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Many of the latest headlines are turning their attention to the latest bird flu, also known as the H5N1 virus. The problem is that this virus can mutate, so no one really knows what it will be that we need to be protected from.
There's been a lot of concern and media attention about this. Here's what Michael T. Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota has said, "An influenza pandemic of even moderate impact will result in the biggest single human disaster ever - far greater than AIDS, 9/11, all wars in the 20th century and the recent tsunami combined. It has the potential to redirect world history as the Black Death redirected European history in the 14th century."
The latest news is reporting that ducks and geese are now carrying this virus and are going across the world, spreading this virus. It started in Asia and has now come to Europe. Soon it will be on the American continent.
A few dozen people have died from the H5N1 so far. Right now, it's a virus thats passed from bird to bird. Sometimes from birds to animals. Currently it is not transmitted from one person to another person. But over time, flu viruses mutate. In 1918, a bird flu virus mutated. It was called the Spanish Flu Pandemic. Over fifty million people died from it.
Some experts predict that the amount of deaths will be much higher than 50 million with this new flu...it could be a billion people, once the virus mutates to transmitting from human to human.
Drugs that fight the bird flu:
Two drugs that can help alleviate the problems caused by the avian flu virus. One is called oseltamivir (Tamiflu). The other is zanamivir (Relenza). You will need a prescription for either. They should be taken within 2 days of the appearance of symptoms and then continued for 5 days at the rate of twice per day. At this time... the drugs are in very short supply (especially Tamiflu which is the preferred treatment). Once a flu pandemic hits, they will be impossible to obtain. Currently you should be able to buy them at your drug store or you can order them online (you'll need a prescription to get it).
So what do you do if you don't know what you're fighting against?
The one thing that always remains constant is to have a healthy, strong immune system that can fight disease. It's been shown that some habits, supplements and herbs can have a beneficial effect on the immune system. There's lots of information on this subject, I'd like to share with you what I've found from experts in this area.
Helpful Immune Boosting Supplements:
Alpha Lipoic acid is a special antioxidant that recycles both vitamins C and E in the human body. By helping to utilize vitamin C and E better, it helps your immune efficiency.
Bee Pollen is a substance produced by bees when they pollinate flowers. It's a great energy and immune system booster, and was used by the late President Ronald Reagan.
CoQ10 is a nutrient, short for Coenzyme Q10 that is used in heart health and anti-aging.
Fish oil is a naturally occurring chemical in the bodies of fish. It contains omega 3, omega 6 and omega 9 fatty acids and is helpful for mental and physical health. Spectrum Essentials makes a good fish oil supplement that can be found in many health food stores.
Helpful Immune Boosting Herbs:
Oil of Oregano has been found to fight off many types of germs and improve immune health. North American Herb and Spice makes a good oil of oregano.
Super Greens types of supplements. If you don't eat enough fruits and vegetables, make up for it by taking a super green supplement that has lots of stuff like wheat grass, barley, alfalfa, etc.
A couple other products that look promising are:
"Km" is a potassium mineral supplement from a company called Matol. You can find it sold online and sometimes in the phone book.
"Higher Mind" is a supplement from a company called Source Naturals and contains several vitamins, minerals and herbs that not only improve concentration, but also work to improve the immune. This supplement can be found in many health food stores.
Habits you can do to keep a strong immune system.
After being out in public, don't touch your eyes or mouth and wash your hands often. Germs often stay underneath the fingernails so washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, focusing on the fingernails can go a long way towards stopping germs. If the person sneezing has the flu, everything in that room can be covered with flu virus with just a few sneezes. If you touch anything in that room, the virus is on your hand, and usually it finds it's way to your mouth. So try not to touch anything, don't touch your eyes or face and always wash your hands for 20 seconds after being in public.
Get out and do some exercise. Exercise helps to release stress and has been shown to improve the immune system by sending white blood cells zipping around the body to find intruders and kill them. After a few hours, the immune system returns to "normal" so exercise regularly to keep the white blood cell fighters working for you.
And when mentioning stress, find ways to get rid of stress in your life. You can do this by taking a good hard look at what exactly is stressing you out and then change your perspective of the situation. I know, it's not as easy as it sounds, so you'll have to establish priorities that are consistent with your own values and don't let anyone else interfere with them. Also, be sure to take short breaks throughout your workday. Some other things you can do to fight stress are to not take yourself too seriously.and listen to soothing, relaxing music that provides the time you need to just think and reflect on what's going on. Getting stressed just isn't worth the toll it takes on your health.
Maybe the bird flu will transfer to humans this year, maybe not. I like to think positive and believe that science will immecdiately spot it in the human variant and will quickly come up with a cure. Until that happens, it's best to have your immune system healthy and ready for anything that comes your way.
Jessica Deets has researched lots medical information and is concerned about what could happen regarding the bird flu. The website at http://www.bestfluinfo.com has more information about the bird flu.