Doctor: Limit ‘tuob’ practice
Caecent No-ot Magsumbol (The Freeman) - June 25, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  As some people resort to traditional steam inhalation locally known as ‘tuob’ as alternative treatment for COVID-19, a Singapore-based Cebuana doctor cautioned the public to limit the practice as it may cause more harm than relief.

Dr. Ellise Nicole Catalan, who has masters degree in public health and health care management, said there has been no scientific study yet that proved ‘tuob’ is a cure for COVID-19.

While she is not totally against it, Catalan stressed that people should be aware that it is not a substitute to medical care.

 “You can do it. I accept that it's a traditional treatment engrained deeply in the local culture. But people have to be aware of its limits and that it’s not a substitute to medical care,” said Catalan.

The Harvard Medical School-trained Cebuana doctor said she was worried after learning of a senior from one of the barangays in Cebu City who died without proper medical attention and was told to do ‘tuob’ instead.

Catalan said that undiagnosed cases, especially those who are of the vulnerable population, the older people with pre-existing illness are more susceptible to entering severe stage of Covid-19.

“I respect cultural practices, but the false hope of prevention and cure delays health seeking behaviors. That leads to delayed diagnosis, delayed treatment and possibly death,” she stressed.

As a trained public health professional, Catalan said she could not just close her eyes to the problem.

“I stand by science and evidence-based medicine,” said Catalan.

According to her, she understands that locals resort to alternative treatment because they felt like there are no other options available to them to fight the virus. The testimonies of people who claimed to have been “cured” by doing ‘tuob’ also encouraged them.

 But she said most of these were just mild cases and did not have symptoms of the disease.

“The mild cases, especially in the younger, healthier groups tend to resolve on its own, with or without tuob,” said Catalan.  FPL (FREEMAN)

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