Home News What are the common diseases in Cebu? Disease control and emergency contacts

What are the common diseases in Cebu? Disease control and emergency contacts

This time, we will introduce “Diseases and Measures Prevalent to Cebu”.

We have already seen that Cebu is inferior to Japan in terms of hygiene. But that doesn’t mean you are more likely to get sick if you stay in Cebu. This is because foreign students are staying at sanitarily safe language school accommodations.

Most foreign students enjoy studying abroad as much as they can without getting sick or feeling sick. Compared to Japan, there are no particularly scary diseases in Cebu. You don’t have to worry so much about your illness if you take care of your health as usual, such as washing your hands, gargling, and rehydrating.

However, as long as we are overseas, we must always be aware of the differences in the environment between Japan and us. There should be consideration such as not drinking tap water, not eating at food stalls, and taking measures not to be bitten by mosquitoes.

In order to do so, it is necessary to have a basic knowledge about diseases that are likely to be caused by Cebu, and to take preventive measures.

The diseases susceptible to infection differ between Japan and southern countries.

First of all, please know that there is a difference in the diseases that are easy to get between Japan and the southern countries like Cebu.

The differences are mainly based on differences in climate and sanitation conditions in the two countries. Viruses and bacteria that cause many diseases have temperatures and humidity that make them more active. Therefore, the time when infectious diseases spread is different between Japan and the Philippines.

Influenza usually prevails in Japan in winter. The reason for this is that for viruses that prefer low temperatures and humidity, the winter in Japan is an ideal environment for them to be active.

In winter, the temperature drops and the air becomes dry easily. The virus evaporates and becomes lighter, making it easier to float in the air. Therefore, when you cough or sneeze, the virus will fly further.

In addition, breathing dry air dries the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose, so the virus can easily enter the body. In winter, maintaining body temperature causes exhaustion. As a result, a person’s immune system is weakened, making it easy to be infected with the virus.

By spreading the infection by the virus one after another like this, the flu spreads in winter in Japan.

On the other hand, the climate of the Philippines is always in summer, so there is no winter that influenza viruses like. There is influenza in the Philippines, but only a few people have it.

As you can see, the diseases caused by climate differences between Japan and the Philippines are different. Be sure to act correctly based on accurate information.

For example, just like in Japan, it is too early to judge that you have a common cold just because you have a fever and feel sluggish. In the Philippines, dengue fever is a disease that causes symptoms similar to a cold. If it matches the symptoms of dengue fever, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Also, please be careful when you are bitten by animals such as dogs after coming to the Philippines. People who have been bitten may have been infected with rabies, so they should see a doctor as soon as possible.

In the southern country of the Philippines, there are some diseases that are rarely seen in Japan. It is common to take a test for typhoid fever when you have a fever and for amebic dysentery when you have severe diarrhea or abdominal pain.

Please do not neglect to guard against diseases peculiar to southern countries.

In order to live a safe study abroad life, first of all, you should learn about and take measures against food poisoning, dengue fever, rabies, and other diseases that are likely to be contracted by Cebu.

List of diseases to watch out for in Cebu

① Fever and poor physical condition from fatigue

The most common illness in Cebu is fever and poor physical condition caused by travel fatigue.

You may also be tired of preparing to study abroad, or you may experience symptoms such as a sudden fever or lethargy due to unaccustomed overseas tension, fatigue from a hard schedule, lack of sleep, or excitement caused by everything you see and hear being fresh.

It seems that this symptom often develops around the second or third week of studying abroad rather than immediately after studying abroad. It can be said that it is a symptom that comes out easily when you get used to life and become relaxed.

When you get sick while studying abroad, you worry that you may have suffered from a serious illness, but if it is just a temporary symptom caused by fatigue or a sudden change in the environment, you do not have to worry because it is common to recover soon.

If you drink enough water and get enough sleep, you can regain energy naturally.

However, it is better to see a doctor because fever may not be just fatigue in the following cases:.

1.High fever of 39 ° C or higher, or 2 ° C or higher than normal
2.Vomiting, severe abdominal pain, or diarrhea
3.When the patient has a high fever of 38 ° C or higher without symptoms such as cough, sputum or runny nose.
4.When you cannot drink or eat
5.a person who has a lung or heart condition
4.When cough lasts more than 2 weeks
5.When you have difficulty breathing and cannot sleep while lying down
6.Other times when you are worried

As the saying goes, “Illness comes from the mind.” if you worry too much because you’re overseas, you’re more likely to get sick. Of course, it is important to try to prevent it, but when you have a fever, don’t worry and go to the emergency room in the school or consult your doctor.

