Drinking sessions have been consistently part of Filipino holidays. Experts remind the public to be cautious in consuming alcohol, as well as in maintaining cleanliness of drinking glasses or cups, as neglect may lead to diseases.
According to microbiologist Dr. Windell Rivera, glasses used for drinking beer, wine, and cocktail drinks may easily be contaminated by viruses, bacteria, or fungi.
“Cold viruses, p’wede rin ‘yung hepatitis virus, p’wedeng ma- transmit sa ganitong paraan [pag-inom]. [In a] matter of days, p’wede niyang maramdaman ‘yung viral infection (cold or hepatitis viruses can be transmitted through contact with virus-infected objects such as drinking glasses. In a matter of days, a person may experience viral infection),” he said.
Colds are among the most common sicknesses easily contracted and spread. Common cold is caused by over 200 types of viruses, but rhinovirus and coronavirus are among the top perpetrators.
Colds can be contracted from touching an object contaminated by a virus. The infection begins when the virus enters the lining of the nose or the throat via the mouth, causing the usual symptoms such as sneezing, scratchy throat, and runny nose.
As drinking glasses are sometimes shared during parties, people can cross contaminate viruses via contact with a contaminated glass.
Hepatitis, meanwhile, may be contracted several ways, depending on the type.
Hepatitis A and E may be caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water. However, cross contamination of hepatitis virus occurs if a person, who recently touched a contaminated object such as an infected animal, then handles food or drinks.
Beyond contamination through sharing or using contaminated glasses, experts added, diseases may also be caused by unsanitary practice.
Infectious disease expert Dr. Rey Salinel said, “’Yung mga alak na ganu’n sabihin mong naiwan ‘yun, matamis din ‘yun eh, ‘yung mga matatamis na naiwan, p’wedeng pamugaran ‘yan ng mga ibang bacteria, p’wede itong molds or fungus (Liquor may have sweet properties. If these sweet components are not properly washed from the glass, these can invite growth of bacteria, molds, or fungi).”
There are several types of molds and fungi; in fact, they are present almost everywhere, including in the air we breathe. However, some people may be allergic to mold exposure and may experience nasal stuffiness, eye or skin irritation. Severe reactions may lead to fever, shortness of breath, or lung complications.
Experts added, not all molds are visible to the naked eye, hence thorough cleaning is advised.
In order to avoid diseases during the merrymaking season, experts advise cleaning drinking glasses thoroughly after every use. In the same way, cleaners such as kitchen sponges can be potentially contaminated, and hence must also be cleaned regularly.
Sanitary practices must be observed. Experts recommend frequent hand washing to avoid cross transfer of bacteria to objects. If infected with diseases such as colds, a person is advised to ensure sanitary practice such as proper covering of the mouth and nose when sneezing. Disposal or disinfecting of contaminated objects, as well as frequent hand washing is highly recommended to avoid spreading disease.
Lastly, observing overall cleanliness can help prevent sickness.