With Holy Week just around the corner, the Department of Health (DOH) on Monday called on those planning to engage in flagellations during Lenten season to avoid doing such acts and instead choose other forms of sacrifice.
“It will be better if they will instead stop [self-flagellation] as there is really no known benefits of doing this,” DOH Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd said in Filipino during a press briefing at the UST Hospital in Manila.
Duque said it will be better for those who have intentions to flagellate to instead help the least disadvantaged sectors of society.
Describing the risk of self-flagellation, he said developing tetanus can lead to death.
However, in case they are really determined to do it, he said they should take proper precautions.
“It is better that they get vaccinated with anti-tetanus shots to lessen the severity of tetanus. Even if you say the whips are cleansed, they will eventually get dirty,” Duque said in Filipino.
Duque added the materials that are usually used by flagellants can be risky, becoming a source of tetanus infection.
Tetanus, or lockjaw, is a serious infection caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani. The condition can develop from infected wounds, cuts, or lesions.
Possibility that sharp objects used for whipping during flagellations such as nails for those who will be crucified can be infected if they are not properly cleansed or sterilized, or was exposed to dirt in soil prior to crucifixion.
Tetanus causes severe muscle spasms, affects the brain and nervous system, and may even lead to death.
In the past, the agency had been advising flagellants to ensure the nails or any other objects that will be used in hitting themselves be sterilized first.
Tetanus shots can be freely availed of in health centers.