Wednesday, 18 September 2019

15 deaths from dengue so far this year, highest in a decade

Six more people have died from dengue, bringing the total number of dengue deaths this year to 15 - the highest toll in more than a decade.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday that it was notified of the six deaths after its last joint update with the National Environment Agency (NEA) on July 29, about eight weeks ago.

"Although most dengue patients recover from the infection, elderly patients and those with concurrent medical conditions are at higher risk of developing complications that can lead to death," she said.


Three suspected PMD fires over the weekend worry residents

Calm turned to chaos in a Circuit Road block last Saturday afternoon after an explosion rocked a seventh-storey flat.

A woman in her 50s, who wanted to be known only as Madam Kho, said the moment she heard the explosion, she and her sister, who was visiting, fled their eighth-storey unit with her 16-year-old son, their dog and three pet turtles.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it responded to a fire in a seventh-storey unit at Block 85 Circuit Road at 3.35pm last Saturday.

On Friday, at about 4.10pm, SCDF responded to a fire in an 11th storey unit in Block 120B, Rivervale Drive.

The owner was taken to the Singapore General Hospital for smoke inhalation and preliminary investigations indicated the fire originated from a PMD which was being charged.

In a third case over the weekend, SCDF said it responded to a fire at Geylang Lorong 4, which affected two third-storey shophouse units on Sunday.

Fire at Geylang Lor 4. Source: cna

My 2 cents:

PMD fires are real. So if you have a PMD, please make sure you monitor your PMD while charging. If the machine is hot, turn off the charging. Do not charge your machine over night.

Cutting through the haze: When do you need an N95 mask?

According to NEA’s list of frequently asked questions and answers on its website, in general, a healthy person may want to wear a mask if he has to be outdoors for several hours when the forecast air quality is in the hazardous range.

N95 masks are not necessary if you are going to be indoors or out for only a short period of time, such as commuting from home to school or work.

Some elderly people, people with lung or heart conditions, and women in the later stages of pregnancy may have reduced lung volumes or breathing issues and should take a break from using the masks if they feel uncomfortable.

You can reuse your N95 mask, said NEA. However, the mask should be changed when it is soiled or distorted in shape. It should not be shared.

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Forum: Paternal involvement a need, not a choice

While I appreciate the opinions on fatherhood expressed by Madam Lily Ong (Strike a balance in efforts to spur active fathering, Sept 4) and Ms Yeo Boon Eng (Taking paternity leave a personal choice, not a need, Sept 6), research evidence should be highlighted for a more balanced perspective.

Extensive research in many advanced societies has shown a strong correlation between not having an involved father and worse-off development outcomes for children, including crime and delinquency, drug and alcohol abuse, mental health problems and sexual promiscuity - all of which impose heavy costs on families and society.

A New York Times report, citing research done at the University of Oxford, reveals that, against widespread and deeply ingrained beliefs, new fathers undergo biological changes, hormonal and in the brain, when they welcome the arrival of a child.

Much of parenting is not instinctual for anyone, both mother and father, and the first days of parenthood present a steep learning curve that is a key transition in a parent's life.

Besides the recuperation after childbirth and breastfeeding, which mothers do exclusively, fathers similarly have to go through a process of getting attuned to an infant, learning what each of the baby's cries means, mastering diaper changes and getting used to frequent interrupted nights.

This process of getting the heart of a father turned towards his newborn child should not be underappreciated. Research conducted by the University of Denver surmised that "learning how to emotionally bond with his infant may particularly be an important part of becoming a father", because men do not experience the hormonal surges that accompany pregnancy and childbirth.

The United Nations Children's Fund has launched an Early Moments Matter campaign to encourage governments and companies to invest in family-friendly policies.

Progressive companies like Facebook, Novartis and Aviva have equalised maternity and paternity leave in recent years.

An increasing number of celebrity fathers have come out to share their stories of fatherhood, including former footballer David Beckham and Singapore's very own Gurmit Singh.

It is timely for Singapore society to have a mindset shift on this issue - paternal involvement in a child's upbringing is a need, not a choice.

Deborah Ong Siew Mei


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