Measles outbreak, what to do?

By Dr. Celeste Gomez

Q: Dear Doc Celeste, I just heard that there is a “measles outbreak” in Metro Manila. Is it true that measles is airborne? I’m so scared because my 6-month-old baby boy hasn’t had his shot yet. What can I do to prevent him from having measles? – Scared Mommy Carmen

A: Hello, Mommy Carmen! There is currently a huge increase of measles cases all over Metro Manila and Central Luzon. The Department of Health (DOH) has already considered and announced it as an outbreak.


Measles or rubeola is a virus that may be caught by a susceptible child or adult via airborne transmission. Airborne transmission can mean any of the following:

1. The virus can be carried by the dust suspended in the air.

2. It can stay or remain in a room for longer periods of time.

3. The virus can be disseminated widely to people in the same room.

Signs and symptoms

When a child is infected with measles, one can have high fever together with cough, colds and red teary eyes. The rashes may start to appear at the face and head. As days go by, it slowly goes down to the feet while you notice the rashes at the head begin to brown and peel off. Some children, especially those who are immunocompromised or who have malnutrition,

Kristelle Bechayda

Fun food fare for the family

By Paulyne Fermin

Nothing brings friends and family together like good food does. Wednesdays and weekends are dedicated for family days. This means taking a vote on where we want to go, what we want to do and most importantly, what we want to eat. My kids are perennially hungry and are always willing to try something different. So last month, aside from indulging in old favorites, the family tried new flavors.

Tempura the Tenya way

My daughter and I are tempura monsters! We know good ebi tempura from the minute we take our first bite. Some are soft, some too heavily battered, most use shrimps and not tiger prawns. Tenya, however, is known for its deep-fried battered seafood, meat and vegetables which are cooked using infrared heat technology, ensuring consistent tempura every time. The flavor of Tenya’s tendon (tempura rice bowl) is based on a proven combination of 100% hearthealthy canola oil and a flavored flour which gives it that light and crispy finish. Dontare sauce is liberally drizzled once the seafood is placed on top of a heaping, steaming bowl of Japanese rice.

Japanese rice bowls. Seafood, vegetables and meat tempura tendon cooked the Tenya way.

At the recently opened Tenya branch in Tiendesitas, I tried the Jo Tendon set. My daughter is a purist and devoured her Classic All Ebi Tempura Teishoku set, which is served with potato salad and hot miso. The boys enjoyed the tempura-fried maki with mango,

Kristelle Bechayda

Preventing pneumonia

By Doc Celeste Gomez

Q: My daughter’s school just had a health day-off because of a recent pneumonia epidemic in their grade. How was this able to spread so fast? How do we prevent our children from getting pneumonia?

A: Since the start of the colder months or “-ber” months, our clinics have seen a slow rise in respiratory infections, both viruses and bacteria across all ages. It may probably be because of the colder weather these days, or maybe because more people are traveling all over the world and, in return, bring viruses back to their home country.

Pneumonia is known to be one of the top causes of morbidity and mortality in very young children. It is a disease where our lung’s air sacs and airways are affected. This may be due to viruses like RSV (Respiratory Syncitial Virus) or Influenza, or bacteria like Streptococcus or Mycoplasma Pneumoniae. Pneumonia can easily spread especially if one is immunocompromised or if you are less than 2 years old or more than 60 years old. Here are some guidelines to prevent our children from getting Pneumonia:

Avoid crowded places or wear a mask

Pneumonia spreads by droplet infection. This means that it can easily spread within approximately 3 feet from anyone who coughs or sneezes. Crowded places such as air-conditioned malls, public transportation like the MRT and LRT, and large scale events would always be the perfect place to get a respiratory infection.

Kristelle Bechayda

Start your year whole

By Amanda Griffin-Jacob | Photos from Spark Studio

As we head into the second month of 2019, most of us are still motivated to keep or make resolutions to help us become healthier versions of ourselves. In line with my aspiration to encourage my Glam-O-Mamas community to take better care of themselves this year, I partnered with The Wholesome Table to bring to fruition our first event for the year called Start Your Year Whole.

