Filipino farmers vulnerable to heat stroke

Manny Galvez - The Philippine Star

SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija, Philippines – Filipino farmers may be used to working in their farms under the scorching sun, but they are not immune to heat stroke.

Raul Destura, University of the Philippines-Manila institutional bio-safety and bio-security committee head and a specialist on internal medicine and infectious disease, warned farmers not to take lightly the threats of heat stroke – also known as sunstroke – and to take necessary precautions to avoid it.

Heat stroke victims suffer from severe body temperature, usually higher than 40.6°C, mostly due to environmental heat exposure.

He said people who experience heat stroke were sometimes thought to have been under a spell or na-maligno – the Filipino term that refers to being under the control of a supernatural creature – when the case could be an altered mental state or behavior, which is one of the symptoms.

Destura, who discussed at the Philippine Rice Research Institute the health risks in rice farming, taught farmers to distinguish the symptoms of the condition as he pointed out that heat stroke is often unnoticed or undiagnosed, even among rural health units.

“If it is heat stroke, your skin is dry. If you’re over-exercised, your skin is moist,” the expert said.

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