CITY OF SAN FERNANDO --- The Department of Health (DOH) in Central Luzon urges residents in the region to take preventive measures against heat and water-related illnesses amid the El Niño Phenomenon.
In its latest advisory, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said that strong El Niño is ongoing and is expected to continue through January-February 2024.
Majority of global climate models suggest
that El Niño will likely persist until May 2024.
Pagasa added that El Niño increases the likelihood of below-normal rainfall conditions, which could bring negative impacts (such as dry spells and droughts) in some areas of the country which will likely be manifested in the first quarter of the year.
This may adversely
affect the different climate-sensitive sectors such as health, water resources, agriculture, energy, public safety, and other key sectors of the country.
DOH Central Luzon Center for Health Development Disaster Risk Reduction and Management in Health issued tips on preventing El Niño-related illnesses and stress-related problems as these may result to increased morbidity and mortality.
Preventive measures include staying hydrated (a minimum of eight to 10 glasses of water daily) as extreme weather conditions may lead to heat stroke; ensuring sufficient potable water as unsafe water may contain viruses and bacteria that may cause water-borne diseases; and keeping surroundings clean.
The agency said El Niño is also associated with vector-borne diseases that can be transmitted by mosquitoes, flies, and ticks.
DOH Central Luzon also advised residents in the region to avoid going outdoors during extreme heat.
If unavoidable, one must wear light clothes and sunscreen, and use umbrellas or hats as strong UV radiation is the leading cause of skin cancer and cataract, according to the agency.
It added that prolonged sun exposure may also cause sunburn, wrinkles and skin sagging, dry skin, freckles, and moles.
Symptoms of El Niño-related illnesses may include chills, nausea, vomiting, headache, loss of appetite and joint pain.
The DOH stressed that individuals experiencing these symptoms should immediately seek medical attention.
“The direct health impact of climate change, including El Niño, should not be taken for granted," the agency said.