The Department of Health (DoH), in an effort to provide easy, informative service to medical practitioners, is launching the online Philippine National Formulary (PNF) and National Antibiotic Guidelines (NAG) that will ensure accessibility of vital health information.
The online PNF will provide information on the rational use of essential drugs for priority diseases, while the online version of NAG supplements the PNF to guide healthcare providers on rational antibiotic use as part of the national effort to fight the growing public health threat of antimicrobial resistance.
The PNF serves as the guiding data for public and private medical practice in procurement, prescription and use, as well as PhilHealth for in the reimbursement of claims from public and private health care facilities.
It is the google search of all available medicines in the market that is very helpful to all doctors in choosing quality, ethical drugs in the market. Instead of the thick formulary called PIMS, they can now access a variety of medicines through the use of mobile phone, tablets or even laptop.
DoH Undersecretary Rolando Domingo disclosed that the eighth edition of the PNF Manual is set to be printed and distributed by the last quarter of 2019 for the use of healthcare facilities. The manual will contain information on 619 drugs and medicines and will include comprehensive pharmacology information to aid health professional in making clinical decisions.
Holidays with a twist
As people count the days before Christmas, health experts have again reminded the public to be wary of celebrating holidays with the threat of the pandemic still around.
Medical experts from the Healthcare Professionals Alliance Against COVID-19 (HPAAC) fully understand the tradition of observing Christmas as something for which Filipinos want to gather. And according to HPAAC’s virtual discussion held recently, this is fine as long as there is proper distancing, contact reduction and other precautionary measures observed by all family members.
Dr. Maria Carmela Agustin-Kasala, chair, public relations engagement system services communication of the Philippine Pediatric Society, emphasized the importance of face shields and masks in reducing the transmission of the COVID-19 virus (transmission can be reduced to 93 percent), the combination of one meter distance and wearing of a mask records a 94 percent risk reduction, a two-meter distance and a mask reduces the reduction to 97 percent while the three-meter distance, mask and face shield records a 99 percent risk reduction.
Should your family continue with gift giving, Dr. Inday Dans, a pediatrician and epidemiologist at Philippine General Hospital, recommends to purchase gifts online or from open-air stores. Choose gifts that are useful at home, ones that can be used for outdoor activities like bikes or balls. Do disinfect the gifts and if possible, just leave them outside for more than a day.
For Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, chief of the Philippine General Hospital’s (PGH) Pediatric Infectious Disease division, aside from the measures mentioned above, people need to go back to keeping in mind the three Ws the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advocates: wear your masks and face shield to cover the nose, mouth and chin (not recommended for less than two years-old), watch your distance at least one meter or three feet away from other people and wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds; if not available, sanitize with 70 percent ethyl or isopropyl alcohol.
With everyone’s cooperation and participation, HPAAC firmly believes that it’s entirely possible to have a joyous Christmas celebration, even in the new normal — while preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Panic over pandemic: Coexist, don’t resist
A few months ago, the world didn’t know how much fear and panic a simple word like “positive” could plant in everybody’s minds. Anxiety and uncertainty about the virus forced people to flood clinics and hospitals, contacting their doctors to ask about their next few steps or for assurance that everything won’t be as bad it seemed.
“There’s this stigma of being tested positive,” Dr. Roderick Tan said in an interview with the Daily Tribune, “Feeling nila iku-kulong sila, eh.”
This uncontrolled fear about the virus, amongst other things, is what bonded likeminded individuals with concerns about the ongoing health crisis to form the Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC-PH) which aims to recalibrate the country’s focus on dealing with the pandemic.
Besides the prevalent struggles that the pandemic has imposed upon the people and the economy that pieced the organization together, Dr. Roderick Tan added that the constant and lingering fear their patients have when coming to them. “We see people who would come, takot na takot (terrified) and panicking because they don’t know what to do. So, it’s the fear drives all the actions and the decisions that’s being made, which is becoming medyo wala na sa target (off-target), so being able to come up with solutions that are not fear-based is what we would like to espouse,” Dr. Roderick Tan said.
He pointed out, “Ultimately, (lifting the lockdown) is what everybody is wishing to happen, but what we would like to propose is to tell people that there is a way to deal with this virus; there is a cure, treatment, preventive protocols, lifestyle, nutrition and dietary things that you can do proactively instead of just hiding in place, hoping that we don’t get sick, hoping you don’t catch the virus.”
Fear is what fuels the panic over the pandemic, spreading a wildfire of grave effects starting from the mind to the general health. “Fear releases certain hormones, a certain acidic build-up in the body system that gives another domino effect towards losing your health — you become weak, your immune system drops — the more acidic in your inner terrain, the inner environment of your body, the more hospitable it is for viruses and bacteria to grow. So, that’s the direct correlation of fear and our immune system,” Dr. Tan explained.
