What is Hybrid Coronavirus?


Combined variants of SARS-CoV2, the culprit virus for COVID-19 illness, are now increasing in numbers in terms of their infection rates from person to person, and are rapidly circulating in different countries such as United Kingdom, US – California, India and Vietnam. These new variants arising can cause possible inflation of detrimental health risks globally. Recombination of these variants can be a compelling historical foundation of coronavirus’ evolutionary timeline. 

Recombination of DNA Viruses

The fundamental biological process involved in combining portions of the virus is called recombination. In cytology, the study of cells, recombination is considered as a distinctive contributory in genetics. Two DNA molecules that are alike have been conceivable to reciprocate certain pieces of their structure. These result to “a stretch of DNA from one parental piece of DNA, followed by a stretch from the other,” yielding twisted variances between the two parent molecules. The outcome of these modified molecules that are inherited from each parent is a hybrid molecule.

The physiological process explained might sound a little too complex but recombination is already a customary scheme happening in the reproduction of complicated cells. This can easily be understood by a child’s set of chromosomes that are inherited from the child’s mother and father. Recombination can also be seen in simpler cells where altered genes were adapted into the genome of bacteria. Knowing that the molecules involved in the recombination are not selective to which DNA molecules they merge with, infected cells of the DNA virus are at times recombine if there are two or more virus strains that transmit a single cell to infection.

Recombination of RNA Viruses

Inquisitive on how these DNA viral molecules have been connected to coronaviruses following that their genomes are made up of RNA? The same biological processes also occur in RNA. They also create particular forms of genetic combinations. A coronavirus’ genome is composed of a single, long RNA molecule, which seems not to be suitable for recombination. However, a hybrid viral molecule is still possible to form by means of copying the RNA genetic material by an enzyme from one end to the other, resulting to multiple copies as it goes along. Though at certain times, the course of RNA replication can “stall and fall off” from the molecule where the original genetic code came from while it is still processing the newly and partially completed copy. In most of these cases, terminated replication crops up. But in some instances, it pushes itself and be able to connect to a new genome and utilize the hanging half as its combined copy.

It does not necessarily mean that the new molecule should come from the original copy. It just needs to be the same with the initial copy. Recombination among viruses takes place as long as they pass the infection with the corresponding host.

Hybrid COVID-19 variants 

Recombination of viruses forms a hybrid molecule. Discovering different COVID-19 variants yield to higher chances of recombination. Further intensification of recombination means more possibilities of hybrid COVID-19 variants.

Fresh from the newsflash is a new coronavirus variant that is “a combination of the Indian and UK COVID-19 variants” detected in Vietnam. It is reported as a variant that is more transmissible and easily replicated than the other known types. According to Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long, the Indian variant with noted mutations from a UK variant is a dangerous one.  The World Health Organization (WHO) initial report expressed that B.1.617.2, an Indian variant with additional mutations, has been detected in Vietnam. Still, they have to conduct supplementary research for more detailed information.

Another hybrid coronavirus has also been detected last February 2021 in California, US. It was the result of recombination of B.1.1.7 variant discovered in the United Kingdom and B.1.429 variant originated in California. The said recombinant was noted to be the first hybrid coronavirus discovered in this COVID-19 pandemic. Because of its viral nature, in addition that it is also common among coronaviruses, it is already projected to transpire, although studies are still currently ongoing on its biological processes and possible outcomes.


Recent discoveries from COVID-19 are improving. There are newly found scientific analyses on its characteristics and mode of transmission. The medical authoritative bodies are also keep looking out to improve and find ways for the best evidence-based responses feasible in this time of pandemic. If you are still worried about contracting the COVID-19 disease, you can avail of telemedicine consultation at MyPocketDoctor. . The MyPocketDoctor has been actively delivering both health information and telemedicine services. You can certainly enjoy these conveniences right at your fingertips by downloading the MyPocketDoctor APP and talking to our team of doctors about your health concerns. MyPocketDoctor can be contacted through its Facebook page and/or agent chat on the website www.MyPocketDoctor.com. You may check the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) through this website.






If You Fear Injections, You Might Have Trypanophobia


Fear of needles seem to be innate in childhood but as we age, conquering most of our fears particularly in needles are usually settled and eventually subside. However, the blood tests and injections are methods to obtain hematologic data, vaccinations and medication administrations respectively. The only way to properly execute it in a sterile and accurate way is through the use of needles. 

Causes and Symptoms of Trypanophobia

Fear of needles, whether by blood drawn, injection shot, or any exposure getting involved with a needle is called Trypanophobia. It is sometimes called Belonephobia and is also linked with fear of doctors (iatrophobia) and fear of dentists (dentophobia or odontophobia), that causes overwhelming anxiety to a person affected. Based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-V), it has been classified under the diagnosis of Other Specified Phobia.

