WHILE influenza A(H1N1) has become the world’s immediate health concern, students should not forget that there are other diseases to watch out for as they go about their daily activities in the University this rainy season.

“Dengue fever, typhoid fever and leptospirosis and influenza are the most prevalent diseases,” said Dr. Ma. Salve Olalia, UST Health Service director.

Influenza has three types — A, B, and, C — but all produce the same symptoms of fever, muscle and joint pains, runny nose, and cough. People can catch the flu by simply staying in crowded and poorly ventilated places.

Dengue hemorrhagic fever, on the other hand, comes from the bite of Aegis aegyptii and Aegis albopictus mosquitoes, which breed in stagnant water. The Health department recorded a total of 62 cases of dengue during the first four months of the year. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has described dengue as “a medical emergency” because a person can die with just one bite of a mosquito.

Symptoms of this disease include headache, high-grade fever, and nose and gum bleeding.

“It is advisable to immediately consult a doctor once the early signs of this disease are experienced,” Olalia said.

Gastroenteritis and diarrhea are brought by thyphoid fever, which is caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi.

Olalia said students eating in eateries are most prone to the disease. “Students should check health permits and staff health certificates of food establishments,” she said.

Last year, students complained of food poisoning after eating at a restaurant along V. Concepcion. Tests later showed the street’s water supply had been contaminated by E. coli bacteria, prompting the Health Service to remind students to check if restaurants there complied with sanitation standards. Later tests declared the water supply of V. Concepcion free of E. coli.

The disaster movie in our midst

Meanwhile, the initial symptoms of leptospirosis may be deceiving.

“It is often misdiagnosed as influenza, (except that) symptoms may include vomiting, jaundice, and diarrhea,” Olalia said.

One can get leptospirosis by eating contaminated food and by walking in flood waters with an open wound.

All these rainy season diseases are preventable if certain practices are observed, Olalia said.

“Practice proper hand washing and hygiene as to not spread the infection, strengthen the immune system through a healthy diet and drinking plenty of fluids, and minimize being around crowded areas,” she advised Thomasians.

In the University, it has become a yearly exercise to destroy the hotbeds of dengue carrying mosquitoes before the start of the school year. Last summer, roads were renovated and elevated to prevent floods. With Reports from Alena Pias P. Bantolo


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