The gaping hole in the fight against dengue

The dengue problem is here again. It has reached epidemic proportions in the Cordilera Administrative Region. The cases have almost doubled for the same period last year. It is scarier this time as it appears that the diseases is all over our beloved islands, from Luzon all the way to Mindanao. The resources of the government to fight the disease will then have to be spread out thinly.
As usual the government’s health workers will be uttering the 4S strategy– “Search (and destroy mosquito breeding places), secure self-protection, Seek (early consultation), and support fogging to kill the mosquitoes but not indiscriminately as the chemicals to be sprayed are also bad for the health.
Well and good. But there is one aspect which the DOH is not emphasizing enough, or not being made clear enough. This is strengthening the immune system of people.. While this might fall under “seek self-protection” what was being understood by many was the applying of chemicals on the skin so the mosquitoes won’t bite it.
On the other hand, strengthening the immune system is internal and is almost 100% under the control of a person or the parents of children. All sorts of bacteria and virus are all over the place. They can cause the deadliest of diseases but so many of these or their effects can be and are being fought by our immune system.
Basically, strengthening the immune system involves proper food with the necessary vitamins like vitamin C and other micronutrients usually found in fruits and vegetables. Another is exercise and enough rest, and avoidance of stressful situations that one could not handle. Perhaps we might have to add the need to maintain a positive attitude which would also mean keeping the right company. If you have bad or negative people for friends, chances are your attitude would be negative and you will be a good breeding ground for diseases.
While all of these are self-explanatory, it is very difficult to get children to take in the proper food to keep their immune system hale and hearty. “Eat your vegetables” often goes into one ear and then just passes out the other. Same thing with fruits. But there are chewable vitamins that kids would love. Though these are expensive, buying them is undoubtedly worth the expense.
The problem is many could not afford these yet a kilo of kalamansi is never unaffordable. Those who say it is, are those who have wrong priorities who would rather buy a bottle of gin. Or those who would sacrifice to buy expensive beef when a very cheap kilo of beans can take care of their families’ protein or other nutritional needs.
Yet the biggest hindrance to keeping the kids healthy are the highly financed advertisements of junk food multinationals like Coke, Pepsi, Jollibee, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, etc. If kids are not guarded and not made to understand that the products of these big advertisers can ruin their immune system if carelessly taken, then they become good breeding places and purveyors of diseases like dengue.
So a big factor in winning the battle against diseases like dengue is within parents’ control. Let us do our part.**

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