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» 081 Know the infectious diseases  » 082 Take a safer form of transportation  » 083 Use curtains that block UV  » 084 Take a safer seat  » 085 Have your regular checkup  » 086 Have friends who care to be healthy  » 087 Know your odds for heart attack  » 088 Wear comfortably & tidy  » 089 Use appropriate masks  » 090 Wear protective gears when needed

081 Know the infectious diseases

              You are most likely aware of the infectious diseases common to the place where you live, and probably you already have knowledge on how to protect yourself against these. However, if you travel to other places, different infectious diseases may be prevalent or endemic to the area. Knowing these, before visiting the place, will make you aware of what you can do to protect yourself from getting infected and you will be able to learn beforehand what to do whenever infected.


Infectious diseases

              Infectious disease is also called communicable disease or transmissible disease. This type of disease is caused by pathogenic microbial agents, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and parasites. Transmission may occur through one or more diverse pathways. Physical contact with an infected individual is one. These infecting agents may also be transmitted through food, drinks, water, body fluids, contaminated objects, airborne inhalation, or vector-borne spread, such as through

mosquito bites.


Mosquito-borne diseases

              There are several diseases that can be transmitted via mosquito bites. Malaria,291 Dengue Fever,292 Japanese encephalitis293 and Filariasis294 are still endemic to some regions in the Philippines.


Table 81. Common mosquito-borne diseases


Remarks on distribution


Tropical & subtropical regions

Dengue Fever*

Tropical regions

Japanese Encephalitis*

Southeast Asia and the Far East


Tropical region

West Nile Fever

Tropical & temperate regions

Rift Valley Fever

Africa and Arab countries

Pogosta Disease

Mainly in Finland

*These diseases are considered endemic in some parts of the Philippines, while West Nile fever is being suspected to have been present in the country.


Infection and cancer

              Although most infections may present as a mild disease,295 several other can be directly fatal. Some also cause debilitating chronic disease, and there are also others that cause secondary long-term effects such as cancer.

              According to the Union Against Cancer, forty percent of the 12 million people diagnosed with cancer worldwide each year could avert the killer disease by protecting themselves against infections and changing their lifestyle.



              The Philippines is considered high risk for the following major infectious diseases (cia.gov; updated Jan. 2010 and retrieved March 12, 2010):

1. Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A and typhoid fever

2. Vector borne disease: dengue fever, malaria, and Japanese encephalitis

3. Water contact disease: leptospirosis.


082 Take a safer form of transportation

         You are hundreds of times more likely to die walking or riding a car or motorcycle than you are in a plane. Air transportation safety is usually regulated internationally resulting into a very low fatality rate compared with other transportation systems. In addition to air transportations, in some countries, like Japan and Germany, subways and railway systems are also considered very safe.

Statistical risk

              Properly informed public are more likely aware of their statistical risk of dying from the type of transportation they use or take within their locality.296 When you travel to other countries however, this risk profile may change. For example in Japan, railway transport is considered one of the safest in the world, which may not be true in other countries, especially in underdeveloped or developing countries where recent safety technology is not currently in use.

              Long history of transportation and technological advances provide us a good look at the statistics on which mode of transportation is safer or not.

              While flying is the safest form of transportation, looking at the track record of a transportation company will tell you about the level of safety standard they follow.


              Modern cars are equipped and loaded with several safety features and have improved fuel efficiency. More recently, hybrid cars and electric cars have added a new dimension into this technology that is not only eco-friendly, but also risk-free of carbon dioxide poisoning.



              In the year 2002, the Philippines had 41.39 accidents per 10,000 vehicles registered which translates to 20.85 accidents per 100,000 people, according to a report.297 The report also accounted for vehicular accident as the leading (21.8%) cause of injury morbidities in the country in the year 2003, and the leading (20%) cause of death from injury. The usual victims of fatal vehicular accidents are: pedestrians (56.6%), passengers (11.2) and motorcyclists (9.1). This means that walking along the streets in the Philippines is more risky than riding a car.

              On the global setting, from the website cia.gov updated Jan. 15, 2010, the Philippines ranks 25th among countries with most number of airports. As to the length of roadways, Philippines also rank 25th, 31st as to waterways, but 95th as to the railways.

