MANILA, Philippines - Swabbing Betadine antiseptic on the throat is useless to prevent radiation illness, a Department of Health (DOH) official said Tuesday.
"Putting Betadine on the throat is useless. Betadine is used for treating wounds. It has nothing to do with radioactivity," Dr. Agnette Peralta, head of the DOH-Bureau of Health Devices and Technology, told abs-cbnNEWS.com.
Sales of Betadine surged on Monday after text messages circulated a warning that radiation from Japan was about to hit the Philippines at 4 p.m. It advised the people to stay indoors for 24 hours, close doors and windows and "swab the neck and skin with Betadine where the thyroid area is located."
Betadine is an antiseptic made of 10% povidone-iodine in water.
The DOH and Department of Science and Technology later issued a bulletin that the Philippines is safe from radiation exposure resulting from the damage to Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan.
Peralta said it is highly unlikely that radiation from Japan would reach the Philippines. "It is nearly impossible. We are too far from Japan," she said.
In the unlikely event that radiation does reach the country, she said the DOH and DOST would advise the public in advance to conduct sheltering or to stay indoors before the plume reaches the nation.
She added the DOH is planning to procure prophylactic potassium iodide, which is used to block the thyroid gland's uptake of radioactive iodine. She said the DOH will distribute the potassium iodide once it is needed.