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‘Ice bucket challenge may pose health risks’

MANILA, Philippines - Ice bucket challenge, the global charity craze involving pouring a bucket of ice water on one’s head, could lead to heart attack and high blood pressure, a Philippine Heart Association fellow cautioned yesterday.

Cardiologist Willie Ong told The STAR that in some cases the blood pressure may drop suddenly, causing the affected individual to collapse. This could be particularly harmful to the elderly, pregnant women and the ailing.

The ice bucket challenge was introduced by Washington-based ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Association this year to raise awareness of the disease and encourage donations for research.

The challenged individuals will have to comply within 24 hours or forfeit by giving financial donation. According to its website, the ALS Association already collected $70.2 million in donations as of Aug. 24.

Ong noted that while the Ice Bucket Challenge is being done for charity which is good, the activity poses “slight risks to some people. It should not be done by the elderly, pregnant women and with health conditions.”

“I think it is better to do the ice bucket challenge sitting down, so that injuries could be prevented in case you collapse,” he added.

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Ong also said that there are incidents abroad where the buckets fell on the heads of those doing the challenge, causing head bumps.

“Most head bumps are harmless since our hard skulls protect our brains. However, patients still have to be observed for drowsiness, vomiting or severe headache in the next few days,” he cautioned.

He recommends that a person who bumps his head should lie down and place an ice on the affected area to lessen the swelling.

“But for more serious bumps, you can proceed to a hospital where doctors might request a head x-ray to check for fracture or a CT Scan of the head to check for bleeding,” he added.

Ice Bucket Challenge has attracted international celebrities and prominent politicians and businessmen, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates and former American ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney who is now ambassador to Thailand.

On the local front, television host and presidential sister Kris Aquino did the challenge last Sunday.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has also accepted the challenge. In a text message last night, she said she would do it in her office this afternoon.

“I accepted the challenge. It’s for a worthy cause,” she texted. With Edu Punay

 

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