There are still inadequate literature reviews as to what causes trypanophobia but some theories associated in its progression include instabilities in brain chemistry, influenced behavior from family and relatives, undesirable life experiences and past traumas, and a sensitive or inhibitive temperament.  Various outlooks and experiences of needles also play a role in its development such as memories of painful injections triggered by the mere sight of needles, hypochondria or excessive worries on getting a disease, severe dizziness as a result of vasovagal response when pricked by a needle, and a low pain tolerance that causes sensitivity to pain. Some people were not able to overcome and still have their crippling fear of needles even when they get older. In an analytical study with a sample of 1,024 children and 883 adults, 63% of children and 24% of adults conveyed their fear of needles. It was also reported that 8% of the children and 7% of the parents were not willing to be vaccinated because of their distress. If these numbers continue to rise, public health will be compromised.

Physiological symptoms of Trypanophobia cover hypertension or a sudden increase in high blood pressure, and tachycardia or an increased heart rate. Other manifestations include tachypnea or rapid breathing, nausea, anxiety and nervousness, sweating, and trembling. A person’s hesitancy to a certain procedure or a medical treatment involving the use of needles are apparently observed. In worst case scenarios, unremitting anxiety can lead to a panic attack.

Things to Know About Its Diagnosis

Mental health specialists will conduct a series of physical examinations and assessments to rule out any other diseases that might be attributable to the symptoms. A health interview comprises of any past and present health history including the duration, severity and causative nature of illness indications. Significantly, there are certain measures with regards to the manifestation of symptoms such as being uncooperative and extreme avoidance behaviors, responding immediately when needles are seen, utmost distress and not being able to function normally most especially in response to health decisions.

How to Treat Trypanophobia

Addressing the principal cause of trypanophobia varies individually.  In most cases, psychotherapy is the primary recommendation of treatment. Different approaches to psychotherapy are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy and medications.

Cognitive behavioral therapy specifies initial assessment of one’s fear of needles in therapy sessions and discovering appropriate coping techniques to it with a help of a therapist. Mastery of emotions over thoughts and feelings, and a boosted confidence to face the object of fear will be achieved.

Exposure therapy is in a way related to CBT but concentrates on shifting the physical and mental response with the fear of needles. Several exposures to needles and the thoughts accompanied by it will be intentionally activated by the therapist. For instance, an image of a needle will be initially shown. Once passed, a person will be instructed to hold the needle and practice guided imagery in experience of getting injected by a needle. All these activities are supervised by the therapist.

Medications are prescribed when stress is uncontrollable despite psychotherapies. Antianxiety and sedative medications are given for brain and body relaxation just enough to minimize the symptoms. A person suffering from trypanophobia can sign a written consent that indicates taking a medication prior to blood test or vaccination to lower stress levels.

Overcoming Trypanophobia

People suffering with Trypanophobia are advised to be accompanied by someone who can support them emotionally during the procedure. Parents or guardians are best partners for children. For adults, holding their hand by a trusted family member or a friend while giving verbal encouragements can help.

Distraction cues can be a powerful tool. Listening to a favorite music or watching a delightful short video clip can divert the attention away from the needles. Notify the health care provider who will draw blood, inject a medicine or a vaccine as early as possible and ask for any proven tricks to surmount the struggle. A medication can also be requested to numb the anticipated painful sensation from the needle.

Observation while doing the procedure is not recommended. Watching each step of the process can only heightened the anxiety level. Also, muscles might be accidentally flexed while the skin is currently pierced which might cause unnecessary bodily reactions. Practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques before and during the procedure. Final resort would be a counsellor or a mental health specialist to give essential information and conduct necessary treatments.


The avoidance, anxiety and distress levels associated with Trypanophobia may restrict with one’s regular functioning mostly with health related matters. Vaccinations against communicable diseases like COVID-19 are still ongoing. Overcoming Trypanophobia is a vital concern not only for one’s personal benefit but also for the community and the nation as a whole. If you want to discuss your health concerns about Trypanophobia, you may call MyPocketDoctor. The MyPocketDoctor has been actively delivering both health information and telemedicine services. You can certainly enjoy these conveniences right at your fingertips by downloading the MyPocketDoctor APP and talking to our team of doctors about your health concerns. MyPocketDoctor can be contacted through its Facebook page and/or agent chat on the website www.MyPocketDoctor.com. You may check the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) through this website.






World No Tobacco Day: Tobacco, Cigarette or Marijuana?


Smoking cessation is a demanding task particularly for the habitual smokers. It requires consistent motivation, self-discipline and health awareness as a gentle reminder to keep back on track. According to the World Health Organization, around 780 million of worldwide population shared sentiments that they want to quit, but only 30% have accessible tools and resources to quit smoking ventures. In this segment, we delve into the differences between tobacco, cigarette and marijuana emphasizing its negative consequences to our health.


Merriam Webster dictionary defined cigarette as “a slender roll of cut tobacco enclosed in paper and meant to be smoked.” It can also be a similar roll of another substance such as marijuana. The term cigarette is interchangeably used with tobacco smoking because of its composition. However, one can easily differentiate them; cigarette is a small roll that is used for smoking while tobacco is one of the commonly known substance contained in a cigarette.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an informative and comprehensible demographic illustration of how a cigarette is made.

