Wellness goodness from Mott’s Apple Juice

In an attempt to keep making healthy choices, I consciously try to stay away from artificial beverages. This means ordering fresh fruit juices most of the time instead of powdered drinks or carbonated beverages.

And yet, when it came to fresh fruit juices, I always had this image of fresh fruits being blended right there and then. I never really thought of real fruit as coming from a bottle. But then, I got invited to the Mott’s Apple Juice event and my good friend, Janice Villanueva, founder of Mommy Mundo, happened to be its brand ambassador. Of course, I know and trust Janice’s good judgment and know that all she wants for her family is the best by making her own healthy choices.

My mommy blogger friends with Janice Villanueva (in yellow)

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Make headaches go away 5 times faster with Panadol

Did you know that 7 out of 10 Filipinos suffer regularly from headaches? Nope, I didn’t know.

It could be our terrible summer heat here or just plain stressed out lifestyles but whatever is the cause, having a massive headache is definitely not fun and results in a wasted day with lots of unproductive down time.

Not with Panadol with Optizorb.

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GSK continues the fight by launching the Search for Winners Against Asthma 2015

The battle to win against asthma will never end. In the Philippines, over 10 million cases have been documented of people with asthma and it remains the most common chronic childhood disease. Children who suffer from asthma are oftentimes over-protected by parents and their activities are curtailed so as not to trigger an asthma episode.

I grew up with asthma in the family. My own asthma was not very bad but my sister’s was worse. All my kids also had childhood asthma. An aunt on my husband’s side died from an asthma attack. Asthma cannot be taken lightly as it can be fatal. But the good news is that it can be controlled.

Last year, GSK went on an all-out campaign to fight asthma.

Read my post on how one can still lead a great life even with asthma.

Aside from their brand ambassadors, Arnel Pineda of Journey and actress Kim Chiu, GSK now has a new brand ambassador — Olympic figure skater Michael Christian Martinez.

I had been following Michael’s journey all the way to the Olympics and knew that he indeed was an asthmatic. In past interviews, I remember Michael saying that the cold skating rink actually helped improve his health. His mom, who would accompany him to all his trainings and competition, was fully supportive of his sport and told Michael that she would rather “spend the money on skating than in the hospital”.

The Search for Winners Against Asthma

This year, GSK is taking the fight against asthma further by launching the Win Against Asthma Today advocacy campaign aimed at increasing awareness and amplifying efforts to spread information about the risks of asthma and how it can be controlled.

This time, they are looking for young asthmatic achievers who can show that one can live and pursue one’s passions in life despite having asthma.

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Championing the Fight Against Prematurity

It is such a tragedy for any couple about to welcome their baby into their lives to lose that baby so soon after it is born because of prematurity. And yet here in the Philippines, statistics show that we rank 2nd in the number of premature births in Southeast Asia, 8th worldwide, and 17th in deaths arising from preterm birth complications. This, even after the United Nations, through the Millennium Summit in 2000, launched the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which included as one of its goals the reduction of child mortality.

Complications plaguing preterm babies have also been on the rise at an alarming rate. Complications are the leading cause of death among children under 5 years of age and is responsible for almost 1 million deaths in 2013. Neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) is the 2nd leading cause of death among premature infants in the Philippines and the leading verifiable one.

WOW! As a Mom, that hits me really hard knowing these statistics. I count myself blessed that giving birth to my 4 children was not too complicated and they were all born full term. But many other Filipino mothers have not been as lucky and have had to bury their babies after nurturing them for many months in their wombs.

This is a large part of our population known as the silent ones. These babies cannot defend themselves. Others will have to speak up for them.

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Protect your liver against Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a silent killer. Many Filipinos may be carriers of this virus without manifesting any symptoms. In the Philippines, Hepatitis B affects about 16.7% of adult Filipinos. That translates to approximately 8 million people! If not treated, the hepatitis B virus (HBV) can develop into chronic liver disease leading to cirrhosis and liver cancer. In more than two-thirds of all liver cancer cases in the Philippines, the cause is Hepatitis B, making it the second leading cancer killer here.

Young mothers should be especially vigilant against HBV because the most common way of being infected is through the passing of the virus from mother to child. This is not something many mothers know because HBV is more known for being contracted via blood transfusion.

For this reason, the Hepatology Society of the Philippines launched the B Aware Campaign which aims “to inform and holistically educate Filipinos about the disease so they can gain sufficient knowledge regarding this very common infection, and take action” says Dr. Eternity Labio, President of the Hepatology Society of the Philippines.

What are the steps that should be taken to protect one’s self and one’s children against Hepatitis B?

