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Haze over Bohol pose health risk to residents

Haze over Bohol pose health risk to residents

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Philippines — Some Boholanos have complained of health problems as haze hovered over the island.

Dave Albarado, 44,  said he has experienced “runny nose, dry throat, cough, and allergies” since Sunday, Sept. 15.

“I think the haze could have contributed to my allergies because I usually have them only for 24 hours. Now, it has persisted for days,” he said.

To protect himself from air contaminants, he decided to buy and wear a mask.

“I am doing my best to stay indoors and take medicines to control the symptoms,” he said.

Residents have also taken to social media to relate how the haze has been affecting them as air quality continued to worsen.

Some teachers at the Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School also wore masks to protect themselves.

Helen Alagadmo, 43, a resident of Tagbilaran, said she went to the countryside last Friday to breathe fresh air.

But when she went to Barangay Mayana in Jagna town, the highest point in Bohol, she was surprised to find out that it was also blanketed with haze.

“There is no escape from it,” she said while at the strawberry farm at Mayana Upper Sampong overlooking the mountain covered with haze.

“I woke up this morning and my nose was blocked once more,” she added.

The Environment Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Central Visayas have confirmed the presence of haze in Bohol and other parts of the region, which they said was probably caused by a forest fire in Indonesia.

Dr. Jeia Pondoc, Tagbilaran City Health Officer, was unsure if the haze contributed to the illnesses experienced by some residents lately.

But she said it was nonetheless necessary to take precautions.

Pondoc advised people to stay indoors and to drink plenty of water.

“We have to stay indoor especially those who have a history of asthma and those who are susceptible to allergies. It could be good for them to refrain from doing outdoor activities just for this time,” she said.

Pondoc said it would also be better for people to wear a mask while the haze was around.

“We advise them to wear the N95 mask rather than the surgical mask,” she said.

N95 masks, she added, could prevent hazardous substances from entering the nostrils.

“The surgical masks have big holes and are merely used in hospitals,” she said.

/atm