② food poisoning

Food poisoning is the most common disease among Japanese tourists and foreign students in Cebu.
There are some measures to prevent food poisoning, but the most important thing is to avoid food that easily causes food poisoning. This alone greatly reduces the risk of food poisoning.

cause of food poisoning

The main causes of food poisoning are bacteria and viruses. As for bacteria, you may have heard of salmonella, O 157, a type of pathogenic Escherichia coli, and Clostridium botulinum. Norovirus is famous as a virus.

Food poisoning occurs when these bacteria and viruses are taken by mouth. When you eat or drink something, most of the time there are bacteria or viruses.

There are a lot of bacteria and viruses in things that are already rotting or rotting. In places like Cebu where it is hot all year round, the shelf life is shorter than in Japan, so bacteria and viruses are more likely to occur in foods and drinks. It is dangerous to eat milk and eggs as long as they last in Japan.

Cebu has an abundance of fruits that are not found in Japan, and chopped fruits are sold at supermarkets and other places. These also get damaged as time passes. Please be careful.

Bacteria and viruses become active even in unsanitary places. There are many stalls in Cebu, but washing dishes is often unsanitary, and eating at stalls can cause food poisoning.

Local restaurants are in a similar situation. The sanitation is better than the food carts, but it is not as good as the expensive restaurants that foreign customers use.

It is a problem of tolerance that Japanese get food poisoning even though local people don’t mind eating the same food. Local people are accustomed to bacteria and viruses through raw water and food from an early age, so they are considered to be resistant.

Even if you eat the same food, you may get food poisoning depending on your physical condition on the day, or you may not show any symptoms by getting rid of bacteria and viruses that cause food poisoning in your body.

Bacteria and viruses are not always mixed into food. When you touch money or grab something, germs or viruses attach to your hands and get into your mouth when you eat. It is often said that “Wash your hands before meals.”, but when you are studying in Cebu, you can reduce the risk of food poisoning if you act honestly.

symptoms of food poisoning

Symptoms of food poisoning also vary depending on the type of bacteria or virus causing it. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and fever are the basic symptoms.

If we can identify what caused the food poisoning, we can infer which bacteria or virus caused the food poisoning, but it is difficult to identify the cause of the food poisoning unless it is mass food poisoning because the time until the onset of the disease varies. The incubation period may exceed a week.

Mild symptoms may resolve spontaneously with rest, but severe symptoms may require treatment in a hospital.

It is important to note that “amebic dysentery”. “amebic dysentery” is one of the most common food poisoning cases in Cebu. It is accompanied by severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and fever.

In the case of “amebic dysentery” the symptoms will not subside unless you take the appropriate medicine or receive an intravenous drip. If you suspect symptoms, you should go to the hospital early and have an examination.

Until you go to the hospital, please try to hydrate yourself so that you don’t get dehydrated.

prevention of food poisoning

The first step is to avoid eating food contaminated with the bacteria and viruses that cause food poisoning.

You should avoid stores that are obviously hygienic.

Don’t drink tap water, either, but drink bottled mineral water from a clean water dispenser in the school or from a convenience store.

Please be especially careful about eating and drinking at local restaurants and stalls used by local people.

In the end, avoiding local restaurants and food stalls while eating in school or in high-class restaurants and malls that are often used by foreigners can help prevent food poisoning.

However, there are many people who want to try local food while studying abroad. Food and water issues are covered in detail on a separate page, so please refer to it.

Again, precautions such as hand washing or alcohol disinfection before meals are basic but very effective.

③ dengue fever

Dengue fever is an infectious disease widely distributed not only in the Philippines but also in tropical and subtropical regions of the world including Asia and Pacific islands.

It is only one of the most common diseases in the Philippines and many people have had dengue fever. Even if you say you have dengue fever, you will only feel sympathy saying, “That’s too bad.”. It is not considered as a particularly dangerous disease on the ground.

However, very rarely, dengue fever is accompanied by a serious illness called dengue hemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal if not treated properly. It is an infectious disease that can be recovered as long as appropriate treatment is taken and there is no aftereffect.

Therefore, it is important to get accurate information about dengue fever, and to learn how to deal with and prevent symptoms when they apply.

cause of dengue fever

Dengue fever is transmitted by being bitten by mosquitoes with dengue virus. Dengue virus carriers include Aedes aegypti and Aedes aegypti, but not all such mosquitoes carry dengue virus, and only a few do.

