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I thought I would take to opportunity to write about flu jabs from a personal perspective, as someone who, for the last few years has had one and as someone who is frequently asked why I do so? Firstly, I need to give you some history. I was born with severe asthma. I guess I still am asthmatic, although I feel very strange saying this now, as I am so well these days. My mother tells me I was very ill and I spent a lot of time in hospital. One time after a particularly bad attack I was put in an oxygen tent, which although I remember the events leading up to the attack, I have no recollection of. Another time one of my doctors wanted to hypnotise me out of the attack! I remember many a time waking in a panic during the night because my chest felt tight, I was wheezing and I couldn’t breathe. As I have grown older, my attacks have lessened, although from time to time I still have them. I think the asthma likes to show me it is still in control and it can be quite scary, when you have been feeling fine minutes earlier or worse still if you wake up in the night in the middle of an attack. I am a non-smoker, because cigarette smoke is one of my triggers, within seconds it can cause my chest to tighten and my breathing to deteriorate. Every winter, I would feel I was hit much worse by colds and flu, than everyone else. Without fail I would suffer with my chest and throat. I can’t remember the last time I had a cold and didn’t loose my voice, which is very weak throughout the year regardless. It seemed whilst everyone else was on the road to recovery I was still sick. Needless to say when the opportunity for a flu jab came along a few years ago I jumped at the chance to give it a try and I have had one each year since. Most people I speak to seem to be aware that flu jabs exist, however that is pretty much the extent of their knowledge. What follows is not a medical opinion,
it is simply my own experience and opinion, which I offer to raise awareness, in order that others can come to their own conclusion. Basically, when you have a flu jab, some of the virus is injected into you, in order that your body will produce antibodies to fight the infection. As a result, you may find yourself experiencing some mild symptoms shortly afterwards. The injection is no worse than any other, if you don’t like needles then you won’t like this but like me you can always look away and it will be over in seconds. Some swelling may occur in your arm and it may feel bruised but this will go away within a few days. The flu jab is different each year dependent on what the people in the know, think will be the best formulation for that year. If you have been in contact with a virus prior to your jab, you will still be susceptible to it for up to three weeks after, as this is how long it takes to get into system. However, it will protect you for one year. Flu jabs do not stop you getting colds and flu as common opinion would have it but they do reduce the severity. My own surgery, seems to have taken the stance that it is a good thing and they offer it to anyone with breathing disorders such as asthma or to people who are over 50. There are is not a limitless supply of the vaccine and therefore it is reserved for the categories of people mentioned above. Chances are, if you are healthy as an ox year round, you will not be given one. I personally find it a slightly bizarre concept, that in order to be healthy or healthier than I have been in the past, I have to have the virus injected into me, however, my experience has been a good one and I would recommend it to anyone who can relate to anything I have written above.
update : If you have THAT COUGH that is doing the rounds .........I have reason to believe it is caused by pollution ,because it keeps on coming back ,I am doing some research on it .It is very wide spread my friends in California ,have identical symptoms . Some remedies that help Arsen Alb ,Aconite if it is severe 6x potency ,take only while you have symptoms ,not otherwise. Steam breathing head over a bowl of hot water ,and inhale the steam being careful to not have this too hot.Keep your head at least 1 foot away from,with towel over head...very soothing. I have had asthma attacks with this cough,but fouhd these remedies work. Avoid extremes of temperature ,raise your pillows higher at night. Dont get me wrong,colds and Influenza ,are very unpleasant conditions of our bodies. So why have I made such a statement? Because It has been proven by alternative practitioners that the immune function exists,in different organs starting with the skin,then the respiratory tract,the alimentory tract ,then the kidneys and bladder ,and even deeper,the liver,pancreas and heart . So the respiratory tract,deals with toxins ,before they affect the deeper organs,even though it is very unpleasant,it helps the body ward off more serious diseases. Yes viruses are involved ,but a virus cannot latch so easily on to a healthy body.Though a healthy body will have a more strong reaction,if they do succumb ,but will suceed in giving the person better health later if the illness is allowed to take its course. You really have to be healthy to have these diseases ,because it is a healthy re-action,throwing out toxins. We live in a highly polluted environment in the UK ,due to incinerators,and the sheer volume of traffic including air traffic,these pollutants are very deadly to our poor bodies. A light diet is a good idea with a cold with plenty of vegetable soups and frui