The filter of a cigarette is found at its holding end, with the intention to reduce the inhaled smoke. It is characteristically made up of thin fiber bundles. However, its layout averts only an insignificant percentage of the smoke inhaled, which results a smoker to inhale more of the contents inside. The tipping paper is usually the colored portion of the cigarette that surrounds the filter and attaches to the rest of the cigarette. Vent holes are placed in it to dilute the inhaled smoke with air. On the contrary, the pattern seems to be of no use as the fingers used to hold the cigarette block these holes, defeating its purpose. 

The cigarette paper grips the tobacco filler. Chemicals are added in it to regulate the burning process. Smokers breathe in all the components of the cigarette that is burned. The tobacco filler consists of chopped tobacco leaves, stems and scraps. When all of these are burned, other dangerous chemicals are formed which adds more inhaled toxins. On top of it all, more additives are added to mask the strident sensations of smoke and make it more alluring to the consumers.


Tobacco is a substance originally found in tobacco plants. From its scientific name, Nicotiana tabacum, tobacco typically contains nicotine, a chemical culprit, that is considered as highly addictive and toxic to human bodies. Nicotine is a dopamine stimulant that intensifies the pleasure and reward senses activated in the brain. It also causes instant energy boost and neurologic activity, making it more attractive to its regular clients.

An alarming statistic from Psychology Today shows that a person who smokes 30 tobacco cigarettes per day can get up to 300 hits of nicotine, which undoubtedly shoots up on the dopamine effect on the brain. This marks mainly to high tolerance and addiction. Trying to stop tobacco use causes withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, difficulty in concentration, depressed mood, sleep disturbances and increased appetite which lasts for a month or more. Though most of these symptoms are stimulating in nature, it can also have a tranquillizing effect depending on the frequency dose and the person’s tolerance to the substance. It can be difficult to manage at first but attainable in the long run. 

Smoking tobacco cigarettes are not only known on its psychoactive outcomes but also for its carcinogenic effects topping lung cancer in numerical figures. Other physical effects in the list are other lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and decreased immunity. Lately, studies also revealed that there is an increased risk of severe COVID-19 cases associated with tobacco smoking. 


Cannabis sativa, a scientific name for marijuana, is a substance from a plant called hemp. An active key element in marijuana is THC (short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). The THC causes the brain to release dopamine, and like nicotine in tobacco, it elevates pleasurable effects such as sensation increments, increased appetite and feeling on “high” or being “relaxed” on the reversible side. It is also linked with deviations in the perception of time and coordination, memory and cognition.

Although there are already claims on the medicinal benefits of marijuana and some countries already legalize its use, we cannot set aside its undesirable harmful effects particularly when used through smoking. American Lung Association stated that smoking marijuana might cause more damaging risks than tobacco cigarette smoking. Inhaling marijuana through a joint or a pipe are inclined to breathe in more deeply and hold longer that may lead to lengthier exposure to tar, one of the toxins from smoking. 

Some studies also suggest that smoking marijuana can acquire more toxins and carcinogens as compared to tobacco cigarette smoking, yielding more lung complications. Likewise, marijuana smokers expose themselves to various diseases like chronic and acute bronchitis, immune system suppression and increased risk for opportunistic infections targeting HIV positive patients.


Despite health awareness with the detrimental effects of these substances, most smokers still linger on the same habit triggered by addiction. A smoker can testify how their smoking habits started and never envisioned to incorporate it in their daily living. Smokers are encouraged to release their burdens and participate with the programs developed by the government and medical authorities.  Program components include series of training, advocacies, health education, smoking cessation services, research and development. A World No Tobacco Day can be attainable everyday as long as there is willingness to quit smoking.






Facts about Seasonal Depression


Does rainy season make you sad? It might be seasonal depression. Seasonal depression is a type of depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which usually occurs in the winter and at times, during summer. Based on the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), this condition falls under classification of Major Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern. It arises around 1 to 10 percent of the population and involves likely in a male to a four female ratio. SAD may take place at any age but is common to a person with ages 18 and 30. Mental health disorders, in general, cannot be diagnosed by just looking at a person’s outward disposition. Like any other forms of diseases, proper assessment and accurate screening must be done for a suitable treatment and prevention.

Causes and Symptoms

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), SAD has been associated with a “biochemical imbalance in the brain prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight in winter.” In the Philippines, rainy seasons replaces the winter periods and typically improves in summer when there is more sunlight to appear in daytime. There are also studies shown that people with SAD are more common in places distant from the equator where there are less daylight hours. As cycle of seasons evolve, people with SAD notice fluctuations in their “biological clock or circadian rhythm,” causing internal changes that manifest symptoms analogous to depression. These symptoms make them feel restrained from their daily activities. 

Most symptoms related to SAD encompass fatigue, even with good amount of sleep, and increase in weight accompanied by increase in appetite. SAD can also be classified from mild to severe and can be identical with depression such as loss of interest in one’s pleasurable activities, changes in sleep and appetite, feeling guilty or worthless, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, and suicidal thoughts. For winter, rainy or cold seasons, some explicit symptoms include hypersomnia (oversleeping), overeating, and social withdrawal due to feelings of hibernation. Although SAD is always linked with winter and less daylight seasons, there are few instances of SAD that are due to summer periods with symptoms contradictory to winter patterns like insomnia (trouble sleeping), poor appetite, restlessness, anxiety and incidents of violent behavior.