              Based on the road traffic deaths per 100,000 populations, in 2009, the Philippines was ranked as the 70th country with most fatality rate. Japan, USA and Singapore are among the lowest, ranked 115th, 169th and 174th, respectively. Major countries higher in traffic fatality rates include Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia, ranked 3rd, 9th, and 40th, respectively.


083 Use curtains that block UV

              Allowing sunlight to shine through the inside of your room is good and can prevent growth of molds and other bacteria. However, if you are inside, protecting yourself from the harmful radiation and heat from the sun is important. Use curtain that blocks ultraviolet rays or light, or combination of both.



Glass windows that block UV and curtain that block sunlight are ideal

              You can design your room to attain your need. If you want to make your room dark and cooler during the day, use a curtain combination or blinds that use bright or white color as the outside layer and a darker or black colored in the inner side (Fig. 83A). However if your work requires you to sleep during day time, completely darkened room (Fig. 83C) is ideal to attain good sleep. You may need air-conditioning to keep the room cooler.


Ultraviolet Index (UVI)

              The UVI is an international standard measurement of how strong the UV radiation from the sun is at a particular place on a particular time.


Wear dark clothing when going out in the sunlight

              Protect yourself from the sun's deadly rays. Age is a risk factor for skin cancer, a sometimes deadly condition that is diagnosed in more than a million Americans each year. To lower your risk, try to avoid unnecessary sun exposure, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. And when you are outdoors, wear a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.

              It is recommended that if you are a fair-skinned senior you should get a full-body skin exam once a year. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States.

              A lack of sunlight may cloud memory and other cognitive functions in some people with depression.

              UV is stronger in the summertime, at midday, at higher altitude, and places closer to the equator.


Sunlight can cause melanoma

              Melanoma is an often deadly form of skin cancer. Some people have higher tendency to develop melanoma. Common risk factors according to American Academy of Dermatology includes:298

1. Having fair skin

2. Having more than 50 moles

3. Having family history of melanoma

4. Being 50 or older

5. Having history of using tanning beds

6. Being sunburned frequently

7. Having red or blond hair with blue or green eyes

8. Having abnormal or irregular moles


Use car windows

              If you can afford it, use glass windows that filter out UV just like your car windows.


084 Take a safer seat

              When taking a seat, choose the safest seat to improve your chances of survival from a fatal accident. For a bus or car, a safer seat is the one directly behind the driver seat.

The safest seat

              An investigation on the survival rate of occupants of cars involved in a fatal crash in the United States between 2000 and 2003 showed that the safest seat is the rear middle seat with 29.1% higher odds of survival over the first row seating position.299 Seating in the other rear seats may also improve better odds of survival than the first row. Furthermore, an Australian study involving children showed that the relative risk of death is double if the child is traveling in the front seat and the risk of serious injury is 60% higher. The relative risk of death is four times if the child is less than 1 year.300 The rear seat is safer regardless with or without the use of safety measures such as belts and airbags, the rear seat remain the safer seat according to another study.301

              Taking the scientific information together and the driver's reflex to avoid himself from danger, the safest seat can be the one directly behind the driver seat (seat 7 in the Figure above).

Nice economy seats in flight

              If you can afford a business class ticket for your flights, then take it. The seats in a business class are designed for your comfort. They really provide more comfort than the cheaper seats.

              However, for most of us who often choose the cheapest ones, all we can do is find the "nicer one" of these cheap seats. Spacious seat in the exit row will give you more space to stretch. You may also select a seat in the second row in planes with two rows for emergency door access.

              Some airline company allows seat reservation online.


Get a healthy place for your home

              Are you planning to build a house? First you need to learn about the building codes in your area. For safety and general wellbeing, know if the area is prone for earthquake, flooding, typhoon, fire, burglars, vehicular accidents, radon, environmental and noise pollutions. In this way you can appropriately design your dream house in a way you want it to be.

              There is an average of 134 earthquakes a year that have a magnitude between 6.0 and 6.9 according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Avoid areas that are prone to earthquake, or if you can't make that choice, live in a house that is resistant to strong quakes. Avoid staying in quake zones.