Humble beginnings

I founded my Glam-O-Mamas website eight years ago and the interactive Glam-O-Mamas Facebook Group was established in 2014. It has evolved into a society of over 34,000 active and engaged members and continues to expand each month. I envisioned it as a trusted sanctuary for mothers and mothers-to-be to connect with and support each other. I’m so proud to say that it is exactly that and so much more.

My fundamental purpose for this event was to create awareness, facilitate education, and provide assistance for my Glam-O-Mamas on their motherhood journeys into a healthier way of life for both them and their families.

Start with healthy food habits

In the program, I talked about self-care and wellness, while my fellow mom, friend, The Wholesome Table proprietor, Bianca Araneta-Elizalde, spoke about how to guide your family into healthier food habits. From inspiring words to practical tips, the event was centered around imparting just how crucial it is for women to take care of themselves first so they can take better care of their homes and families.

Kristelle Bechayda

Three ways to make marriage stronger

By Dennis and Thammie Sy

Q: My husband and I are very busy people. This is not counting our daily household activities, raising kids, paying the bills, and more! How can we make time for each other?

A: Dennis: This is a typical scenario among married couples and families today. We live in a fast-paced world. We celebrate speed, and we make goals and self-imposed deadlines to make ourselves productive and fruitful. With this change, we also pass on the pressure to our kids. The endless errands, the school and extracurricular activities, meetings, and deadlines make us wonder…is there more to life than this?

In the past two years, Thammie and I have consciously slowed down a bit to enjoy moments as a couple and as a family. It was not an easy thing to do. In fact, we had some sort of speed withdrawal because of how fast-paced and crazy our lives were when we said yes to almost every opportunity that came our way. It didn’t help that both of us are achievers and grew up in a family where achievement is a goal.

In light of this realization, we have decided to do things differently in the past few years. We are still a work in progress, but we have seen drastic improvements in our lives, our stress level, and our relationships. Here are three guiding principles that have helped us:

1. Walk slowly.

During the Christmas break,

Kristelle Bechayda

Lending another helping hand

By Amanda Griffin-Jacob

My year is not complete without my annual Christmas charity outreach and Christmas party for the children of the community we help. This was the eleventh year that I’ve put this outreach together with my mother-in-law. It is something so very dear to my heart. The last four years have been extra special as I started bringing my children with me to help out. I want them to see that our outreach is as much a part of Christmas as any of our other traditions. This year, my eldest, Kieran, really inspired me with his tireless help in distributing 10kg bags to most of our 200 families. My middle children, Kalon and Lila, helped to give out the Jollibee meals during the Christmas party for the kids of our chosen barangay.

Every year that I put this together, I go through a bit of anxiety wondering if I’ll be able to pull it all together and get the sponsorships and donations required to make our charity successful. I always fear that my family, friends, and big-hearted acquaintances may experience donor-fatigue and be too tapped out to help. And every year, I am so deeply moved by everyone who so kindly wants to help me out.

We are a small grassroots charity that comprises of my mother-in-law, Rose Jacob, and myself. On the day of the charity, we have volunteers who help us out.

Kristelle Bechayda

Help kids overcome fear of doctors

Q: I think my child was traumatized from his trips to the dentist and doctor visits for vaccinations. He cries and throws a fit upon seeing the hospital building, and more so upon entering the doctor’s clinic. What can I do to prevent this stressful situation? — Mommy Marie

A: Hello, Mommy Marie! Thank you for asking about this very common phenomenon. I do experience this in the clinic, and usually see this reaction. Oftentimes, this is brought about by the child’s anxiety—-the feeling of being surprised by a negative or painful event. The key to handling this situation is all about prepping and helping children understand the procedure that will be done to them. The following are some tips to lessen and eventually overcome this anxiety:

1. Explain what these medical practitioners do.

Caregivers often disguise the trip to the dentist or doctor as a “trip to the mall” or a trip to the doctor with a promise of “no injection.” This practice damages the trust built between the caregiver and the child, so as a coping mechanism, the child begins to throw a fit upon seeing the first sign of anything associated with the doctor and dentist. Even the sight of the hospital building can make them anxious. One can start a week before the scheduled date of the procedure by already opening the topic of a doctor’s visit. Try reading a book about doctor visits as a bedtime story,

Kristelle Bechayda

Make new year’s resolution work

By Dennis and Thammie Sy

Q: How does your family go about planning your new year’s resolutions?

Thammie: Now that I think about it, I realize that I have stopped trying to make new year’s resolutions years ago. I think somewhere along the way I noticed how they never seemed to work for me or for anyone else that I know.

Resolutions are all about us trying to “resolve” things. It involves us using the best of our abilities and the strength of our willpower to improve ourselves and consequently improve our lives.

That’s where I think the problem lies. It is all about us, our strength, our wisdom, our capabilities. I am not saying that this is all bad. Once we start each year with this kind of mindset, more often than not one of two things happen: We either realize make new year’s resolution work that we really do not have that much willpower and determination, so we end up going back to our old ways in a few months; or we do get to muster up enough discipline and commitment and fulfill our list of resolutions, causing us to depend and put confidence in ourselves entirely. To some, this may not seem like a bad thing. I’m sure this even sounds good to most people. I just happen to be one of those who prefer to depend and boast on Someone bigger than ourselves.

What I have started in lieu of those resolutions are lists of my faith goals each year.

Kristelle Bechayda

The pressure of creating new traditions

By Jayvee Fernandez

As the year comes to close, there’s that spontaneous audit that happens of milestones, highs and lows and the promise of making the coming year a better one. As a parent with young kids, I tend to look back at my happy holidays during my childhood and cannot help but compare it from the ones I am giving my children now. I remember that the holidays, Christmas, and New Year, were always good to my family when I was growing up. The cooler weather, relatives coming home from the States and a lot of family reunions with my cousins (most of my cousins were of the same age and disposition so that was a pretty epic romp at grandma’s) were the highlight of the year. I cannot but help and compare the times (the ‘80s) to now (approaching 2020).

A lot has definitely changed. Technology made it easier to keep in touch without being physically present. Modern city traffic has increased travel time by 300%. The logistics of being together under one roof has indeed become more complicated. But again, as I always say, these are the cards we are dealt with in this modern age. It is neither bad nor good — it is what it is and we need to make the most out of it.

Maybe I am overthinking, but I do wonder 20 or 30 years from now what my kids would be reminiscing about their childhood. Did they enjoy spending time with their cousins?

Kristelle Bechayda

4 ways to limit gadget use

By Paulyne Fermin

Having fun has a totally different meaning for today’s kids. With the dawn of the digital age, our children are constantly exposed to rapid visual stimulation and have easy access to online games. As a parent, I am very vigilant in limiting the use of gadgets.  Not only does technology affect physical health, it has negative repercussions on mental health as well.

Squeeze and Bake

One way of channeling their energy to something productive is to introduce new activities. Recently, my seven year old put on her Maya Kitchen apron and made colorful Christmas pancake art. I wanted to help her with her Christmas tree design but she firmly told me, “I can do this Mom!” while deftly squeezing and drawing – and she did. For her second edible masterpiece, she cooked a cute rainbow. Next, with a chef instructor by her side, my junior chef whipped up a Happy Mug chocolate cake and topped it with caramel sauce in less than three minutes. I made a mental note to purchase the microwavable mug cakes. They’ll make cute Yuletide gifts to her classmates and can be a fun activity for R’s next play date with her friends.

Little Miss Engineer

Have you heard of Engineering For Kids (EFK)? In my Mommy viber group,

Kristelle Bechayda