t juices,and maybe a boiled egg.cut out starches bread etc ,a small helping of organic rice after 2 days ,for the next few days will help. Four things can help us to stay healthy,Vit C ,garlic,cider vinegar,and homeopathy can help us to recover from the really unpleasant symptoms,like sore throat,etc. Ferrum phos is good for temperatures, arsen alb for sore throats ,and cough,restless fever can be treated with pyrogen. Bryonia for more serious coughs,and lung ailments . If you can just treat Flu and colds with a light diet and rest it is better. For gastric symptoms I have found Arsen alb useful.Let your body take the symptoms for a couple of days before you resort to homeopathy, Do though, use Ferrum Phos 6x,for fever, the use of asprin should be an hour away from remedies. Ferr phos may cope with fever depending how strong your re-action is .....to be cont Only use Homeoepathic remedies while the symptoms last like fever, Coughs ,sore throat,gastric symptoms .I will list some symptom pictures ,at the end of this opinion. Update: How Homeoepathic Remedies work: Well they are homeopathic remedies . Bryonia is a *poisonous* berry in large (material doses). Ferrum phosphate is a mineral,in Homeopathic dilution,as is Arsenic a poison( arsen alb),*poisons can be used without any risk in homeopathy * ,because you are not getting the substance ,but you just have the energy ,like a fingerprint. What they do with these substances is boil thousands of times ,,each time throwing away the liquid ,until they have reached the energy of the substance,this enters into the realm of particle physics ,a bit like splitting the atom.They say it is the footprint of a molecule that is left behind. Then you take the remedy matching it exactly to your symptoms ,so what happens is an exchange ,your body accepts the remedy and throws out t
he illness ,a like substance cures a like illness .2 particles if recognizing themselves as mirror images ,one then destroys the other. Sounds a bit complicated ,but it even works with herbs .the liver remedies are mostly yellow ,the herbs resemble the complaints they treat. Like cures like. These remedies work on animals 3 of my cats were poisoned by something and all had severe breathing difficulties,their lives were saved by remedies that would have caused the same symptoms. One word of caution if you are elderly consult your doctor,or if you already suffer from a major illness,homeopathy may be contra-indicated ,the diet will still be helpful,though .to be cont Have Garlic every day during epidemics,or aged garlic pills(they are the best),but you cant beat fresh boiled garlic,in with the dish you have prepared ,also its a good idea to air you house /flat a couople of times a day,if you use gas have a bowl of warwe in the room . Also an Ioniser is a good idea ,as it helps to freshen the air,these are all flu preventatives.
IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN and there is going to be loads of people spluttering all over the show - but steer clear and you can reduce the chances of getting anything that will put you on the settee with an hot-water-bottle for a week, read on... HOW CAN WE HELP PREVENT AND THEN BEST TREAT THIS COMMON CURSE? WHEN DO WE NEED A DOCTOR? CAN WE AVOID IT ALL TOGETHER? Before I tell you about the common cold and flu, let me tell you something of my experience: Many years ago I suddenly, in the space of a few hours felt unwell. Banging head, aching joints, sore throat, coughing etc etc etc - you name it. My children were away on holiday with their Dad, and maybe I suddenly had the time to allow myself a bout of flu! - but this was like nothing before. It was a Sunday I’d been visiting relatives, but felt awful. Thought I should go home. Once there I just wanted to go straight to bed, so pulled a bottle of lemonade out of the fridge and off I went. I remember once waking up and trying to find the loo! I felt like I was drunk and so weak. Every part of me was somewhere else - it was awful! I was due in work the next day, so I just had to do what I thought was immediately the best thing - sleep. It was all I felt I could do anyway. I woke maybe once more I think, but could not see the clock, but it was dark, so knew I had a bit more time left. I drank a swig of the lemonade - the bottle felt so heavy, and within a second was asleep again. I woke and panicked - it was 3.30pm!! Oh my goodness - My boss will kill me! Picked up the phone at the side of my bed and rang my boss ‘Sorry, so sorry - I’m really ill and I’ve really overslept... I’ll never get there now with any time to do anything, I’m soaking wet with sweat, I feel so groggy and awful and .... ‘ - I was stopped in my tracks... ‘Faye - its Wednesday, I’ve been ringing you, we’ve all been worried about you.. what o
n earth has happened to you?’ Wednesday!!! I’d missed nearly three days! Within a few hours I had almost learnt to walk again, ate for the first time since a Sunday morning slice of toast, and made a brew. By the evening I felt a lot better, by the next day when I went in work, they probably thought I was swinging the lead. I really did appear okay. It was a flu - that’s it, just a simple flu - but who would imagine that you can literally have phones ringing constantly less than a yard away and never hear it - not me. But that’s the simple cold or flu for you! But it’s scary to think about when it can take half the week away in just one sleep... Now I don’t expect this is typical - but what can we do about the oncoming winter curse of the common cold and flu that can range from general misery to almost unconsciousness? Well I’ve made it my business to try to find out for you... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CATCHING COLDS AND FLU. HOW LIKELY, AND HOW WILL WE CATCH IT? There is one sure thing for colds and flu - there’s a lot of it about. How much is actually about varies from year to year, but you can be sure that you will catch this sometime. It must be the golden age of colds and flu. So many people crowd together indoors in winter, at home, at work, at school, and in travelling. This makes the chances of coming into close contact with someone who has one of the viruses so much more probable. Even though the viruses are quite hard to catch, this means there are a lot of chances when you are exposed to them in everyday life. They are also travelling all around the world in a matter of hours. Colds and flu are having a very successful jet-set life travelling all around the world, and not just where it is cold, they are also in the home in the heat. WE ARE ALL EXPOSED to these viruses on a regular basis, but we do not get an infection every time. The gre
