DOH: 165 injuries related to New Year revelries so far

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 31 2008 06:15 PM | Updated as of Jan 01 2009 02:15 AM

DOH poster vs firecracker use

The Department of Health (DOH) reported a total of 165 injuries related to the New Year's eve revelry as of Wednesday morning, down 18 percent compared to the average incidence rates in the past four years.

The DOH report also included three cases of stray bullet injuries and two cases of ingestion of "watusi" firecracker recorded. So far no deaths have been recorded, it said.

Among fireworks-related injuries, victims were mostly males, with ages ranging from eight to 72 years old. The firecracker Piccolo continued to be the most commonly-used firecracker related to the injuries, according to the report.

Among the watusi ingestions recorded, one involved a 31-year-old male, known to be a mentally-ill patient, who reportedly intentionally ingested three boxes of the firecracker.

Meanwhile the two cases of stray bullets which were reported by Tondo Medical Hospital and Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center are still being verified by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Gordon, Red Cross: Put safety first

Meanwhile, Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) chairman Sen. Richard Gordon asked Filipinos to put safety first during the New Year's Day celebrations which in the past have seen many firecracker-related injuries and drunken brawls.

"Always remember to put safety first during New Year's eve celebration. Never eat nor drink too much. If you drink, don't drive, if you drive, don't drink," Gordon said in a statement.

Gordon said there are four major risk factors in road safety - not wearing a seat belt, not wearing a crash helmet while on board motorcycles, over speeding, and driving under the influence of alcohol.

"Don't be a careless driver. Remember to use all your signals. Don't drink and drive. If you are tipsy or drunk call a cab or ask a friend to drive for you. Take public transportation or find a place to rest and get sober. Don't be a juggler inside your car. Talking on the cell-phone, eating or reading all at the same time while driving is flirting with disaster," the statement read.

"Wearing seat belts can reduce the risk of death or serious injury by 50 per cent in the event of a crash. This is the most effective priority measure for injury reduction and the easiest to implement to protect vehicle occupants in a road crash," he said.

He said tt is a simple, easy gesture that should become a habit. All modern vehicles are equipped with a standardized belt system so that users do not need to pay separately for seat-belt installation. Checking the use of seat belts is easy and requires no special equipment or training for traffic police officers, the PNRC said in the statement.

Cook food properly
Gordon reminded the public as well to eat properly cooked foods (well-done steaks and seafood) to avoid gastro-intestinal diseases.

PNRC-Community Health and Nursing Service (CHNS) manager Dr. Cecilia Francisco said in her report to Gordon that food poisoning, also called food-borne illness, is a common, distressing, and sometimes life-threatening problem for millions of people.

"People infected with food-borne organisms may be symptom-free or may have symptoms ranging from mild intestinal discomfort to severe dehydration and bloody diarrhea," Francisco said.

Depending on the type of infection, people can even die as a result of food poisoning. That is why it is very important to take steps to prevent food poisoning. Follow these general guidelines to avoid contracting a food-borne illness, Francisco said.

These are the general guidelines on prevention of food poisoning provided by the PNRC:

Make sure that food from animal sources (meat, dairy, eggs) is cooked thoroughly or pasteurized; avoid eating raw or undercooked meats and eggs; check expiration dates on meats before purchasing and again before preparing.

Carefully select and prepare fish and shellfish to ensure quality and freshness. If you are served an undercooked meat or egg product in a restaurant, send it back for further cooking. You should also ask for a new plate. Be careful to keep juices or drippings from raw meat, poultry, shellfish or eggs from contaminating other foods.

Do not leave eggs, meats, poultry, seafood or milk for extended periods of time at room temperature. Promptly refrigerate leftovers and food prepared in advance. Wash your hands, cutting boards and knives with antibacterial soap and warm to hot water after handling raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs.

Avoid unpasteurized milk or foods made from unpasteurized milk. Do not thaw foods at room temperature. Thaw foods in the refrigerator and use them promptly. Do not refreeze foods once they have been completely thawed. Wash raw vegetables and fruits thoroughly before eating, especially those that will not be cooked.

