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It's Dengue Season Again!
Saturday, July 29, 2006

Every year during the months of June to August, its rainy season here in the Philippines. Cases of dengue increase so that most parents panic whenever a child in the family becomes febrile. These children are often rushed to the hospital for fear of its potentially deadly complications. They stay in the hospital just so they can be observed well. This fear lead to overcrowding in most hospitals.

Just a few days ago during the typhoon Glenda, my two kids had high grade fever for 2 days. Just like other parents I also had fears that they might catch Dengue. But since we are doctors, my husband and I took turns giving medications, monitoring the fever, and looking for a rash. We had two sleepless nights. It's really very difficult when children get sick.

There are 4 serotypes of the virus which causes Dengue fever. We have DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4. Infection of one serotype provides lifetime immunity to that particular serotype which caused the infection. Since we have four serotypes, a person can have more than one dengue infection.

The only means of prevention from this infection is by proper environmental sanitation. The causative organism thrives in stagnant water. Regular scrubbing of flower vases, cleaning of water containers, removing cans, plastics, or any container in the backyard where the rainwater can accumulate are some of the ways of combatting the disease.

This disease is not new to Filipinos. But there is still a need for education campaign regarding dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever. As I was in the Land Transporation Office yesterday, I overheard some mothers talking about the disease. One mother said that she need not worry anymore because her son had the disease last year. The other mother said that in order for her daughter not to get infected, she had already given her lots of multivitamins.
posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 3:09 PM   0 comments
Medical Informatics Lecture
Monday, July 24, 2006

Just the other night my husband gave a lecture on the Importance of Medical Informatics in Clinical Practice to a group of practicing physicians. Majority of those who attended were Family Physicians and the rest belonging to other specialties. It was a two-hour lecture sponsored by Han Seo Pharma, an international drug company.

Medical Informatics is an emerging discipline that deals with computer applications in medical care. This discipline incorporates the use of computers in the practice of medicine. By this we mean making a computerized medical record that provides efficiency, accessibility, and timeliness of data. We can also use it to access and provide evidence-based medical informations and in providing computer-aided instructions to name a few.

Many physicians here in our locality especially those belonging to the Baby Boomers generation ( 1943-1960) still cannot accept the need to incorporate medical informatics in their practice. After hearing the lecture and finding out that most people access the web to know more about their illnesses, that there are lots and lots of medical informations on line, that there are lots of advantages using the computer and not just for play, I think most of these Baby Boomers were transformed.
posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 7:55 AM   0 comments
Baguio, the Pines City of the Philippines
Tuesday, July 18, 2006

This is Baguio City before typhoon Florita arrived here and caused so many landslides last week. I took this photo at the upper ground level of Shoemart ( the biggest mall in Baguio City). It was very foggy even in the early afternoon and very cold.

We stayed there only for 2 hours after which we started our trip home to the lowlands which is 1 1/2 to 2 hours away from Baguio. The road is wet and very slippery because of the heavy rains.
posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 8:44 AM   0 comments
Fasting Blood Sugar Determination
Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS) screening is done to determine the level of sugar particularly glucose in the blood. The person who wish to undergo FBS screening is advised to abstain from taking in food for at least 8 hours prior to screening. He is also advised not to drink anything aside from water. In this way the determination of glucose level is accurate.

The normal value for FBS is 70 to 100 mg/dl. If the value falls between 100 and 125 mg/dl this is considered as prediabetic level. FBS level of 126 and above is considered as diabetic. A diabetic also has accompanying symptoms of increased hunger and thirst, weight loss, and frequent urination.

Every first wednesday of the month we conduct free FBS determination in our clinic at 6:00AM to 8:00AM. This is sponsored by different pharmaceutical companies and we usually have around 30 to 40 individuals going regularly for the screening. This helps the diabetics monitor their blood sugar and to catch prediabetics and diabetics who are still not on medication.
posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 5:06 PM   0 comments
Rice, Is It Really Bad?
Monday, July 03, 2006

Rice is the staple food in most Asian countries. Here in the Philippines, people eat rice at least 3 times a day. Sometimes some people particularly those who are poor even consume rice during snacks. It is because it is really filling and cheap compared to fruits and vegetables.

One question enters my mind: Are they really that bad for the health? In my quest for answers, I searched the net but most of those I came across to are not evidence-based. One bad effect of rice published by PubMed is that it causes Vitamin A, thiamine, and riboflavin deficiency.

If you are on a diet and you really need to loss weight, you can lessen carbohydrate intake and increase fruits and vegetables. Together with your diet it is important for you to exercise. Going entirely rice-free can be bad for your health.
posted by Amelyn R. Rafael,MD @ 11:23 AM   0 comments
About Me

Name: Amelyn R. Rafael,MD
Home: San Fabian, Pangasinan, Philippines
About Me: Family Physician, and Associate Professor (Clinical Anatomy and Medical Physiology)
See my complete profile
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