur.
Dumingag Mayor Nacianceno Pacalioga said as soon as he heard about news report, he sent his staff to check “and we found out it’s not true.”
These reports might have caused the panic — prompting parents to let their children drink milk, coconut milk, even coconut oil.
For Constantino, the usual side reactions of the deworming pills– stomach pain, nausea and vomiting – may have been worsened by the milk, coconut milk or coconut oil that the parents let their children drink.
Dr. Sitti Amilhasan of the regional DOH’s infectious diseases division, said parents who learned their kids took the deworming pill Albendazole forced their kids to drink coconut milk, milk and coconut oil.
“That was the immediate remedy they took believing their children might have been poisoned,” Constantino said.
“That aggravated the situation and the reason why the numbers (of children brought to hospitals) increased,” Amilhasan added.
Constatino also denied reports that the medicines administered to the children were beyond the expiry date, contrary to what an online news site reported.
She said the expired deworming pill named in one online news report, which was traced in Dipolog City, was branded — Benzol. She said the DOH has been using the generic Albendazole.
“A mother showed us two blister caps of Benzol, which she claimed was given to her by a man who told her to let her kids take it. Out of fear, she handed the medicine when she learned it was already expired,” Constantino said.
“What we have here is generic Albendazole with expiry date July 2017,” Constantino said during Thursday’s press briefing.
Constantino said the Pagadian City-based radio journalist has also made a public apology for his erroneous report on the deaths of 10 children after taking the deworming pill.
On Wednesday, thousands of children were brought to hospitals in the cities of Pagadian, Dipolog and Dapitan, and the towns of Kabasalan, Buug, Alicia and Margosatubig in Zamboanga Sibugay; Diplahan, Dumingag and Dimataling in Zamboanga del Sur, Polanco and Pinas in Zamboanga del Norte. There were also reports of children being rushed to hospitals in the cities of Tangub and Iligan.
But in Kidapawan City in North Cotabato, where close to 10,000 school children from various public elementary schools received deworming medicines on Wednesday, not one was brought to the hospital.
Vivien Calica, the school nurse in Kidapawan City Pilot Elementary School (KCPES), said before giving the children the deworming tablets, they told the children to calm down and to relax t to let the medicine properly take effect in the bofy.
Calica said the parasites inside the body would look for an outlet to get out of the host.
Those who have taken the deworming medicines could suffer stomach ache, headache and vomiting, Calica said.
The school nurse, however, advised the parents not to panic.
Calica also said that unlike the cases in Western Mindanao where students were rushed to the hospitals due to stomach ache, there were no similar incidents reported in Kidapawan City.
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