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Keep Your Family Healthy This Holiday Season

Young mother and her daughters by a fireplace on Christmas
Once you or your family is infected with the flu virus, it is not easy to treat the infection. Just as in many other conditions, prevention of the diseases is the surest way to stay safe. With just a careful attention to hygiene, you can prevent the various flu viruses from reaching your family. As well, the inclusion of immunity boosters can come in handy for you and your family. Moreover, you can always avoid a full blown illness by acting quickly when you notice the first symptom. Here are some of the ways to prevent the flu from catching your family.

Taking up good hygiene practices

There is a myriad of means to observe proper hygiene and consequently keep off the flu and other diseases. One such way is by ensuring you wash your hands. It is an easy way to prevent both contraction and the spreading of the flu virus. Washing hands reduce significantly the proliferation of bacteria ant the flu virus from cold surfaces. Ensure your family follows these steps in washing their hands

  • Before applying soap to your hands, ensure you wet them. Scrub your palms vigorously for about twenty seconds ensuring that under your nails, the spaces between your fingers and the back of your palm are reached properly.
  • Use running water to rinse your hands and use a clean towel to dry them
  • If you can’t locate and soap and water, rub your hand on a hand sanitizer.

Ensure everyone in the family covers their nose and mouth whenever they cough or sneeze.

This should be done by putting their hands in both the nose and mouth whenever there is the need to sneeze. Doing this will considerably mitigate the risk of spreading the germs and viruses

  • Each time you develop the urge to sneeze or cough consider doing so into the crook of your elbow. This will help to avoid contaminating you’re going all over spreading germs to other people.
  • After doing so, throw away the tissue you used immediately and embark on the hand washing process.

Sanitize the places you share

Cold and flu virus spread very easily especially on shared surfaces and spaces such as bathrooms and kitchen. Disinfecting these areas of your house will take you a long way in ensuring the flu virus does not spread.

  • Focus the cleaning on shared areas including bathroom sinks, kitchen counters toilets and the kitchen sink. As well, do not forget the door handles.
  • There are a variety of surface disinfectants available in local stores. In shopping for the disinfectants, you may want to consider one that will provide you will protection against the several strains of the virus.

Boosting your immunity

Even as there is no cure for influenza, you can always get a vaccination against the disease on a yearly basis. This can significantly help to strengthen your immunity against the influenza virus during cold seasons. Ask your doctor whether getting the vaccination would be a good idea for you. When opting for the vaccination, you may want to consider the following in mind

  • Ensure you get the vaccine yearly. The vaccine you had in the previous year can never carry over into the next year.
  • Be aware that you may feel some soreness at the injection site.
  • Report to your doctor any side effects including fever, soreness and body aches.
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Eating Correctly During Sick Season

Sick woman

Image is from Huffington Post

When winter arrives, you know it’s the flu season. In this season, be sure to brace yourself to avoid the disease. While some people will still go for their regular workouts in the gym, it is not recommended. However, you must maintain your health not only during the flu season by all year round. You do this by not only regular and consistent fitness regime, but also a healthy diet that keeps you strong and healthy as well as helps you in fighting the disease. You may have probably wondered how can keep yourself healthy during this season. It is possible to take steps to prevent illness and also to avoid the spread to others.

Wash your hands

Foremost before thinking of anything else, you must wash your hands with clean water and ensure they are clean. Regular hand washing is one of the surest methods of avoiding the spread of germs to others. During the winter months, it is cold, and that means flu is all over and can easily be contracted. The following are some of the important tips to note

  • Ensure you are well versed with hand washing techniques. Rub your hands together while running warm water on them for about twenty seconds. Use a mild hand soap to do this.
  • Whenever you touch your mouth or nose, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly. As well, ensure you wash your hands before taking any meal.

Eat healthy

The various kinds of foods you take into your body have a significant impact on your overall health. Eating a well-balanced diet is vital as it can help in support of your immune system. Ensure you eat right to assist in the staving off of flu and other winter diseases.

  • Aim at getting multiple servings of vegetables daily. Carrots, parsnips, and turnips are good vegetable servings for winter. You can take them in various forms including roasting them or just mixing them into warnings of soups.
  • Increase your dairy intake. Milk and dairy products contain lots of vitamins including A and B12 which are vital in keeping you healthy during the cold winter.
  • Try to find low-fat milk as well as reduced fat cheese. Greek yogurt and light cottage cheese is another meal you can try as well.

