NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 5 Jan) – Yesterday’s TV newscasts all showed footages of humanity in long queues at drugstores to buy paracetamol. Most drugstores reported they had run out of the fever-relieving over-the-counter medication because of panic buying and hoarding.
The irrational behavior is likely triggered by the new wave of SARS-Cov-2 infection worldwide in the advent of the Omicron variant. The COVID-19 infection cases in the country, which dropped to the lowest in several months at 168 on December 21, suddenly rose yesterday (January 4) to a scary 5,434, in a matter of two weeks, the highest tally since October 29, 2021, which then registered at 7,482 cases.
The forecast is alarming. OCTA Research says the infection cases may up to as much as 8,000 by January 8. On the other hand, Jomar Rabajante of the University of the Philippines COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team, projects that the peak of this new surge in cases might surpass the Delta wave which saw a peak of over 26,000 cases in September.
Rabajante said that the peak may be between 20,000 to 40,000 cases, which may happen sometime between mid-January to the third week of February.
Fear and ignorance are the common drivers of panic and other irrational behavior.
Rather than just allaying the fear of the public in announcing that there is no shortage of paracetamol, in support of big pharma assurances, it would be helpful if the Department of Health educate instead the general public on how our immune system work in fighting infection, where fever plays a major role.
Here’s a crash course. What is the natural body’s response to infection?
Our bodies often respond with fever (heat inactivates many viruses and bacteria), the secretion of a chemical called interferon (which inhibits viruses from reproducing), or by marshaling the immune system’s antibodies and other cells to destroy the invader.
It is, thus, very unfortunate to stop our immune system from doing its job by dousing its flamethrower with paracetamol. Fever need only to be controlled or managed, not stopped at onset.
Traditional healing allows fever to stay or prevail for a while until it naturally subsides. A rising body temperature may be controlled by placing a cool pack on the forehead; by having a lukewarm sponge bath (with rubbing alcohol for adults). If fever is getting high, cool packs may be placed for 10-15 minutes under the arms and in groin areas where larger blood vessels are located; and by drinking lots of fluids to prevent dehydration.
There’s no need to panic. It is always better to remain cool by accepting the heat.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)