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Seek early medical consultation to prevent Zika threat --DOH

MANILA -- The Department of Health (DOH) advised the public, especially pregnant women to seek immediate medication should they experience symptoms of Zika virus infection, dengue, chikungunya, or any other illnesses.

“Whether it be Zika or dengue or any other form magpatingin kaagad lalo na kung pregnant (seek consultation especially if pregnant,” said DOH spokesperson Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy in an interview with the media.

Lee Suy emphasized that seeking consultation is always important for pregnant women in order for them to protect themselves and more importantly, the babies in their wombs from any life-threatening diseases.

"Regardless whether or not there is a threat of Zika virus, whenever they (pregnant women) feel symptoms, we advise them to seek medication immediately," Lee Suy said in Filipino.

According to him, the DOH has always been reminding the public to improve their “health-seeking behavior” through seeking medical advice from physicians.

He also reiterated the call to the public to refrain from practicing self-medication.

“Regardless if its zika, dengue or any other diseases we must consult with the doctor immediately. We should not self-medicate because this may only worsen our condition, thus, making the cost of medication more expensive," the Health Spokesperson added.

He noted that health workers, doctors in particular, are the only ones who should decide on what medication must be taken by patients in order to avoid any complications or adverse reactions such as allergies.

Lee Suy made the statement in line with the DOH's call to the public to boost clean-up activities in order to eliminate “aedes mosquitoes” which carry the Zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses.

He said that while the Zika virus has not yet reached Philippine soil, it is important to be pro-active in keeping the environment clean so that there will be no breeding grounds for these disease-carrying organisms.

Transmission can possibly happen if a mosquito bites a healthy person after biting a Zika-infected person.

In terms of curbing the population of mosquitoes, he said that people must consistenly search and destroy breeding sites of mosquitoes which is a part of the DOH's anti-disease campaign.

He said that every families in the communities all over the country should do their part in ensuring that their water storages are tightly closed so that mosquitoes cannot lay eggs on it.

Moreover, Lee Suy emphasized that participating in community clean-up activities will help eliminate not only the threat of Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.

He also reminded people to guard themselves two after sunrise and two hours before sunset as these are the times of the day where aedes mosquitoes strike.

In terms of severity, the symptoms of Zika are more serious compared to dengue.

Its symptoms include rashes, fever, influenza-like and conjunctivitis (redness of eyes).

However, the DOH said that Zika virus has a lower mortality rate as compared to dengue.

What is alarming about the Zika virus is its capability to cause microcephaly among babies born by infected women.

Babies suffering from microcephaly have small brains and shorter lives.

However, there is no clear evidence yet on these findings as of this moment.

Still, the DOH said the best thing to do is for pregnant mothers to protect themselves from the infection.(By Leilani S. Junio, PNA)

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