Protect yourself for the battle
But despite growing concerns on how to eliminate the virus faster to reduce the spread, Dr. Homer Lim, president for the International Anti-Aging and Integrative Medicine Society and the Philippine Society of Orthomolecular Medicine, said that people should focus more on how to co-exist with the virus, as the world has been doing for thousands of decades, given that strict implementation of health and safety protocols around the metro, just like how Japan is managing.
“The most important thing to do here is how to boost our immune system, make it be able to handle viruses. It’s not sustainable and not practical to go through lockdowns if ever this happens again in the future. So, the main goal now is how to boost our immune system and make sure that we are able to handle any, or all threats that will be challenging our own body,” he said. “It’s almost impossible to suppress the virus, especially now in the National Capital Region because we already have community transmission.”
Instead of passively waiting in our homes with the lingering fear of the virus, the CDC PH aims to teach the people about a new and healthier lifestyle to combat the virus. “With these things in place, plus the prophylactic measures ─ the supplements; vitamins C, A, D, zinc…there’s so many. We are a rich country; we have virgin coconut oil. These are things that almost everybody can start using, applying in their daily lives. And when they apply that, fewer people would probably get sick, fewer would test positive, maybe that part is a gray area that we don’t want to go to.”
“But the people who are getting their immune system supported, the less their chances of going to hospitals,” he said. “We do our part, this is what we do — not just face shields, not just masking or hiding in place, but we should be proactive. Get our immune systems up, do the right things — mentally, emotionally
— connect properly with other people. From there, we, as a country, are able to help more actively than waiting passively.”
Ensure your pet’s health
The presence of ticks, fleas and mange on dogs can cause severe problems such as intense itchiness, involuntary scratching and drastic allergies. In order to survive, these parasitic organisms will have to hop on from one host to another — affecting any dog it lands on.
That’s why, in the pet care industry, a lion’s share of products is dedicated to prevent parasites in further affecting pets. Such example is Advantix Spot-on, a product that works on dogs in fighting off not only fleas and ticks but also on mosquitoes, the only parasite that transmits heartworm, a deadly disease for dogs. However, Advantix cannot be used on cats. Pet owners who have dogs and cats are advised to separate them for 24 hours after applying the product.
On 29 September, Advantix will raffle off pet care products to customers of Bayopet stores of Shopee and Lazada who make purchases until 11:59 p.m. on 5 October. For more information on Advantix you can go to www.facebook.com/Advantix-PH-110898183739321.
Helpful reminders against little aches and pains
It pays to heed the advice of well-meaning physicians whose only concern is one’s wellbeing. Here is a collection of natural and practical approaches to address the little aches and pains the human body is subjected to. As time passes, there are seemingly small signs and signals our bodies send to us in order to be given more attention.
Oftentimes, a nagging minor headache could be the result of a basic human need — hydration. It can never be emphasized enough — water is the single most urgent requirement of the body. While a water level of 70 percent might be acceptable, it is more beneficial in terms of health maintenance to raise the water content to 90 to 95 percent. All health experts agree: Consume a minimum of eight full glasses of water a day and a maximum of 10 to 12 glasses if you are extra stressed or tired.
Lower back pain
Barring any other reason for minor common discomfort in this area, sometimes a good stretch is all you need. Standing firmly on the floor while touching your knees and toes with side bends is the gentlest way to unstiffen hardly used muscles. Movement in slow, deliberate and gentle ways will bring relief to tight muscles caused by lack of use. If you like, try basic dancing or easy, brisk walks.
But if the nagging discomfort doesn’t seem to go away, then it is time to see your chiropractor. Moreover, you could consider doing self-massage. Start with the feet where nerve endings of all the organs can be found. Apply a little virgin coconut oil and start applying pressure on the soles of your feet.
After a meal, the usual feeling of satiety should take place. If for some reason you feel uneasy or uncomfortable, you could be experiencing a queasy tummy. Gas that rises from your stomach which can push against your lungs might leave you breathless. It helps to take both prebiotics and probiotics to aid in digestion. Also, a digestive enzyme before meals can assist in better digestion. Thus, because as one gets older, less digestive enzymes are being produced by the body.
Quick relief: wait one hour after a meal and take a cup of warm water mixed with half a teaspoon of baking soda. Note: make sure your sodium levels are normal or that you do not have hypertension. The most natural of digestive aids is a cup of warm ginger tea (minus the sugar). You are only just a burp away.