It is transmitted only through mosquitoes and is not transmitted from person to person.

There are 4 types of dengue virus, and once you get infected, you will be immune. However, people who are infected with one of the four types of dengue virus, which is different from the one they are infected with, redevelop the disease.

There is a rumor going around that “If you get dengue twice, you die.” but that’s not true. However, a second infection rarely causes severe complications.

If you get infected once, you should try to prevent it.

The activity time of striped mosquitoes is from a little before dawn to dusk. Especially in the morning and evening, the risk of being bitten by striped mosquitoes is highest. However, striped mosquitoes in the room sometimes sting even at night.

dengue fever symptom

If you are infected by a mosquito with dengue virus, you will experience symptoms such as sudden high fever, headache, joint pain, rash and fatigue after 4 to 7 days incubation period. Occasionally, a fever of over 40 degrees develops.

The fever lasts 3 ~ 5 days, and as the fever goes down, a measles rash with itching (gruel) may spread to the chest and extremities. If you have a rash after a fever, don’t hesitate to go to the hospital.

Anorexia and general malaise last about 1 ~ 2 weeks. If you rest, you will recover naturally afterwards.

There is no specific medicine for dengue fever. Therefore, the hospital tests for dengue fever and if you are infected with dengue fever, necessary symptomatic treatment is given. Basically, without any special treatment, it recovers naturally without becoming serious.

However, it is dangerous to continue recuperating at home without going to a hospital. If you happen to have dengue hemorrhagic fever, you may lose your life if you leave it without doing anything. People who have dengue hemorrhagic fever usually recover early because appropriate measures, such as blood transfusions, are taken as long as they are seen in the hospital.

You should be careful not to use antipyretics bought in Japan easily when you have a fever. There are aspirin type antipyretics sold in Japan, but if you are infected with dengue fever and take aspirin type drugs, there is a risk that the symptoms will get worse.

If dengue fever is suspected and you want to use an analgesic antipyretic, it is safer to go to a hospital or buy it at a local pharmacy. “Paracetamol (Paracetamol)” which is popular in Europe and America, is often used.

Also, the death rate from dengue fever is sometimes reported in the Japanese media. In Cebu City, 2,255 people were infected with dengue fever and 39 people died in 2017.

The death rate alone may seem high, but 36 of the 39 deaths are among children under 15. It’s no wonder that children and the elderly are physically weaker and have higher death rates, but more than that, the poverty gap in the Philippines is the real reason for the higher death rates.

Poor families usually have no money to take their children to the hospital if they get sick. Therefore, when the symptom gets worse visibly, it is often too late.

If you get proper treatment early at the hospital, you can say that you don’t have to die.

So you don’t have to be afraid of dengue fever because the death rate in the Philippines is high. If you focus on mortality, the reality is that influenza is much higher.

When dengue fever infection is suspected, please give priority to having an examination at a hospital. As a guide, if the fever continues for more than 3 days, I recommend you to see a doctor. That alone will greatly reduce the risk associated with dengue fever.

dengue prevention

The only way to prevent dengue fever infection is to be careful not to be bitten by mosquitoes with dengue virus.

It is said that there are many striped mosquitoes with the dengue virus in areas where poor people live, such as around Colon Street in Cebu City, and in areas outside Cebu, there are many forests, ponds and rivers on Mactan Island and Bohol Island.

When you go to these areas, be careful not to be bitten by mosquitoes. First of all, please wear a long sleeve shirt and long pants to minimize the exposure of your skin.

Insect repellent is a necessity. It is good to apply it to exposed parts of the skin every 2 ~ 3 hours. You can expect stronger effect if you buy insect repellent spray at the site.

It is thought that striped mosquitoes with dengue virus are not bad at language schools or malls, but please pay attention to your clothes when you are worried. You should wear long sleeves and long pants and sneakers instead of sandals.

If mosquitoes come into the room, please put mosquito coils or electric mosquito repellents in the room. Insecticides and mosquito nets are also useful. It is also available in Cebu.

④ rabies

Rabies has not been reported in Japan since 1957, so it is not a familiar disease. However, rabies actually occurs in many parts of the world. According to the World Health Organization, rabies kills 55000 people worldwide every year.

In Asia, rabies is concentrated in India and China.
Rabies is a viral zoonotic disease that, once developed, kills 100% of people. People should know about rabies and how to deal with dog and animal bites.