Based from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a person must meet the following criteria to be diagnosed with SAD: They must have symptoms of major depression or the more specific symptoms listed above; the depressive episodes must occur during specific seasons (i.e., only during the winter months or the summer months) for at least 2 consecutive years. However, take note that not all people with SAD do experience symptoms every year; the episodes must be much more frequent than other depressive episodes that the person may have had at other times of the year during their lifetime. These criteria are all screened only by a health care provider or a mental health specialist.

Treatment and Prevention 

Most of the mental health experts advised “light therapy” as a key tool to treat SAD. Other methods suggested include antidepressant medications and talk therapy. Though all symptoms can be managed as seasons change in time, these recommended remedies can benefit to rapidly recover from seasonal depression.

American Psychiatric Association described light therapy involving “sitting in front of a light therapy box that emits a very bright light (and filters out harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays). It normally requires 20 minutes or more per day, typically first thing in the morning, during the winter months.” Improvements from light therapy can be traceable within one to two weeks as it progresses.  Due to anticipated reoccurrence of the symptoms, some offer to initiate the treatment even on days before the expected season will come, to avoid rebound of symptoms.

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that can aid treat SAD. It is generally done in a two week group session for 6 weeks and emphases on exchanging negative feelings and thoughts into a positive note. This therapy also promotes a process called behavioral activation, wherein a person can recognize and decide for enjoyable and worthwhile indoor or outdoor activities, to lessen and eliminate the feelings of sadness in periods of seasonal changes.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are types of antidepressant medications that are most commonly prescribed to treat SAD.  SSRIs work to improve patients’ mood. Escitalopram, fluoxetine and sertraline are some examples of SSRI medications. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also approved bupropion, an antidepressant medication that can preclude “seasonal major depressive disorders when taken daily” from the initial change of season.


Seasonal depression, like any other mental health disorders, also requires a systematic approach for relevant interventions. Primary recognition of the symptoms and prompt initiation for consultation can nurture a good mental state of awareness and a sustainable planned treatment. Taking appropriate actions for our well-being can acquire positive coping mechanism and stay being productive and healthy.





Birth Control and Pandemic Babies


Do you still remember watching the babies doing the close-open or singing Twinkle Twinkle? Now that the world has locked down, making the babies learn and develop can be simple. We can make low cost activities to follow the baby’s lead in naming objects, reading, eating and health habits. Speaking of health habits…

Babies’ Health during Pandemic

We need to become aware that the body development takes place at an extraordinary rate during the baby’s first year. This is because the first year is when the baby’s brain double in size. The social and overall experience of the baby is crucial at this time for the purpose of honing, stimulating and tuning the brain’s unfolding architecture.

The pandemic affects the babies’ need for stimulation, social contact and responsive caregiving. There is a study that compares the symptoms of Post-traumatic stress in parents and children confined in quarantine situations compared to the families in normal routines. It was shown that the stress levels are four times higher for children who have been in quarantine.

Sadly, the lack of socialization for pandemic infants is prevalent. There has been the social media trend of parents who film their infant’s reaction when shown to the other babies on digital screen.

Toxic stress of infants can be prevented by means of healthy pregnancy, balanced nutrition, immunity to diseases, restful sleep, a family environment rich in positive stimuli, and a high-quality educational system. These fundamental for optimal child growth and develops to build strong and lasting neural connections in the child’s brain.

Unique Baby Care for Pandemic


There are several factors that affect the mental and physical status of children who experience the pandemic stress. These inherent stress are generally caused by isolation, reduced social life, school shutdown and physical activities. In addition, there are the sleep difficulties, changes in routine, exposure to disharmony at home, unhealthy diet, and excessive screen use.

The mask is not recommended for toddlers due to the fact that:

  1. Mask is harder to breathe in because of smaller airways.
  2. Then, if the baby cannot breathe through the mask, they cannot tell anyone about it. They also cannot take the mask off by themselves. So, they can suffocate.
  3. There are string and elastic, and other pieces on masks that baby could choke on.
  4. As children, they will try to remove the mask, causing them to touch their face a lot. This will increase their risks of catching and spreading the virus.

Going to the doctors is also a challenging task for parents now, especially if keeping updated with the toddlers’ vaccines is a key to keep their body healthy. You can inquire with your health care provider about regular checkups and vaccines. Some are also comfortable with telemedicine consultation while postponing the in-person visit. If you need a Telehealth consultation, you can contact Mypocketdoctor. The Mypocketdoctor is telehealth platform that operates 24/7/365. You may contact Mypocketdoctor through their Facebook page and/or chat with their agents on their website www.mypocketdoctor.com. Likewise, you may check the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) through this link.

