The start of the rainy season is usually a sign for us to start boosting our body's resistance as we face a greater risk of contracting a number of diseases. One of the most common is leptospirosis, a disease that is caught after extreme weather-related events such as flooding.
It's so common that the Department of Health (DOH) recorded over 1,030 leptospirosis cases with 99 dead in various government hospitals across the country in just the first half of last year. What's worse is that the number appears to be rising each year.
What is leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that is transmitted to humans by exposure to urine or tissue of an infected animal, which are usually rats. The bacteria enters the system through open wounds in the skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, and mouth that come into contact with contaminated flood water or moist soil.
According to the DOH, the disease has non-specific symptoms including muscle pain, fever, and headaches that can be experienced two to 30 days after contact with bacteria. Other signs include calf muscle pain and reddish eyes. In severe cases, yellowish body discoloration, dark-colored urine, and light stools can be observed. The liver, kidney, and brain can also be affected that sometimes result to death.
Physicians usually prescribe antibiotics to treat the disease. However, severe cases may require more intensive medical treatment.
Treatment is said to be most effective when administered early, similar to most other diseases. Early detection also helps avoid potentially life-threatening complications. That's why it's important to see a doctor as soon as the aforementioned signs and symptoms start to appear.
The best way to prevent contracting leptospirosis is to ultimately avoid contaminated water. But for some the disease may be unavoidable.
Farmers and other agricultural workers, for instance, have to walk in mud to tend to their crops. Those living in areas stricken by disaster, meanwhile, may need to wade in flood waters to get around. In these scenarios, it's advisable to wear protective clothing such as boots, gloves, and masks.
It also helps to shower immediately after coming into contact with flood water. Cleaning wounds and cuts in feet and legs is equally important. At home, it helps to maintain cleanliness and check for any rat infestations.
No matter how much we try to prevent catching a disease, we can never be too sure. So it's essential for us to always be a step ahead and protect ourselves with a healthcare plan, especially during the rainy season. Doing so ensures that you get the care we need when we need it.
We at Maria Health make healthcare accessible and affordable as the first health insurance aggregator in the Philippines. Our website houses a comprehensive library of plans from the country’s top health maintenance organizations (HMOs) covering all types of medical needs including care for leptospirosis.
The MyMaxicare Lite Blue plan, for instance, provides you with up to P25,000 confinement coverage for leptospirosis in over a thousand Maxicare-accredited hospitals for only P1,999. For P500 more, you can get the MyMaxicare Lite Yellow plan, which gives you the same coverage plus access to top hospitals in Metro Manila.
The ER Vantage Plus plans from PhilCare, meanwhile, grant up to P40,000 for acute cases of bacterial and viral infections for the starting price of P1,050 for adults and P2,950 for kids.