              Specific home injury issues include falls among older adults, poisonings among middle-aged adults, fire/burn injuries among older adults and children, and inhalation/suffocation and drowning among young children.302


085 Have your regular checkup

              Don't miss your regular checkup, if you don't have one, see your doctor and ask him if you need it. Early diagnosis can be more economical and it may help you avoid complication from disease and even save you from dying early. Most causes of early deaths such as heart diseases and cancer are preventable and curable when diagnosed early and appropriate treatment timely given.303

Regular checkup

              Although some companies require their employees to get a regular annual checkup, other companies or employment facilities don't have that system. Ask your doctor if you need a regular check-up, how often you need to have it, and what are the tests and examinations you would need to have. Things your doctor will likely consider are your age, sex, BMI, family history, previous illnesses, general health status, health habits, previous examination findings, and your financial capability.


Have a family or personal doctor

              Maintain a family doctor who can give you advices on your regular checkup, the frequency, things you need to undergo during the checkup and other things best for you and your family. Most of family doctors are general practitioners (not specialist) but they are very important in providing you public health information304 and they can refer you to specialist doctors when needed.


Regular checkup modifies attitude towards health

              Regular checkups improve one's health awareness leading to development of good healthy habits. Workplace wellness programs including regular medical checkups are an effective way to reduce major risk factors for heart disease.


086 Have friends who care to be healthy

              Having a circle of friends who are supportive of each other, with similar sports interests, and are health conscious may serve as a support group for you in your desire to be healthy and to live longer.

Choosing your friends

              Choosing your friends may sound as a bad attitude, but everyone does it most of the time. Everyone wants to be-friend someone they like for many different reasons. Adding health to these reasons is actually a healthy idea. If your friends are health-conscious, chances are that you will learn to eventually become health-conscious yourself.

              In a broader sense, social selectivity can be a key to living a very long life, according to a study.60


Social network for health

              Establishing a social network promoting good health and for moral support can be a very effective way of maintaining a healthy life. At schools, organizing or joining health clubs promotes health awareness and develops healthy habits among members.


Table 86. Healthy characteristics for a good friend.

1. Non-smoker

2. Non or moderate alcoholic drinker

3. Into sports or exercises regularly

4. Diet conscious

5. Not having risky behaviors

6. Kind and courteous to others

7. Have good personal hygiene

8. Not a trouble maker

9. Fashionable but health conservative

10. Loves to learn, read and discuss important issues



087 Know your odds for heart attack

              A heart attack, also called heart failure or myocardial infarction, is often fatal and is the single most common cause of human deaths. However, there are several factors that predispose someone to heart attack. Knowing your chances of getting a heart attack, considering all the risk factors you have, will help you prevent attack and improve the prognosis of an attack.

Symptoms of heart attack

              A heart attack can occur anytime. Some are sudden but many people who experience a heart attack have warning signs and symptoms hours or days in advance.

              Symptoms vary a lot, however, common symptoms of heart attacks include pain in the center of your chest lasting a few minutes, pain radiating to your shoulder, arm and back, and/or prolonged pain in the upper abdomen. Some people experience shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, vomiting, and fainting. Although some people may experience no symptom at all, the more symptoms you have increases the likelihood for you to have a heart attack.


Table 87. Risk factors for heart attack.

1. Age above 45

2. Family history of heart attack or stroke

3. Cigarette smoking or tobacco use

4. High blood pressure

5. High blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels

6. Diabetes

7. Lack of physical activity

8. Obesity or waist circumference greater than 40 cm

9. Illegal drug use

10. Stress


              Better awareness of heart attack signs and symptoms and improved treatments has led to increased survival rate of people with heart attacks.


Your odds for heart attack

              Based on years of experience and research several causes of heart attack have been investigated and several factor that increases onefs odds of having a heart attack identified.

              These include family history of heart attack, tobacco and illegal drug use, and factors related to physical activity and diet (see Table 87).


Things you can do to minimize the risk of heart failure

              Looking at the risk factors in table 87, you can see what factors you can modify to minimize your chances of having a heart attack. By not smoking alone can make a big difference. Having a heart-friendly diet such as low in sodium, low in fats, low in glycemic index, and high in fiber will keep you at a normal weight, blood pressure, cholesterol level, and blood sugar level. Regular adequate exercise is also an important aspect of keeping a healthy heart.

