MANILA–The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday reminded penitents to take precautions against tetanus as they fulfill their religious vows in observance of the Holy Week.
Tetanus is a serious infection caused by Clostridium tetani which can be acquired via skin lesions, skin cut, or puncture wound.
It can seriously affect the brain and nervous system and irreversible, thus, can lead to death.
Its symptoms, which are muscle and jaw stiffness, bloody stools, diarrhea, fever, headache, and sore throat, usually emerge about seven to 10 days after initial infection.
“We caution penitents to sterilize the nails and other sharp objects that will be used during flagellation. Tetanus can easily be contracted with the use of unsterilized or rusty nails,” said DOH Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial.
She said that in order to avoid tetanus, the peninents should make sure that the whips or nails they shall be using are free from rusts and are sterilized with alcohol, while also having injected with anti-tetanus serum (ATS).
She also said that itvis improtant to clean the wounds with clean water and soap.
For many years, some Filipinos decides to undergo self-flagellation– which is an act of hitting oneself with a whip, as a way to seek forgiveness for their sins in observance of Holy Week.
Some carry a cross, let themselves be nailed to a cross like Jesus to replay the suffering of Jesus in order to fulfil a vow or as way of paying for the sins committed..
These activities are commonly seen in some provinces like Pampanga where it is visisted as a tourist attractions during the Holy Week as local and foreign tourists try to to get a glimpse of the penitents.