1. Be Tested – The most important first step is to go for testing

2. Be Vaccinated – Someone who tests negative can receive vaccination to prevent themselves from getting the infection. Parents are reminded to have their infants vaccinated within 24 hours of birth (this is different from when my own kids were still babies. We had to wait several months before giving the 3 HBV shots to them). This vaccine is mandatory under R.A. 10152 and is free for all infants. Vaccination at birth is the most effective way to prevent lifelong infection and liver cancer.

3. Be Treated – If you test positive, steps must be taken to prevent transmission of the infection as well as to prevent its complications to the liver. Ask your doctor if you need treatment. There are effective medications available to treat HBV.

World Health Organization and Hepatology Society of the Philippines members

Another concern over HBV is the seeming discrimination against those who have contracted it. According to Dr. Labio, one of the medical tests administered to those applying for employment here and abroad is a test for HBV. While the HIV test is still optional, the one for HBV is mandatory. It then puts those who test positive at a disadvantage in relation to other applicants. She says that there is still a lot that needs to be done to make people change this negative perception against HBV

The Hepatology Society of the Philippines invites Filipinos to join them in their B Aware Campaign. First, to educate the public on what it is all about, its symptoms, vaccines and treatments. Second, to get people to actually be tested, vaccinated and treated. And third, to change negative perception towards those who have contracted it.


GSK takes up the fight against dengue with Calpol’s fever management

I’ve had dengue. Two of my kids have had dengue. And one of them (and me) had to have blood plasma transfusions. I can still remember the feeling of having absolutely no energy and no appetite. And when my kids had it, it was doubly difficult for me to watch them, praying that the virus would just run its course without anything worse happening to them. I actually had friends who lost their child to dengue.

Although known to be a tropical country disease, dengue is surprisingly making its way into colder countries. Japan, just recently, was reported to have found cases of dengue among their citizens. Climate change is now spreading the risk of this mosquito-borne disease far and wide, beyond tropical boundaries. At the moment there is no dengue vaccine that is commercially available although recent news talk about one that is being developed.

Dengue is the most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne disease in the world and is more rampant in tropical countries such as the Philippines. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito, usually seen in the early hours of the morning and early evening, and has white stripes on its legs, affects more children than adults. Those at higher risk are children aged one to nine years old.

Dengue can present itself with symptoms similar to other diseases — high fever that comes and goes, headaches, nausea and vomiting, appetite loss, abdominal pain, muscle and joint aches, rashes, and even bleeding so oftentimes it can be difficult to diagnose at the onset because sometimes it can even look like flu at first.

The alarming number of cases diagnosed in the Philippines, as well as the number of deaths, is really of concern to parents like me. I was shocked to learn that in 2013, a total of 204,906 dengue cases were diagnosed, with 660 deaths while in 2014, 24,800 dengue cases have already been reported with 100 deaths. (Source: ToDOH Laban sa Dengue brochure)

(L-R): Jeofrey Yulo (GM of GSK), DOH rep, and Dr. Sally Gatchalian

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has partnered with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Pediatric Society in spearheading a campaign, “Aksyon Laban sa Dengue: A Dengue Fever Awareness and Education Program”. They’ve also set up a Barangay Caravan which will bring these efforts down to the grassroots level. I think this campaign is laudable because it is those in the grassroots level most exposed to breeding grounds of the dengue mosquito. They are also the ones least likely to immediately bring their kids to the hospital because of cost considerations.

Dr. Sally Gatchalian

Dr. Sally Gatchalian, secretary of the Philippine Pediatric Society, gave tips on how to take care of a patient who is already diagnosed with dengue:

1. Professional help is required for severe cases of dengue.
2. Supportive care should be given to patients to complement hospital treatment – While the patient is letting dengue run its course, the only thing that can help, aside from proper hydration, is managing the fever.
3. Do not give steroids – The WHO has recommended paracetamol as the recommended analgesic treatment for dengue fever. Aspirin and ibuprofen are NOT recommended since they may aggravate bleeding.
4. Regularly monitor platelets.
5. Keep detailed records of fluid intake and outputs.

Dr. Sally also enumerated the 4S of Dengue Prevention, according to the DOH:

1. Search and destroy source of stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed – Mosquitoes breed in clear water. Some things you can do – change water in vases once a week, clean your roof’s drain pipes,  clean the inside and outside of pails and other receptacles, ensure that no water is left in dish holders of refrigerators, cover all water reservoirs, and overturn all receptacles used for storing water.
2. Seek immediate consultation if child has fever lasting more than 2 days. – Remember…give paracetamol, not aspirin or ibuprofen!
3. Say yes to discriminate fogging only when there is an epidemic. – If done properly, fogging can also kill mosquitoes aside from driving them away. But they are only recommended in cases of outbreak and during peak biting time.
4. Self protection measures. – Use mosquito nets, apply insect repellant, and where possible, wear long-sleeved shirts.