at majority of times our body’s defences work well and we are not infected. Less often we are infected, but our body’s defences act quickly to kill the infection, without us ever being aware that we have been infected. Less often still we are infected and suffer mild symptoms. Thankfully, least often of all, we catch the virus and have a really bad infection. How bad our infection becomes therefore depends on chance, the strength of the virus, and our body’s defences. THE USUAL WAY WE CATCH THE VIRUS is to breathe them in on droplets in the air when someone sneezes. They can also easily be caught by touching something with the virus already on it, such as a cup, door handle, or telephone. The virus sticks to our hand, and then we touch our eye or nose and it sticks there. From our eye it is washed down with our tears or hands into the nose. The virus attacks the cells lining the nose and throat, and infects them. It only takes one virus to infect one cell. Each infected cell is taken over by the virus, and it makes many copies of itself, kills the cell, and releases these new viruses to infect other cells. This happens so quickly that within 12 hours of first arriving there may be a million cells killed in the nose and throat. The nose and throat are now awash with viruses, and this is the time when we are most likely to pass the infection on to someone else. Usually by blowing (or wiping) or touching our nose with our hands, and touching something else before washing them. What we touch could be a door handle, a light switch, a telephone, a newspaper or a cup. The virus is infectious, and waiting for someone to touch it, and then touch their eye or nose, and spread the infection. Sneezing also spreads the infection into the air. One day you are around someone sneezing and coughing, or sat next to someone on the bus going to work, or you could be served in a shop by the assistant who can’t afford to take th
e day off.... you may not even notice they have a cold or flu... there’s a million possibilities... but somehow... YOU ARE NOW THE RELUCTANT OWNER OF A COLD OR FLU INFECTION! - Great eh? But can it be avoided? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PREVENTING COLDS AND FLU: Become a hermit? Seems at first to be the only way to prevent yourself catching the cold or flu virus, because they are caught from other people. The more people you come into contact with, then the more chance you have of catching it. If there is a lot of infection about then you may be able do some things to help. Hire a video rather than go to the cinema. Travel by car rather than by bus, tube or train. All a bit silly and there are of course limits.... Yet simple measures will do to start with... Washing your hands regularly will minimise your chances of catching these viruses. This is because as I’ve said, most times you actually catch colds and flu by touching something with the virus on it, and then touching your eye or nose. You can also catch the virus through the air by someone sneezing, but there’s not so much you can do about this. Simple measures such as staying away from the people that are obviously spluttering and coughing, using your own cup only in work and even at home will help, washing your hands regularly is often the single most effective measure, and at home rather than out. All these things on their own will help to eliminate the risk you are at of it. Your lifestyle can really help your body be in the best health to fight cold and flu viruses:- Eat a balanced diet including plenty of fruit and vegetables. Alcohol in moderation. More than 28 units a week for men, and 21 units for women is not good for your health and will generally give you groggy days that make you more likely to infections. Drink plenty of fluids. We all tend to drink too little. Th
e water balance in your body is important, and it helps your health. If you find water boring, try to drink as much as you can and also have weak tea, fruit juice etc. Keep fit. You don’t need to become a super athlete, but you do need to do something regularly to give your body some work to do. Half an hours walking, four times a week is a good target to aim for as a minimum. (Its not as much as it sounds) More than this helps in other ways. Over exercising is not good for your body. Super-athletes get more colds than normal believe it or not!! Have enough rest. Your body needs to be regularly recharged to be in good health. No smoking. Even breathing in other people’s smoke makes your health worse. Smokers do not get more colds and flu, but when they do get it the symptoms are worse, and last longer. If you must smoke, then try cutting down as much as possible especially at this time of the year. And avoid smoke-rooms and areas in work if at all possible. Control stress. Easy to say, harder to do. Being under stress can double your chance of catching a cold. The body is often most vulnerable when you calm down after a bout of stress. I will talk about off-the-shelf remedies later, but remember... SUPPLEMENTS CAN improve your health, and make your body more able to fight off infections. This means that even though you are exposed to the same number of viruses, your body is better able to fight back, and you get fewer infections. Supplements that can be used are:- Vitamin C can help your body fight an infection by boosting your immune response. Zinc can help to fight infection as well. Echinacea is a herbal product to boost the immune system. Garlic is sometimes recommended. Multi-vitamins and minerals... It is probably a good idea to think about starting to take a supplement now ready for the winter. If you are not sure which you will be best suited to,
