How to Protect Your Family from Leptospirosis
Cases in the Philippines are on the rise with 93 lives already lost
Hospitals around Metro Manila are finding ways to accommodate the increasing number of patients with an easily preventable disease called leptospirosis.
Because of the rise of cases, the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) in Quezon City has converted its basketball court to accommodate patients with the disease, reports Rappler. The East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC), also in Quezon City, has allocated its entire fifth floor leptospirosis patients, according to GMA News.
People contract leptospirosis when water contaminated with the urine of an infected animal, most commonly rats, enters through cuts on the skin or the eyes, nose, and mouth, according to the World Health Organization. It's why the Department of Health’s (DOH) has been cautioning the public to be wary of floodwaters because it increases the risk of getting leptospirosis.
Compared to last year, leptospirosis cases are up by 41% from the same January to June period, according to DOH in a release published last June 27. Reported cases are at 1,030 with 93 lives already lost. In the National Capital Region alone, there have been 38 deaths and an increase of 60%.
“The fact na may namamatay is cause for alarm,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III told Rappler. “Yung nakakalungkot lang dito is this is a preventable disease for as long as everyone does his part,” he said.
According to the DOH, leptospirosis symptoms include:
- high fever
- muscle pain
- eye redness
- severe headache
- yellowish skin discoloration
“If left untreated, leptospirosis may cause kidney failure, brain damage, massive internal bleeding, and death,” adds the DOH.
WHO also explains that leptospirosis can be challenging to diagnose as its symptoms are similar to those of dengue, typhoid, and viral hepatitis. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are crucial to help prevent worsening of the disease in a patient.
The best way to prevent leptospirosis is to avoid wading in floodwaters, advised Duque, adding that for those who must, boots must be worn. “My advice to those who had to wade in flood these past few days is to be alert for any symptom and to seek early consultation,” he said.
Two days of fever should warrant a consultation with a doctor.
The American Academy of Pediatrics also has specific advice for leptospirosis prevention in children:
- “Make sure your child follows good hygiene habits. She should wash her hands frequently and avoid direct contact with the urine of pets and other animals.”
- “Your child should not play in and around dirty puddles of standing water in the outdoors.”
Stay safe and healthy.
This story originally appeared on Smartparenting.com.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Realliving.com.ph editors.
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