Calpol, GSK’s paracetamol product, is specially designed to provide relief from the discomfort of high fever, chills and pain that plagues mostly children. Since paracetamol is widely suited to most people, it is considered safe even for children, if used as directed.
Calpol is available in three different formulations:
* 100mg/mL infant drops 10mL (for 0-2 yrs old, PhP 49.25)
* 120mg/5mL suspension for 2-6 yrs old, 60ml (PhP 80.50) & 120mL (PhP 133.75)
* 250mg/mL suspension 60mL (for 6-12 yrs old, PhP 123.75).
It is also available in two (2) flavors: orange and strawberry.

Watch out for the “Aksyon Laban sa Dengue” caravan which is set to visit barangays within Metro Manila identified with high cases of dengue incidence. The DOH will initially facilitate the training of health practitioners to discuss new incidences and trends as well as prevention and treatment of dengue. The Philippine Pediatric Society health committee will then cascade the dengue modules to the selected barangays. GSK, on the other hand, will be bringing doctors to the areas to lead the dengue information campaign so that Filipinos can protect their loved ones from this deadly disease.


Goodbye, Pangingilo! (Tooth Sensitivity)

I’m NGILO-phobic. (‘Ngilo’ is Filipino for tooth sensitivity)

Anyone who has drank cold water, eaten ice cream or chomped down on frozen desserts knows fully well what ngilo feels like. A sharp pain hits you as the nerves around your teeth react to the cold. I used to be one of those poor souls. And for someone who loves ice cream, this was just awful. Often, I’d wait for the ice cream to melt a bit so that I could spoon the liquid into my mouth with less chances of ngilo. And did you know that 9 out of 10 Filipinos (that’s a whopping 88M Pinoys) suffer to some degree from tooth sensitivity? That’s the majority of the populace!

Luis Manzano, Sensodyne‘s brand ambassador, shares my horrible experience because he, too suffers from tooth sensitivity. According to him, times like meetings and enjoyable social events are cut short because of pangingilo. “I just endure the pain so it doesn’t ruin my day or my night out”, he said during the event.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has had Sensodyne for a long time now and it has grown to be the No. 1 sensitivity brand in the market recommended by dentists against pangingilo. But it was always viewed as a higher-end toothpaste brand that not many can afford on a regular basis but only upon dental prescription. GSK is now committed to stop the suffering of Filipinos by making Sensodyne affordable. Their message? “Say No to Ngilo!

The GSK Sensodyne team with Luis Manzano and Angel Jacob

So how does a top-rated brand like Sensodyne become available to the Filipino public without breaking their budget? Think sari-sari store concept. Yes, the Philippines is the first country in the world where Sensodyne is being introduced in sachet format. And each sachet only costs PhP 10. Everyone can now afford Sensodyne because it is now available in tingi-tingi (Filipino slang for sachet) form.

The sari-sari store concept was what inspired Sensodyne’s sachet format

There are several variants of Sensodyne now aside from its flagship variant.

The original Sensodyne contains potassium nitrate to depolarize the nerve and protect it from firing. Using it twice a day in brushing ensures the nerve response will be gradually blocked and pain is relieved.

The Sensodyne Rapid Relief variant contains strontium acetate, an element similar to calcium. It replaces some of the calcium lost from dentine and blocks the exposed tubules within dentinal tissue. This in turn prevents the flow of the fluid within the tubules that otherwise cause tooth pain.

The Sensodyne Repair & Protect contains advanced NovaMin technology, scientifically proven to help repair sensitive teeth by forming a tooth-like layer over exposed dentine to help continually repair and protect sensitive areas.

A Few More FAQs on Sensodyne

* Sensodyne is recommended for kids aged 12 and above. Younger kids do not really suffer from tooth sensitivity because it hits older kids and adults.

* Brushing with Sensodyne is recommended twice a day to ensure the anti-ngilo ingredients work best

Most Filipinos now have a chance to get rid of their pangingilo woes once and for all with the affordable sachet format. Ngilo will now be a thing of the past for Pinoys.


Lead a great life in spite of asthma

I come from a family with a history of asthma. I myself had childhood asthma though not too severe and during a couple of pregnancies, it came back even if I had already outgrown it. I also had to deal with asthma during the growing years of all my kids and I have to tell you that it is no joke.

