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Extreme heat: What you need to know

By Ernesto Delgado

MASBATE CITY --- Extremely high temperatures can be dangerous and even deadly to humans. The heat can cause brain damage and organ failure to you.

Statistical reports on heat-related hospitalization in Bicol region were not immediately available as of this writing, but healthcare providers say that with baking weather, illnesses like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, dehydration, and the like become a very real threat.

Since the onset of the dry season on March 1, every square inch of Bicol is forecast to see above-average temperatures for the next three months, or until the monsoon season arrives in the middle of May, according to a forecast map from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

Only last Friday, May 12, the regional center Legazpi City posted this year’s highest heat index at 50°C, which the state weather bureau considered dangerous because once the apparent temperature hits 42°C and above it poses health risks, with a heatstroke probable with continued exposure to the blazing heat.

Thankfully, the Philippine Health Corp. covers confinement for illnesses caused by extreme heat.

The PhilHealth case rate entitles patients suffering from heatstroke, sunstroke, and heat exhaustion to P6,500, including P4,550 for hospital fees, and P1,950 for professional fees, according to Nita Escauriaga, a marketing personnel of PhilHealth branch in Masbate.

Heatstroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided, the Department of Health Bicol Center for Health Development said in an advisory.

Heat kills by pushing the human body beyond its limits of coping. Heat-related illnesses can escalate rapidly, leading to brain and organ damage and even death.

At greatest risk for heat-related illness are infants and children up to four years of age, older adults, people who are overweight, and people who are ill or on certain medications. (PIA5/Masbate)


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