              Eating a particular food may also lower your odds of having a heart attack. Example is eating 30 to 60 grams of nuts a day89 or 6 grams of chocolate per day lowers the risk of either a heart attack or stroke.127


When to see a doctor?

              If you have the risk factor for heart attack, a regular annual physical checkup is a must.

              During a heart attack you need to call for emergency medical help immediately, and if your doctor has prescribed nitroglycerin, take as instructed while awaiting the arrival of emergency medical personnel.

              But if you don't have access to emergency medical services, have someone (not you) drive you to the nearest doctor's clinic or hospital.


Recovering from a heart attack

              Your overall lifestyle plays a role in your recovery from a heart attack. Your diet or the food you eat, your physical activity or how often you exercise and the way you deal with stress are all important determining factors for your recovery.


Implantable replacement heart

              People who need a heart transplant is growing in number but the supply is scarce. The AbioCor artificial heart,305 which is totally implantable replacement heart, is the latest technologic advancement that might just solve this problem.


088 Wear comfortably & tidy

              You are what you wear, either because you choose an attire projecting yourself to be who you want to be or because people judge you on the way you dress up.306 But to avoid stress or probably injury, it is basic that you wear comfortable and tidy clothes. Being tidy, would make you look descent, clean and healthy.

The art of wearing

              However, clothing is more than just for your look and decency; these are also your protection against harsh environments such as from cold weather, from the sun's radiation, and from injuries. It is also important that you feel comfortable with what you wear. If you feel good about your attire, you will radiate vitality and confidence. Wearing clean clothing is part of your overall personal hygiene.

Good & bad clothing

              Sun-protective clothings are tightly woven clothing to prevent sunlight from passing through it. Some manufacturers also add chemicals that absorb ultraviolet (UV) rays. Its ability to protect you from the UV is measured by UV protection factor (UPF). A shirt labeled UPF 30 will allow only 1/30th of the sunfs UV rays to reach your skin.307

              A comfortable and stylish jogging outfit that makes you look slimmer and taller can help boost your self-esteem.

              Flammable fabrics is a major burn risk factor for small children.119 The degree of fabric's flammability also influences the severity of skin burns.308

              For babies, buying clothes made of organic fabrics is one healthy option.


Proper attire by food server

              When dining out, consider restaurants that observe proper hygienic attires for their staff. Not only will this reflect the kind of discipline they impose on their staff, it also shows how hygienic they are in handling your food.

              There is also a greater chance that restaurants like this are managed by certified kitchen managers.309


089 Use appropriate masks

              When needed, properly wearing an appropriate mask will protect you from the bad effects of substances, microorganisms or particles that you are trying to protect yourself from.

Use the right mask appropriately

              It is basic to know if you have the right mask. Masks are designed to have pores to allow air so you can breathe while filtering the unwanted particle out of the air you breathe. The pore size and the physical design are therefore important.310

              For example the size of the avian or bird flu virus is said to be about 100 nm while most masks have pores about 300-500 nm. Based on this factor, it is feasible that avian flu virus can pass through this type of masks. However, mask like this can still significantly lower your change of having airborne viral infection, especially if the mask is proper fitted. This is because viral transmission generally occurs through small aerosol particles in the range of 1,000-10,000 nm in diameter.

              Air-tight masks such as gas mask can protect you from potentially harmful airborne agents including viruses. But the cost, the inconvenience and the social stigma associated with it, may render it socially unacceptable to wear them during an epidemic with a less lethal form of infection. However, if you are faced with a high risk situation such as a lethal form of infection, gas poisoning, and radioactive dusts, a gas mask is a must.


Mask against infection

              The recent outbreak of the new strain of influenza (flu) virus (H1N1) reminds us how important preventing infectious microorganism such as viruses from spreading.

              Use of surgical mask or similar type of masks, together with other ways of prevention such as proper hand washing, is a very important aspect of prevention and control. Surgical masks are designed to protect both the surgeon and the patient from acquiring diseases from each other. Wearing of surgical mask is an effective way of preventing the spread of infectious disease such as flu. Among people who wore appropriate masks the incidence of pandemic H1N1-2009 remained low.311

              During flu season, adults with asthma face a higher risk of complication if they catch the flu, preventions including the wearing of mask are more important to this group.


