Issue of January 7, 2018

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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DOH warns of tetanus even from ‘negligible’ firecracker injuries
by DOH release

Even as the Department of Health has noted a marked decrease in the number of individuals consulting for injuries associated with firecrackers in the recent New Year revelry, Sec. Francisco T. Duque III renewed his call to those who suffered such injuries to consult with physicians from the nearest health facility for proper wound management and prevention of infection.

“Blast wound injuries have always been closely associated with tetanus infection,” Duque said, pointing out how post-exposure prophylaxis against tetanus has become standard procedure in combatants or law-enforcers who suffer injuries that break the skin.

He warned that tetanus is highly fatal.

Duque said that the percentage decrease of pyrotechnic-related injuries recorded at sentinel hospitals might not necessarily be equivalent to the percentage decrease of firecracker use or firecracker injuries suffered because there is presently an increased likelihood for fireworks injury victims to seek medical attention due to the successful advocacy efforts that have greatly increased awareness among the public about management of such injuries.

“It is quite possible that there were many more firecracker injuries in the past than those actually recorded and reported because many such victims did not go to health facilities for treatment of their injuries,” Duque said.

“It would surely mean an increase in our injury tally, but I urge all our countrymen who have suffered these injuries to come in for treatment. Tetanus infection is a serious health problem that should be prevented or dealt with as soon as possible,” he added.

Tetanus infection occurs when spores of Clostridium tetani pathogens enter the body through wounds or breaches in the skin such as the injuries caused by firecrackers, sharp objects, and various trauma events.

As the incubation period is between three to 21 days, people who suffered injuries during the New Year celebration and have not been properly attended to should go to healthcare facilities for evaluation.

Health professionals at emergency rooms or out-patient departments of all government hospitals are amply trained and equipped to address the risks of tetanus infection in injuries from pyrotechnics and other causes.

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