[COLUMN] Queries from read

IS COVID-19 gone?

No, COVID-19 is still with us. This fall, there is a rise in the number of cases and number of hospitalizations of this evolving virus. COVID-19 dangers have not ended, especially for those vulnerable seniors with health issues and those with compromised immune system. About 25 percent of Americans have not had COVID-19 infections. As of October 14, 2023, the daily admission for COVID-19 was 3,827 on average; hospitalization was at 10,708. Only about 17 percent of Americans had the bivalent booster shot. Those who suspect they may have flu-like symptoms should stay home, rest and hydrate themselves and, perhaps, test themselves for COVID-19. To protect yourself, get the booster…and the flu shot too.

What is fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, about 100 times more potent than morphine, approved for treating cancer pains. This deadly substance is smuggled in by the cartels through the open United States borders. Criminal entrepreneurs lace candies and other edible items (and other illicit drugs) with fentanyl to be able to distribute it more widely, killing adults and children. Fentanyl kills by slowing down and stopping respiration (breathing), known as overdose. One kilogram of fentanyl is enough to kill half a million people. Why our government intentionally keeps the borders open is obvious dereliction of duty and simply criminal, considering the inaction contributed to the deaths of more than 300,000 from fentanyl overdose since 2021.

Is marijuana safe?

No, marijuana is not healthy to use. News studies show the use of marijuana increases the risk for heart failure, heart attack, and stroke. Besides the development of psychiatric symptoms, evidence-based data show cannabis has negative effect on memory, verbal cognition, and visual recall, slows down reaction time, and worsens multiple domains of cognition. Side effects could include dizziness, dry mouth, drowsiness, fatigue and nausea. We have enough problems, medical and societal. Are our national and state legislators who voted to approve the recreational use of marijuana (when our streets are already loaded with addicts from other drugs) stupid or what?

What causes vaginal itching?

Vaginal itch, with or without drainage, must be medically attended to. The most common cause is vaginosis, like infection with Trichomonas Vaginalis. Many times, there are no symptoms at all, and the first sign could be from the male partner who complains of itchiness or irritation in his organ. If gynecologic consultation proves it to be Trichomonas Vaginalis, oral medications (Flagyl) will treat the condition. But all the sexual partners (as in any sexually-transmitted disease) must likewise be medicated to eradicate the vicious cycle.

Does smoking prevent Alzheimer’s?

Preliminary studies appear to show this, but the final verdict is not in yet. One thing that is a proven fact is that smoking causes cancer and it kills. Therefore, medically, no physician will prescribe smoking for the possibility that it could lower the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. Forget it!

I have high blood pressure. Can I still take aspirin?

Aspirin (81 mg, like Baby Aspirin) is widely recommended for people 35 and older as a mild blood thinner, to slow down hardening of the artery, and prevent heart attack and stroke. So long as your blood pressure is well-controlled with medications under physician care, and you do not have any contraindication like stomach ulcer or previous history of it, then 81 mg of aspirin used for the reason mentioned above is safe. As always, it is best to discuss this with your own physician who is familiar with your personal medical history.

Is melatonin effective for jetlag?

A pineal gland extract derivative, melatonin has been reported to be effective in combatting jetlag. However, one of the side effects noted in clinical studies is cardiac arrhythmias (heart rhythm disturbance). Consulting a physician before taking any medication is a prudent practice.

Are probiotics effective?

New studies have shown that while a probiotic is useful, this supplement is more effective in our microbiome (gastrointestinal) health if used with a prebiotic. The combination is known as Dualbiotic. These supplements (gummies or capsules) help balancing our gut flora of bacteria, the good and the bad, to maintain a healthy gut. An imbalanced microbiome not only leads to GI problems but also to metabolic and cardiovascular problems, which negatively impacts our overall health.

Can I get TB from kissing?

Yes, most definitely, if your partner has active pulmonary (lung) tuberculosis. One can be exposed to TB by airborne (inhaling the breath of a person with active TB) or physical contact (contaminated hands touching food or drink that is ingested, or sharing dining utensils, toothbrush, or by kissing, etc). So, if you are in doubt, make sure your partner seeks medical care. And since you are exposed to him, you also need a check-up. The same precaution must be taken with all close contacts for either of you.

Can Viagra help my erection problem?

Most likely yes, even at the age of 35. Majority of male Erectile Dysfunction (ED) cases respond to Sildenafil Citrate (Viagra) and other ED meds. Medical evaluation is recommended to rule out any organic cause for the ED. If none is found, the cause could be psychological, and Viagra will certainly be effective. Taking these ED pills together with any form of nitroglycerine (heart vasodilator) pills could lead to massive shock. These must be used under medical supervision.

Can bathing in a tub cause disease?

Yes, which is the reason why we recommend against bathing in public (hotel, motel, resort) tubs. Besides sexually-transmitted diseases, bacterial, viral or fungal illnesses can also be caught by using contaminated bathtubs. The shower is safe, but make sure the soap or towel you use has not been used by others. If home tubs are not properly cleaned, the same problem, although much less likely, could arise.

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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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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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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. He was a recipient of the Indiana Sagamore of the Wabash Award in 1995, conferred by then Indiana Governor, later Senator, and then presidential candidate, Evan Bayh. Other Sagamore past awardees include President Harry S. Truman, President George HW Bush, Muhammad Ali, and Astronaut Gus Grissom (Wikipedia). 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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