If you are not comfortable with telemedicine, you still need good plan for family and children’s health. When it comes to pandemic babies, we also have the choices on birth control: condoms, IUDs, vasectomy and family planning. If you are sure that you never want to have babies in the future again, you can have permanent birth control option. One option for women is tubal ligation, which 99% effective. The tubal ligation, also known as “having your tubes tied”, is a process for closing off the fallopian tubes to prevent eggs from reaching the ovaries. There are male condoms, which are reliable and cheap. Latex condoms are good choice because they are effective and durable against sexually transmitted disease than “lambskin” or “natural” condoms. The male condom is 80-97% effective.


Quarantine during this pandemic helps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 disease. However, this created several negative like anxiety and stress on children. Actual socialization of babies are important for their well-being, stimulation of synaptic connections and increasing positive social behaviors. In this uncertain time of pandemic, having a plan for making babies are significant. On May 28, there is a celebration of International Day of Action for Women’s Health. May we be reminded that giving birth are gifts, but watching them grow healthy to improve society is a better gift.





Do You Have Suicidal Thoughts this Pandemic?

Suicidal thoughts are one of the mental health challenges that have been endured by some people. This is to be expected from what is happening worldwide due to COVID-19 pandemic. Occurrences of this self-annihilation ideation may be accountable as a result of psychological disorders or in some instances, a low self-coping mechanism.

Cause, Symptoms and Other Things to Know
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 years old globally.” The National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) in the Philippines also disclosed an upsurge in receiving hotline calls concerning depression, from 80 calls before lockdown to approximately 400 calls every month, during quarantine implementation by the health authorities.
Suicide has been defined by American Psychological Association as, “the act of killing yourself, most often as a result of depression or other mental illness.” Suicide from a depressive state typically entails from unforeseeable circumstances that had happened in their lives such as a loss of a loved one, identity crisis, a lingering bodily illness, break-up from a romantic relationship, financial difficulties, physical violence, emotional and sexual exploitation, rejection, conflict, discrimination, and a lack of purpose in life. Suicide from the perspective of a mental illness is linked to an etiological factor like a strong family history of a mental disorder. A study from The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal, revealed that people “who had a mother, father, or sibling die from suicide were two and a half times more likely to commit suicide themselves compared with those without a similar family history.” Several mental disorders are already been associated to suicide namely, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), borderline personality disorder, and some external factors that have originally been the cause, but later on discovered to also take effect in mental illness which comprises substance abuse and being in an LGBT community.

Notable signs of suicidal tendencies include random remarks to commit suicide, difficulty in eating or sleeping, alcohol or drug abuse, flat affect, little to no interest in doing pleasurable activities, avoiding social interactions, an extreme behavior change, and preoccupied with the idea of death and dying. However, a solid evident feature for suicide leads from a history of suicide attempts. When all these sources are left untreated, whether caused by a depression or a mental illness, a higher probability of turning suicidal thoughts into action is very much expected to occur.

How to Prevent Suicidal Thoughts

As strict quarantine measures have been applied in the community, it is apparent that the increasing number of suicidal thoughts transpiring in the present are more likely caused by the movement restraints, not only by the exterior regulations of our environment, to name job limitations and travel restrictions a few, but also on a personal level whereas close family ties as a Filipino trait including family reunions for an instance, have been temporarily averted. On the other hand, triggers on the mental illness state are also prevalent. For these reasons, how can we achieve a well mental state of being to prevent suicidal thoughts in this time of pandemic? Suicide Awareness Voice of Education (SAVE) recommended the following advices:

Have meaningful social connections. Social connections are still possible through different social media platforms. Take into consideration to aim for quality and meaningful relationships even though the quarantine guidelines are strictly implementing social distancing as a part of COVID-19 preventive measures. A family time provides an environment of security, love and support. In addition, communicate with trusted friends and reliable mentors who can journey with you in life with no judgments.
Get involved with new hobbies or reconnect with old hobbies. Take note and engage on all pastimes and recreations you love. On top of old hobbies, discover something new. Never be afraid to try other activities if passion has not been met the first time. The quest for a new hobby relieves stress, builds self-confidence, increases personal satisfaction and a way to meet new people even online.
Give back to your community. A sense of volunteerism gives a sense of purpose and compassion for others that makes us feel good. Kindness stations and community pantries are now trending in most places as various donations are given to people who are in need. Charitable activities offer a spirit of camaraderie and a helping hand for one another. As the servant says, “The ministry saves the minister”, so as “Healing heals the healer, too” quoting from a book title –that it is possible for someone with suicidal thoughts to be an instrument of healing for the poor.
Practice self-care. Taking care of ourselves gives value for our physical and mental health. Some ways for self-care consist of engaging in a healthy lifestyle of eating well and enough exercise, giving time for self-reflection, setting realistic goals, and asking help from others whenever needed. As stated in the concept of Maslows Hierarchy of Needs, physiological needs should be met first before attaining other psychological needs of safety, love, esteem and self-actualization.


