The El Niño phenomenon is currently affecting the eastern Pacific. This is a regular occurrence where ocean temperatures over the Pacific are warmer than usual. This usually affects the Philippines every two to seven years.
The effects of El Niño vary depending on the area, but here in the country, it is characterized by below-normal rainfall conditions, dry spells, and droughts, peppered by periods of heavier-than-usual rainfall and flooding.
Given this, there are a few things that we can expect from this phenomenon, and there are ways we can protect our health and well-being during the onslaught of El Niño.
One of the biggest risks to your health is the heat associated with El Niño. Aside from working on staying cool throughout the day, getting properly hydrated is another way you can protect yourself. Make sure to consume enough water throughout the day.
A good rule of thumb is the time-tested eight glasses of water, although your specific needs might differ depending on your body and health. Consult your healthcare provider to know more about how much water you should be consuming.
You can also choose water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables, in lieu of drinking more water. Just be sure to limit your intake of dehydrating drinks like alcohol and coffee.
Monitor Water Quality
Since El Niño may disrupt water systems, it is sure to impact the water quality we may be getting from water concessionaires. This can lead to water contaminated with diseases like typhoid fever or other bacteria that can cause diarrhea.
This isn’t just an issue with the water you may be drinking, however. The water in pools and other man-made bodies of water might be contaminated as well.
It’s best to keep yourself informed of the latest health bulletins from your local water concessionaire. They generally send out announcements on their websites or on social media whenever something should affect the quality of the water they provide.
At home, you can take steps to make your drinking water safe for human consumption. Boiling your drinking water will kill the majority of harmful bacteria. A two to three-step filtration system could also make your water safe to drink.
Prevent Heat-Related Illnesses
Hot temperatures increase the risk of heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heatstroke. This can be prevented by proper and adequate hydration, as mentioned earlier.
However, there are other steps you could take towards preventing heat-related illnesses.
Protect yourself by wearing light, breathable clothing since this can reflect sunlight away from your body. Using high-SPF sunscreen can also keep your skin safe from potentially harmful UV rays.
It also helps to keep in the shade or stay indoors, during the hottest part of the day.
Stay healthy and confident during El Niño by following these simple tips. And if you or anybody you know might be suffering from El Niño- related illnesses, you may consult a doctor via Maxicare’s 24/7 Teleconsult Hotline, Videoconsult services powered by the Doctor Anywhere App, or Maxicare’s Primary Care Clinic (PCC). You may also go to a PCC or request HomeCare for lab tests and diagnostic procedures.