The Korea Herald


Doctors’ advice for healthy, merry Chuseok


Published : Sept. 1, 2011 - 19:12

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Chuseok, the Korean Thanksgiving Day which falls on Aug. 15 in the lunar calendar every year and Sept. 12 in this year’s solar calendar, is one of the two most important holidays in Korea.

During the three-day Chuseok holiday, family members scattered across the country gather to talk and eat together, visit ancestral tombs and hold memorial services.

Doctors suggest that people take precautions to enjoy a healthy and happy Chuseok. Here is some advice from Samsung Medical Center doctors.

1. When on the road or outdoors

A. Be prepared for carsickness. Taking anti-sickness patches or related medicines at least an hour before hitting the road will help. But people with glaucoma or prostatitis should consult with a doctor before use.

B. If stung by a bee, try to remove the sting with a plastic card and massage the wound with ice. Applying some anti-histamine or steroid ointments will relieve the pain and soreness. If not available, patting milk on the area is soothing.

What’s best is to prevent the bee sting. Cover skin with dark tone clothes or shoes and avoid wearing thick or fragrant makeup. If you see bees, avoid making loud or sudden noises. Just stay still until they go away.

C. If bitten by a snake, try to clean the wound ― two tiny holes ― and wrap it with a pressure dressing. Keeping the wound below heart level will help prevent the poison from spreading to other parts of the body. Do not try to suck the poison out or cut the wound with a knife.

D. If you catch a cold within two weeks of visiting a graveyard, visit the doctor immediately as you may have contracted Manchurian (Korean hemorrhagic) fever, leptospira, or scrub typhus, all common endemia for autumn.

Manchurian fever is carried by rats and rabbits. It can eventually lead to death by renal failure or hypotension. Leptospira is caught through wounds. Scrub typhus is caused by larva of ticks.

In order to avoid such diseases, do not lie on the grass or walk barefoot. Always wear boots and gloves when doing fieldwork and take a shower after visiting a graveyard or the countryside, said Dr. Yoo Jun-hyun.

2. Avoiding stress: Chuseok is arguably the most celebrated holiday in Korea but it is also a consuming and tiresome period for some housewives worn out by chores and the extreme stress of having to be a good wife, mother and daughter-in-law.

Depression, usually temporary, is more common among young women, said Dr. Chun Hong-jin, as many wives feel uncomfortable seeing their husbands doing nothing but enjoying food and watching TV while they struggle to deal with housework. The infamous strain between in-laws is also a big source of stress.

Chun advised the whole family to openly discuss the matter.

“It is important to be in the other persons’ shoes and understand the situation. The husband needs to know that the wife needs more understanding and that the stress is enormous. The wife needs to understand that much of the holiday rituals are traditions and that a little more patience could be useful for all of them,” Chun said.

3. Recovering from the holiday spirit: Once the holiday is over, people must get back to their regular lives. For a faster recovery, one needs to be prepared in advance. This year, the day before the Chuseok holiday is Saturday, a day off.

A. Do not overeat or drink too much: It’s easy to overeat during the holidays and sitting inside on the couch all day long could make it worse. Enjoy badminton or a stroll with the family.

B. Keep your regular sleeping pattern: Most of the holiday fatigue derives from irregular sleeping patterns. Driving a long distance and enjoying a late morning sleep may be good for mental health but can break the biorhythm.

Refrain from taking a long nap. If necessary, keep it to less than 30 minutes per day. Also, don’t go to bed too late. It will make you wake up late the next morning.

C. Take some time to recover from the holiday mood: If you plan traveling, make sure you leave some room for recovering from the travel fatigue. Enjoy some time listening to music and family chatting.

D. Take part in some exercise: Stretching regularly could help you start afresh in the morning. After lunch, enjoy promenade for a while to let the body relax, said Dr. Lee Jung-kwon.

By Bae Ji-sook (