Asthma is what I call “traydor na sakit” (traitor disease). It doesn’t look too alarming but in reality, it has been the cause of many deaths even among young people. The triggers can happen any time and anywhere — something you eat, something in the air — and suddenly your airways start to constrict. You start having difficulty breathing and it creates panic and pressure on the heart as well. Several celebrities in the past died young just because of an asthma episode, including a young model.

At a recent GSK event, I listened to one of the GSK doctors, Dr. Bernadette Arcilla, talk about asthma. It affects about 10.7M people in the Philippines now. 250,000 annual deaths worldwide are attributed to asthma. Of those deaths, majority are 45 years old and older. With children, asthma is the most frequent cause of absenteeism from school, emergency visits and hospitalization. Scary stats. I can remember so many instances when we’d rush to the emergency room of the hospital because one of our kids could not breathe well and would be wheezing. We always had a nebulizer with us at home and on trips. When they were older, they had to be taught to use an inhaler and carry this with them all the time.

But asthmatics are fighting back. And, hopefully, winning the war against asthma. That is a very important inspirational message for so many Pinoys who are similarly affected by asthma. Your life is not curtailed by it. You can still live a meaningful life and engage even in sports in spite of your condition.

At the event, two local celebrities, who were asthmatics, shared about their own battles against asthma  — Kim Chiu and Arnel Pineda of Journey.

Here are videoclips showing just how they are trying to battle asthma, and win over it:

Hopefully, this Win Against Asthma campaign spearheaded by GSK will bring to the forefront a greater awareness and understanding of asthma — that it is not a debilitating condition, and that people who are asthmatic, with proper treatment and cooperation with doctors and their own personal knowledge on how and when to use the different medicines, can lead the lives they dream of. Just like Kim Chiu and Arnel Pineda.


Brush, brush, brush your teeth…and stay healthy!

If you think that brushing one’s teeth is simply for beauty and fresh breath, here’s one more piece of info you’ll surely appreciate. It will actually keep you more healthy!

Why is it that when we wake in the morning, our breath is so eeeewy??? That’s because our mouths were closed all night, allowing bacteria to accumulate and multiply. Because these bacteria are able to feed on some food sediments left, their waste products which are sulfur-based, emit a pungent smell.

Can you imagine if you start your day by taking breakfast immediately and drinking water or coffee? All that bacteria that multiplied overnight go right back into your system. Very unhealthy! Get rid of all that bacteria by brushing upon waking up.

Just recently tried Pepsodent toothpaste.
The blue paste has Perlite, a whitening ingredient.
The white paste has fluoride and calcium for stronger, healthier teeth.

In the U.S., medical organizations recommend brushing teeth at least twice a day. The first one should be done right upon waking up. Your school kids need to brush their teeth even before they go for breakfast and definitely before going to school!

In one of its articles on Oral Health, the world-famous Mayo Clinic’s top tip is to “brush your teeth at least twice a day”.  WebMD, a leading online medical reference site, also recommends brushing at least twice a day, saying that thrice is best. In fact, it goes further to say that what is considered adequate brushing is 2 minutes at least, 3 minutes at best. A tip to get this done right: In your mind, divide your tongue into 4 quadrants and brush each quadrant for 30 seconds to get that precious 2 minutes in. How can you tell how long is 2 minutes? Sing a song in your head that is around that length of time.

If you are parents of toddlers and small kids, brushing time can indeed be a challenge. If you’re wondering just how to keep your kids preoccupied long enough so that they indeed get that good 2 minutes of brushing time in, here are a few tips I can think of to make brushing time hassle-free for your small kids:

1. Let it become an adventure, not a chore – Take your kid away from something they love just to brush, expect a lot of whining and crying. But if brushing time is part of an imaginary adventure, then the fun continues, right? You can weave a magical story with brushing as one of the scenes in the story. If they have a rubberized toy or doll, that toy can be given its own toothbrush and you can help your kid brush while he/she brushes the teeth of his/her toy. Here’s an idea from Pepsodent. Let them sing along to the song “Brushing Can Be Fun“!

2. Keep them preoccupied with Pepsodent’s downloadable Funloadables that include a Brushing Calendar and a Pepsochallenge Word Search. To download, visit Pepsodent’s Facebook Page.

They say it takes 28 days for something to become a habit. If we can use as many useful tools (such as the Pepsodent Brushing Calendar) to help our kids make frequent brushing a habit, not only will we make less trips to the dentist but we will actually be keeping them healthier.

And oh, by the way, that goes for us adults too! 🙂

Find Pepsodent here:
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Website: Pepsodent in Unilever website