What does the Holy Week mean to you? For most of us, this is the perfect time to reflect once more on the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some people, on the other hand, look at this week-long vacation as an opportunity to bond with their families, go on a vacation and unwind without compromising their spiritual responsibilities. The Holy Week coincides with the height of the summer season so it would not be mind-boggling to see backpackers getting ready for a long and exciting road trip. Whether you’re in a stay-at-home mood or about to get the most out of your vacation, health and safety must always be on the top of your list. Health threats are always around us and the Lenten season is not powerful enough to make us all immune from them. Health is a priority and while you’re in the mood for devotion and fasting, let these four reminders keep you in perfect shape for the Holy Week:
Perform proper food selection, preparation and preservation.
There’s nothing wrong with adhering to Catholic traditions but if you forget some health-related reminders, chances are, you might regret your decision in the end. The obvious increase in temperature these past few days can decrease the shelf life of both veggies and dishes prepared using coconut milk or tomato sauce. For this reason, food poisoning cases are more common during the Lenten season, the reason why DOH is adamant in reminding people to be wary about proper food handling or preparation. Emphasis was given by Deputy Secretary of Health Concepción Quiñones de Longo on fish and other sea foods.
“Fish and shellfish are very nutritious food, but if they are not fresh, they could cause such food poisoning in individuals as salmonella, ciguatera or diarrhea,” Quiñones said.
Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, DOH’s Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases program manager, on the other hand, reiterated the need for people to remember the basic things about proper food handling like performing hand washing before and after food preparation, eating the food immediately after cooking and preserving them through refrigeration and reheating.
Quiñones gave timely tips regarding the ideal way of selecting, preparing and preserving foods (especially fish) like:
- In choosing fish, avoid buying those with opaque, dark or grey. As for the scales, they must be bright red or pink.
- Avoid consuming fish found near coral reefs such as grouper, sawfish, spotted grouper and captain fish. According to experts, these fish are carriers of the “cigua-toxin,” a cause of the disease known as ciguatera (Department of Health Office Epidemiology and Research division).
- Cook the food to a temperature of 145 F to kill the bacteria, and maintain separate raw food from cooked.
Protect yourself from the scorching heat of the sun.
Since Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy is no stranger to the fact that the Holy Week and sweltering weather are inseparable, he also reminded the general public about the importance of protecting ourselves from the health threats related to sun exposure like prickly heat, sunburn, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The following are health tips that can work for everyone and make the hot Lenten season even more worthwhile:
- Avoid wearing scanty clothes and staying under the sun for more than three hours.
- Use sun block, protective clothing and ultraviolet protection sunglasses.
- Avoid exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- First aid for sunburn: ake a cool shower or place wet, cold washrags on the burn. If blisters are present, avoid applying products that contain benzocaine, lidocaine or petroleum and use dry bandages to prevent infection. According to Lee Suy, you can also apply moisturizing cream to relive discomfort only if the skin is not blistering.
- Limit the amount of time they spend outdoors, drink plenty of water, wear a wide-brimmed hat and long-sleeved clothing when outdoors, and schedule heavy-duty activities in the morning or in the late afternoon.
Prepare in advance for the Holy Week traffic.
Traffic is commonplace in the country but it can even be worse during the Holy Week when virtually all employees in the city pack their bags and travel back to their respective provinces. However, you can be proactive and prevent your road trip from becoming a hellish ride by following simple tips that can work for everyone.
If your travel time usually takes four hours or longer, it is always best to respond to the call of nature even before you embark for the journey. If you’re using a passenger bus or jeepney to take you home, you won’t be assured of frequent stopovers. For this reason, you might increase your chances of contracting bladder infection and kidney stones if you don’t take time to pee before the departure time.
In addition to that, make sure that you’re also wearing comfortable clothes suitable for the summer season because your goal here is to feel relaxed even without the added benefits of air-conditioner.
Lastly, your travel list won’t be complete without foods and first-aid kit within your bag. Having your own snack to munch will not only save you some money but also protect you from possible gastrointestinal infections you might get from poorly prepared street foods. Anything can happen on your way to your destination so a first aid kit containing essential medical supplies like bandage, Betadine, over-the-counter medications and alcohol is always a must-have.
If you’re driving a car, establish scheduled breaks during a long road trip.
Having your own car is becoming a necessity nowadays especially if you travel a lot during the Lenten season. However, there are some life-saving tips that you have to remember before getting into the driver’s seat.
Occasional breaks during your road trip is necessary to give yourself a few minutes to relax, eat and strengthen your back muscles. Prolonged sitting is actually one of the risk factors for chronic back pain so it’s essential to do some stretching exercises every once in a while.
Don’t eat too much because the rerouting of blood from the brain to the stomach to support your body’s digestion can rob you of the concentration required for safe driving.
Lastly, wearing sunglasses which have anti-glare properties can also work for you in two ways: it can protect your eyes from the glaring sunlight and boost your concentration in driving as well.
“Health Dep’t cautions on food preparation during Holy Week” . www.prdailysun.com. April 2, 2012.
“DOH tips for safe summer: Drink, stay out of the sun” by JOVEE MARIE N. DELA CRUZ. www.manilatimes.net. April 4, 2012.
“7 Travel Tips To Prepare for Your Holy Week Road Trip” by Lorela U. Sandoval. www.smartparenting.com.ph.
“Holy Week Driving Tips” by Botchi Santos. http://business.inquirer.net. April 4, 2012.
© 2012, Filipino Nurses. All rights reserved. DISCLAIMER: The accuracy of all articles contained in this website are the responsibility of their respective authors. All articles are for informational purposes only and are NOT intended to replace the advice of a doctor. The owner of this site disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on these information. If you have any health-related questions, please consult your physician. If you feel ill, please seek medical attention immediately.