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Health And Family

LIST: Dr. Willie Ong shares 10 lessons from getting COVID-19, Omicron

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo - Philstar.com
LIST: Dr. Willie Ong shares 10 lessons from getting COVID-19, Omicron
Dr. Willie Ong showing his anti-COVID medicines at a live Facebook video for his Day 2 of having COVID-19.
Dr. Willie Ong via Facebook, screenshot

MANILA, Philippines — Vice Presidential aspirant Dr. Willie Ong went live earlier today to share updates about his COVID-19 battle and to give tips based on his experience.

In a live Facebook video for his Day 2 of having COVID-19, Ong said that his studies on COVID-19 are different from his actual experience.

“Actually, maingat naman talaga ako eh. Lagi akong naka-N95, always, ‘pag lumalabas, pero mukhang matindi talaga ‘tong Omicron eh. Matindi s’ya. Matindi s’yang pumasok,” he said.
“Iba ‘yung libro, iba ‘yung actual.”

Thus, although feeling like he is losing his voice, the cardiologist and media personality shared his lessons from his ordeal to help create more awareness and prevent more people from getting infected.


 

1. Omicron is not mild.

“Itong Omicron, hindi po s’ya mild. Kalokohan ‘yung mga nababasa n’yo sa Internet, mga gino-Google (saying), ‘Mild lang ‘yan.’ Siguro compared sa kung pinatay ka ng tao, mas mild ‘to,” he said.

He clarified that the COVID-19 variant is also not like flu, as previously claimed by other doctors.

“Pero hindi ‘to flu eh. Ang flu, madali lang ang flu, trangkaso. Sipon, balewala, allergy. Ito pinakamatindi kong sakit. Masakit sa ulo. May sipon s’ya pero matindi ‘yung ubo. ‘Yung ubo parang galing dito eh (points at his chest). Tapos ngayon, may plema na ‘ko. Hindi na maganda ‘yung plema ko, may yellow-green na. Most likely baka may pulmonya na rin ‘yun, bahala na.”

Omicron, he said, comes in waves.

“Ang nakita ko dito sa Omicron, itong walanghiyang virus na ‘to, naka-wave s’ya. ‘Yung pag-atake n’ya naka-wave. Parang ganyan: alas-siyete ng umaga, sakit ng katawan, sakit ng ulo, laging pawis… Pawis sa kili-kili, sa may pwet, pawis lahat. Tapos, mamayang konti, lalakas ka, parang okay. Tapos mamayang konti, ayan na naman, mabigat na naman. Tapos mamaya, okay na naman. Tapos mamaya, babanat na naman s’ya. So may wave, parang naglalabas ‘yung virus ng ano, parang sipa s’ya nang sipa.”

Since Omicron comes in waves, it could really kill, he said.

“Salbahe ‘tong ano na’to. Kaya naiintindihan ko kung bakit may namamatay. Kasi sipa nang sipa ‘yung sakit. Kaya ang ginawa ko, inadjust ko na ‘yung mga gamot ko. Mayroon akong pang-palpitation, dati dalawa lang ‘yung iniinom ko… Pero ‘di na kaya ang dalawa. Ngayon siguro mga lima na in a day ang iinumin ko. Pinataas ko na ‘yung dose. Kasi kung makikita n’yo dati ang heart rate n’yo 80, ngayon nakikita n’yo 100, 100 wala namang gano’ng lagnat, ibigsabihin hindi maganda ‘yun… Malamang, ia-adjust n’yo na ‘yung gamot n’yo,” he suggested.

He stressed that the difference of COVID-19 due to Omicron from flu and common cold is that at least, flu and cold give signs that you are going to recover from them eventually, while Omicron seems to not.

“Matindi sipa nito… Ineexpect ko na gagaling na dapat ako. Ang sabi nu’ng iba, one day lang… Ang pinaka-lesson dito, matindi itong Omicron. Ito ang pinakamatinding sakit ko. Ang flu kasi two to three days tapos na. Alam mo ‘yung flu eh. ‘Yung sipon alam mong gagaling ka. Sanay na’ko d’un eh. Ito, hindi moa lam kung gagaling ka eh. Ito, mahaba ang sipa eh. Sipa nang sipa itong sakit eh. Okay ka na, mamaya ayan na naman. Mamaya, sasakit na naman ulo, pagpapawisan ka ng malapot. O nu’ng una ‘yung plema ko okay pa, ngayon, pababa na nang pababa. Pabaga na nang pabaga.”

