Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

Advice for Swine Flu

The UK has more than 120,000 cases and 31 deaths from the novel H1N1 disease, Swine Flu. Here in France there are 1200 reported cases and not one death directly caused by it.

Let’s put it into perspective. Every year 2-3000 deaths occur in the UK from flu; 3,000 die on the roads; 9,000 from booze; 1,500 drown and 100,000 die because they eat too much salt, get high blood pressure, have strokes or heart attacks.

Do these other figures cause mass hysteria and panic? No but Swine flu is different and provides the chance to make millions from masks, thermometers medicated tissues and drugs.

Here’s what you need to know:

• Swine Flu is a mutation of a pig virus. It is highly infectious and spread by droplets from coughs, sneezes and hands. Use tissues then dispose of them safely, and wash your hands many times a day.

• The flu virus can live on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours, and soft for 20 minutes, so carry a hand sanitiser at all times and use when soap and hot water are not available.
More bacteria are transmitted by hand contact than kissing. 53% of people in the UK do not wash their hands properly after sneezing or coughing.

• Incubation, (time from infection to symptoms), can be seven days, but is normally 24 to 72 hours. It is most infectious when symptoms appear but is a risk for 5 days, 7 for children.

• For most people it is just flu, but this one does seem worse for young people, rather than the elderly. Pregnant women seem to be at greater risk and should be treated with anti-flu drugs within the first 48 hours and without waiting for viral test results.

• Breast feeding mothers should not stop, even if they get the infection as the immunity they pass on through breast milk is protective.

• For most people paper masks are a waste of time and money and could give you a false sense of security. They may stop you spreading bugs, but once wet they offer little or no protection.

• There is no vaccine at present and not likely to be before the autumn. How safe or effective it will be is anyone’s guess.

• Tamiflu, should you take it? More than half the children on Tamiflu experienced unpleasant side-effects of nausea, insomnia and nightmares. Health Protection Agency (HPA) experts said a high proportion of children are reporting problems. At best Tamiflu may shorten the duration of the flu by up to two days, but may also cause confusion and self harm. To reduce the risk of the autumn swine flu becoming resistant, it may be better to reserve the anti-viral drugs for high risk patients.

• Who is at risk? Anyone with serious problems like asthma, diabetes, chronic lung disease, taking immune suppressing drugs or transplant patients. Pregnant women and those between 6 months and 24.

• Symptoms: High temperature, 38°C/100.4°F, cough, sneezing, loss of appetite, fatigue and possibly diarrhoea, vomiting, sore throat and runny nose.

• If you get symptoms, stay at home, drink lots of fluids and use chamomile or lime tea to reduce temperature. Pineapple has enzymes to ease aches and pains, sage tea soothes sore throats. Olbas oil is brilliant for chest and sinus congestion.

• If symptoms get worse or you are concerned for yourself or others, call your doctor.

Self Help The Natural Way

Your natural immune system works best when your body is well nourished and not deficient in any essential nutrients. You can never eat junk, take a handful of vitamin pills and expect to be healthy.

But at times of extra risk you can boost protection. Take the following for at least the two months, but do not double up on any you are already taking.

- Kaloba , a Pelargonium extract to fight bugs and viruses

- New EchinaCold - high strength Echinacea available in capsules and lemon flavour effervescent tablets

- Vitamin D 2000iu daily

- Vitamin A 10,000iu daily

- Zinc 5mg daily

- Vitamin C 1000mg daily – use the non-acidic version, Ester C

- Vitamin B complex one daily

If you are pregnant or breast feeding omit the Vitamin A but drink a large glass of carrot juice each morning.

This is not the time for crash diets or lunatic fringe eating plans. What you need now is at least five portions a day of the real Superfoods – fresh fruit, vegetables, salads; plenty of good carbohydrates – latest research shows low carb diets seriously reduce life expectancy – meat, fish poultry and dairy foods to make a balanced diet.


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