The World Health Organization (WHO) advocates restricting access to suicidal means by working closely with the media for responsible reporting. We can start with developing coping skills particularly with the young people, and early identification and management of suicidal attempts. Primary prevention of suicidal thoughts through mental health awareness and proper education can save lives. If you feel like wanting to commit suicide, you may consult a psychologist at Mypocketdoctor through their Facebook page and/or chat with their agents on their website www.mypocketdoctor.com. Likewise, you may check the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) through this link.



What else do we need to know about Hypertension?


High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the top 10 “Silent Killer” diseases not only here in the Philippines but around the globe. Its pseudo-name is derived from the fact that majority of people having hypertension are unaware that they have it due to its hidden symptoms. What do we need to know about hypertension?

Basic Facts about Hypertension

Statistics in the Philippines revealed that hypertension affected a projected number of 1.13 billion people in year 2015, and including 7.5 million deaths in a year. Philippine Heart Association also disclosed in their conducted survey that hypertension has the highest number among hospital-based population in relation to incidence of cardiovascular diseases, a leading risk factor amid stroke, coronary artery disease and heart failure. If not managed accordingly, it may also lead to diseases aforementioned, adding renal failure in the list.

According to American Heart Association (AHA), blood pressure is defined as “the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls.” It is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). High blood pressure (HBP) means “the pressure in your arteries is higher than it should be. Another name for high blood pressure is hypertension.”

As common as it is, blood pressure is inscribed with a fraction number style, example is 110/80 mmHg. The upper or first number is called systolic wherein it measures the “pressure when heart beats.”. The lower or second number is termed as diastolic in which “the heart rests between beats.” Clinical practice guidelines have been established to set a standard to diagnose hypertension. Higher chances of developing hypertension consist of certain modifiable or controlled and non-modifiable or uncontrolled risk factors. 

Modifiable risk factors include cigarette smoking or passive (second-hand) smoking, diabetes, being obese or overweight, high cholesterol, unhealthy diet that involves of more high sodium and low potassium food intake, and sedentary lifestyle. Nonmodifiable risk factors are strong family history of high blood pressure, race/ethnicity, male as a gender and old age (>65 years).

Hypertension can only be diagnosed by regularly checking one’s blood pressure by a health care provider. An average of two or more readings in two or more consecutive visits can appropriately diagnose a high blood pressure. Management of hypertension encompasses a change in the previous lifestyle, particularly reversing one’s modifiable risk factors. Anti-hypertensive drugs such as angiotensin II receptor antagonists and beta blockers that work to control high blood pressure, are usually prescribed as maintenance medications.

New Discoveries about Hypertension 

As previously mentioned, clinical practice guidelines updates and revisions are released by the medical governing authorities to standardize diagnosing a certain disease. Quoting once more from AHA, “Normal blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg. If you’re an adult and your systolic pressure is 120 to 129, and your diastolic pressure is less than 80, you have elevated blood pressure. High blood pressure is a systolic pressure of 130 or higher, or a diastolic pressure of 80 or higher, that stays high over time.” To understand briefly, the following list presents the newly grouped blood pressure measurements and indications based on the latest guidelines from the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and American Heart Association (AHA):

  • Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg;
  • Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80;
  • Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89;
  • Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg;
  • Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.

The newest guideline abolished the category of prehypertension, a previously labeled indicator of high blood pressure with a systolic of 130-139. A systolic of 140 was formerly classified as Stage 1 hypertension, but is now categorized to Stage 2 hypertension. Other variations according to the ACC/AHA guidelines are as follows:

  • Only prescribing medication for Stage I hypertension if a patient has already had a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke, or is at high risk of heart attack or stroke based on age, the presence of diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease or calculation of atherosclerotic risk (using the same risk calculator used in evaluating high cholesterol).
  • Recognizing that many people will need two or more types of medications to control their blood pressure, and that people may take their pills more consistently if multiple medications are combined into a single pill.
  • Identifying socioeconomic status and psychosocial stress as risk factors for high blood pressure that should be considered in a patient’s plan of care.


Updating the latest guidelines aim for better detection, prevention, management and treatment of high blood pressure. Intensification of hypertension awareness, promotion of a healthy lifestyle and a commitment in taking antihypertensive drugs as maintenance medications decrease the risk of complications from hypertension. If you are feeling the signs of hypertension, you may contact Mypocketdoctor through their Facebook page and/or chat with their agents on their website www.mypocketdoctor.com. Likewise, you may check the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) through this link.






Would you choose a nurse career?


Nurses have been one of our medical front liners in the COVID-19. Nursing profession is very in demand most especially in these challenging times. Due to an outpouring number of COVID-19 cases in our country, nurses can literally be seen as overworked yet underpaid professionals. So, while nurses are common to see, there is actually a shortage of this profession.  Do you still want to be a nurse? Read on.


To become a registered nurse in the Philippines, you have to take Bachelors of Science in Nursing as a college course for four years and pass the Nurse Licensure Exam accredited by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). Once granted with a Registered Nurse (RN) license, one can start applying in different fields of nursing practice such as hospital nursing, community nursing, company nursing or in nursing academe and administrative works such as teaching nursing students to become future RNs and dealing with evidence based nursing researches respectively. Different countries have diverse requirements but the context is just the same – obtain a bachelor’s degree and pass a nurse licensure examination. When a Filipino RN wishes to become a nurse overseas, an international qualification to become a nurse is usually required. These are usually in a form of testing their cognitive and practical skills. A test of language is also established for communication skills as needed in their country of choice. Most selected destinations by Filipino nurses to work with include USA, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany and countries in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. However, other countries do not require a licensure exam after obtaining their bachelor’s degree such as Australia and New Zealand. 