take a multi-vitamin especially formulated to suit you. There are supplements for men, women, children, over 50’s etc etc... and antioxidants are recommended. Specific supplements tend to gear themselves to your most likely specific needs. FLU VACCINES can help build up your resistance to flu. They are given by your doctor or nurse if they think you are particularly at risk to the effects of catching flu. They only give protection to the four or so types of flu in this year’s vaccine, and the effects only last about a year. There are no vaccines for colds. Help others not catch your colds and flu - keep them to yourself and don’t pass them on! The first few days of having a cold or flu are when you are most likely to pass the virus on to someone else. Stay away from others, wash your hands regularly, and sneeze into tissues - which must be disposed of without passing on the infection, as they are covered in active viruses! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ TREATING A COLD OR FLU - but before we get to that lets look at a few old sayings... THERE ARE LOTS OF OLD WIVES TALES ABOUT THE THEORY AND CURES OF COLDS AND FLU. This is probably because whatever you do about them, they will get better on their own, in their own time. The trouble is that the infection often gets better despite what is recommended, rather than because of it! There is a lot you can do to reduce your chances of catching colds and flu. There is also a lot you can do to treat the symptoms, and make them as mild as possible. Here are a few old wives tales that a lot of people still believe, which are just not so:- I won't pass on my cold as long as I don't breathe on anyone! It’s not the breathing that matters it’s sneezing that counts. If you have a cold or flu, then the best way of keeping it to yourself is to keep your sneezes in a tissue. Dispose of carefully. Feed
a cold, starve a fever! This was probably thought-up before there was anything you could do for a fever, or high temperature. Anyone with a really high temperature will not be thinking about eating. We now know that nutrition is important all the time, especially when you are ill. When you are ill only eat when you feel hungry, but then eat the right sort of things to help you back to health. Remember supplements and water will help. If I take medicines each time I get a cold it's bound to loose its effectiveness, and eventually won't work for me anymore! Not true, as the things you can take to help with colds and flu are there only to relieve the symptoms, and help your body fight back against the infection. You can't get one cold straight after another! Oh yes you can! In fact if you don’t look after yourself when you have a cold, then you will increase your chances of getting another one soon. The resistance you get from fighting one cold infection only helps you fight off exactly the same strain of virus. Remember that there are well over 200 different strains to catch at any one time. You should go to the doctor when you have a cold or flu... Not normally. Antibiotics do not kill viruses, only bacteria. Colds and flu are caused by viruses, so antibiotics have no effect. There is nothing that the doctor can give you that you can not get from your pharmacy. Taking medicines prevents the body fighting the cold. Not true. Even though there is nothing that will cure the infection, there is still a lot you can take to help your body fight the infection, and get you back in action quicker. They also help you feel much better while the infection is there. Colds and are caused by sitting in a draught, getting cold, or being caught in the rain! A draught, or sitting on a cold doorstep isn’t the problem. As I’ve said - touching and sneezing are probably the worse direct cu
lprits! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ TREATING THE SYMPTOMS. Your local chemist probably has all you need for most symptoms like: Temperature/fever: Plenty to drink, the right clothing, the right medicine - possibly as simple as aspirin or paracetamol, and tepid sponging are all important to control a high temperature. Knowing how to take a temperature helps, and when to call the doctor. Lemsip and Beechams have a fairly good range of products these days. Runny nose - get something to help to stop your nose being red and drippy, and they will also help to clear a blocked nose. Inhalations vapour products are very popular, and can help you to feel more comfortable. Olbas oil or vicks rub are quite good. Sore Throat - taking or sucking something to soothe the throat will help. If the throat is really bad then there are stronger products to numb the throat, and really ease the pain . Strepsils, chloraseptic sprays and antiseptic lozenges are excellent aids. Coughs - there are two completely different types of cough mixture. The sort that you will normally need with colds and flu is the cough suppressant, which calms down the cough. The other type is an expectorant which helps to bring up phlegm from the chest. This type can increases the amount you cough. It is important to use the right sort. There are countless bottles around, so ask the chemist or try Benylin, sudafed, buttercup syrup, and Hills Bronchal Balsom are all worth looking at. But read the bottle for the type and only buy it if it’s right for you. Blocked ears - if things sound dull and far away you need something to clear this, as it is normally caused by catarrh blocking the tube between the throat and the inner ear. Speak to the Pharmacist for a good product that is suited to your particular problem. Take a careful combination of products, or use one of the all-in-one remedies which treat
