Avoiding This Years Flu

 By: Margaret Mathew
Influenza or "The Flu" is not something to be taken lightly. The devastating Spanish flu pandemic swept the globe and killed more people than the First World War. Especially if you are in a group that is more susceptible to the flu you should be concerned and take preventive steps.

Flu is such a problem as it changes every year. The flu that made you sick last year is not the same flu that you might encounter this winter. Just because you had a flu shot last year most likely means that you will not be protected against this years attack.

What should you do if you get the dreaded flu? First of all do not take Aspirin. Aspirin is risky for the flu. One of the worst things that you can do for the flu or even a cold is to take aspirin ( chemically or generically called acetylsalicylic Acid or ASA) or even on the many remedies containing it especially to children or teenagers.

The consequences of ignoring this advice could the development of Reye's syndrome, a condition that can leave a person mentally and physically impaired or worse - dead.

In all probability, aspirin was responsible for impairing or killing thousands of children before the connection with Reye's syndrome was discovered in 1983. The problem is the interaction between aspirin, the body and a virus. For some reason, the presence of a virus can turn aspirin into a harmful weapon causing symptoms like continuous vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, delirium, convulsions, lack of consciousness and even death.

Aspirin and its close chemical relatives go by many names m ASA, acetylsalicylic acid, salicyclate, salicyclic acid, among others and are present in a multitude of nasal sprays, sun blocks m pain killers, and nausea and cough and cold remedies.

Adults should not get complacent about simple use of aspirin and Reye's Syndrome since there have been documented reports of adults as well as children contacting Reye's Syndrome after taking aspirin for the flu.

You may well think it is all very simple that I will have my doctor or health care provider give me a flu shot. You may reckon that that is all to it. Think again. The very deviousness of the flu bug rivals that of an angry ex wife. The flu changes itself every year by changing its outside coat. This is what the body's immune system recognizes as a foreign body and goes after it. By the time the medical community recognizes , comes to a decision what this years " flavor " of flu will be , and then grows and cultivates the vaccine in chicken eggs the flu may have come and gone. It takes four to six months generally for scientists to develop and grow the vaccine to produce commercial quantities of the vaccine for general use and distribution.

Then again it is all guessing and hoping for the best. In most cases the flu vaccine you will get is a combination of several strains of last years flu hoping that it will do the trick. Some people swear by the flu vaccine, others are plain lucky while others may have a bad reaction to the "shot".

What about the product Tamiflu. Some people pin their hopes on this approach if they get hit. First Tamiflu is not a magic bullet. It is a preventive treatment that you take ahead of time. If you have the flu it is too late to take Tamiflu. Secondly it is not cheap at $ 55 for a bottle of 10 pills. Also every medication has side effects. Japan ordered that all bottles of Tamiflu carry a warning label that the drug may have psychological side effects including abnormal behavior and hallucinations. This was done after three Japanese children attempted suicide (two died) after taking Tamiflu to prevent the flu.

Even simple Tylenol (Acetaminophen) for flu can cause problems. If you overdo Tylenol thinking that "more is better "you can harm your liver. Worse yet if you are a drinker and combine to two.

In the end an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure. Wash your hands often. Routinely clean surfaces in your home. Reduce your alcohol use and quit smoking if you can. Remember that the vast amount of viruses including colds and the flu are spread by touch. See if you cannot get proper sleep. And if possible avoid contact with people who spread the flu or at the worst keep a safe distance from these individuals.
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According to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 35 to 50 million people fall prey to influenza during the flu season (November to March), every year. Viral in nature, influenza is a respiratory disease that is highly contagious. In the year 1918, nearly 100 million people died in the influenza pandemic that spread across the world, including remote regions in the arctic and the pacific islands. It was the worst natural disaster the world ever saw.
A common cold is related with the condition of inflammation of the upper respiratory tract which is caused by the infection with common cold viruses. It is also known as acute coryza. In comparison to other disease the occurrence of common cold is frequent. Any person may suffer from the problem of common cold several times in a year. It generally lasts from 3-10 days. The first three days for the patients are very miserable.
While you hardly notice someone sneezing, the virus can transfer to you until you realize you already have colds. The common cold is actually most contagious since they easily spread from one individual to another. It is called this way because it is most recurring and common of all diseases.
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