Most of us didn't get past our morning tea today without hearing a news update on the outbreak of swine flu. We are told that the threat of a pandemic is real, and the topic has saturated the airwaves and the internet, becoming the number one topic on Twitter, and causing the US government to declare a public health emergency.
I have been getting a lot of questions about swine flu and what can be done to prevent it. Here arethe facts.
Swine flu is a novel strain of the H1N1 influenza virus. It is named for its unusual genetic makeup - a combination of traits from earlier swine and avian flu virus strains - rather than for being spread through pigs or pork products. Symptoms are similar to those of the seasonal flu, and the infection appears to be spread person-to-person through respiration.
The first cases of swine flu were reported on March 18 in Mexico's Federal District. Since then, 149 deaths have been attributed to the disease and cases have been confirmed in Canada, Spain and five of the US states.
As public health organizations around the world continue to monitor the outbreak, it's important for each of us to take precautions against the spread of the disease.
1 Fortify your immune system. Give your body every advantage in fighting infection by getting adequate sleep, plenty of fluids, and 2-5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. When lifestyle or chronic illness weakens your immune system, consider adding a supplement. Chyawanprash - a precise 2,000-year-old recipe of 36 herbs and 4 food ingredients - this nutritionally rich tonic enhances general health and supports the body's natural resistance to disease. The principle herb in Chyawanprash, amla fruit, is one of the world's most concentrated sources of naturally occurring Vitamin C. You can also use other Ayurvedic formulations that stimulate the immune system like Guduchi, Turmeric, Neem and Kutki. If you are feeling weak use an Ashwagandha-based formula to help you find your strength. Finally, from the world of Homeopathy, Kali Muriaticum is a great remedy for weakened immune systems and is often helpful when taken at the first sign of a cold or flu. It is available at a 6x potency.
2 Use a nasal wash (Jal Neti). Long before symptoms arise, flu viruses incubate on the exposed epithelial tissue in the nose, throat and lungs. A nasal wash helps to flush out harmful microbes from the nasal passages before they have a chance to penetrate the nasal lining and cause symptoms to develop.
Jal Neti: How to do it successfully
Take silver vessel with luke warm water with a pinch of salt added to it and make sure it dissolves completely. Then insert the neti pot spout gently into the nostril and tilt head slowly so that water runs out of the opposite nostril. Breathe in and out so that the nose is completely dry. This should be strictly performed under yoga teacher.
3 If you do get sick, know your options. If you or a loved one comes down with flu-like symptoms, and especially if you live in an area where swine flu has been confirmed, see a doctor. Your doctor will be able to evaluate whether further testing or treatment is required. If you are sick, stay home from work or school, and avoid unnecessary contact with people.
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