Comelec raises ‘red flag’ alert on sore eyes
Don’t get too excited to register for next year’s polls—if you have sore eyes.
While the Commission on Elections (Comelec) wants more Filipinos to participate in the 2016 elections, it appealed to those with sore eyes—more accurately conjunctivitis, or pinkeye—to get well first before they register for the polls.
“We’d like to remind everyone that there is a minor health issue related to registration,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez told reporters on Tuesday.
He said there were instances, particularly in the National Capital Region, when even those with sore eyes went to Comelec offices to register or have their biometrics taken.
Deadline for registration
“We have a deadline but please get well first so you don’t contaminate others,” Jimenez said.
The deadline for voter registration and validation of biometrics data is on Oct. 31 this year.
“We expect a lot of people to be coming to the Comelec and a lot of people will be in close proximity to each other. Also you will be touching a lot of the same things so there is some concern that people with conjunctivitis or sore eyes might actually be passing the problem around,” he said.
Only isolated cases
“Because (sore eyes) is already rampant, it’s very logical to just remind people to register now while they still don’t have it. Unahan niyo na ’yong sore eyes (Beat the sore eyes), register now,” Jimenez said.
Several cases of sore eyes have been reported in Metro Manila.
Department of Health (DOH) spokesman Lyndon Lee Suy, in a recent interview with Radyo Inquirer, said that there was no epidemic of sore eyes and that the reported cases were isolated.
Sore eyes is described by the DOH as a redness and inflammation of the membranes (conjunctiva) covering the whites of the eyes and the inner parts of the eyelids. It is usually caused by an adenovirus and is highly contagious.
The incubation period, or the time from exposure to the onset of symptoms, is usually 5-12 days, according to a health advisory posted on the DOH Facebook account.
Mode of transmission
The mode of transmission is usually through direct contact with the hands contaminated with the eye secretions of an infected person; touching the eyes with hands in contact with surfaces, instruments, eye solutions or makeups contaminated with the virus from an infected person; and entry of the virus through the eyes by swimming in poorly chlorinated pools.
Symptoms include eye redness and itching; a watery pus or discharge from the eyes; and eyelids that are stuck together when waking up.
Severe cases may involve pain of the eyes when exposed to sunlight and foreign-body solutions, the department said in a previous advisory.
Tips to prevent sore eyes
— Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water.
— Minimize hand-to-eye contact.
— Use only own towels, eye drops, makeups and applicators, sunglasses or eyeglasses.
— Wear eye/sunglasses on windy days to protect one’s eyes from foreign particles.
— Avoid crowded places.
— Disinfect with bleach solution all surfaces, doorknobs, counters, elevator buttons and handrails.
— Wash clothes, towels, pillowcases and anything else that may have come in contact with an infected person. Tina G. Santos