By Dominic I. Sanchez
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Nov. 13 (PIA) – The Department of Health (DOH) is urging parents to have their children below 5 years old immunized against the deadly polio virus. A nationwide campaign “Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio” (nationwide simultaneous polio immunization) will be held on November 25 until December 7 in all health centers and other identified areas, and the DOH is strongly calling on parents to take the opportunity for the free immunization.
Virgie Galarretta, Health Education and Promotions Officer of DOH-9 said it is high time for parents to have their children immunized. “Even if the children have already received the polio vaccine, they should still take the oral polio vaccine (OPV),” she said. To be fully immunized against polio, 3 doses should be completed. The OPV does not pose an overdose risk, and it can be taken more than 3 times to enhance protection.
Polio is caused by the poliovirus which can lead to death. According to a DOH Fact Sheet, polio is a highly contagious disease, which is acquired orally through bad sanitation and hygiene. Symptoms include fever, body pains, lethargy and difficulty breathing. Children below 5 years old are the most at-risk, hence there is an urgent need to have them immunized, the Fact Sheet adds.
The DOH also advises to never drink, even accidentally water from public swimming pools and rivers, as this may already be contaminated.
Galarretta explained that there is no cure for polio and the best and only defense is immunization. (NBE/DIS/PIA9-Zamboanga City)