MANILA – Staying dry may well be a pulmonologist’s best advice to people who want to avoid contracting respiratory diseases during the rainy season.

“A virus usually thrives in a wet and cold environment. If a person is exposed to this kind of environment, he/she would be prone to viral infections,'' Dr. Alberto Nolido Jr., chairperson of the Council on Pulmonary Infections and member of the Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP), said during a health forum spearheaded by the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) in Quezon City on Tuesday.  

His advice: when braving the elements, use rainwear, or if you get soaked, dry yourself immediately, as leaving yourself wet could result in flu that could lead to such complications as bronchitis and pneumonia.

To boost your immune system, he said, take Vitamin C supplements, eat nutritious food, drink lots of fluid, and get enough sleep.

Nolido also warned against taking antibiotics at the first sign of colds and cough, as this could only lead one to develop resistance to the medicine.

It is important to allow the body’s immune system to fight the virus, he pointed out, noting that some people attribute it to antibiotics when they start feeling better on the third or fourth day of an illness, when actually it is because the body has been flushing out the virus.

He emphasized that antibiotics should only be prescribed by a doctor once simple colds and cough worsen.

Nolido also recommended flu shots for the very young and the very old, especially during the rainy season.

Meanwhile, Dr. Glynna Ong-Cabrera said that patients suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) or progressive lung diseases, such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory or non-reversible asthma, should always take their maintenance medication.

''They should not wait till their illness attacks or they could end up in the hospital. The maintenance medication given to COPD patients can actually help prevent an attack," said Cabrera, who is a member of the Council on COPD and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

The health forum was held in celebration of August as National Lung Month.

As part of the celebration, the PCCP will also conduct a mini health fair at the Quezon Memorial Circle on Aug. 27, which includes a “Zumbaga” activity from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. on the same day.

During the fair, visitors will be given free COPD tests, shown exercises on how to improve lung health, taught cough hygiene, and given information on how to prevent respiratory infections. (PNA)