Bumps and bruises
For small bruises recently caused by an accidental bump, apply an ice compress to the affected area for the first 24 hours. After the 24th hour, the rule is to apply a cold compress. However, always consult your doctor when you have had a minor household accident.
This week’s affirmation: “My body has the capacity to heal.”
Love and light!
Follow me on Instagram @coryquirino and Facebook @iamcoryquirino and Everyday Wellness with Cory Quirino and on YouTube Wellness with Cory Quirino
Tired of working from home?
Back in BC (Before Coronavirus), the idea of working at home sounded amazing. No commute, no traffic. No need to get fully dressed, okay to wear pajamas all day. No more suffering from hearing the loud person in the next office. Enter 2020 and plenty of people are realizing that remote work is not the utopia they had imagined.
First, a little self-compassion. The pandemic has made everything harder. Lots of people working outside the home are struggling, too. So are people who have always worked from home but are adapting to a new normal (which may include more family members underfoot all day). So go easy on yourself if remote work is getting you down. It’s a stressful time.
But you can tweak your work-from-home routine. Here are some ways to deal with some of the most common complaints.
1. I can’t get into work mode. When you go to work elsewhere, you can turn off your home brain. It’s easier to leave behind all the everyday worries. And at the end of the day, you can leave work behind. When working at home, you have both work and home responsibilities swirling together. To un-swirl them, try to find a dedicated space to work in. If you have the room, set up a table in the corner and use it just for work. Working from the bed or couch is cozy, but it’s easy to forget you’re supposed to be working if you’re parked in front of the TV.
Build in time to transition from work to home. No matter how short your commute was, that time was important for shifting gears. The transition is more difficult when you’re home all day, so give yourself five or 10 minutes to transition out of work mode. Listen to the radio or go for a walk around the block. Anything that gives you a mental break.
2. I’m exhausted. We now all know that Zoom fatigue is real. Staring at a screen is mentally taxing. And if you’re meeting with coworkers via video, your brain has to work a lot harder to decipher nonverbal communication over a screen. Take regular breaks to get up, stretch and rest your eyes (and brain).
3. I’m feeling disconnected from coworkers. Lots of people are finding that water cooler chitchat is a bigger part of their day than they realized. And they miss it. Those breaks provide important social interaction and can help read the office mood. Since you can’t walk down the hall to connect, schedule a call or text chat to catch up with your work buddies.
4. I can’t stop snacking. You’re bored. You’re stressed. And the kitchen is right there. It’s a recipe for stress eating. Unfortunately, unhealthy snacks and possible weight gain can leave you feeling worse, not better. You can try packing a lunch and snacks as though you’re going to work. Better yet, take an official lunch break instead of munching between meetings.
5. I keep procrastinating. Some people do better if they stick to a nine-to-five schedule, so work doesn’t bleed into nights and weekends. Night owls might find they’re more productive if they work in the evening and take the opportunity to sleep in. If your work allows such flexibility, embrace it. But whatever you choose, map out a schedule to stay on track. Make sure to include work time and play time so you have that balance.
We now all know that Zoom fatigue is real. Staring at a screen is mentally taxing. And if you’re meeting with coworkers via video, your brain has to work a lot harder to decipher nonverbal communication over a screen.
6. I’m easily distracted. Chores. Bills. Watering the plants (for you plantitos and plantitas). Dealing with bored kids. The distractions in your house are endless. Turn to technology to help. Put on noise-canceling headphones. Try using timers and time-tracking apps to stay on track. You may even consider using programs to block access to social media during work hours.
7. My boss (or coworker) doesn’t get it. When you’re working remotely, it can be harder for coworkers to read between the lines. You may have to get more vocal about setting boundaries. And you may need to make more effort to communicate your thoughts and feelings. At a distance, coworkers can’t read how you’re feeling, so you have to take extra steps to communicate.
It’s not always easy to initiate those tough conversations. But at least you can do it in shorts and slippers.
Should you take Vitamin C and Zinc?
Vitamins are substances that cannot be made by the human body so they must be added to the diet in small amounts for the body to function normally. Vitamins (such as A, C and D) should be distinguished from minerals (such as calcium and iron), some of which are also essential micronutrients.
A balanced and healthy diet that incudes vegetables, fruits and protein should be adequate to fulfill the need for these vitamins and minerals. If you are unable to get them in your diet, then you can take a tablet to “supplement” your diet (this is why they are called supplements).
Supplements should be taken with caution. Some patients argue that these are “organic” or “just vitamins” and can’t cause any trouble. But they can interact with your medications, depending on the type and timing of when you take them. Taking an excess of vitamins also won’t make you healthier or prevent a certain disease and can cause more harm than good.
Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid and helps to protect cells and keep them healthy, maintaining skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage and also helps with wound healing. A deficiency in vitamin C is called scurvy, where you can have bleeding of the gums and bruising in the skin.
Good sources of vitamin C include not only citrus fruit such as oranges and calamansi but also vegetables like broccoli, potatoes, spinach and tomatoes. Heat destroys ascorbic acid, so cooking can reduce the vitamin C content of food. Steaming or microwaving may lessen these losses. Fortunately, many of the best food sources of vitamin C are usually consumed raw.
The recommended daily dose of vitamin C for Filipinos is about 30 to 70 mg per day. Consuming five varied servings of fruits and vegetables a day can give around 200 mg, while supplements usually contain 500 mg of vitamin C. Doses of up to 1000 mg a day are safe to take, but more than that and you can have stomach pain, bloating and diarrhea.
There is also a risk of developing kidney stones. Vitamin C is water soluble, so whatever the body does not need is filtered by your kidneys and is eliminated in your urine (that is why your urine turns very yellow after taking too much vitamin C). So make sure you drink enough water while taking these supplements, about eight to 10 eight-ounce glasses a day.
Taking vitamin C can reduce the duration of a cold, but does not really prevent the common cold. This has been seen only in persons involved in high-intensity physical activity in extremely cold climates — not an everyday scenario.
Zinc is another mineral that is thought to help with the immune system. It helps with making new cells in the body and wound healing, and also with digesting food. Sources of zinc include meat, shellfish, dairy foods such as cheese, bread and cereals.
The usual daily dose of elemental zinc is 7 to 9.5 mg a day. Most supplements contain 10 mg of zinc. Supplements can contain several forms of zinc — zinc gluconate, zinc sulfate, and zinc acetate. Check for the elemental zinc content in the Supplement Facts panel on the container. It has not determined however whether one form of zinc is better than the other.
Zinc is commonly found in lozenges and preparations for cough and colds. Zinc lozenges have been shown to shorten the duration of a cold when taken within the first 24 hours. Nasal sprays with zinc should be avoided because this can cause long-lasting or permanent loss of smell).
Do not take more than 50 mg of elemental zinc a day unless advised by a doctor. If you take too much, zinc can cause nausea vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, diarrhea and headaches. Too much zinc can cause anemia and weaken your immune system and bones.
There is currently no scientific evidence to suggest that taking vitamin C or zinc is harmful to patients with COVID-19, but there is also no evidence to suggest that it will prevent or treat the disease. There has been anecdotal use of high dose IV injections of vitamin C in severely ill patients, not over-the-counter supplements. All these potential treatments remain experimental, and should only be done under the supervision of a doctor.
As always, ask your doctor first whether a supplement is right for you before taking them, to lessen the risk of any untoward side effects or interactions, and so that you get the most out of them for optimum health.
Watching your sugar?
For a person with a high-glucose condition or anyone who is watching sugar consumption, there is a piece of good news. Yes, you may eat any fruit of your choice for as long as you do not have an allergy to it.
The main concern of most diabetics is the intake of high-sugar or starchy fruits for fear that these could raise blood sugar levels too high.
Much to the frustration of diabetics, they seem to be under the impression that fruits are strictly off limits. Not so, it seems.
To be more aware of the glycemic index (GI) of foods in general, one must do a little research.
GI is a rating of foods on a scale that covers one to 100. It indicates how quickly any food item can raise blood sugar levels. This is labeled in terms of low, medium and high.
Glycemic load or GL is the number of carbohydrates in a serving. The secret is this: To manage blood sugar, choose low GL and GI foods. In the long run, better health management means controlling sugar levels.
Trivia: There are many fruits with low GI. Another misconception is that fruits and carbohydrates are a no-no. However, here is another eye-opener —- carbohydrates that take a longer time to cook have a higher GI than those that require shorter cooking time. Example: Potatoes as opposed to pasta.
Fruit GI/GL Index
LOW: Apples, avocados, bananas, berries, cherries, grapefruit, guava, kiwi, nectarines, orange, peaches, pears, plums, strawberries, mango, durian, lanzones (lansat), mangosteen, dragon fruit.
MEDIUM: Honeydew melons, figs, grapes, papayas, pineapples.
HIGH (70 and up) High GL: Dates
Go high fiber
It is the fiber in fruit that has a protective role to play.
Soluble fiber slows down the absorption of sugar thereby controlling blood levels.
Therefore, diets high in fiber such as fruits and vegetables play a key role in health management.
Moreover, dietary fiber lowers cholesterol levels and normalizes bowel movements, thereby maintaining better health.