Flu pandemics

              The world has witnessed viral outbreaks or epidemics that have killed millions of people. The so called "Spanish flu" (1918-1919) was also due to a similar strain of the 2009 pandemic, the H1N1. Between 40 and 50 million people died who are mostly healthy young adults, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).312 There are other pandemics following this one. These are the Asian flu (1957-1958) caused by a new H2N2 strain that have killed about four million people. Another pandemic was the Hong Kong flu (1968-69) caused by a H3N2 viral strain with a death toll estimate of one to two million people, according to WHO.


Properly fit your mask

              In addition to using appropriate mask, proper fitting of mask is also important. Properly fitted mask covers the mouth and nasal opening and prevents air from passing through the side of the mask. You should be breathing air that passes through the mask and not from the sides of the mask.


Properly dispose your mask after use

              Another important point is the proper disposal of the mask after use. Used masks should be considered contaminated and should not be touched. When disposing the mask take it by its ear hook and directly place it in a garbage bag for safe disposal.


Mask against common airborne pollutant

              Common airborne pollutants are not only causing respiratory problems but also other systemic problems such as poisoning, allergy, and cancer. Use of masks with carbon filter can protect you from most of the indoor and outdoor pollutants such as cigarette smoke, fumes, dust, car exhaust, smog, soot, pollen, and mold.

              Fetal exposure to high risk levels of a common airborne pollutant compound threatens the intellectual development of children.


Chemical or gas mask

              Work related exposure to known toxic or carcinogenic agents also needs appropriate mask. There are several masks designed for this purpose. Air-tight face masks or masks that fit well allowing no side air and have peaceable filters that can efficiently filter out potentially dangerous gas or chemicals are perfect for this purpose. However, they can be more expensive and less socially acceptable to wear in public.

              For people handling less toxic volatile substances such as formaldehyde, a disposable paper or cloth mask with carbon insert will do. The carbon insert in this mask can filter out formaldehyde by up to 90%.


090 Wear protective gears when needed

           In addition to wearing helmet or mask, other protective gears such as gloves, glasses, and gowns should be properly worn when recommended. These will protect you from possible injury and harm.

Wear the right gloves for the right job

              A wide variety of gloves designed for a particular purpose are available in the market today, from household gloves used when doing some kitchen work and surgical gloves used in the clinics to highly specialized gloves used in handling radioactive materials or very hot objects.

              In addition to the commercial and industrial gloves cited above, there are also gloves that are used in sports and also for art and fashion.

Table 90. Classifications and types of protective gloves.

Type of gloves


1. Commercial and industrial gloves

Medical gloves

Gardening gloves

Barbed wire handler's gloves

Fireman's gauntlet

2. Sport and recreational gloves

Boxing gloves

Cycling gloves

Fencing gloves

3. Fashion gloves

Wedding gloves

Party (long white) gloves

Sun protection gloves



Protective eyewear

              Sunglasses protect your eyes from the harmful effects of the sun. Protective eyewear or goggles also protect the area surrounding the eye in order to prevent particles, water, or chemicals from striking the eyes.

              There are several uses of goggles. These include its use in chemical laboratories, woodworking, swimming and sports. When using power tools such as drills and chainsaw, wearing of goggles is recommended to prevent flying particles from damaging the eyes.


Protective gowns

              In laboratories, particularly chemical and biomedical laboratories, it is recommended to wear a gown to avoid direct body contact with chemicals and pathologic microorganisms.

              Special disposable gowns are also used in containing infections from spreading.


Stay personal

              Just like personal items such as toothbrush, razor, nail cutter, needle, earrings, contact lenses, and under wears, you should not share your mask. Sharing of gloves and gowns should also be avoided.

» 081 Know the infectious diseases  » 082 Take a safer form of transportation  » 083 Use curtains that block UV  » 084 Take a safer seat  » 085 Have your regular checkup  » 086 Have friends who care to be healthy  » 087 Know your odds for heart attack  » 088 Wear comfortably & tidy  » 089 Use appropriate masks  » 090 Wear protective gears when needed

< WHYLLness 071-080          WHYLLness 091 >

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