2. N95 masks help but might not be enough.

According to Ong, he thinks N95 masks are not fully protective against COVID-19, especially if not everyone is wearing it consistently. The fact that one can still smell one’s companion could be an indication that particles, such as scent, can still penetrate the sides of the mask.

“Pangalawa, itong mga may masks may tulong pero hindi pa rin sapat. Kasi ako talaga, maingat, lagi akong naka-N95. Pero kasi ‘yung mga kasama ko, hindi mga naka-N95. ‘Di ba? Naamoy mo pa rin ‘yung katabi mo, so lulusot pa rin s’ya eh. (Base) sa pag-aaral, kahit naka-N95 ka, kung ang kasama mo walang mask, lulusot pa rin (ang virus).”

Thus, for him, apart from face masks and social distancing, the key in COVID-19 protection is really avoiding crowded places since COVID-19 is airborne.

“At saka kung airborne nga, kahit malayo. So kung gusto n’yo talaga umiwas, umiwas kayo muna sa tao talaga. Kasi kung nag-uusap kayo nang may mask, lulusot. Kung gusto n’yo, mag-double-mask kayo. Dati kasi nakalusot ako sa Alpha, sa Beta, sa Delta. Ito eh iwas talaga.”

According to a TIME magazine article published yesterday, January 13, N95 is the best mask against Omicron because "a properly worn N95 respirator can filter out up to 95% of particles in the air, thanks to its tight fit and synthetic material, which is made up of a web of tiny fibers charged with electrostatic energy. KN95 masks, which are the Chinese equivalents of N95s, are meant to meet the same filtration standard, but there’s less regulatory oversight of their manufacturing. KF94 masks, meanwhile, are made in South Korea. When manufactured according to Korean government standards and worn properly, they filter out up to 94% of particles."

3. Take anti-COVID-19 medicines.

Ong recommended using anti-viral medicines like Molnu-piravir for high-risk people like him. He suggested taking four tablets two times a day for those infected.

“Maganda po ito. Ito po talaga ang gamot ninyo… Pang-high-risk. Ako kasi medyo high-risk na’ko eh. Kung bata, pwedeng wala. Kayong nasa probinsya, bili na kayo. P1,900 pinakamura. P10,00 black market. Sa probinsya, bumili na kayo. Marami nang may Omicron, umabot na sa Cebu…”

At first, he did not want to vouch for the drug because of its alleged side effects like cancer.

“Dati, ayaw ko pang sabihin eh. Parang paingat-ingat pa si doc… Kasi kung babasahin mo ‘yung mga nakasulat, ‘Baka maka-cause ng cancer in 10 years,’ naku, wala akong pakialam kung maka-cause s’ya ng cancer in 10 years. Kailangan ko s’ya ngayon eh… Mga puro paninira sa gamot, hay naku!”

Other options like Bex-ovid at Pax-lovid are reportedly arriving in the Philippines next month, but are more expensive at P12,000.

“’Di na natin kakayanin ‘yun, masyado tayong tinataga sa presyo. Pero ipipilit nating ibaba. Kukuha din ang Maynila sa February.”

4. Take paracetamol.

Although he uses Biogesic paracetamol, any brand is okay, he assured.

“Wala akong tinatanggap sa Unilab (Biogesic manufacturer). Parati nila akong kinukulit,” he clarified on why he chose to show what brand of paracetamol he is taking.

“Actually, paracetamol kailangan n’yo talaga kahit walang lagnat kasi sakit sa ulo talaga, parang ina-attack. Inumin n’yo lang three times or four times a day.”

Related: No shortage here: Paracetamol trivia to know before your next drugstore visit

Besides that it causes headache, COVID-19 also seems to make people grumpier, he observed.

“Ang COVID parang nakakainit ng ulo. Pero mabait pa rin ako. (Ang iba) n’ung nagka-COVID, mas uminit ang ulo. Kung salbahe dati, mas salbahe pa ngayon.”

Apart from paracetamol, a post-nasal drip can help in making mucus come down from the nasal passages and into the throat, so you could cough it out. To ease this process, Ong advised to set your bed high. 

“Pangit ang tulog na may COVID. Hindi ka makatulog, parang lutang. Siguro kung bata kayo kakayanin n’yo, pero hindi s’ya flu. Hindi s’ya mild, mali. Ewan ko kung sinong nagsasabing mild. Compared siguro sa Delta, mild.”

