It’s that time of the year when we remember the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. And Filipinos are known to have one of the longest celebrations of the yuletide season. Once the month ends in “ber”, we already hear Christmas carols in the airwaves. And come December, a barrage of parties awaits you. Christmas party from your loving agencies, families, friends, shipmates gives you a lot of reason to imbibe on food and drinks.

Watch what you eat. It’s good to taste ‘lechon’, steaks, and pork during parties but always do this in moderation. Always stuff yourself with salads and seafood. When in front of crabs, shrimps and lobster always stay away from the fat, the red or orange substance that is abundant in them, because it is loaded with cholesterol.

Always drink in moderation. I can’t blame you if sometimes you get drunk due to extreme happiness especially when surrounded with real good friends. Just make sure that you don’t drive after. Also, get some good sleep to fight the hangover, and drink lots of water because alcohol has a tendency to dehydrate you. Alcohol, in small amounts can be a stimulant, but in large amounts, it becomes a depressant. So, once you are drunk, make sure that you are not alone and keep family members close to you. Exercise regularly to counter the intake during the holiday season. Do not go to all the parties you are invited in. Limit it is so that you can control your intake.

Common diseases during the holiday season are the following:

1. Upper Respiratory Tract Infection- due to the cold weather, we tend to have cough and colds more often during this time than the rest of the months

2. Hypertension- due to excessive food intake and alcohol intake

3. Diabetes Mellitus- same reason as number 2

4. Trauma- due to drunk driving and clumsiness when drunk

5. Depression- common among older people and for those who are alone during Christmas. This is also common among seafarers who are working during this season

6. Gastroenteritis- due to intake of a variety of foods during parties

7. Alcohol intoxication- for obvious reasons. Be careful with what we call the Holiday heart in which when loading up on alcohol can trigger the onset of atrial fibrillation, which, in turn, could trigger a heart attack in someone with critical coronary artery disease.

I always keep telling my patients no matter how redundant I get, to please take everything in moderation and avoid too much alcohol. The seafarers’ body is his asset in his work. Remember that a PEME is always a part of your requirement in your work so if you fail your medical, you lose your job.

After Christmas comes New Year which is celebrated in our country with a bang wherein fireworks fill the sky and everybody’s spirits are lifted during this eve of celebration. Legend has it that fireworks drive away the bad spirits of the previous year and calls on the good spirits to guide you in the New Year to come. This is the time which asthmatics dread. The smoke that fills the air after the fireworks are done triggers severe attacks. This is also the time when hospitals are filled with patients with explosion injuries. This is the time when orthopaedic surgeons and burn surgeons make a lot of money.

So remember, Have a Healthy Merry Christmas and a Safe and Prosperous New Year.First Medical Team Healthcare Specialist Group [FMT] provides quality pre- employment medical services to overseas workers, particularly seafarers, at very affordable prices. FMT also handles medical repatriations. Dr. Teves is also a founding member of the Maritime Doctors and Clinics Association of the Philippines [MARCDOC].

Buhay Marino Dyaryo is published monthly by SEAFARERS MARITIME MEDIA, INC.

with offices at Rm. 603, 6th Floor, GS Building, 840 M.F. Jhocson St., Sampaloc Manila

Telephone/ Fax Nos.: (02) 712-1842, (02) 712-7226.