Limit sugar intake

Limiting sugar intake can significantly strengthen your immunity system. If you have a diet which is low in refined sugar can be of great assistance in getting rid of the influenza virus and colds. These are some of the steps you can take to ensure you limit your sugar intake

  • Watch what you are drinking. Drinks such as sodas and fruits drinks do contain large amounts of sugar.
  • Switched to iced tea or water. These beverages will quench your thirst minus adding sugar to your diet.
  • Whenever you feel that you have a craving for anything sweet, try a piece of fruit. It contains natural sugar that is better for your body than the refined sugars.

Try home remedies

Zinc can be of great help in speeding your recovery. Another important thing you can try is essential oils. They have a myriad of healing properties. Just ensure they are properly mixed. Make a mixture of rosemary, peppermint lemon, eucalyptus and lemon oils. You will need water to mix a few drops of each.

Flu can be very discomforting. Use the nuggets above to help you with quick healing.

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Myths About Flu Shots


There are many myths surrounding the flu vaccine that may prevent people from getting their annual flu shot. This can have dire consequences for at-risk populations such as seniors, infants, and the immuno-compromised. At best, the flu is no fun. At worst, it can be deadly. Why then do people skip or avoid a flu shot?

Help protect these vulnerable populations by increasing your knowledge of the of how the flu vaccine works and what the risks are of taking and avoiding the annual vaccine by separating fact from fiction.

Here are some of the most common myths about flu shots.

MYTH: The flu shot doesn’t work.

The CDC cites statistics showing a 74% reduction in pediatric intensive care admissions by vaccinating against the flu from 2010-2012. A 2016 study on seniors showed a 57% reduction in influenza hospitalizations. Studies also show significant reductions in severe influenza illness in people with diabetes (79%) and chronic lung disease(52%).

The benefits go beyond these at-risk populations, with a myriad of studies showing significant reductions in flu-related illness based on vaccinating yearly against the flu.

MYTH: I got sick anyway.

If you’ve ever heard someone say they got a flu vaccine, yet still got the flu–they might be right. That doesn’t mean the flu vaccine didn’t work though. Flu vaccines are based on the previous year’s most common and virulent strains of influenza. With so many influenza strains, not every option will be protected against, especially as viruses mutate and new strains arise.

While it can’t catch every flu out there, the flu vaccine will help protect you from the worst known cases.

MYTH: The flu shot gives you the flu.

The flu shot gives you inactivated viruses. This form of virus cannot be spread (another common myth). This virus form also will not give you an active flu infection. The shot does, however, stimulate your immune response (which is a good thing). Many people will experience a mild reaction from this.

If you get a severe cold right after getting the flu shot, you’re timeline just doesn’t match up. As the flu vaccine takes a week or two to provide full protection, it isn’t responsible for your cold. Chances are, you were already getting sick and didn’t know it. The flu vaccine also does not protect against influenza, not other viruses such as rhinoviruses.

MYTH: The flu isn’t that bad.

Actual influenza is more than just a bad cold, although it may produce similar symptoms including sore throat, cough, and fever. In the United States alone 36,000 people die every year and over 200,000 are hospitalized from the flu annually.

MYTH: If I get sick, I can just get antibiotics.

Antibiotics work great for bacterial infections, unfortunately the flu isn’t an infection – it’s a virus. If you do catch the flu, there are treatments– but no one-size cure all.

MYTH: Vaccines cause autism.

There’s no need to go into detail here. Vaccines do not cause autism. According to the CDC, vaccines and vaccine ingredients do not cause autism.

MYTH: It’s too late in the season to get vaccinated.

Is it too late to get sick? Then it’s not too late to get vaccinated. While getting vaccinated at the beginning of the season provides you the best option to build immunity early, getting vaccinated at any time throughout flu season will still provide protection should you come in contact with the influenza virus.

For more information on flu shots, talk to your local health practitioner.

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Understanding Polio


Image is from GOOD Magazine

Poliomyelitis, popularly known as polio is a crippling, infectious and potentially harmful viral infection transmitted by the poliovirus. The virus can spread from a person to another and acts swift once in the body, infecting the brain and spinal cord.

