[COLUMN] Polio in NYC

THE Polio virus was detected in the sewage system in New York City, a discovery that signals this dangerous virus has been spreading locally.

Poliomyelitis (Polio) is a contagious, disabling, and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus which infects the spinal cord and results in paralysis. It can lead to meningitis and death. The polio virus enters the mouth, through feces-contaminated hands.

A most popular polio victim infected in 1921 at age 39 was U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the early 1950s, before the polio vaccines were available, it was a most feared disease, with outbreaks of 15,000 cases of paralysis among children and adults per year. Like the vaccines for COVID-19, the vaccines for Polio are safe and very effective as the historical statistics below show.

With the introduction of the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) in 1955 and the oral polio vaccines (OPV) in 1963, the polio cases dropped precipitously to less than 100 in the 1960s and less than 10 in the 1970s.

Last month, a man in his 20s in New York was found to be infected with polio and is now paralyzed.

People who have not been vaccinated for polio are at a great risk and are advised to get vaccinated. Consult your physician about this matter.

COVID new rules

Last Tuesday, August 9 in the United States, there were almost 130,000 cases and 555 deaths from COVID-19, with 40,406 hospitalizations. In spite of these statistics, the CDC revised its mitigating guidelines to the following: (1) “Instead of quarantining if you’re exposed to COVID-19, wear a high-quality mask for 10 days and get tested on or after day 5, irrespective of vaccination status;” and (2) “quarantine is no longer recommended for persons exposed to COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status.”

This departure from pure science, particularly from the principles in epidemiology in dealing with serious infectious diseases, like COVID-19, might cause a rebound. Let’s continue to be vigilant and see what happens with this lowering of our guard.

For those who are concerned and want to be careful, especially seniors and those with weak immune system, there is no law against wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, and doing social distancing to prevent infection, even if others don’t.

Scary racing heart

This is a response to an email query about a “scary rapid heart rate.” The incident, as described by the reader, could be SVT (Supraventricular tachycardia), where the heart suddenly beats much faster from usual (60-100), pulse becomes weak, a sense of “palpitation” and mild chest fullness, sometimes light headedness, and then the beat slows down to normal. Alcohol, smoking, drugs, stress, low oxygen, tiredness, could cause it among some individuals. SVT is not life-threatening, but could be scary. Valsalva (taking a deep breath, holding it, straining, for 10 seconds and repeating it, side of the neck (carotid) massage, cold water on the face, are maneuvers one could try, while waiting to see you physician, for confirmation of the diagnosis (to rule out other conditions) and treatment.


COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a lung disease usually caused by smoking, which, over time, burns the lung tissues, rendering the air sacs to thin out and inefficient in oxygen transfer from the lungs to the blood. This leads to chronic hypoxia (low blood oxygen level) and shortness of breath, which could be so severe as to require continuous nasal oxygen treatment. But a significant number of COPD is seen among non-smokers who have gastro-esophageal regurgitation (reflux), where the sphincter between the esophagus (food pipe) and the stomach becomes loose, allowing acid fumes (normally in the stomach) to rise up and get inhaled into the lungs. Over time, this burns the lung tissues, and leads to COPD, some shortness of breath. This condition is milder than smoking-related COPD. Treatment is primarily aimed at the gastric reflux.

Vitamin D

Anti-inflammatory foods, like various vegetables (except night shades), fruits, nuts, and certain supplements are known to reduce the risk for development of diseases. Night shades, which are bad for arthritis, include white potato, tomato, eggplant, pepper, paprika.

“There is mounting evidence that improvement in vitamin D status reduces risk for autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and other inflammatory disorders such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” according to Dr. Michael F. Holick, professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine as stated in Medical News Today.

Adults who took 2000 IUs of vitamin D3 daily for up to five years the reduced risk for all autoimmune diseases by 22 percent compared to those who did not. Do not start taking any drugs without consulting your physician.


There are approximately 40 trillion different organisms living in our gut and in our mouth and skin. This world of microbes plays a critical role in our health. It is important for us to have a healthy balance between the good and the bad microbes in us to prevent or minimize various diseases. Besides inflammation as the inducing cause of diseases, unhealthy microbiome is now recognized as a vital initiating factor in the causation of most illnesses, and not only gut ailments. That shows how important a balanced microbiome is for health maintenance.

The human gut microbiome is essential for body development, immunity, and nutrition. The bacteria in our gut help us digest food, control our immune system, and produce vitamins our body needs. What we eat or drink affects our microbiome. Each person has a unique gut microbiome.

Symptoms of an unhealthy microbiome include constipation, bloating, diarrhea, gassy stomach, and inflammation, all due to an unbalanced microbiome.

Avoiding or minimizing red meat to once to twice a week; eating a lot of fish, vegetables of various colors, fruits, nuts, and pre- and probiotic supplements; daily physical exercises; no smoking; disciplined alcohol intake or abstinence; stress management are ways to help maintain a health microbiome in our body.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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The main objective of this column is to educate and inspire people live a healthier lifestyle to prevent illnesses and disabilities and achieve a happier and more productive life. Any diagnosis, recommendation or treatment in our article are general medical information and not intended to be applicable or appropriate for anyone. This column is not a substitute for your physician, who knows your condition well and who is your best ally when it comes to your health.

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Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, Health Advocate, newspaper columnist, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian foundation in the United States. Websites: FUN8888.com, Today.SPSAtoday.com, and philipSchua.com; Email: [email protected]


Dr. Philip S. Chua

Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana and chairman of cardiac surgery from 1997 to 2010 at Cebu Doctors University Hospital, where he holds the title of Physician Emeritus in Surgery, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Philippine College of Surgeons, and the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society. He is the chairman of the Filipino United Network – USA, a 501(c)(3) humanitarian foundation in the United States.

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