MANILA, Philippines—Six new habits that health officials have laid out may help dengue patients fight the mosquito-borne virus even in the comfort of their homes.
The Department of Health (DoH) is promoting the D.E.N.G.U.E strategy to decongest hospitals which have thousands of dengue patients, whose conditions can be managed at home.
“Instead of confining patients in a hospital facility, parents and caregivers can practice the D.E.N.G.U.E. strategy,” Health Secretary Enrique Ona said in a statement.
The six measures the DoH is encouraging patients, their parents and caretakers to adopt are the following:
Daily monitor the patient’s status; encourage intake of oral fluids like oresol (oral rehydration solution), water and juices; note any warning signs of dengue; give paracetamol to the patient, not aspirin as it induces bleeding; use mosquito nets; and early consultation with doctors for any warning signs.
The health agency has formulated the new strategy to educate the public on home treatment for mild dengue cases, Ona said.
Upsurge in cases
The upsurge in the number of dengue cases has left hospitals across the country struggling to accommodate patients seeking medical treatment despite limited beds.
The DoH has monitored 62,503 dengue cases from January to Aug. 21, mainly in Western Visayas, Calabarzon, Central Mindanao and Eastern Visayas.
The virus, delivered by a bite from the Aedes aegypti mosquito, has so far claimed the lives of 465 Filipinos.
In just a span of a week—from Aug. 14 to Aug. 21—the health department registered 7,844 dengue cases nationwide. But last week, the DoH assured the public that the government was still capable of managing the problem.
Health and local officials in Santiago City and Tuguegarao City in Isabela province have declared a dengue outbreak.
In Santiago City, health officials said dengue cases had risen to 83, 27 of which were recorded in the last two weeks.
Dr. Romanchito Edgar Bayang, assistant city health officer, said a 15-year-old boy who died on Thursday was the first dengue fatality in Santiago City.
In Cagayan province, the city council of Tuguegarao expressed alarm over the 323 dengue cases, including one fatality, reported in the city from January to Aug. 31.
The council planned to reactivate anti-dengue brigades in villages and to ask Mayor Delfin Ting to require all government workers to observe the “four-o’clock habit,” an hour that would be devoted to cleaning potential breeding and nesting areas of dengue-carrying mosquitoes.
Health officials in Roxas City on Saturday reported that dengue cases in Capiz province were dropping.
From 235 cases reported on Aug. 15-21, the number dropped to 178 on Aug. 22-28, said Yre Altavas, officer in charge of the Capiz epidemiological surveillance and response unit.
With the cleanliness drive and reward system for the cleanest villages, local government and health officials said they hoped that dengue cases would continue to drop in the coming weeks.
Capiz Gov. Victor Tanco has announced that assistance will be given to indigent patients.
For its part, the city government of Roxas led by Mayor Angle Alan Celino will give cash incentives to the cleanest villages that stay dengue-free for two months.
In Negros Oriental, August proved to be the most deadly month for dengue as the mosquito-borne killer claimed four lives in the province.
But Negros Oriental is luckier than other dengue-stricken provinces in the Visayas as it has not breached the one-thousand mark.
Pacholo Alcantara, surveillance officer of the provincial health team office of the Department of Health, said that as of Sept. 3, there have been 773 dengue cases recorded throughout the province.
But Dr. Felix Sy, head of the Metropolitan Health Team covering the towns of San Jose, Sibulan, Bacong, Valencia, Dauin and the city of Dumaguete, said the total cases this year were lower than last year’s figure for the same period.
While the figures for Negros Oriental were in the triple digits, the neighboring province of Negros Occidental had four-digit figures, earning it the distinction of having the biggest number of dengue cases throughout the country.
Negros Occidental recorded 4,087 cases from January to Aug. 21, or an increase of 416 percent over last year. It recorded 24 deaths.