DOH Usec. Rosario Vergeire

MANILA – There is no scientific evidence yet which proves the effectiveness of ultraviolet (UV) devices sold in the market can kill the virus causing coronavirus disease (Covid-2019), a health official said Thursday.

Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, in a Covid-19 virtual presser, said the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use of such devices for disinfection purposes in healthcare settings.

“Ibig sabihin ginagamit lamang po ang mga ito sa loob ng ospital, sa mga clinics at iba pang formal healthcare settings. Sa ngayon, wala pa pong sapat na ebidensiya kung epektibo ito sa labas ng mga ganitong (This means, they’re only used in hospitals, clinics and other formal healthcare settings. To date, there’s no proof that they’re effective other than this kind of) setting,” she said.

Emphasizing WHO’s recommendation, Vergeire said use of UV devices “cannot replace manual cleaning, wiping or removal of contaminants on environmental surfaces”.

She added the amount of UV coming from the device can cause harm to the eyes, skin irritation, skin burns and increased skin cancer risk.

“Hindi po namin ito nirerekomenda sa ngayon, at sa halip mas mainam ang disinfection na gamit ang alcohol or bleach solution ayon sa ating mga guidelines (We don’t recommend the use of these devices at the moment, rather disinfection with alcohol or bleach solution following our guidelines is better),” Vergeire said.

Harms of “tuob”

Meanwhile, the DOH warned the public against possible harms of “tuob” or steam inhalation, which purportedly kills Sars Cov 2, the virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

In a Covid-19 virtual presser, Vergeire said there is no scientific evidence proving that inhalation of steam with salt, lemon, and other ingredients could prevent Covid-19 infection.

“Ang US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [USCDCP] at World Health Organization [WHO] ay itinanggi na ang steam inhalation ay nakagagaling sa (The USCDCP and the WHO denied that steam inhalation can treat) Covid-19,” Vergeire said.

She also noted that local medical societies do not recommend steam inhalation as a curative or preventive measure.

“May posibilidad pa na maaring sumama sa singaw ang virus na maaari pang pagmulan ng sakit. Ito ay nagpaparami ng secretions sa ilong na posibleng makahawa sa iba sapamamagitan ng pagbahing o pag-ubo (The virus may get into the steam which may cause diseases. It also increases nasal secretions that can be spread through coughing or sneezing),” Vergeire said.

Steam inhalation can also cause skin burns, she added.

According to the DOH, wearing face masks, frequent and proper handwashing, observing physical distancing, and practice of proper cough etiquette remain the best measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. (PNA)

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