Press Release
May 22, 2009

Loren asks DOH: Bombard people with right info on swine flu

Senator Loren Legarda yesterday said that Filipinos must take the first confirmed case of swine flu infection in the country calmly, while taking sanitary precautions like the frequent washing of hands and the use of face masks if applicable.

"The Department of Health must seek the help of media - radio, television and newspapers - to disseminate precautionary guidelines and on what should be done when swine flu infection is suspected," said Loren.

"This is one instance when the people wouldn't mind being bombarded with information by DOH. There's no such thing as information overload when it comes to swine flu. But the important thing is that our people are getting the right information."

The chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Loren added that Filipinos must also work to improve their immune system by exercising, having a balanced diet and getting plenty of rest.

"Being healthy certainly helps in view of reports that most of the 80 deaths worldwide associated with swine flu arose from complications with other ailments," she said.

As the symptoms of swine flu are very similar to common flu cases, Loren said that all Filipinos who feel feverish must immediately seek medical attention.

"The important thing is for us not to disregard symptoms as just a case of the common cold. It's better to err on the side of caution on this matter."

"But what are the symptoms? What should people do, step by step, if they suspect possible infection? The DOH must inform the people because false information can sow panic and complicate our efforts to contain the spread of the virus."

Loren said that the Philippines dealt well with the SARS and avian flu scare, but that health authorities must double their efforts against swine flu.

The senator said health officials must note how the virus quickly spread in Japan from just four confirmed cases to over 200 cases at present in at least three major cities.

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