Even if you are bitten by a dog infected with rabies, it will not develop if you receive appropriate treatment at the hospital immediately.

cause of rabies

The main cause of rabies is the rabies virus. Saliva from dogs, cats, bats, and other animals infected with the virus can enter the body and spread from animal to human. Specifically, when an animal carrying the rabies virus bites or scratches it, the virus enters through the wound.

Although the name “rabies” suggests that only dogs are at risk, the rabies virus is thought to infect mammals. Not only dogs but also cats, foxes, bats and many other animals are the source of infection.

The rabies virus has a 1 ~ 2 month incubation period, so it is not obvious if the animal has rabies.

People who are bitten by an animal that does not have the rabies virus do not have any problems, but if the animal is infected with rabies, even life is at risk, and appropriate measures must be taken immediately.

symptom of rabies
The latency between infection and onset depends on the area of the bite. Generally it is 1 ~ 2 months. If the bite is not serious and develops without treatment, modern medicine no longer has a solution.

The first symptom is similar to a cold. It begins with fever, headache, malaise, myalgias, fatigue, anorexia, vomiting, sore throat, and dry cough, and causes pain, paresthesias, and seizures (spasm) at the bite site. As the symptoms worsen, people develop hydrophobia, are unable to drink fluids, and eventually develop seizures just by looking at water.

Eventually, the virus reaches the brain, causing agitation, anxiety, confusion, hallucinations, aggression, coma, and eventually death due to dyspnea.

Thus, rabies is an infection that, once developed, causes almost 100% death.

Thus, when people are infected with rabies, they clap their hands during the incubation period and do their best to prevent rabies from developing.

rabies prevention

The best way to prevent rabies is to get a rabies vaccination in Japan before traveling. Vaccination is safer if you have frequent contact with wild animals or if you are visiting areas where medical facilities are not nearby.

As for Cebu, there are few dogs and animals infected with rabies, and there are many reliable medical institutions nearby, so few foreign students take rabies vaccination beforehand.

Of course, it’s safer to get a vaccination, but even if you don’t do that, the risk of getting rabies is low. However, you need to be careful because there are many stray dogs, cats, and free-range animals in the town.

You may be surprised to see so many stray dogs in Cebu because you rarely see them in Japan. Not only Cebu, but all Southeast Asian countries are similar. In Southeast Asia, it is natural for people, dogs and cats to coexist in the same space.

However, southern dogs and cats rarely approach people, so they rarely attack unless you approach them and kick or hit them.

In the first place, if you move by taxi instead of walking, you won’t encounter animals such as dogs, so it’s safe.

Please be aware that it is different from Japan and never touch animals such as dogs and cats. Getting closer to being cute only increases the risk.

However, if you are bitten or scratched by a dog or cat, you need to treat it immediately. First, please wash the wound well with running water and soap. If you have disinfectant or ethanol, it is safer to disinfect. It is said that rabies virus is killed by alcohol.

After emergency treatment, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
In hospitals, people are vaccinated to prevent rabies. Rabies, which can be fatal if left untreated, can be maintained in good health by taking appropriate measures when an animal bites or scratches it and by not neglecting to see a doctor.

If you act correctly based on the information, it is not a terrible disease.

basic measures to prevent disease

We have introduced food poisoning which is easy to get infected with Cebu, dengue fever and rabies which are difficult to understand basic knowledge and how to deal with because they are not seen in Japan.

All of them are not particularly scary diseases if you take appropriate measures. Even so, if you get sick while studying in Cebu, you can’t enjoy studying abroad life. So let’s check the comprehensive measures once again.

1. Use alcohol gel


Tissues and handkerchiefs are the first things you carry when you go out.

Then, what do you think is the standard thing that Filipinos carry when they go out?

The correct answer is alcohol gel for sterilization. If you go to a supermarket or a drugstore in the Philippines, you will see far more kinds of alcohol gel than in Japan. There are many stylish bottles and they are popular as souvenirs to Japan.

Filipinos who care about their health always carry alcohol gel. I take out alcohol gel and disinfect my hands and fingertips before meals, after going to the bathroom, touching money, or touching soil.

Compared to Japan, unhygienic conditions are noticeable in the Philippines, but especially Filipinos of the middle class and above seem to pay more attention to hygiene.

Japanese people should follow this custom. Having a habit of disinfecting your hands and fingertips reduces the risk of eating bacteria and viruses.


At the drugstore “Watson” in the mall, you can buy a cute alcohol gel for sterilization as shown in the picture.

