Crucifixion, self-flagellation pose health risks – DOH

Three Filipinos are nailed to crosses in a Good Friday crucifixion in Barangay Cutud, San Fernando. The event attracted a crowd of around 10,000 people. REUTERS

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) cautioned the Lenten penitents that acts of crucifixion and self-flagellations could cause health risks such as tetanus and heat stroke.

DOH undersecretary Rolando Domingo said open wounds brought by crucifixion can cause various infections and diseases even if nails or whips were sterilized.

“The penitent’s wounds – especially those to be crucified – might get infected. So we request the local government units to sterilize the nails because many things could happen if these are unclean,” Domingo said.

“The penitent should get an anti-tetanus vaccination in advance because this creates antibodies. If the penitent has been vaccinated, a booster shot would be effective,” he added.

Tetanus is an infection caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. The condition can develop from infected wounds, cuts, or lesions. Tetanus causes severe muscle spasms, affects the brain and nervous system, and may even lead to death.

Domingo also cautioned children and elders who are watching the flagellation to remain indoors between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. “to avoid overheating of the body.”

“When our body perspires, we get dehydrated and the water in our body gets depleted. Thus, we need to keep replenishing the fluid in our body,” Domingo said. “We should avoid staying outdoors when the temperature is at its peak.”

“If we are not careful this Holy Week, things could get complicated. Let us be cautious against tetanus and dehydration,” added the Health official./PN


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