Breast milk will not cure sore eyes even if it has antibodies, Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial warned while giving reminders on common summer diseases on Thursday.
"Ang idea kasi nun, breast milk has antibodies, therefore it can fight the viruses," Ubial explained at the DOH headquarters. "But it's not that helpful kung matagal nang na-extract 'yung breast milk. It should be immediate."
However, she clarified that the practice should not be done even if the breast milk is freshly extracted from the mother's breast.
The use of breast milk as an antibiotic is a long-held myth not unique to the Philippines. In India, a 21-day-old infant lost an eye in 2016 after his mother squeezed breastmilk into his eye upon the advise of her elders.
Sore eyes — or conjunctivitis or pinkeye — is a self-limiting disease normally caused by an adenovirus and is highly contagious.
While it normally goes away on its own, medical help should be sought if the condition worsens five days after the onset of the condition.
"Sore eyes is viral so self-limiting lang po siya. Kahit na wala po tayong gawin, gagaling po ang sore eyes," Ubial explained.
"Ang problema lang po natin, kung tumagal ng three days, naka four days, five days na at medyo makapal pa rin ang pagmumuta, pwedeng magka-bacterial infection na po 'yun so kailangan natin magpatingin sa doktor at bibigyan po tayo ng antibiotics," she added.
The health secretary also reminded the public to keep hydrated and keep away from intense heat to avoid heat stroke and other weather-related diseases.
"'Yun lang pong heat stroke, ang pag-inom ng maraming tubig at almost every hour dapat umiinom tayo, and to protect ourselves from the heat of the sun. Magpapayong tayo, magsusuot ng sombrero, and try as much as possible to keep out of the hot weather," Ubial advised.
Other diseases tied to the summer months include:
- cough and colds
- vomiting and diarrhea
- skin diseases
—KG, GMA News