The Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines (PIDSP) on Thursday has warned the public against complacency versus dengue, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think we need to encourage health-seeking behavior,” said PIDSP president Dr. Fatima Gimenez in an online conference conducted by the Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS).
“I think doon tayo nagkukulang (that is our weakness), and hindi dapat binabahala nasa pandemya tayo (we should not be complacent because we are in the middle of pandemic),” Gimenez said. “Your dengue signs and symptoms can be very non-specific and minsan ang COVID din (sometimes COVID symptoms also).”
“Let’s talk about the possibility of this being confused with COVID, kasi (because it is) very non-specific ang signs and symptoms ng dengue,” she said.
Gimenez also urged the public to keep their surroundings clean and to eliminate mosquito breeding sites.
The Department of Health (DOH) said symptoms of dengue include the sudden onset of fever for two to seven days, headache, body weakness, joint and muscle pains, pain behind the eyes, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin rashes.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, tiredness, and loss of taste or smell.
Sore throat, headache, aches and pains, diarrhea, rash on the skin, and red or irritated eyes are among the less common symptoms of COVID-19.
Gimenez said the public should be vigilant and aware of these symptoms.
“The most important thing is that you are vigilant, even if you are at home, you need to be aware that it may not be a simple fever, it needs to be monitored. It must start with us, you don’t have to be a doctor,” she said.
“Some of its warning signs are stomach aches, so let’s not ignore these because we need to take them to the hospital as early as possible and at least give them treatment and proper education,” she further said.
The Philippines recorded 45,416 cases of dengue from January 1 to June 11, the DOH said.
The department said this was 45 percent higher compared to the 31,320 cases reported during the same period last year.
According to the DOH, Central Visayas, Central Luzon, and the Zamboanga Peninsula recorded the most number of cases at 13 percent, 12 percent, and 10 percent, respectively.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier advised the public to follow the 4S strategy which is to search and destroy breeding places, secure self-protection, seek early consultation, and support fogging or spraying in hotspot areas.