It can also be a souvenir!

2. Don’t forget to gargle and wash your hands.

You don’t have to wash your hands even if you sterilize with alcohol gel. You should make a habit of washing your hands frequently. It is basic to use alcohol gel after washing hands.

Gargling is also effective. Because of the perpetual summer, the mucous membranes of the mouth are dry, and harmful substances tend to stick to the throat. You can spit out these bacteria and viruses by gargling frequently.

Tap water is fine for gargling and brushing teeth. However, depending on the building or area, it may not be recommended, so please follow the school orientation.

3. Controlling skin exposure, insect repellent spray is essential.

There are more pests in southern countries than in Japan. People tend to choose clothes with a high degree of exposure because of the sense of openness and heat, but it’s not good for protection against insects.

I recommend you to wear low-exposure clothes such as long sleeves and long pants by choosing a cool material. You can prevent many diseases transmitted by insects by wearing clothes that are hard to be bitten by insects such as mosquitoes.

While most people don’t actually use insect repellents unless they’re on a long trip, if you’re in a room where mosquitoes come in, spraying them at the entrance can make a big difference.

4) Don’t eat anything dangerous

Many Japanese who have lived there for a long time have no qualms about eating at food stalls or at local restaurants. Not all food stands and local restaurants are actually dangerous, even though they are less hygienic. But it’s almost impossible for someone who stays in Cebu only for a short time to draw a line between which stores are safe and which ones are suspicious.

It’s better to avoid eating and drinking at local restaurants and stalls as much as possible. It is also important to stop using chopsticks when you feel something is wrong with your mouth whatever you eat. In most cases, “safety” is more important than “waste”.

It is widely recognized that raw water is dangerous, but few people think even ice is dangerous. Because almost all restaurants in Cebu purchase ice from vendors.

We rarely use tap water at restaurants where foreign students go. If you feel uneasy, you can ask the store staff. It is not rude to ask if it is tap water, so please don’t worry and ask.

In addition, as a basic rule, it is important to refrain from eating and drinking too much so as not to damage your own physical strength, to get enough sleep, and to do moderate exercise. The more resistant your body is, the less likely you are to get sick.

In Cebu, a southern country, there are some kinds of diseases that do not exist in Japan, so you may feel anxious, but if you have knowledge about diseases and how to deal with them and how to prevent them in case of emergency, you don’t have to be afraid.

Please enjoy studying abroad in Cebu Island by controlling the risk of getting sick with sufficient preparation.

in case of poor health


If you are not feeling well, please talk to the school first. Every school has a medical office, and there are schools where doctors visit regularly.
If it is better to go to the hospital, you will have to go to the hospital. Also, I don’t think the school infirmary is open at night or on weekends, so you can go to the hospital from the beginning.

I think that the opening time of the medical office of the school and the handling in case you become sick on the weekend will be explained at the orientation after the enrollment. If you are concerned, please check with the school staff beforehand.

see a doctor


When you visit a hospital, basically school staff will accompany you. Also, international students come to Cebu Island after taking out overseas travel insurance, so you can see a doctor at a hospital without having to pay for the insurance.
(Some diseases you have are not covered by insurance. Please check with your insurance company for details.)

Some hospitals in Cebu have a “Japanese Help Desk”.

The Japanese Help Desk offers four types of support:.

(1)appointment for consultation
(2)cashless consultation
(3)in-hospital admission
(4)medical interpretation support

The doctor will come to the Japanese Help Desk office in the hospital and the Japanese staff will translate and examine you. You don’t need to pay because you can pay the medical expenses within the insurance you have. You can do all the procedures.

There are also Japanese staff at Seb Doctors Hospital, Chonwa Hospital Mandaue. Most of those who are studying abroad in Cebu City go to either of them.

Hospital where the Japanese Help Desk is located
Sevdoctors Hospital
・Phone: +63-32-516-3341
・Japanese: Yes
・Response Time: Monday – Saturday 8: 30 -17: 30

Chonwa Hospital
・Phone: +63-32-318-6057
・Japanese: Yes
・Response Time: Monday – Saturday 8: 30 -17: 30

UC Medical Center
・Phone: +63-32-350-2656
・Japanese: Not available
・Response Time: Monday – Saturday 8: 30 -17: 30

Doctor’s Hospital
・Phone: +63-32-318-6063
・Japanese: Not available
・Response Time: Monday – Saturday 8: 30 -17: 30

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