Public warned: Don’t stay out in the sun for more than 20 minutes
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Freeman) - March 25, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Authorities have warned against exposure to the sun for more than 20 minutes or straight or risk acquiring skin problems, even a heat stroke.

"According to DOH (Department of Health), the normal, bearable direct sun exposure is at 20 minutes. Beyond that, it can already cause skin problems, pose health risks like heat stroke,” said PAGASA Mactan chief meteorologist Al Quiblat.

Based on PAGASA records, yesterday’s temperature peaked at 32.1 degrees Celsius but the heat index or how the heat is actually felt, was at 36 degrees.

At 11 a.m. yesterday, temperature was at 30.1 degrees and was felt at 34 degrees.

This is just the beginning, Quiblat said, because the temperature can still go up until May.

"It starts to get hot from 9 o'clock in the morning. Then the peak is from 2 to 3 p.m. In the coming days, we should expect that it will get even hotter in the coming days. The month of May has been considered as the hottest month and we are still in March now," Quiblat said.

His advice: “Make sure you take shelter after 20 minutes, wear sun protection and do not go out when you have no important thing to do outdoors."

The Provincial Health Office  issued the same warning.

Cynthia Genosolango, the PHO chief, said a heat stroke is a result of prolonged exposure to extreme heat.

Symptoms that one is experiencing the same include high body temperature of up to 41 degree Celsius, headache, vomiting, flushed skin, rapid and shallow breathing, and rapid heart rate. If not responded to immediately, heat stroke can damage the brain, heart, kidneys and muscles and even increases risk of serious complications or death.

To prevent this, Genosolango advised staying hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, which helps the body sweat to maintain a normal temperature.

Yesterday, a 57-year-old man died while driving his motorcycle along D. Jakosalem Street in Cebu City with the police saying he must have suffered from heat stroke.

Avelino Ocampo, 57, was driving his company’s motorcycle when the vehicle just wobbled and Ocampo fell to the ground.

His co-worker, Edison Alferez, 32, told the police that Ocampo, a collector, has had high blood pressure based on recent monitoring by their company.

Homicide investigator John Samosa said it may be possible that yesterday’s extreme heat triggered Ocampo’s blood pressure to spike.

Personnel of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) responded to the incident but Ocampo had passed away when they arrived at the scene.

EL NIÑO  IN  PROGRESS

PAGASA said the abnormally hot temperature being experienced also reflects the amount of rainfall.

PAGASA said March has an average of 14 days of rain but as of March 24, it only rained for two days.

"Based on the official PAGASA bulletin, we are experiencing ongoing or in-progress mild El Niño," Quiblat said.

He emphasized, “it is not yet the onset of dry season. Perhaps at the end of the month of  April starts. The northeast monsoon is still prevailing over Luzon. Until this is being replaced by Easterlies, we cannot declare dry season yet." – Jessa J. Agua, Michael Vencynth H. Braga, Ma. Fatima R. Secuya –/JMO

AL QUIBLAT AVELINO OCAMPO CEBU CITY CYNTHIA GENOSOLANGO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH EDISON ALFEREZ HEAT OCAMPO QUIBLAT
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