Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Protect Yourself Against Dengue All-Year Round

Prevention is still the best protection against dengue.

Doctors and the Department of Health say that dengue now knows no season so it is always best to be prepared and protect ourselves against it. Here are a few emails I received with very helpful tips that everyone can benefit from.

Where dengue breeds [published in CONSUMERLINE By Ching M. Alano.Philippine Star, 15 Jan. 2008]

Many a grim tale has been told about the dreaded dengue. Here's another one, as shared in an e-mail:

Dear Consumerline,
This evening, we attended the wake of Natalie Corrales Feist, only 17 years old. Her mother Rosa is the sister of Pilita Corrales and her father Ed Feist is the head of a big pharmaceutical company in Manila.
Natalie was studying in Australia and had come home to Manila to spend the Christmas holidays with her family. What started only as a stomachache progressed to
malaise and fever that turned out to be the deadly dengue fever which snuffed out Natalie's life in such a short time. Natalie was an only daughter and the youngest of three children. It was indeed so sad to witness the grief, the sadness, and the pain of losing such a wonderful daughter and so pretty at that. The priest saying Mass also mentioned about another young girl of 15 who also died recently.
A couple of years ago, my nephew who was only 28 years old and was to be married, also died within a short time after he contracted dengue. He was an only son.
Dengue kills. Let us not wait for it to get out of hand and claim more young lives. As my own small contribution to help increase people's consciousness of this disease, allow me to share the warnings below. Many people are not aware that in their own homes, there are dangerous places where mosquitoes breed. Please take note:

• The bromeliad plant has beautiful flowers, but they are deadly, because in between are pockets that collect clean water, which is where the dengue mosquitoes breed. If you have them, get rid of them or place them in pots so that after watering them, the pots can be turned over to remove the excess water.
I have noticed that along Ayala Avenue in Makati and other roadsides, the bromeliads, which are very colorful, are often used by landscapers to brighten areas, etc.
The landscapers must be discouraged from using these plants, especially when they are planted in the ground, because they can cause an epidemic, as what happened in Cebu many years back. It was discovered that these plants were the culprits.
• Those that have bamboo fences placed over their concrete fences (as in many subdivisions) must see to it that the top is covered, because the bamboo crevices hold water and again become breeding places for dengue mosquitoes.
• I have just read on the Internet about a tip that was given at a recent gardening forum. Here it is: Put some water in a white dinner plate (I suppose a small white platito will do) and add a couple of drops of Lemon Fresh Dish Washing Liquid. Set the dish on your porch, patio, picnic table, park bench, or other outdoor areas. I'm not sure what attracts them — the lemon's smell, the white plate color, or what. But mosquitoes flock to it, and drop dead shortly after drinking the Lemon Fresh Dish Washing Liquid and water mixture and usually, within about 10 feet of the plate.
Try it, it works just super! It may seem trivial, but it may also help control mosquitoes around your home (especially in areas where the dengue- and malaria-carrying mosquitoes have reached epidemic proportions) . It's safer than mosquito coils ... no offensive odor and harmful fumes, no risk of fire.
This is all I can say, which may be helpful in controlling the rise of the deadly dengue mosquitoes. Let us all try to do our part in our own homes and surroundings, so that by doing so, we can lessen dengue's breeding places and save more lives.
Isabel F. Guevara
Magallanes Village, Makati City

Speak out: Cure for dengue? By Bernardo Rocha Calibo Director, National Police Commission 7

THERE is hope that the dengue scourge will be obliterated. I was in a meeting in Manila recently with other Napolcom officials. While waiting for my flight back to Cebu, I happened to talk with friends. The conversation eventually turned to dengue. Some of their statements shocked me. I called up the persons concerned and they confirmed these revelations. Computer technician Wenceslao Salesale Jr., 27, was downed by dengue. His platelet count plunged from 180 to 80. He was rushed by ambulance from Novaliches to Manila . Inside the ambulance, a relative, acting upon the advice of a missionary priest, made him drink soup made from camote tops. The following day, his platelet count was normal.

Dengue attacked the 7-year-old daughter of engineers Mar and Lita Budlongan of Kaloocan City . Her platelet count read 80. The same treatment was used. The following day she was back to normal.

The 15-year-old daughter of businessman Nepomuceno Salaga of Sampaloc, Manila had a dangerous platelet count of 80 due to dengue. The same treatment was followed. The following day she was back in school.

I asked a doctor of medicine about herbal cures and he said that many, if not most, medicines come from plants. He also said that under the Hippocratic Oath, doctors are bound encourage anything that can cure a patient. We need not do research deep in the rainforests of the Amazon or venture into the ocean depths in search of the elusive cure for dengue. It is right there in the backyard.

The following information is from Wikipedia: "In 1992, the Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables. Considering fiber content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium, the sweet potato ranked highest in nutritional value. According to these criteria, sweet potatoes earned 184 points, 100 points over the next on the list, the common potato (NCSPC)." "…Sweet potato tops are excellent sources of antioxidative compounds, mainly polyphenolics, which may protect the human body from oxidative stress that is associated with many diseases including cancer ad cardiovascular diseases. Sweet potato greens have the highest content of total polyphenolics among other commercial vegetables studied. "Sweet potatoes contain protein, dietary fiber, lipid, and essential minerals and nutrients such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulfur, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, aluminum and boron. Sweet potatoes are also important sources of vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and ascorbic acid." Camote In the case of Salaga, he bought five sheaves (bugkos/ bigkis) of camote cuttings. Each sheaf consists of about 12 cuttings. Each cutting measures about one foot. A sheaf costs about P5. Camote tops are boiled in water to extract the juice. The boiling lasts for about five minutes. A little salt is used to give flavor to it. The patient is made to drink slowly and gradually. The body's immunity system is thus revived, making dengue helpless against the body's natural defenses. Camote enables the body to heal itself.

Now you know why I earlier said that my friends' revelations shocked me. They were shocking because people are needlessly dying all around us from dengue, while their very cure is also all around us. In the past, many were fond of using the derogatory statement, "Go home and plant camote." Now, camote is big news. It can save lives. What could be bigger than that? So, to fortify your family against dengue, "Go home and plant camote!"
(Engr. Lita Budiongan and Mr. Nepomuceno Salaga personally related to me their experiences with their respective daughters. I asked their permission to use their names.)

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