Department of Health

DOH advises public to take precautions vs extreme temperatures

Kaycee Valmonte

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DOH advises public to take precautions vs extreme temperatures

A regular train commuter rides a 'sikad' or trolley from Beata in Pandacan to Stop and Shop in Sta. Mesa in Manila as he returns for work after the holy week break, on April 1, 2024. The Philippine National Railways will cease operation for five years to give way to the construction of the North-South Commuter Railway. The closure affected an estimated 30,000 daily commuters.


'The Department of Health is actively monitoring cases of heat-related illnesses,' says Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa

MANILA, Philippines – As some areas in the country suspend on-site classes due to high heat index levels, the Department of Health has advised the public to take precautions as these could also lead to heat-related illnesses.

Under the state weather bureau PAGASA’s recent heat index, multiple areas are expected to have a heat index not going below 40°C until Wednesday, April 3. These include Dumangas in Iloilo, Dagupan City in Pangasinan, and Puerto Princesa in Palawan.

Temperatures ranging from 33°C to 41°C are classified under “extreme caution,” while 42°C anywhere up to 51°C is dangerous as heat exhaustion is likely and there’s a high possibility for heat stroke.

“The DOH is actively monitoring cases of heat-related illnesses,” Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa said in a statement on Tuesday, April 2.

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Here are tips and reminders from the DOH to help with the extreme weather:

How to protect yourself from the heat
  • Refrain from drinking iced tea, soda, coffee, or alcoholic drinks
  • Avoid or at least limit going outside from 10 am to 4 pm

If you are planning to head outdoors, wearing sunblock and choosing loose or lightweight clothes is advised. The department also recommended the public to use an umbrella or wear a hat to protect oneself from getting sunburnt.

Symptoms of heat-related illnesses

With the country’s current heat index levels, the public may experience heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke.

According to John Hopkins Medicine, heat cramps are the “mildest form” of heat illness. Those who work out or exercise in heated environments can get painful muscle spasms.

Heat exhaustion, on the other hand, may manifest through fatigue, dizziness, vomiting, and lightheadedness. It happens when the body is not able to relieve itself from the heat, which can also lead to a heat stroke.

Heat stroke – considered a serious condition – may lead to a loss of consciousness, leave the person confused, or have seizures, which the DOH said “can be deadly if left untreated.”

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First aid

The DOH advised the public to perform the following first aid measures if any heat-related illness symptom is observed:

  • Move the affected individual to a shaded or cool area.
  • Provide proper ventilation.
  • Remove the person’s outer clothing.
  • Attempt to cool the person’s temperature by applying cold compresses, ice packs, cold water, or wet cloth against their skin (especially on their head, face, neck, armpits, wrists, ankles, and groin).
  • Encourage them to drink cool water.
  • Contact medical services or bring them to a hospital.


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