How to prevent diarrhea in evacuation centers

November 25, 2022 - 6:13 PM
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This undated photo shows people in an evacuation center (The Philippine STAR/Edd Gumban)

A medical doctor underscored the role of the government in preventing diarrhea in evacuation centers, especially during typhoons.

“Kapag [may typhoon] poor yung access sa food intake or poor food preparation [so] na-co-contaminate [yung food and water],” medical doctor Yvonne Ferrer told Interaksyon. 

Ferrer also highlighted that poor access to potable water during typhoons may also cause diarrhea. 

“That’s why siguro dyan din malaki yung part ng government to ensure na [meroong access sa nutritious food and potable water],” Ferrer said. 

“Kasi kapag nasa evacuation center sila [evacuees] asa lang yan sa mga donations iba talaga rin yung tama yung binibigay sa mga evacuees and water,” she noted. 

“Maganda sana public and private should go hand in hand in delivering clean source of nutrients sa mga evacuees,” she added. 

Last year, more than 100 cases of diarrhea and gastroenteritis were reported in “Odette”-hit areas. 

RELATED: Over 100 cases of diarrhea, gastroenteritis reported in Odette-hit areas

How to prevent diarrhea in evacuation centers

Some of the recommended measure by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention to avoid diarrheal diseases in evacuation center includes the following: 

  • Regular washing of hands with soap and water. Alcohol hand gels could also be used as an alternative. 
  • Keep the environment clean. 
  • Maintain good personal hygiene, including during food preparations. It is also advised not to share utensils or drinking containers. People should also have their own toiletries, such as toothbrushes and towels. 
  • Ensure that the people have access to bathrooms that will allow them to bathe at least twice weekly. 
  • Access to laundry facilities that will allow people to wash their clothes and bed linens. 

Aside from these measures, Ferrer, also the scientific affairs head of Sanofi Consumer Healthcare, said that probiotics could help prevent diarrhea. 

“Ang nakakatakot sa diarrhea is dehydration so dapat kapag nag-ka-diarrhea see to it that person is always hydrated. I-prevent mo yung dehydration,” she said. 

“Aside from ORS (oral rehydration solutions) and zinc, na recommended by WHO (World Health Organizations), probiotics supplementation can really spell a difference,” the physician said. 

According to UNICEF, diarrhea is the leading cause of death among children. Despite the availability of a treatment solution, over 1,300 children die every day due to this disease, based on UNICEF’s report.