Ever wondering why seafarers get ill while toiling at sea? Here’s what ‘The Filipino Seafarers’ Lived Experiences Aboard International Shipping Vessels: A Basis for Health Promotion Intervention’, a research study of Ernesto R. Gregorio, Jr., MPH, of the University of the Philippines – Manila, would like us to understand.
1. STIs such as herpes and gonorrhoea is prevalent among seafarers
Sexually Transmitted infections (STIs) were the most mentioned health problems of seafarers, particularly those who work in bulk and tanker ships. Surprised? Well, seafarer informants of the study revealed that sex workers in Brazil look like (or even prettier than) Philippines’ actresses. Consequently, even the strict compliance to ISPS of both ships and ports didn’t stop these sex workers to run after seafarers, or vice versa.
2. Tanker Effect is real.
What kind of illness is this so-called ‘Tanker Effect’?
Tanker Effect is a common illness among those chronically exposed to fumes. Someone who has tanker effect shows absent-mindedness, irritability and having blank stares, or showing signs of insanity, the study detailed.
3. The ship’s cookie may cause hypertension.
Seafarers working in luxury and cargo ships responded during the conduct of the study that they were aware of the different factors which caused them ‘highblood’.
High dietary meat and fat primarily causes hypertension. For some voyage or budget-related reasons lack of alternative food choices onboard were cited, too.
Further, a lazy chief cook drastically exalts seafarers’ blood to its ultimate boiling point. Who wouldn’t suffer from heart attack if he merely serves the crew adobo, pata-tim and fried chicken almost every day?
4. Alcoholic seafarers get elevated SGPT.
Informants of the study, many of whom came from luxury ships, discerned that elevation in liver enzymes specifically SGPT was because of excessive alcohol and fat intake.
Take note, drinking alcohol at sea is a fun pastime of some seafarers. Others however, drink alcohol to forget their family and/or financial problems.
5. Lastly, seafarers succumb to obesity.
There’s ‘unli-rice’, and the grand buffet is served free at sea! No wonder some seafarers can’t control their food and drinks intake. Thus, their bodies attain too much body fat and this negatively affects their health in general.
STIs, Tanker Effect, Hypertension, elevated SGPT and Obesity are diseases seafarers likely acquire at work. To prevent occurrence, they should be well aware of these diseases’ respective causations.
I heard a handful of stories that due to bad pictures of health, some seafarers were untimely sent home while others had experienced delayed embarkation due to their pending medical examination.
You don’t want to be disturbed by your own body, aren’t you? So take time to exercise regularly, sleep adequately, eat a well-balanced diet and if possible, avoid hookers.
I know it’s kinda hard to live a ‘normal’ life at sea but here’s one thing to remember, sailor –should you wish to live a happier, and longer life … learn to live a healthy lifestyle!
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I’m sure my list is not complete. Can you add some more common health problems seafarers should avoid while working at sea? Write your thoughts on the comment section below. 🙂