Bracing for the 'Ber' Months: Tips to Keep You and Your Family Well

September 8, 2023

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The "Ber" months in the Philippines mark the beginning of the holiday season and the onset of cooler weather. While the change in climate brings joy and festivities, it also brings a higher risk of certain illnesses. The drop in temperature can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to common cold-weather ailments.

Here are some of the most common illnesses during this season and preventive measures to keep you and your loved ones healthy.

Common Illnesses During Cold Months

1. Common Colds. Common colds are prevalent during the "Ber" months due to the changing weather. Symptoms include a runny or stuffy nose, a sore throat, coughing, and sometimes a mild fever. Colds are highly contagious and can spread easily through contact with infected individuals or contaminated surfaces.

2. Flu (Influenza). Influenza is a more severe respiratory illness compared to the common cold. It shares many symptoms but can lead to a high fever, muscle aches, fatigue, and even hospitalization in severe cases.

3. Respiratory Infections. Lower temperatures and increased humidity can also trigger various respiratory infections, including bronchitis and pneumonia. These infections can be particularly dangerous for vulnerable populations like the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions.

4. Allergies. While not an illness in itself, cold weather can exacerbate allergies. Mold spores and dust mites thrive in damp, cooler conditions, leading to allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

Preventive Measures

1. Vaccination. Getting vaccinated against the flu is one of the most effective ways to prevent it. Consult your healthcare provider to ensure you and your family members are up-to-date on recommended vaccinations.

2. Hand Hygiene. Frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds can help prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria. Carry hand sanitizer with you for situations where soap and water are unavailable.

3. Proper Respiratory Hygiene. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets containing pathogens. Dispose of used tissues properly.

4. Boost Your Immune System. A balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management can strengthen your immune system, making it better equipped to fight off infections.

5. Stay Warm and Dry. Dress appropriately for the weather, layering clothing to trap warmth, and use an umbrella or raincoat to stay dry during rainy periods. Cold and wet conditions can weaken your body's defenses.

6. Keep Your Environment Clean. Regularly clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces in your home and workplace to reduce the risk of infection transmission.

7. Stay Informed. Keep an eye on weather forecasts and health advisories, especially during the "Ber" months. Be aware of any outbreaks or health concerns in your area.

While the "Ber" months in the Philippines are a time of celebration and togetherness, it's crucial to take precautions to prevent common cold-weather illnesses. Having health protection will help you be prepared should you get ill and need inpatient care. Protect yourself with a Hospital Income Benefit Plan. This provides cash assistance for up to PHP 4,000 per day for regular confinement, up to PHP 8,000 for dread disease confinement, and up to PHP 80,000 for prolonged hospital stays.

Premium starts at PHP 69 per month. Based on age 20 an individual plan. Coverage is also available forĀ  couples or families. Visit to learn more and apply online.

Remember, prevention is key, and a little effort can go a long way in ensuring a happy and healthy holiday season.

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