Drink only pasteurized juice or cider. Commercial juice with an extended shelf life that is sold at room temperature (juice in cardboard boxes, vacuum sealed juice in glass containers) has been pasteurized, although this is generally not indicated on the label. Juice concentrates are also heated sufficiently to kill bacteria.

Be aware of proper home-canning procedures. If you are ill with diarrhea or vomiting, do not prepare food for others, especially infants, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems since they are more vulnerable to infection. Wash hands with soap after handling reptiles, birds or after contact with human or pet feces.

Mother's milk is the safest food for young infants. Breast-feeding may prevent many foodborne illnesses and other health problems.

Those at high risk, such as pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems, infants and the elderly should also: Cook foods until they are steaming hot, especially leftover foods or ready-to-eat foods, such as hot dogs, before eating.

Although the risk of food-borne disease associated with foods from deli counters is relatively low, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems may choose to avoid these foods or thoroughly reheat cold cuts before eating.

Symptoms of food poisoning are generally, food poisoning causes some combination of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that may or may not be bloody, sometimes with other symptoms. Abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting, starting from one hour to four days after eating tainted food and lasting up to four days, usually indicate bacterial food poisoning.

Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headaches, fever, and chills, beginning from 12 to 48 hours after eating contaminated food, particularly seafood, usually indicate viral food poisoning. Vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, dizziness, tearing in the eyes, excessive salivation, mental confusion, and stomach pain, beginning about 30 minutes after eating contaminated food, are typical indications of chemical food poisoning.

Partial loss of speech or vision, muscle weakness, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, muscle paralysis from the head down through the body, and vomiting may indicate botulism, a severe but very rare type of bacterial food poisoning.

Call your doctor if:
You recognize symptoms of botulism, such as partial loss of speech or vision, muscle weakness, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, muscle paralysis from the head down through the body, and vomiting. You need immediate medical treatment for this potentially life-threatening illness.

You recognize symptoms of chemical food poisoning, such as vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, dizziness, tearing in the eyes, excessive salivation, mental confusion, and stomach pain, beginning about 30 minutes after eating contaminated food. You need immediate medical treatment to avoid potential damage to one or more of your vital organs.

The vomiting or diarrhea is severe and lasts for more than two days. You are at risk of becoming dehydrated.

Food Poisoning Treatment

Self Care at Home:
Short episodes of vomiting and small amounts of diarrhea lasting less than 24 hours can usually be cared for at home.

Do not eat solid food while nauseous or vomiting but drink plenty of fluids;
Small, frequent sips of clear liquids (those you can see through) are the best way to stay hydrated. Avoid alcoholic, caffeinated, or sugary drinks, if possible. Over-the-counter rehydration products made for children such as Pedialyte and Rehydralyte are expensive but good to use if available.

Sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade are fine for adults if they are diluted with water because at full strength they contain too much sugar, which can worsen diarrhea.

After successfully tolerating fluids, eating should begin slowly, when nausea and vomiting have stopped. Plain foods that are easy on the stomach should be started in small amounts. Consider eating rice, wheat, breads, potatoes, cereals (low-sugar cereals), lean meats, and chicken (not fried) to start. Milk can be given safely, although some people may experience additional stomach upset due to lactose intolerance.

Most food poisonings do not require the use of over-the-counter medicines to stop diarrhea, but they are generally safe if used as directed. It is not recommended that these medications be given to children. If there is a question or concern, you should always check with your doctor.

The main treatment for food poisoning is putting fluids back in the body (the process of rehydration) through an intravenous line or by drinking. You may need to be admitted to the hospital. This depends on the severity of the dehydration, your response to therapy, and your ability to drink fluids without vomiting. Children, in particular, may need close observation.

The doctor may also treat any fever to make you more comfortable.

Antibiotics are rarely needed for food poisoning. In some cases, antibiotics would worsen the condition. Only a few specific causes of food poisoning are improved by using these medications. The length of illness with traveler's diarrhea (shigellae) can be decreased with antibiotics, but this specific illness usually runs its course and improves without treatment.

With mushroom poisoning or eating foods contaminated with pesticides, aggressive treatment may include pumping the stomach (lavage) or giving medications as antidotes. These poisonings are very serious and may require intensive care in the hospital.