The result is paralysis and potential death. Even though the virus isn’t common in most developed countries, polio could me a menace to people who travel out of the country often.

Poliovirus Transmission and Infection

The primary mode of transmission is via person-to-person contact. The virus resides in the human mouth or intestines meaning that it can be transmitted through contact with human excrement even in the tiniest bit.

A less common infection route is by inhaling sneeze or cough droplets. Any traces of feces in your hands when touching your mouth or putting infected items like toys into your mouth could lead to an infection.

Since infected people can be carriers for up to two weeks, it is hard to know who to avoid as apparently healthy people could be a threat. This combined with the fact that the virus can live out of the human body for weeks means that the risk of infection from contaminated food or water is very high especially in low sanitation areas.

Popular Poliovirus infection Symptoms

Most of the people with the poliovirus will show no visible symptoms. Worse still, up almost 25 percent of the infected will have nothing more than flu-like symptoms. These could be

  • A sore throat
  • Fever, nausea and tiredness
  • Headache and stomach pain

These symptoms could linger for a week or so before they ebb depending on whether your immune system was strong enough to fight off the virus or not.

If unaddressed the virus could develop into serious brain and spinal cord injury causing:

  • A constant feeling of pins and needles in your legs (paresthesia)
  • Meningitis (the infection of the spinal cord, brain or both)
  • Paralysis

Paralysis is the worst of the poliovirus infection symptoms. If the patient is lucky, the paralysis could affects limbs leaving the person disabled. In rare but more severe cases, the virus could affect core muscles, for instance muscles controlling your breathing hence leading to death.

When Does the Poliovirus Infection Become Polio?

Poliomyelitis, by definition, is a paralytic disease. Consequently, only people whose poliovirus infection results into paralytic disease are technically considered to have the disease.

With no actual control over how the virus will react once in the human body, it is always safe to stay clear of the virus.

Poliovirus Infection Prevention

As with most viral infections, preventing the infection is always better than trying to cure it. As of to date, there is no known cure for polio. The best medicine can offer to infected individuals is:

  • A proper nutritious diet
  • Bed rest with pain relievers
  • Moderate physical therapy to keep the muscles working
  • Drugs and medication to control the virus’ spread and effect

While things like improved sanitation and personal hygiene might reduce the spread of the virus, it is wise to take the polio virus at the designated times. There is a total of four shots in the regime.

  • When two months old
  • When four months old
  • Six to 18 months old
  • Between four and six years

Adults could also consider taking the vaccine when traveling to high prevalence areas. Even though the immunity gathered from childhood vaccines would be enough to keep you safe as long as you live, it would do you no harm to get an extra shot when you can.

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Understanding the Swine Flu


Image is from Flowing Data

Obtaining A Diagnosis

The only way to accurately diagnose swine flu is through a flu test. This is because the symptoms of swine flu look exactly the same as those found in conventional strains of influenza. Even differences of severity aren’t always indicators of one strain or another. While it is possible to see increased symptomatic characteristics stemming from swine flu, it’s just as possible to acquire this strain and feel as though you’ve contracted a regular bout of the flu. How you are affected will depend largely upon your personal constitution.

The extremely young and extremely old, like with conventional strains of the flu, will be at increased risk; likely experiencing more severe symptoms. This is because older and younger populations have immune systems which aren’t as strong as those in the prime of life. That said, if you live an unhealthy lifestyle replete with regular contact to diverse people groups, lack of exercise, and a ubiquity of vice (like smoking and drinking), you’re at an increased risk of contracting more severe influenza strains.

A Distinct History

There are actually quite a few different kinds of swine flu, including:

  • H1N1
  • H1N2
  • H2N1
  • H3N1
  • H3N2
  • H2N3

Primarily, the strain commonly referred to as “Swine Flu” is the H1N1 virus. This is that which caused a pandemic which quickly became global seven years ago, in 2009. Since then, this strain of flu has become seasonal in humans, though it still regularly circulates in swine populations. Thankfully, if you’re planning on eating pork, so long as any pork products you consume have been properly prepared, you won’t get the virus. Proper preparation includes cooking; so if you like your bacon soft and rubbery, you might have to give that up to avoid swine flu.

