Tag Archives: Covid19

2020 is ‘Year of Filipino Health Workers’

We have so many things to thank for our frontliners. They have done and sacrificed so much including their own safety in order to fulfill their duties to their patients.

This year, the government is recognizing the heroism and self-compassion of medical workers in the country amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid19) pandemic by declaring 2020 as the “Year of Filipino Health Workers” through Proclamation 976 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

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Duterte signed Proclamation 976 on July 6, as he noted that the Covid-19 crisis has posed a daunting challenge to the country’s health sector.

“There is a need to commemorate the immeasurable acts of heroism and selfless compassion of nurses, midwives, and all health workers, and give due honor to those who sacrificed their lives in the line of service, especially during this extraordinary time,” he said in the proclamation.

Under the presidential proclamation, the Department of Health (DOH) is tasked to lead, coordinate, and supervise the nationwide observance of the Year of Filipino Health Workers.

All other government agencies and instrumentalities, including government-owned or -controlled corporations and state universities and colleges, are directed to assist DOH in implementing Proclamation 976.

All local government units, business communities, relevant civil society groups, and professional organizations are likewise enjoined to participate and support the DOH to ensure the effective implementation of the proclamation.

Proclamation 976 also encourages all national and local publications, television networks, and radio stations to promote awareness and generate public support for the programs and activities relative to the celebration of the Year of Filipino Health Workers.

“The State recognizes the invaluable contributions of nurses, midwives, and all other health workers, as the backbone of the country’s health system, whether in promoting health consciousness, performing essential medical and health services, or responding to health crises in various situations,” the order read.

“Thousands of Filipino health workers, who comprise a major component of the nation’s labor force, selflessly and tirelessly provide essential, quality, and critical care to individuals, families, and groups, even in the face of great peril, fear, uncertainty, and vulnerability,” it added.

As of today (October 17, 2020), the Philippines has recorded 352,000 Covid19 infections, with 295,000 recoveries and 6,531 deaths.

The Best Safety Practice Tips from a COVID Survivor

This is worth sharing especially from someone who live to tell the harrowing story of surviving COVID19.

As a COVID Survivor, I come to realize that applying the best safety practices (other than a healthy immune system) for CoViD is the hallmark that one can follow so that he/she can be out of the complications of the disease. It made me create the 12 COMMANDMENTS OF SAFETY FOR COVID-19 which is a mnemonics of Tips to protect everyone from infection:

C  –  Cover properly your mouth and nose with appropriate Mask (surgical mask, properly sewn cloth mask, N95, or O2 Canada Mask and if possible, with face shield)

O  –  Observe frequent Hand washing (with soap and water) or hand sanitizing

M –  Mind the physical distancing norms (6 feet apart)

M –  Mind the coughing and sneezing etiquette

A –  Avoid touching your face particularly the mouth, eyes, or nose

N  –  Never stay or move away quickly from crowded areas

D  –  Do not go out of your house unless it is necessary

M –  Minimize or avoid contact with frequently-touched public materials (e.g. knobs, toilet faucets) or common public surfaces (e.g. rails, counter/teller platform). Use foot, back of hand or elbow to open doors, use ‘extensions’ like Key 9 Bronze tool to press ATM and elevator buttons, use plastic bag holders, use gloves, bring exact fare when paying, etc

E  –  Emphasize in having air movement inside vehicle (2-3 inches opening with or without aircon), or in enclosed rooms by opening windows or doors to allow ventilation (better if with fans to form wind tunnel)

N –  Never forget to sanitize item/s frequently used or handled (cellular phone, car keys, computer keyboard)

T  –  Take a bath once you come from work, market, or any crowded area

S  –  Secure in a small plastic bag or simply fold properly used mask, gloves or any PPE before throwing it in the trash bin

Crisis expert Dr. Ted Esguerra was tested for COVID last March.

