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Feature: Health effects of El Nino

Iloilo City (8 February) -- What effects can El Nino have on health?

The Department of Health (DOH) has identified some of the adverse effects on health of the El Nino event, characterized by extreme climatic conditions that is extreme temperature rise with a little rainfall, and at the opposite extreme, unusually heavy rainfall.

These health effects include diseases related to water scarcity or shortage such as diarrhea and skin diseases.

El Nino also causes disorders associated with high temperatures such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion, exertional heat injury and heat stroke, said the DOH advisory posted on its web site.

It also poses red tide blooms and paralytic shellfish poisoning.

According to the DOH, these health effects can be avoided and prevented by doing the following: conserve water and use it wisely; protect water resources from contamination; drink more fluids; listen to the updates on shellfish ban; wear light clothing; and avoid strenuous physical activity.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) El Nino Advisory no. 6 dated February 5, 2010 said that El Nino in the equatorial Pacific continues to sustain its moderate strength and is recently in its mature stage.

"Gradual decrease in sea surface temperature is expected but still within the El Nino threshold and likely to last up to June 2010", said the advisory.

Iloilo and other provinces in Western Visayas such as Antique, Guimaras and Negros Occidental are included in areas in the country that are still under dry spell condition. On the other hand, some areas of Capiz province continue to experience the drought condition. (PIA) [top]

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