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Fight Rainy Season Diseases With These Healthy Habits
PHOTO BY koco.com
  • This rainy season, the umbrella is your first defense against getting sick. But sometimes it can do very little to protect you from illnesses and diseases that the rain and flood bring. Here's how you and your family can stay far away from them, according to the Department of Health. (Dengue is also a heightened concern when it rains so read here on you can arm your family against the illness.)

    1. Flu or trangkaso 

    Don’t get mixed up--the flu (short for influenza) or trangkaso is not the same as the common cold or sipon. They do have similar symptoms that can include a runny nose, sore throat and cough. But, people who have the flu can also have a fever, headache and muscle soreness. It’s important to know the difference as the flu has more severe symptoms, lasts longer, and can lead to serious complications like pneumonia. Those at a higher risk of complications include: children under 5 years old, pregnant women, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.  

    The best way to prevent the flu is with an annual flu vaccination. You should also:

    • Make regular hand washing a habit
    • Ideally, you stay away from crowded places, which isn't practical advice when you commute. So always bring a hand sanitizer with you. Make sure wash your hands after every commute, too. 
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or with the crook of your elbow whenever you sneeze or cough.

    2. Typhoid fever
    Typhoid fever is caused by a bacteria you’ve most likely heard about--Salmonella. Typhoid fever is contracted by drinking or eating food and water that’s contaminated by the bacteria. It’s also highly contagious and is usually passed on by coming in contact with an infected’s stool or urine. It’s most common in areas with poor sanitation. The illness can last for days up to weeks, and symptoms include: fever, poor appetite, aches and pains, and diarrhea. Serious cases of typhoid fever can be fatal and usually requires admission to a hospital.  

    The best way to prevent typhoid fever is with a vaccine. You should also:

    • Only drink from water sources you trust
    • Cook your food thoroughly. The heat will kill harmful bacteria.
    • Be wary of street food
    • Wash your hands thoroughly especially before eating and after using the toilet.
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    3. Leptospirosis
    Leptospirosis is caused by the Leptospira bacteria. The bacteria comes from infected animals (like rats), which is then transmitted to humans who come in contact with their urine through the skin and mucous membranes (eyes, nose or mouth), open wounds and ingestion. Leptospirosis is most common during the rainy season when floods occur which is what makes it a worrisome disease in the Philippines where many areas flood. Leptospirosis can cause a wide range of symptoms that can include: fever, muscle pain, severe headaches, vomiting and red eyes. Severe leptospirosis can lead to serious complications including kidney failure, meningitis, liver failure and even death.  


    • Avoid swimming or wading in potentially contaminated water or flood water.
    • Use proper protection, like boots and gloves, when wading through flood water if unavoidable
    • Control rodents in the household by using rat traps and maintain cleanliness in the house so as not to attract rats
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    Diarrhea causes loose, watery and frequent bowl movements. You may have experienced it already this year as it's not unusual to get it a few times a year. Usually, diarrhea is caused by a virus that infects the gut. However, it can also be caused by a lot of different things like food poisoning, E. coli and a Salmonella infection. Often, diarrhea isn’t serious and it usually clears us within a few days. Just make sure you drink lots of water to make up for the lost fluids.  


    • Only drink from water sources you trust. 
    • Cook your food thoroughly. Don’t leave food on table out in the open, it can get contaminated by insects and rodents.
    • Prepare food and ingredients by washing and cleaning them thoroughly before cooking or eating.
    • Wash your hands thoroughly especially before eating and after using the toilet. 

    5. Cholera
    Cholera is a disease caused by the bacteria Vibrio cholera that causes severe watery diarrhea. Because of this, severe cases can lead to dehydration and, if left untreated, can kill within hours according to the World Health Organization. The bacteria is usually found in food or water contaminated by feces from a person with the infection. Common sources include: street food including juices and water and raw or uncooked seafood.   


    • Only drink from water sources you trust
    • Avoid buying meat and produce from unsanitary areas
    • Cook your food thoroughly 
    • Be wary of street food
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