Monday, August 24, 2009

FLU : Hype, Truth & Precautions.

Every year millions of people die of influenza in this world unnoticed and uncovered by our holy media. May be the virus has mutated a bit this time round. These are very small germs that might, under some circumstances, produce diseases. Mutation, in simple language, means that these viruses are like chameleons. They change their genetic make up sometimes very fast. This is our bane of controlling them. It only takes a few days for a virus to mutate and when it does that all our efforts to identify them drugs against the virus as also the vaccine lose their meaning. Mask will not protect healthy people against the disease in society. If one is attending to the infected, one needs to have the mask to avoid direct droplets from the patient falling into the nose or eyes etc. This virus does not float in the air all by itself for the mask to stop it. The virus is carried in small droplets from the patients' mucus secretions. Mask is a must for every patient to avoid spraying the droplets in his/her surroundings, especially if one is in a crowd or a closed aircraft cabin etc. Over crowding helps the virus to spread easily. Shaking hands is a deadly exercise in this setting. Door knobs, railings, utensils used by an infected person, kissing someone with the virus, close contact with infected people who are incubating the virus, table tops etc carry the virus even up to 48 long hours. Indian system of “Namaste” (greeting with hands folded, palms touching each other) is very healthy practice. Your best bet is to meticulously clean your hands with simple soap and water (not chemical detergent soaps) as frequently as is possible or, at least, before touching your nose, eyes and mouth. During travel or hospital visits one does well to carry a bottle of alcohol hand cleaners for use where soap and water are scarce. They are very effective. Plenty of rest, adequate sleep, nourishing but, simple foods like fruits and vegetables, not too much spoiled by over cooking and frying, avoiding cooked meat to the extent possible; plenty of water to keep the mucus membranes wet; regular non-strenuous exercise that boosts the immune system, avoiding smoking and alcohol, happy disposition with Yoga and adequate oxygenation of all the cells including those in the immune system by Praanaayaama should help to prevent this dread. Try to do proper Yoga under a professional teacher. Do not pay heed to rumours and baseless advices OR crowd talks.

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