A radiation in the Philippines text message that has been circulating creating panic should be a hoax. I personally received a text message that has been circulating, with a message that goes:
BBC FLASHNEWS: Japan government confirms radiation leak at Fukushima nuclear plants, Asian countries should take necessary precautions. Remain indoors for the first 24 hours. Close doors and windows. Swab neck with betadine where thyroid area is, radiation hits thyroid first. Take extra precaution, radiation may hit Philippines starting 4pm today (March 14). Please send to your loved ones.
Another story circulated that we should stay indoors and should bring umbrella to protect us from radiation coming from the rainfall.
For common people, this can be alarming especially that everyone is aware of the health hazards of radiation.
DOST calmed the public by assuring that based on DOST’s Philippine Nuclear Research Institute’s (PNRI) routine daily radiation monitoring in the environment, the level of radiation in the environment in the country has remained stable since the Fukushima incident in Japan. The DOST-PNRI is closely monitoring developments at Fukushima every six hours and maintains a 24-hour link-up with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said Sec. Montejo in the DOST website.
Further, the direction of the smoke appears to go away from the direction of the country as DOST-PNRI Director Dr. Alumanda dela Rosa explained. “The smoke is carried away by the northeast monsoon (amihan).” So the possibility of exposure to the radiation is considered remote. Moreover, Dr. Agnette Peralta, medical physicist of the DOH said that the only real danger in the event of increased radiation is ingesting radioactive materials which will affect the thyroid glands. This possible pathway of radiation exposure, importation of processed foods is currently prohibited by the DOH.
Swabbing the neck with betadine, a povidone iodine formulation, would not protect you from a possible radiation, instead it is prophylactic potassium iodide that will counter the ingestion of radioactive iodine.