[COLUMN] Wisdom vs COVID

WHERE does oxygen come from?

Oxygen, which makes up about 20% of the air we breathe in, is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that is essential for the production of energy and, therefore, to life.  Its main source is from living green plants. The ambient air we inhale is absorbed by the lungs which “extracts” and filters oxygen, which then combines with hemoglobin (red pigment in blood cells). The resultant oxyhemoglobin is circulated throughout the body by the pumping action of the heart to supply oxygen to the entire body. Some tissues in our body are more sensitive than others to oxygen deprivation. The brain is super-sensitive to lack of oxygen. It “dies” in about 3-4 minutes after oxygen delivery ceases (as in suffocation, drowning or cardiac arrest).

What is dyslexia?

“Word blindness” is a term commonly used to describe this condition where the person, starting from childhood, has extreme difficulty with reading and writing.  About 10% of children are dyslexic, and it is more common among boys. Dyslexia, which may be inherited, is caused by a localized brain lesion, where there is a certain number of brain cells being “faulty,” or there is delayed or incomplete development of the brain. These children are NOT brain-damaged. Usually, these youngsters are not recognized as dyslexic and may be thought of as lazy, disobedient, bored, problem kids and can be relegated to the background as dumb. Early detection is important for those affected to be able to benefit from special schooling and catch up in their learning skills. With early and proper training, many of them can grow up to be very successful individuals.

What causes lead poisoning among children?

Ingestion of lead is the obvious cause, and the sources could be inhaling lead from the leaded paint used inside, say, a classroom, where children stay for hours. In the United States, it is a legal requirement to use only unleaded paint, especially in schools, etc. Toddlers can also get poisoned by the paint chips from cribs, toys, pencils and other objects with lead. Parents can prevent poisoning in general by being aware and being cautious of the environment and items their children are exposed to. We can never be too careful when it comes to our children’s health.

Are tampons safe?

If used properly, yes, the new tampons are fairly safe. In 1978, a worldwide phenomenon called Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) was first described, with symptoms ranging from high fever, skin rash, fall in blood pressure, severe eye infection, headaches, disorientation, joint and muscle pains, diarrhea and kidney failure. The victims were females (average age 23) having their normal menstrual period. A number of deaths from TSS has been reported. Implicated was the use of super-absorbency tampons, which acted as a culture medium for the staphylococcal infection in the vagina. The longer the tampon was left in the vagina, the greater the risk. The toxin or poison produced by the staphylococci caused the serious illnesses described above. Most patients recovered after appropriate treatment of intravenous fluids and antibiotics, but at a later stage lost the skin of their palms and soles, the face and even the tongue. Mortality rate for TSS is about 2 or 3 percent. Tampons should be changed 3 to 4 times a day, even if not fully stained to prevent TSS. This makes it a bit too expensive. A time-proven safer alternative is the use of sanitary pads.

Does a pet help pre-m women?

Yes, this is no fable. It has been shown that pre-menopausal women who owned a pet they could communicate with (like a dog or a cat), and who kept them company, went through this change in their life and physiology with much less pain and agony. The constant companionship and love the pets gave these suffering women provided the much-needed love, sense of loyalty and security during this formidable stage in their life. For one thing, these pets do not complain and do not answer back. They give their love totally, genuinely and unconditionally. Because of these attributes, pets are considered by some people as “better than some friends and family members.”

COVID-19 updates

As of 11:30 AM (CST) Tuesday, January 18, 2022, there were 332,280,117 cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with 5,566,715 deaths, and 269,571,029 who have recovered. At that same time in the United States, there were 67,633,1409 cases and 874,347 deaths, and in the Philippines, 3,270,758 cases and 28,471 deaths. Records show daily hospitalization at 156,515 (5,109 of them children).

Omicron (developed in human – mostly unvaccinated – bodies after 50 mutations), albeit apparently milder but highly transmissible, is causing havoc around the world. First reported in South Africa on November 26, 2021, Omicron could have actually started in Europe, according to an article from the Netherlands. Those with the booster are better protected although not 100 percent, but the vaccines provide a significant degree of protection from Omicron. Vaccination remains to be the best preventive measure together with frequent handwashing, masking, social distancing, and avoiding crowds by limiting our travels to essential chores only.

More than 95 percent of those infected recently were unvaccinated. Almost 9 million children have been infected by COVID-19 since the pandemic started. During the first week of January 2022 alone, there were 580,247 children infected. Omicron is super contagious.

If needed, drug firms are ready to develop (within 100 days) a tailored, custom-made, vaccine specifically for Omicron. The newest variant, Deltacron, is being closely monitored.

Eating in a restaurant, or group eating and conversation, appear to increase the risk of getting infected, as masks are removed to eat and conversation sends the virus flying in the air and inhaled by others in the room. Symptoms from omicron could rapidly manifest within 6 hours from exposure.

COVID-19 test kits are available for free which started on Wednesday, January 19, 2022, and could be ordered online and at your nearest pharmacy.

Since the pandemic started on January 19, 2020 (CDC reported it two days later), handshaking, hugging, and most body contact were abandoned by people, and wisely so. And being social beings, we all miss such rapport and intimacy. While many are still arrogant, careless, even reckless, most have accepted they are mortal and could be killed by this stealth virus and treat this killer with humility and extreme caution.

Vaccination and wisdom are two effective weapons against this deadly nemesis. May God bless all of us with an abundance of the second to help end this pandemic sooner than later.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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The main objective of this column is to educate and inspire people live a healthier lifestyle to prevent illnesses and disabilities and achieve a happier and more productive life. Any diagnosis, recommendation or treatment in our article are general medical information and not intended to be applicable or appropriate for anyone. This column is not a substitute for your physician, who knows your condition well and who is your best ally when it comes to your health.

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Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, a Health Advocate, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian foundation in the United States. Websites: FUN8888.com, Today.SPSAtoday.com, and philipSchua.com; Email: scalpelpen@gmail.com.

Dr. Philip S. Chua

Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana and chairman of cardiac surgery from 1997 to 2010 at Cebu Doctors University Hospital, where he holds the title of Physician Emeritus in Surgery, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Philippine College of Surgeons, and the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society. He is the chairman of the Filipino United Network – USA, a 501(c)(3) humanitarian foundation in the United States.

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