a combination of symptoms. Children - there are special medicines for children, which are specially formulated for children's tastes - these are much better than lower doses of the adult ones and much easier to monitor the amounts they take. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ OFF TO THE DOCTOR? So...When DO you need to See Your Doctor? Got to be careful what I say here as I’m obviously not a doctor. We know our own bodies best don’t we?? Hmmmm, well yes - but we can feel like we are dying when we are suffering the depths of this rotten curse of a cold or flu - but of course we’re not. So, where do we draw the line? It is not normally necessary to see your doctor about colds and flu unless there is a particular reason to do so. Remember that antibiotics can do nothing to help, as they only kill bacteria, and colds and flu are both caused by viruses. For a normal bout of cold or flu your pharmacist can help you with better remedies than your doctor can recommend. It is difficult to give a hard and fast list of when you should see your doctor, and I should stress again that I am no expert - so if your worried or feel you need to then I have to say you must go, but here is a list which covers the main sorts of thing to look out for:- If you are vulnerable - If you are frail or in poor health. If you suffer from medical conditions which make you particularly vulnerable to the effects of an infection, such as asthma. If you are taking medicines which can make you vulnerable, such as steroids. If your symptoms seem more severe than you would expect from a normal bout of cold or flu. If it drags on for too long - much longer than one or two weeks, which is usual for a normal bout of cold or flu. Remember that a dry cough can last for a week or two after you have recovered from the infection. If you have a high temperature - and you are treating it properly, and it shows n
o sign of calming down after it a number of hours. Typical temperatures to look out for are over 38.5ºC (101ºF) in adults, or 39ºC (102ºF) in children. Chest problems - Colds and flu normally affect the nose and throat, but they can go down onto your chest, or make it easy for other infections to take hold there. This can be serious, especially if you are not fully fit to fight the infection and can lead to bronchitis or pneumonia. Signs to watch for are cough where you cough up coloured phlegm or blood, difficulty breathing such as tightness in the chest, wheezing, or other difficulties in breathing or chest pains. If you have a cough which gets a lot worse at night you may need to have it checked for asthma. Colds and flu can often produce a sore throat, but if this is really bad it can indicate problems. Things to watch out for include difficulty swallowing, painful swollen glands, thick white or yellow spots on the back of the throat. Sometimes a tube from the throat to the ear can get blocked with catarrh, so that things sound dull, and far away. This is not normally serious, and you should treat it. If there is pain in the ear this could easily be a serious condition, and you should see your doctor . Sinusitis is an infection in the area around the nose, eyes and cheeks. This can give a bad pain in one or more of these areas. You should treat yourself and see your doctor if it’s bad. MENINGITIS is always a worry, especially in children, but is thankfully rare. If someone gets very rapidly worse with flu-like symptoms over an hour or two then call the doctor at once, without delay. Check out the local hospital for advice on meningitis immediately. PHONE IF NECESSARY: If you feel you need to go to the doctor, but your still not sure then phone him... If you are worried it is best to discuss your symptoms over the phone rather than making an appointment to see your doctor. He will often be able to help just as much and
be grateful that you have both saved him time and this will also help to stop you spreading the infection around unnecessarily. Many surgeries expect to receive calls that they can call back once surgery is over, rather than call out to visit. Many doctors spend far more time than they have visiting people with simple colds - often not even serious enough to call a flu. My most serious bout of this was pretty unforgettable - but I’ve probably had it nearly every other year to some extent or another. Last year I took the advice I’m giving you (as much as is humanly possible) and managed to steer clear. This year - I’m not getting it again - I’ve decided I’m going to do everything right, and give myself every chance of avoiding it again!! (Fingers crossed) But I only have to come across one person with it, and there could go my plan! Just imagine how many people you come across on an average day - if only 1 in 10 of them catch your virus that is too many, so... - DO NOT go to work - especially if you work with food or with the public. - Tell them I said you had to stay off until you are better!! :f) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Influenza A and B are the major types of influenza viruses that cause human upper respiratory disease.