The situation of nurses in the Philippines today is alarming. Nurses in the hospital setting work within an 8-hour or 12-hour shifting schedule. A salary of a typical nurse in the Philippines ranges from P25,000-P30,000 monthly in a public hospital while private hospital nurse’s income ranges from P15,000-P25,000 a month. Hazard pays for those working in a COVID facility varies from P200-P700 a month.

Institutions offer medical and other benefits, but in present reality, are not enough especially for breadwinners and/or raising a family of their own. A state of being “overworked yet underpaid” risks them from a weak immune system resulting to higher chances of contracting COVID-19, despite wearing Level 4 Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) as their major shield and defense against the virus. This is the reason why most nurses working in a COVID-19 facility prefer to stay in areas where they are not able to or at least lessen the chances of virus transmission within their family and loved ones. Some of these mentioned dilemmas are considered as a wake-up call to some of our nurses to choose working abroad for more income and better benefit compensation. Some opt to shift careers in work from home and customer service jobs that are still related in the medical field such as being a healthcare virtual assistant or a medical coder.


If you choose to be a nurse, one must be resilient and patient enough to face the adversities of the healthcare system in our country, with the intention of desiring to practice this profession faithfully. If you don’t want to be a nurse but yearning to place a career in the healthcare field, there are also a lot of options to consider. Choosing a career entails a lot of passion, dedication and commitment to stay in a job for a long-term. This is something that the nurses in MyPocketDoctor understand. MyPocketDoctor is a telehealth platform that operates 23/7/365. You may contact MyPocketDoctor through their Facebook page and/or chat with their agents on their website www.mypocketdoctor.com. Likewise, you may check the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) through this link.

How Effective is Handwashing against COVID-19?

Handwashing plays a critical role in preventing any forms of illnesses, more predominantly on the communicable diseases such as COVID-19. As we face the economic and health threats brought about by the pandemic, hand hygiene must not only be taken as a precautionary measure but more so as a part of our personal health care daily routine.

All About Handwashing
Statistics showed that on an average, 300 surfaces are touched every 30 minutes, risking us to gather 840,000 bacteria and viruses into our bodies. In addition, 80% of communicable diseases are transmissible by touch. By not washing our hands with soap and water, COVID-19 are in no doubt to easily spread in the community and nation in the long-term. With these numbers in hand, what are the physiological processes behind handwashing?
• Transmission. SARS-CoV2, the respiratory virus responsible for COVID-19, transfers from one person to another by droplets from a carrier who coughs, sneezes or by their saliva or discharge coming from their nose or mouth. Although further studies suggest that COVID-19 are airborne in nature, wherein the droplets spread happens through air suspension even in long distances, the virus can nevertheless be found in contaminated surfaces, posing more chances of getting the infection.
• Prevention. Handwashing warrants the spread of COVID-19 infection. Our eyes, nose and mouth are the entry points of the virus. Accidentally touching these areas of our face can surely be invaded by the virus. The virus can also be possibly found on foods and drinks from preparation and ingestion of people who tested positive for COVID-19. That is why it is also advisable to use disposable eating utensils once infected and at the same time, proper disposal is a must to prevent further contamination from the virus. The recommended actions still necessitate washing of hands in all conditions.
• Fight against antibiotic resistance. COVID-19 is a viral illness. While there is no specific medication yet to combat against it, certain anti-viral drugs and antibiotics are prescribed and used in the hospitals for the treatment modality, depending on the patient’s signs and symptoms and their diagnostic findings. As mentioned above, if COVID-19 can be prevented by handwashing, it is more likely to lessen the incidence of taking antibiotics, therefore smaller chances of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance arises when there is a change in response of the bacteria to certain antibacterial medications. Once diagnosed, the health care practitioner will be having a hard time to find a specific antibiotic suitable to the patient. Furthermore, higher generations of antibiotics are usually prescribed to these patients to overpower the severity of illness caused by the bacteria. Complications from COVID-19 typically requires antibiotics as a mode of treatment. Countering these complexities calls to give a weight importance for proper handwashing.

Proper Handwashing
Despite all the reasons stated, survey displays that most people wash their hands only for 6 seconds. Moreover, only about 20% of people practice drying their hands after being washed. A study demonstrates that damp hands can cause 1000x more transmission of infection as compared to dry hands. According to World Health Organization (WHO), the entire duration for hand rubbing must be 20-30 seconds whereas handwashing must be done for 40-60 seconds. The following steps are endorsed by WHO for proper handwashing:
• Wet hands with water;
• Apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces;
• Rub hands palm to palm;
• Right palm over left dorsum (upper surface of the hand) with interlaced (rubbed together) fingers and vice versa;
• Palm to palm with fingers interlaced;
• Backs of fingers of opposing palms with fingers interlocked (hold hands together);
• Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa;
• Rotational rubbing, backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa;
• Rinse hands with water;
• Dry hands thoroughly with a single use towel;
• Use towel to turn off faucet;
• Your hands are now safe.

