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AMID EXTREME HEAT

Heat-related illness cases rise to 77, DOH says


The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday reported that the number of cases of heat-related illnesses this year has increased to 77, including those who may have died due to the hot weather.

Based on monitoring from Jan. 1 to April 29, data from the DOH Event-based Surveillance and Reponse System showed that 87% or 67 of these cases were aged 12 to 21 years old.

Of the 77 total cases, seven were "reported deaths" although these were "non-conclusive for heat stroke" due to insufficient data.

The DOH said these deaths may be heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke, or heat-influenced, such as underlying high risk for heart attack, precipitated by hot environment that led to elevated blood pressure.

In a previous advisory, the DOH said 34 cases of heat-related illnesses were recorded from Jan. 1 to April 18. The cases were from Central Visayas, Ilocos Region, and Soccsksargen.

Six deaths were recorded at the time, but their causes of death were still being verified.

The most number of cases of heat-related illness in recent years was in 2023, with 513 cases, said DOH.

On Saturday, state weather bureau PAGASA said the heat index may reach dangerous levels in 30 areas in the country.

In its forecast issued at 5 p.m. Friday, the following areas may experience heat indexes between 42°C and 47°C:

47°C
—Dagupan City, Pangasinan

46°C
 —Aparri, Cagayan

45°C
—Laoag City, llocos Norte

44°C

—Bacnotan, La Union
—Iba, Zambales
—Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
—Virac (Synop), Catanduanes
—CBSUA-Pili, Camarines Sur

43°C

—MMSU, Batac, Ilocos Norte
—Tuguegarao City, Cagayan
—Aborlan, Palawan
—Dumangas, Iloilo
—Catarman, Northern Samar
—Butuan City, Agusan Del Norte

42°C

—NAIA, Pasay City
—Sinait, llocos Sur
—ISU Echague, Isabela
—Casiguran, Aurora
—Cubi Pt., Subic Bay, Olongapo City
—Ambulong, Tanauan, Batangas
—Infanta, Quezon
—San Jose, Occidental Mindoro
—Cuyo, Palawan
—Masbate City, Masbate
—Roxas City, Capiz
—La Granja, La Carlota, Negros Occidental
—Borongan, Eastern Samar
—Guiuan, Eastern Samar
—Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur
—Cotabato City, Maguindanao

Heat index is the measure of the temperature that a person feels, which is different from the actual air temperature. It is computed by factoring in the humidity and the air temperature.

PAGASA said heat cramps and heat exhaustion are likely in areas experiencing a danger level heat index, which is from 42°C to 51°C. Heat stroke is also possible with continued exposure.

To prevent heat-related illnesses, the Department of Health advised the public to limit time spent outdoors, drink plenty of water, and avoid tea, coffee, soda, and liquor.

People should also use umbrellas, hats, and sleeved clothing outdoors and schedule their heavy-duty activities for the beginning or end of the day when it is cooler. — VDV, GMA Integrated News

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