Emergency response teams in Iloilo City have recorded increasing cases of heat-related illnesses.

“It’s actually one half of the case(s) that we respond to every day,” said Dr. Johnilyn Gargaritano, the medical officer assigned with the Iloilo City Emergency Responder (ICER) of the Iloilo City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO).

CDRRMO data showed that the ICER responded to 47 heat-related illnesses in March and 62 in April.

“It’s actually very alarming. The number is small but gradually increasing. Not everyone knows that we have this kind of case,” she said in an interview on Tuesday, May 7.

Among the health-related illnesses are heat cramps, heat syncope, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

Gargaritano said they brought almost all the cases to hospitals because these needed monitoring. Most of them are 50 years old and above, although the youngest case was 17 years old and the eldest was 97.

She advised the public to stay home if they have nothing important to do. Otherwise, they should plan out the schedule and how long when they must go out.

“They can go to shaded areas, wear light or light-colored clothes, and always drink water. Don’t wait to be thirsty to drink water, instead take at least one to two cups every hour to avoid getting dehydrated,” she said.

The city government has suspended in-person classes at all levels in public and private schools on Monday, while on Tuesday, only those with air-conditioned classrooms were given the discretion to have face-to-face classes.

Acting Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon cited the high heat index forecasted by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) as the reason for the cancellation of the in-person classes.

PAGASA forecast a 44 degrees Celcius heat index in Iloilo City on Tuesday, while the heat index on Monday was between 41 degrees Celcius to 44 degrees Celcius.Perla Lena/PNA