Avoiding Swine Flu

While properly prepared pork will not get you sick, it’s very possible to acquire the virus through poorly prepared pork products. If you can tone down your pork intake during flu season, it’s a good idea; even though you likely won’t catch the flu this way. It’s more likely to get transmitted by a sneeze, a cough, a loud phlegmy laugh, or contacting a door handle/table/hand-rail that’s been touched by an infected individual. Regular hygiene practices go a long way toward preventing influenza. That means washing your hands when you’ve come into contact with areas that may have been compromised, eating a diet high in non-processed foods that include fruits and vegetables, regularly exercising, and retaining a high level of fluids.

Additional Preventative Measures

Getting a swine flu vaccine can definitely help reduce your risk of contracting this specific strain of the flu. But to get that vaccine, you should be advised that peak health is to be recommended. A vaccine initiates an immune system response which bears some characteristics of the sickness itself. This is because an inert (or weakened) antigen is injected into the body, giving the immune system a chance to deal with it and prepare for a future incursion of the same.

Times Of Maximum Risk

Flu season conventionally begins toward the end of September, though it can begin as early as late August. It usually lasts through early spring. Conventionally, you’ll find that influenza season picks up at the end of Summer/the middle of Autumn. Several things which contribute are regular vacation travels, the new school year, and holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving where disparate people groups regularly mingle. For you and your family, retaining good eating and fitness habits, as well as a proper inoculation regimen, are great ways to combat this increasingly prominent strain of the influenza virus.

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4 Illnesses That Are Common in the Winter


Images is from Live and Learn

Learn about the most common winter illnesses and what you can do to fight them.

As the leaves began to fall off the trees and temperatures drop, illnesses such as the flu peak. Many viruses are more likely to spread in the winter. There are several reasons for this. Dry cold air makes it easier for viruses to get into your nasal passages and some germs, such as influenza, are more stable and stay in the air longer when the air is dry and cold. Plus, more people are indoors in the winter. Being indoors with all the doors and windows shut make it more likely that you will be exposed to germs. Here are some of the most common winter illnesses and ways that you can prevent them.


Influenza, also called the flu is a respiratory virus that is caused by influenza. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the flu virus is at its peak from November through March in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu is prevalent from May through September.

Symptoms of the flu include body aches, high fever, coughing, sore throat and runny nose. Flu is contagious and spreads from person to person by sneezing and coughing. It may also spread through infected surfaces. Populations most susceptible to serious complications from the flu include the elderly and very young as well as those with impaired immune systems.

The best way to prevent the flu is to make sure that you and everyone in your house is vaccinated against the flu. The flu can be treated with Tamiflu if it is diagnosed within 48 hours. Otherwise, the illness has to run its course.


Cold air can trigger asthma symptoms and causes wheezing and shortness of breath. Allergens are often a major contributor to asthma. Being indoors leads to breathing in mold, dust and dander, all of which are asthma triggers. Wind and rain also stir up allergens. Working out in the cold weather can also exacerbate asthma, making it more difficult to breathe. Ways to deal with asthma in the winter include:

  • Understand and avoid your triggers-If you are allergic to dust mites or mold, keep your house cool and dry.
  • Exercise indoors
  • Cover your face when you go outdoors


Noroviruses, also known as the “winter vomiting bug” is notorious for ruining cruise passenger’s vacations and causing entire ships to turn back around for port. Noroviruses strike not only cruise passengers, but those on dry land, as well. It is common on cruise ships due to the fact that they are highly contagious. Noroviruses spread through contaminated food and surfaces. Cruise ships provide the perfect setting for noroviruses due to the large number of people confined to a relatively small area. The symptoms of norovirus include diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps. The best way to prevent norovirus is to wash your hands frequently.


Bronchitis is the irritation and swelling of the air passages of the lungs. This illness most often occurs in winter and is often a complication of another illness, such as the flu or asthma. Frequent coughing is the most common symptom of bronchitis. Although it is usually not a serious illness in healthy individuals, it can lead to pneumonia in certain individuals. If the condition does not go away in two weeks, contact your health care physician. To reduce the risk of bronchitis, wash your hands frequently and get vaccinated for the flu.

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