Colder weather ahead

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Monday, January 20, 2014


PREPARE thick jackets, bonnets, mufflers and hot drinks for cooler temperatures this month.

Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) weather specialist Wilson Lucando said temperatures recorded in January were lower compared to last year.

The coldest temperature so far was at 9.6 degrees Celsius on January 12 as compared to 9.8 degrees Celsius a year ago. The city’s lowest temperature was recorded at 6.3 degrees on January 18, 1961.

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Average minimum temperatures this year were also lower compared to last year, between 11 and 13 degrees Celsius, while last year’s average was at 12 to 14 degrees Celsius.

The temperature could even be lower by one to two degrees in areas with higher elevation than Baguio such as Mt. Sto. Tomas and Mt. Pulag, said Lucando.

The Pagasa weatherman said the high pressure brought about by the northeast monsoon, which blows cold air from mainland China and higher latitude countries, will continue until February.

Brisk sales were noted in local wagwag or ukay-ukay (second-hand clothes) sold at the Harrison Road Night Market particularly sweaters and jackets to beat the cold.

Hot food like goto, mami and arroz caldo have also been popular both to tourists and residents.

But health officials emphasized the chilly weather also poses risks as the Department of Health (DOH) reported at least 18 influenza-like illness cases recorded at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center this week.

DOH-Cordillera regional director Amelita Pangilinan said residents must remain indoors as much as possible and keep the body warm, stressing cold weather weakens the body’s immune system, making people susceptible to cough and colds.

Pangilinan advised residents especially children and the elderly to wear thick jackets, eat warm food, keep hydrated by drinking water and fruit juices, exercise regularly, get plenty of rest and eight-hour sleep and practice proper hand washing to boost the immune system and prevent the spread of the influenza virus.
She also advised those afflicted with influenza-like illnesses to seek advice from a physician, get plenty of rest and take medications as advised by the medical professional.

She added affected patients should refrain from going to public places and instead stay at home to get enough rest to prevent the spread of the influenza virus.

While not encouraging vaccination against influenza, she said living a healthy lifestyle remains as the best defense against the flu.

“Availing of flu vaccine is only good when the flu virus strain is the same strain being prevented by the vaccine. It is still best to live a healthy lifestyle and boost our immune system to beat a cold weather disease like influenza,” she said.

She said measles are also prevalent during the cold months because as an airborne disease, the virus can be transferred through sneezing or coughing.

The health official stressed parents should have their children avail of the free measles vaccination and booster shots in health centers. The health department recorded at least 24 suspected measles cases for the first two weeks of the year.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 20, 2014.

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