Custodio: Sick days, climate change, and health reminders | SunStar

Custodio: Sick days, climate change, and health reminders

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Custodio: Sick days, climate change, and health reminders

Saturday, September 09, 2017

I DON'T know about you but lately the heat and the rain has been really bothering me! This weird weather is not only irritating, it has also been causing a lot of illness among us!! I for one, have been battling with allergic rhinitis and asthma for the past few days. I would like to think that i am winning this battle battle am I kidding? I have lost my voice and i feel like a human medicine cabinet from all the medication i am taking so I can continue my usual daily activities. You must know the effort it takes to be able to do these things when you are sick; quite frankly, I am tired and exhausted to actually do anything that I like.

What’s with the weather these days? The rainy season has set in but still it has been mostly sunny and boy, it has been really hot!! What gives? It feels like summer has been indefinitely extended! The heat these past few weeks have been incredibly physically draining. I am not an avid water drinker and I am at wits end trying to force myself to gulp down the required 8 to 12 glasses a day! You would not want to be dehydrated because that could seriously jeopardize your immune system!

Is it just me or have you noticed that the present warm weather reminds one of summer? Di ba? Sobrang init! (Too hot!) I keep wondering how this crazy warming up came about; but really, I can only think of two words: climate change. And I guess it's safe to say that the climate has changed a lot, right? There was a time when the ‘Ber months brought the ‘Brrrr’ since it basically meant that the winds will be cooler. Sometimes it would be cool enough to wear sweaters in broad daylight even! We have none of that now, especially not this year. I would come out of an air conditioned room in the middle of the night and be greeted with really warm air, it felt like we had a sauna installed in our living room!

It really bothers me that the polar ice caps are melting. No, actually, it worries me! Thanks aren't just the way they used to be and it is scary to think how things are going to be in the future. There has been a lot of speculation that global warming is not real but faced with such changes I keep thinking how can it not be real? Isn't that a sign that global warming is true? Arrghh! I recently read an article from the Scientific American (How is worldwide sea level rise driven by melting arctic ice? by Anne Sneed, June 5 2017) and it scared me even more, knowing how climate change is speeding up the melting of land ice in the Arctic contributing to the rising sea levels. Presently the ice has been melting fast that it has raised worldwide sea levels by 0.74 millimeter per year. That may seem like nothing but when you think about how big the vast piece of land ice is, you will realize how “small” things can really add up to become something huge. The Greenland Ice Sheet is 2.96 million cubic kilometers of ice and it can raise sea levels by 7 meters if it thaws out completely. Now we wouldn't want that to happen do we? And that's not all, there is such a thing called thermal expansion that can further contribute to rising sea levels. Melted ice that becomes part of the sea contributes to the amount of water that when heated expands thereby raising ocean levels even more. Oh geez, just think about mega flooding and how it can affect the entire world! Really we really should start thinking about how we can prevent this from happening. I am sure any effort, big or small, will be greatly appreciated.

And speaking of flooding, that torrential downpour last Friday had a lot of people stranded on the streets till the wee hours of the morning. I cannot begin to think how many people woke up sick Saturday morning because of it! I would just like to remind everyone to take care of your health just because these rains coupled with the intense heat, can really wear down your immune system. Getting sick will be so much easier!

Please drink enough water. There is more to drinking 8 to 12 glasses a day than keeping urinary tract infections at bay. Being properly hydrated allows your body to function well thereby protecting you from a host of other diseases.

Cover your mouth. There are many diseases that can be transferred to other people by droplets. When you are sick with a cold and when you sneeze please protect the people around you by using a handkerchief or by wearing a mask.

Don't forget to wash your hands!!! Conjunctivitis can be spread by coming in contact infected eye secretions which may have been left by somebody with sore eyes who touched his eye before turning that knob on the door that you just opened a while ago!

Keep your surroundings clean. You know the deal about mosquitoes and how they are harbingers of diseases that we are afraid of like dengue fever, chikungunya and yes, Japanese encephalitis. Don't attract their attention!

Stay informed! An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. There is great fear about these diseases, true. Make sure you are getting the right information, too! Please rely on the experts! Go see your doctor when you have questions and if you are not feeling well! Keep track of the Department of Health’s updates and educate yourself by reading their infographics!!!

Be well everyone and have a great week ahead! :)

Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on September 10, 2017.

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