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HAZE from the raging fires in Indonesia covers the skyline of Davao City Thursday. Officials say the tiny particles in the air could affect those with cardiovascular and respiratory problems. (Mindanews photo)

Health exec: Masks for the sickly or overacting

By LITO RULONA
and NITZ ARANCON
Correspondents .

A DEPARTMENT of Health (DOH) official on Friday advised people with cardiovascural and respiratory problems to avoid going outdoors but he frowned over the idea of making entire communities wear protective masks because of the smokes and haze hovering over the city, Misamis Oriental and elsewhere as a result of the Indonesia’s raging fires.

Dr. David Mendoza, DOH assistant director for northern Mindanao, cautioned against any moves that would cause a public panic.

“Overacting na dayun ang uban diri labi na kining usa ka eskwelahan nga halos tanan estudyante gipa-wear na sila og medical masks in which maayo man pero maka-cause og panic,” Mendoza said.

But Mendoza said people with cardiovascular diseases and respiratory problems could feel the effects of the rising level of smoke and haze.

“Kadtong dunay mga sakit sa baga og kasingkasing ang dali ra mataptan niining pollutants karon. Vulnerable population includes the old ones and children,” he said.

Vulnerable people, he said, should refrain from staying outdoors especially those with chronic pulmonary diseases who “should wear masks all the time” so they would not inhale small particles in the air.

“Kon dili gyud malikayan nga makagawas gyud sila sa ilang mga balay, kinahanglan gyud mag-gamit  sila og mask,” Mendoza said.

He also advised the health conscious to refrain from jogging and other outdoor physical activities.

“Kon mag-jogging ka, kinahanglan man nimo moginhawa ug lawom so mas daghan nga hangin nga mosulod sa imong respiratory system ug daghan sab nga abog ang makasulod sa imong baga. Dilikado kaayo,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza also advised people to increase their water intake because of the rise in temperatures, and to dehydration.

Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) regional director Reynaldo Digamo earlier said air quality has breached the 50 micrograms per cubic meter normal level in the city and Misamis Oriental. It reached 54 micrograms which the EMB still considers “fair.”

“Labihan kini kapino kaayo nga haze and smoke nga dili makita sa naked eye apan kini makadaut sa atong baga kay moginhawa man kita, and this will aggravate. Motokar ang hubak tungod ani,” Digamo said.

He said environment and health departments were coordinating and preparing to launch an information campaign on the effects of the smaze blown into the country from Indonesia.

Digamo also called on local governments to mobilize their safety and health officers and make them help in the information campaign.

He said the smaze from Indonesia was detected in other Mindanao areas, including Bukidnon, as early Monday.

“We keep on monitoring. Dili pa gyud kami mo-advise nga tanan mag-wear og masks kay basin maka-cause kini og alarm. Pero kadtong duna na’y mga sakit daan mangandam na sila as preventive measure,” he said.

Digamo said this is the time when frequent rains would be a welcome development. Rain, he said, would rid the air of smaze.

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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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