General Santos City health officer, Dr. Rochelle Oco (File photo)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The City Health Office (CHO) advised residents on Tuesday to seek immediate consultation and treatment in rural health units and hospitals at the first onset of fever to ensure the early detection of possible dengue infection.

Dr. Rochelle Oco, CHO chief, issued the call in the wake of reports that some residents continue to opt for alternative measures like drinking herbal tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta) tea as treatment for the deadly dengue fever.

She said they do not discourage the drinking of boiled extracts from the herbal plant but stressed that it is important for possible dengue patients to get immediate treatment in hospitals to prevent complications that could lead to deaths.

“The medical society (Philippine Medical Association) already issued an advisory discouraging its use as the first line of treatment for dengue,” she said in an interview.

Oco acknowledged that she had received reports about dengue patients supposedly recovering by drinking tawa-tawa tea but there are not enough studies that could prove it.

Citing related medical researches, she said the drinking of herbal plant extracts and tea might have helped as the first management of dengue fever syndrome is mainly hydration, aside from the use of paracetamol for fever.

“So it is actually the hydration component that helped, more than anything. In the field of medicine, everything is evidence-based,” Oco said.

The official said residents should always consider that dengue could lead to death and should be properly treated in hospitals.

She said they should not worry about medical expenses as there are government assistance programs that could be availed aside from health insurance from the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.

“As a prevention measure, we always go back to regular cleanup in our households and surroundings. That is still the most effective way to combat dengue,” she said.

As of Aug. 2, the CHO already recorded a total of 720 dengue cases, with two deaths, in the city’s 26 barangays.

Such figure was 41 percent higher when compared to the 510 cases recorded in the same period last year. (Richelyn Gubalani/PNA)