Saturday, April 27, 2024

8 Common Ailments Suffered by Overseas Filipino Workers

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Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs belong to various sectors and industries; from exposure to harmful substances to chronic fatigue and overwork and lack of rest or proper nutrition, many of them are at risk of the common ailments and diseases while on the job.

What are the common ailments that OFWs get while working abroad?

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It is important to be aware of these health problems and risks, as well as know the proper approaches that will boost recovery and promote wellness. Failure to do so will be detrimental to health and well-being and can cause death or permanent disability.


Pneumonia is a lung problem that causes OFWs to have difficulty breathing. This is due to the constant exposure to dust and debris among engineers, as well as being in contact with infectious agents and infected patients among nurses and physical therapists.

It can also be a disease that workers in the domestic or cleaning industry are exposed to. Unclean surroundings, exposure to harmful substances for an extended period of time, and no protective clothing make them more vulnerable to succumbing to pneumonia.

Wear a mask and get checked regularly.

Prevention of common ailments helps avoid hospital visits.
Prevention of common ailments helps avoid hospital visits.

Musculoskeletal disorders.

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OFWs usually experience a variety of musculoskeletal problems like slip disks, fractures and joint problems due to constantly lifting heavy objects. It’s best to practice proper body alignment and mechanics when doing strenuous activities.

Lifting heavy objects, improper posture for a long period of time can contribute to this ailment. If not addressed immediately, this can be a painful and debilitating illness a worker may suffer long after he or she has been relieved from duties.


The virus is more common among hospital workers who are always in contact with infectious agents and items, as well as infected individuals. It’s best to practice caution and avoid cross-contamination.

Unhygienic working conditions, lack of proper sanitary measures such as protective clothing or cleaning practices can contribute to this disease.


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High blood pressure is common among OFWs because they are usually stressed from work or lack of sleep. Domestic workers staying late at work and not receiving enough rest, or stressed office workers who have a sedentary lifestyle and fail to integrate fitness routine are likely candidates to get diagnosed with this disease.

Eating high-calorie and high-fat food and drinks will also increase the risk. People need to regularly exercise and eat low-fat food to keep their circulatory system healthy.


There are a handful of factory workers and other related jobs that develop cancer over time because they are constantly exposed to chemicals and other harmful substances. It’s always better to wear a mask, gloves and other precautionary tools that will protect you from inhalation and direct contact.


Accidents can happen at construction sites and factories. OFWs can suffer a variety of trauma, such as broken bones, concussion and open wounds. Always wear protective gear and a helmet when going into work sites.

Liver disease.

Many OFWs tend to drink a lot of alcohol and chemical-rich food products while away from home. After a few years, these can take a toll on the liver and cause related diseases. Drink moderately and avoid eating canned and packaged food all the time.


Clinical depression can set in among OFWs especially when they’re constantly stressed and do not take time to relax from work. It’s best to stay mentally healthy by finding a hobby, as well as have a support system while away from home.

Should OFWs experience signs and symptoms of occupational diseases, they should report to the OWWA or Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to report the problem and get immediate help. Having a PhilHealth account will also help minimize expenses and provide discounts for medical treatment. Even when staying out of the country for many months, a PhilHealth membership can help.

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