Dr. Esguerra is an Operational Medicine Instructor at International Disaster Response Network from the Philippines. He is the Expedition & Wilderness Emergency Medical Services Physician of the Philippine Mt. Everest Expedition Team and the Voyage of the Balangay. He is a Flight Surgeon and the Officer-in-Charge of the elite medical rescue team: The Specialized Medical Assistance Response Team (SMART) of the Philippine Coast Guard. He is trained on Urban and Wilderness Rescue, Aviation Medicine, Expedition Medicine for Tropical and Alpine Mountain Operations, Tactical Medicine, Disaster Medicine, Aquatic/Dive Medicine and high altitude medicine. (From his LinkedIn account)

Battling viral infections like COVID-19: The micronutrients you need to support your immune system

The world as we know it has changed due to the sudden onslaught of a viral infection, with the COVID-19 pandemic bringing economies to a standstill and keeping us in our homes for an unprecedented period. This new reality we are facing has made us more conscious of our habits, and it is crucial now more than ever to be diligent with proactive efforts on health and safety.

Diseases and viral infections may not always discriminate on who it will infect. Several public health practices to help reduce the spread of infection are important to follow. Supporting the immune system with adequate nutrition is another important and a parallel way to help reduce the risk and impact of virus infections.

In an effort to further inform the public of the benefits of nutrients, an independent review was made on the global scientific evidence regarding the roles of nutrients in support of immune response, including response against viral infections. The study was composed of a panel of experts, invited by Prof. Manfred Eggersdorfer, Ph.D, Professor for Healthy Ageing at the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands. He is active as a member of the Advisory Board of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and has authored numerous publications in the fields of vitamins, innovation in nutritional ingredients, reviewer for a variety of journals and associate editor of the “International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research”.

The research findings show a strong relation in the role of specific nutrients in supporting immune health in reducing the risk, duration, and severity of viral infections. The supplementation of nutrients on top of a well-balanced diet may help lower the risk of infection, and may play a role in faster recovery.  

With restrictions on mobility and physical distancing slowly being eased, here are ways on how you can further support your immune system to fight against the risk of a viral infection. 

Key nutrients include Vitamin A, C, D, Zinc, and Omega-3 fatty acid

The expert panel confirms that nutrients work together to support an effective immune system and reduce the risk of viral infections, including respiratory tract infections. These include the vitamins A, C, D, Zinc, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. For optimal results, it is desirable to ensure the intake of adequate amounts to help support the immune system.

Deficiencies or low status in nutrients have the potential to negatively affect the body’s immune function and may therefore decrease resistance to infections. As supported by COVID-19 data, it is the elderly that are especially vulnerable, because they have relatively weaker immune systems, may suffer from comorbidities and nutritional frailty, and therefore often do not have an inadequate intake and uptake of the essential nutrients.

Oranges, fish, and meat to keep the doctors away

While there are ways to naturally consume the necessary nutrients with a healthy and well-balanced diet, nutritional supplements are a convenient and efficient way to assure adequate intake, help eliminate gaps in nutrition, and add support to the immune system.

For a strong immune system, an intake of 200 – 500 mg/day of Vitamin C is recommended for healthy people. This can be achieved by eating three oranges or two kiwi fruits every day or by taking a supplement. Vitamin C requirements change depending on the health status of a person, and an intake of 1 – 2 g per day is helpful for people who are sick.

Vitamin D is also effective in reducing the risk of respiratory tract infections. Studies have shown that an intake of 2000 IU daily is optimal. Fatty fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. However, if it is difficult to eat 2-3 portions of fatty fish per week to achieve the recommended amount, a supplement of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) amounting to 250 mg a day would be a good alternative.

Zinc, while not stored in the body, is found in most of the meat we consume. Foods rich in Zinc are crab, beef, pork, and chicken, vegetables such as mushrooms and kale; chickpeas, lentils, and beans are also very good sources of Zinc, with the recommended intake of 8-11 μg a day.

It is good to note that while nutritional supplementation will not necessarily prevent infections or cure the infection, it may help decrease the risk of falling ill, symptoms, and the duration, plus help in facilitating recovery. Therefore, a resilient immune defense is important to help reduce the risk or manage the implications of viral infections. To learn more about the study, you may refer to the following:

Calder PC, Carr AC, Gombart AF, Eggersdorfer M. Optimal Nutritional Status for a Well-Functioning Immune System Is an Important Factor to Protect against Viral Infections. Nutrients. 2020;12(4):1181. Published 2020 Apr 23. doi:10.3390/nu12041181