Text and Photos by Henrylito D. Tacio
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the Philippines is now described as “spreading like wildlife.” Vaccination against the dreaded virus is ongoing. But there are more Filipinos who are not yet immunized.
The figure of those infected with SARS-CoV-2 – the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 – is escalating. The death toll is also increasing. The economy is going down. Some people are no longer following the health protocols.
So, what can Filipinos do to beat this pandemic?
In a feature circulated through Facebook, Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan, former secretary of health and author of Our Health, Our Lives (1982), shares the following:
Start enlisting your name for vaccination and eventually have yourself vaccinated. All vaccines approved by the Department of Health and Food and Drug Administration are safe. Whatever is available in your community, gladly receive it.
Once you have completed the required number of doses, it increases your immunity and protects your body from experiencing the moderate to severe effects of COVID-19.
Start wearing a mask at home. If a person in your household goes out, make it non-negotiable for that person to wear a mask at all times, even while at home. If you are around that person, wear a mask too. Best to assume that the person who goes out is a carrier of the virus.
Wear a mask when you’re around people, regardless of your relationship with them. Do you prefer your own comfort over potentially infecting your family members? Most transmissions happen at home when people are most complacent.
Start absorbing Vitamin D from the sun. This is recommended for 15-20 minutes daily to boost your immunity except during 10 AM-2 PM because that’s when the sun is too hot. It’s okay to go out of your house for Vitamin D (for example, garden or park) as long as you are wearing a face mask and shield. If you are alone in the garden or park, it’s okay to take off your mask.
Start oil pulling daily, using Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO). Do this at least twice a day (morning and evening). Take one tablespoon of VCO 3x a day. There’s also a VCO Nasal and Mouth Spray available in the market, which you can spray as often as you need to.
Start disinfecting more frequently and immediately. Your mobile phone is probably one of the dirtiest items you touch on a regular basis. Disinfect your gadgets daily. Also, every time you receive a delivery or send something out, use alcohol/hand sanitizer right after receiving something/handing out the item, then wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds.
The virus gets killed with proper handwashing. Every time you feel lazy washing your hands, again and again, think of the consequences of your laziness.
Start sleeping in complete darkness (no phones/gadgets beside you, no Netflix or watching shows before sleeping) for at least 7 hours, a maximum of 9 hours. The ideal sleeping time is from 10 PM-4 AM because that’s the body’s time to regenerate.
To ensure that you sleep in complete darkness, use an eye mask. Good quality sleep is one of the best natural medicines. Lack of sleep lowers your immune system. You will be more prone to sickness, not just COVID-19.
Start embracing God’s loving discipline. Most of my patients pray for good health. What does it take to be truly healthy? Often, people just focus on their physical health. However, your emotional, mental, spiritual, social, occupational, environmental, and financial wellness matter too. All of these affect your overall well-being.
If you truly want to have “good health,” you need the right attitude and discipline, which I know is difficult to accept because of our stubborn human nature. It’s time to give up your “favorite” unhealthy habits and wrong mindsets that make you sick in every aspect of your life.
Stop being complacent. Complacency is the enemy. Evaluate your thoughts and motives. Your complacent thoughts lead to compromising actions. You are compromising your health every time you think, “it’s okay to take off my mask, maybe I won’t get infected, just this one-time lang naman” or “family member or friend naman siya, so it’s safe.”
If you truly love the person in front of you, you will wear a mask out of love for that person. If you understand the risk of taking off your mask and unnecessarily exposing yourself, you will decide according to what is best for the people around you.
Stop eating together. I know it’s very challenging because Filipinos love to eat together as a way of bonding. Sadly, in this time of the pandemic, it’s also one of the best ways to infect each other. We thank God for new ways of bonding, which can now be done via Zoom, Messenger, Google Meet, Viber, and other messaging apps. It may not be your preferred manner of bonding.
However, let this be a time to embrace a new way of being more intentional to connect. Eating together means taking off your mask, which means transmitting the virus through the droplets that come out of your mouth. Even when there is physical distancing while eating, there is still a tendency to unconsciously come close to each other and infect one another.
Stop spreading fake news and false hopes. Be discerning about messages you forward to others. Something can look or seem so convincing just because a friend said so. Not everything that’s popular “works.” Fake news abound. False hopes disappoint.
First, validate the information you receive. Even if it comes from a seemingly reputable source, you still need to double check. Do your research online but check the credibility of the author. In the midst of all the fake news and false hopes being forward, be faithful to spread the Good News about our true hope that’s found in Jesus Christ alone.
Stop taking drugs that are not DOH FDA-approved. While many are desperate for something that can cure COVID-19 until today, there is no drug that is proven effective to prevent COVID-19. Be patient to wait for the final results of the large-scale clinical trials. What worked for a select few does not mean the effect is the same for all.
Do not fall for the mindset of “there’s no harm in taking it.” The harm might not be apparent now, but it will be at some point. Best to take something that is proven to work for the purpose it was intended for, rather than taking something that might work without knowing the consequences it may bring.
Stop being negligent at home. It’s important to note that more than just physically staying at home, it’s what you do at home that matters most. My close friends and patients who stayed at home still got infected because there was a person in the same household who brought the virus in.
Again, this means you should wear a mask even while you are at home, especially when talking to family members. Remember, the virus is transmitted through droplets.
Stop staying in your comfort zone. The usual complaint is that wearing a mask is “uncomfortable” and “inconvenient.” Our default setting is to stay in our comfort zone, which is selfish.
By God’s grace, we are able to overcome selfishness and love as God calls us to. True love means sacrificing our personal preferences, comfort, and convenience to consider the well-being of others.
Stop blaming others. We are all flawed and in need of God’s grace. No one is better than the other. Instead of grumbling, judging, blaming, or saying, “this person should have done it this way…if only this person did/did not do this…”, focus on doing your part and following through with what you are responsible for.