When you spit you might think you are just getting rid of your phlegm but you are doing far more than that, you are spreading diseases like Tuberculosis (TB) and it is killing Filipinos at an alarming rate, so stop spitting.
Eight out of Ten Children test positive for TB
I had to take my son to a pulmonary doctor (lung doctor) yesterday and the doctor told me the Philippines has one of the highest rates of TB in the world. The problem is so bad that he told me 8 out of 10 children when tested for TB show positive.
Cause of high rate of TB in the Philippines
My sons pulmonary doctor told me one of the main reasons for the high rate of TB in the Philippines is the culture of spitting.
Spitting causes the spread of TB in 3 ways, the first being fine partials that float in the air when you spit. While you might think all your spit hits the ground in a lump the truth is very different, thousands of very fine partials go into the air and do not touch the ground these can be inhaled by people standing close or even many metres from you, the wind will also carry them for a long distance.
The second way is the phlegm you spit out on the ground evaporates and as it does it takes the TB virus into the air, somebody walking past where you spat can inhale the virus it will also be spread by the wind.
The third way is because children often play on the ground so they will be touching where you have spat they then put their hand which has been in contact with your spit near their mouth or nose and inhale the TB virus.
When you cough, sneeze or spit you release up to 40,000 droplets into the air that may transmit the disease, it takes as few as 10 bacteria for someone to catch TB, so please think about other people and stop spitting.
I don’t have TB so it is OK for me to spit
Unless you have been tested with in the last few weeks you do not know if you have TB or not, so you maybe spreading TB without knowing it.
The pulmonary doctor said he could not give figure on the number of adults that tested positive for TB in the Philippines, but the fact 8 out of 10 children test positive you can be pretty sure the adult rate would be about the same.
You might also be spreading many other viruses, besides that spitting is a filthy habit, I doubt you like the thought of inhaling the spit of a complete stranger so don’t inflict this on other people.
Tuberculosis in the Philippines
Tuberculosis is the 6th leading cause of death and illness in the Philippines. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that 28,000 Filipinos die from TB every year, that means every day 76 Filipinos die from TB. In 2015 there was 324,000 new cases of TB reported of which 17,000 cases were rifampicin-resistant and multi-drug resistant TB.
I have to get rid of my phlegm
When people are confronted about spitting they will often say “but I need to get rid of my phlegm” this is a poor excuse, doctors in the west say you should swallow it as your stomach acid will kill any bacteria in it, swallowing it makes it harmless to you and other people.
If you can’t face swallowing your phlegm then spit it into a tissue or a plastic bag not on the ground. If you spit into a tissue make sure you dispose of the tissue in a sealed plastic bag.
I don’t spit it is other people
We are glad to know you do not spit and we suspect the majority of Filipinos do not spit, the problem is a large number of Filipinos do spit and it is the duty of us all to educate them to stop spitting for the health of ourselves and our families.
Best way to educate people not to spit
One of the best ways to get the “Stop Spitting” message across is to shame people, if you see someone spit make them feel ashamed of what they have done, say out loud “That is filthy you are spreading diseases” the more people who hear the more ashamed the person spitting will feel. Don’t feel embarrassed pulling people up for spitting, you will find passersby and even the persons friends will back your stand. When myself or my wife have pulled people up for spitting other people nod in approval of our actions and some will even come up and say well done.
Education by the Media to stop spitting
There are many ways the media in the Philippines could help stop the habit.
They could show adverts warning of the dangers of spitting and how it spreads diseases. It could also be written into story lines of programs, maybe a top actor or actress having a go at someone for spitting, or catching TB because they were stood near a person that kept spitting.
By spreading the message on social media, the more people that become aware of the problem of spitting the more chance there is they will stop spitting, you can do this yourself by sharing the message,
Other diseases spread by spitting
TB is not the only reason you should stop spitting, spitting also spreads
- Rhinovirus (colds)
- Flu virus
- Epstein-Barr virus (mononucelosis, or mono)
- Type 1 herpes (cold sores)
- Strep bacteria
- Hepatitis B and hepatitis C
- Cytomegalovirus (a risk for babies in the womb)