Servings per day
When it comes to fruit, choose the fresh over the dried or canned.
While fruit may be nutritious, you may need to control your portions and servings.
This is a guide.
Women: 19 to 30 years = Two cups
Over 30 years = One and half cups
Men: Over 19 years = Two cups
One cup could be equivalent to one small apple or orange, or a full glass of 100 percent fresh fruit juice.
In summary: Fruits have health benefits. Whether you are a diabetic or not, watch the servings.
Always choose fruits that are high in fiber.
This Week’s Affirmation: “I am as sweet as a fruit.”
Love and light!
Follow me on Instagram @coryquirino and Facebook @iamcoryquirino and Everyday Wellness with Cory Quirino and on YouTube Wellness with Cory Quirino.
More than fatigue
Certainly, one of the big issues is depression… if you see changes in appetite (they eat too much or too little), if they are asleep most of the time or they aren’t sleeping at all, that’s when fatigue is getting more serious.
Spending a couple of months in quarantine, or longer if you’re unlucky, is tiresome. Limited movements around the house, not to mention the repetitive activities that you find yourself doing, can get taxing as days go by.
There’s also the constant noise interrupting your work from home calls, cats jumping on your keyboard whenever you turn your laptop on, or the many times the delivery rider calls your name for another package you’ve bought. But there’s also the fear of catching the virus if you ever decide to do anything beyond your home. You’re left with no choice but to go about your life.
From the experts
In a virtual discussion hosted by Thomson and Reuters, Maribel Dionisio, a parenting and relationship specialist from The Love Institute, said that quarantine fatigue is an opportunity to turn around and do things differently because nothing is more important than the happiness of the people around you.
She said, “As much as possible, make your work flexible. Work on a new set of standards for yourself and your family as well so you can stay happy.”
Allan Dionisio, a family medicine practitioner, clinical toxicologist and chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Philippine General Hospital, said that people should look out for signs of red flags experienced by those who are reacting to the fatigue a little differently.
“Certainly, one of the big issues is depression… if you see changes in appetite (they eat too much or too little), if they are asleep most of the time or they aren’t sleeping at all, that’s when fatigue is getting more serious,” said Dionisio.
For students coping with stress brought about from online classes, the Love Institute’s Dionisio advised that it is best to have a conversation with the child.
“We have to relax them more now. Have a conversation with your child, ask them, ‘How is it for you?’ rather than, ‘Hay nako wala ka magagawa, ganyan talaga muna (Oh, well, there’s nothing we can do. Just deal with it).’”
Let’s get personal
The truth is, I was forced to undergo home quarantine for the past month. I was in a room for more than two weeks with nothing but fear in my head thinking that I could possibly be infected with the virus.
I kept distracting myself most of the time. First, I tried watching movies on Netflix, start a new K-drama before convincing myself to write stories (which never went past a lead sentence anyway). For odd reasons, I just can’t seem to do all of it successfully.
I even forced myself to read Stephenie Meyer’s new book Midnight Sun, the novel that I have been waiting for almost 12 years. The Twilight saga spinoff, told from the perspective of Edward Cullen, had hit the shelves and fans who are funnily called ‘Twihards’ were once again back in Forks, Washington. It was the only thing keeping my mind busy as I remained isolated from the rest of my family and I’m not sure if Edward’s constant internal monologue, which I’m surprised were all full of angst, were enough to help me cope me with my situation.
The worst of my fears came. But good thing is that I have a strong support system. Now I’m living my second chance at life.
What’s in the air?
Pollution has long been a major factor in respiratory health problems — you can develop clogged airways or have difficulty breathing if you happen to inhale air contaminated by harmful particles or gases. But what would be the case if the air is corrupted by a deadly virus?
Even with masks and face shields, people still resort to using air purifiers in an effort to ward off COVID-19. Essentially, this device filters the air by trapping pollutants, allergens and toxins. Air purifiers are most often used for infants and the elderly who are more susceptible to illnesses.
Available in various sizes, there are some air purifiers that are costly. But it is a good investment. Sadly, we’re now at a time when people have to buy cleaner air to survive.
From the makers of CopperMask comes Ninja Ion, a personal air purifier designed to deactivate most viruses and bacteria with its super boosted battery life and ultra-lightweight mass. It’s also known to release 200 million counts of negative ion per second (“vitamins of the air” believed to increase physiological health and impact the quality of the air we breathe), providing the user a maximum of one-meter radius of protection.
But experts remind people not just to rely on air purifiers to kill the virus. It is still best to partner it with a healthy body (daily consumption of natural vitamins and minerals often found in vegetables and fruits), physical distancing and constant disinfection.