Handwashing using soap and water is the best definitive way for COVID-19 illness and prevention. However, if soap and water are not available at the moment, a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is proposed. Sanitizers can rapidly decrease the number of possible virus contacted, but they are not as 100% as effective in removing all types of unwanted microbes on hands, particularly when hands are obviously soiled and greasy. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a hand sanitizer is used by these easy to follow steps:
• Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
• Rub your hands together.
• Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.

Wellness and illness prevention always tops handwashing as an ultimate recommendation by the medical experts to protect ourselves, our families and the whole world against COVID-19. Everyone can be a modern day hero of this generation, if only, we always wash our hands. Handwashing saves lives!


Combatting COVID-19 with Strong Immune System

Did you know that there is World Immunization Week? Not day, but week. It is celebrated on the last week of April. This shows that our immunization plays a big role, especially this pandemic. When the immunity gives up, one person can die of COVID-19 virus. Strengthening our body immunity can be affected by the roles of nutrition and good habits.
The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins, which defend the body against infection. When germs attack the body, the body becomes sick and gets infection. The common disorders of the immune system are allergic diseases and autoimmune diseases. The body immunity optimized through nutrition and healthy habits.

The Role of Nutrition
A nutritious and balanced diet has been the ultimate source of body’s nutrients to perform its metabolic and physiological needs. There has been a safety precaution with regards to physical distancing while eating due to possible transmission of the virus. However, there is no particular food to avoid that can cause COVID-19. Like any other armor against a virus or any other illness, it is encouraged to increase food intake and supplements that are rich in Vitamin C and Zinc to help strengthen our immune system. A variety of foods for a well-balanced diet containing macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and limited amount of fat are crucial for overall body’s response against any types of diseases.

The Role of Good Habits
Adequate rest and sleep are also vital defenses of our immune system. Sleeping takes back our body’s energy from a long day’s calorie consumption including metabolism, muscles and organ repair, cognitive and immune response. Sleep deprivation declines our protection against the virus. Further studies also suggest that lack of sleep may reduce effectiveness of vaccination. Some ways to improve and get a healthy sleep include initiating a bedtime routine, preventing distractions, turning off any electronic devices and limiting caffeine, alcohol and heavy meals before going to sleep.
Smoking remains to be a social norm and an addiction that is hard to break due to its withdrawal symptoms. Its negative health consequences outweigh the risks for COVID-19. While there are still no exact clinical evidences of the significant effect of COVID-19 linked to smoking, it is important to note that smokers who have been tested positive for COVID-19 have higher chances to be diagnosed with moderate to severe cases. The reason is the possible build-up of inflammation in the lung tissues caused by nicotine use, adding to the effect of the virus once it reaches the lungs. Smoking cessation combats and prevents complications from COVID-19. Some tips that can aid to quit smoking involve committing with accountability groups. There are also replacing the habit with other hobbies and rewarding oneself for every accomplishment done for resisting smoking.

Combination of Food, Good Habits and Exercise
One study shows that an exercise of even less than 60 minutes can boost the power of your immunity. Regular exercise is part of healthy living. It helps control body weight, lowers blood pressure, improves cardiovascular health, and protects against a variety of diseases. Watching your health this pandemic can be challenging, especially if surrounded by people who influence you to live the sedentary lifestyle. However, it is wise to devise your personal plan ahead. When exercising, it is advisable to get enough sleep, proper nutrition and clean environment. Proper nutrition is related to exercise because it affects the energy level of an individual. Skipping meals before exercise can cause headache and feeling lethargic. Finding the right exercise so as not to strain your muscles is also key. You cannot be consistent if the exercise load for you is too heavy to bear. Exercise is unique for everyone. Some settles for indoor sports. Getting healthier with exercise also comes with the need to follow your rhythm and balance of life stress. The changes in work and home space this pandemic challenges one’s routine discipline. You cannot exercise if you are too tired or too full from eating.

World Immunization Week
The theme for this year’s World Immunization Week is “Vaccines bring us closer”. Vacccination saves millions of lives every year. It is is still a top recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO) to combat not only COVID-19 but also, most of the fatal viral illnesses worldwide. Vaccine is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful health interventions.
Vaccines are considered as an acquired active immunity wherein they weaken a specific antigen to activate the immune response of the body against the virus. The available COVID-19 vaccines have different formula types but the goal is one and the same – for the body to recognize and fight against the SARS-COV2, the culprit of COVID-19 illness.

Immunity requires balance and combination of different factors. If you suspect that your body immunity is compromised, you can contact Mypocketdoctor through their Facebook page and/or chat with their agents on their website www.mypocketdoctor.com. Likewise, you may check the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) through this link.

1) www.who.int
2) www.philstar.com
3) www.youtube.com

Close Bitnami banner