5. Take 12 to 14 glasses of water.

During the live video, Ong showed that he now takes chamomile tea, but he stressed that any brand and kind of tea is okay. He also recommended malunggay tea.

Drinking a lot can help flush out one’s toxins faster and to lower body temperature when one has high fever.

Related: How to recover from ‘Long COVID’: Doctor shares tips

6. Isolate.

His wife Dr. Anna Liza Ong is taking care of him now. 

“Mag-Pfizer kayo, booster. Parang mas maganda ang Pfizer. Parang ha! Dapat Pfizer booster ko eh,” Doc Willie enthused.

7. Take care of your mental health.

“’Wag papahinain ‘yung mental state,” he reminded everyone.

He thinks stress weakened his immune system that made him susceptible to COVID-19.
“I think tinamaan din ako. S’yempre, ma-stre-stress ka, maraming mga paninira na medyo nakaapekto. S’yempre ‘pag mahina mental state mo, hihina immune system mo. Nalamigan pa kami nu’ng araw na ‘yun. Sabay. Kaya siguro ‘yung kaunting virus mas dumami.”

Related: Pandemic anxiety could be permanent: Psychologist gives tips for prevention

8. Eat well even if you lost your sense of taste.

Although loss of taste and/or appetite is among the symptoms of COVID-19, Ong recommended to still try to eat and drink as much as you can so you’d have energy to fight off the virus.

“Dahil ‘pag may sakit ka, mamamayat ka talaga eh. Kaya kain ka nang kain, kahit walang lasa, kainin mo nang kainin lahat nang kaya mong kainin. Ang problema, eh may panlasa naman ako, may pang-amoy ako, kaya hindi ito Delta. Ang Delta mas nakakatakot eh kasi ang Delta the second week, maglalala. Kasi second week, na-ooxygen, naiintubate ang Delta eh, naveventilator.”

9. Pray and stay positive.

“Pray and positive outlook lang dapat,” he opined.

10. Consult your doctor.

Although he and his wife are doctors, Ong said they also still consult other doctors.

He advised everyone, especially those not infected yet, to always have the following on hand:

  • Vitamin C
  • Bilastine for cold and allergy
  • For sore throat, he uses a Betadine oral gargle. He prescribed gargling it for 15 seconds, then rinsing it for 30 seconds because it gives the tongue a burning sensation.
  • Antibiotics (but ask for a doctor’s prescription first) – because if antibiotics will not work, you’d have to be admitted in a hospital, he said.

“Kasi puno ang mga ospital ngayon, puno. Nahiya naman ako makipagsiksikan pa’ko ng kama. Eh maraming mga mahihirap na alam n’yo naman, ‘di makapasok sa ospital. ‘di ba?”

Citing Philippine General Hospital Spokesperson Dr. Jonas Del Rosario, Ong said the country needs a 1,000-bed infectious diseases hospital.

“Para lahat ng impeksyon, lahat ng pandemic, para kahit tayo medyo mild, moderate, pwede tayong pumasok. Pwede tayong magpa-oxygen… Kasi, wala tayong ospital ngayon eh. Hindi mo pwede kasing ginagawa na pinaghahalo mo ‘yung COVID sa non-COVID. Hawa eh. ‘Pag hinawa mo ‘yung COVID sa non-COVID, mahahawa, airborne eh. Dapat may ospital ka talagang pang-COVID lang. O ‘pag walang COVID, maglagay ka ng TB (tuberculosis)…”

He said the country also needs more hospitals for cancer and for children.

Vowing to return tomorrow for another live session, Dr. Ong encouraged everyone to prepare early for any eventuality, in addition to following health protocols and strengthening their bodies and faith.

“So ‘yun lang po, dasal lang po tayo. Lahat naman may God’s will… Kung ayaw n’yo talaga matamaan, lalayo kayo… pero ang hirap talaga ngayon maka-iwas eh. Ihanda n’yo na early, ihanda n’yo na isolation n’yo. And kung may chance magpa-Pfizer, siguro, okay din naman. Palakasin ang katawan, good luck!”

RELATED: Omicron pushing COVID-19 out of pandemic phase: EU agency

COVID-19 VARIANT

OMICRON

OMICRON VARIANT

WILLIE ONG

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