Healthy Tips

Key Herbs that Prevents and Treats Swine Flu

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Ayurveda, India’s traditional ‘science of life,’ has the remedy for swine flu in the form of the basil leaves commonly known as Tulsi.

Tulsi is well known in India for its remarkable healing properties. But the anti-flu property of Tulsi has been discovered by medical experts across the world quite recently. Tulsi improves your body’s overall defense mechanism, including its ability to fight viral diseases.

Apart from acting as a preventive medicine, Tulsi can also help a patient recover faster.

Sources: Yahoo News August 12, 2009

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Warning: Swine Flu Shot Linked to Killer Nerve Disease

A warning that the swine flu vaccine has been linked to a deadly nerve disease has been sent by the UK Government to senior neurologists in a confidential letter.
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The letter from the Health Protection Agency, the official body that oversees public health, was leaked to The Daily Mail, leading to demands to know why the information has not been given to the public before the vaccination of millions of people, including children, begins.

It tells the neurologists that they must be alert for an increase in a brain disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), which could be triggered by the vaccine. GBS attacks the lining of the nerves, causing paralysis and inability to breathe, and can be fatal.

The letter refers to the use of a similar swine flu vaccine in the United States in 1976 when:

•More people died from the vaccination than from swine flu
•The vaccine may have increased the risk of contracting GBS by eight times
•The vaccine was withdrawn after just ten weeks when the link with GBS became clear
•The U.S. Government was forced to pay out millions of dollars to those affected
Concerns have already been raised that the new vaccine has not been sufficiently tested and that the effects, especially on children, are unknown.

Source: The Daily Mail August 15, 2009

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The Truth About Pandemics

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We are reeling under a surfeit of breaking news and scientific expert opinions about the swine flu pandemic. However, we need to remain focused and evaluate the statistics. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that there are approximately 1.2 million cases worldwide and around 1,000 deaths. In India, the fatalities are still in the double digits.

In contrast, tuberculosis (TB) causes 4,00,000 deaths in India annually. In fact, it is the leading cause of death in the economically productive 15 to 45 age group. However, TB can be easily diagnosed and cured with proper medication.

Around 450 out of 1,00,000 healthy young women die during childbirth. This is in contrast to China where the figure has fallen to 50. The WHO report states that the problem is magnified because the poor get inadequate care, while the rich demand and pay for caesarians and other non essential interventions.

Nineteen-year-old Saina Nehwal made headlines when she developed chicken pox a couple of weeks before the August 10 world badminton finals. She is part of the 95 per cent of the world population that develops chicken pox at some time in the course of their lives. It is an extremely contagious infection which is not taken seriously, as it usually results in innocuous disease. It can, however, turn dangerous and cause complications like brain fever, blindness, pneumonia and sterility in 10 per cent of those affected. If it occurs in childhood, it usually passes off with about a month’s absence from school. But if it occurs at a crucial stage in life like during your college finals or a public exam, it can cause much misery. The fact is such harassment is totally avoidable. The disease is preventable with a single dose of Varicella vaccine, which has to be administered after the age of one.

Pneumococcal disease causes pneumonia, brain fever, ear infection, sinusitis and bronchitis. The infection is common and results in 1.6 million deaths every year. Of this, one million are children. The death toll can be eliminated with timely immunisation in childhood. Infective jaundice because of hepatitis A and B can also be prevented with immunisation. Hepatitis A is considered harmless and exposure inevitable in India. Although the number of fatalities is negligible, it causes morbidity, with a feeling of “weakness”, lack of energy and ill health that persists for months. Hepatitis B is more dangerous. It can result in liver damage, chronic disease, cancer and even death. Again, both infections are preventable with immunisation.

Rubella or German measles is another disease that is preventable through vaccination. If acquired during pregnancy, the affliction can result in a stillbirth or a mentally retarded child with multiple defects requiring a lifetime of care. There are more vaccine preventable diseases such as measles, brain fever (caused by H. Influenzae or the meningococcal bacteria), typhoid, rotor virus diarrhoea, polio and even cervical cancer (caused by the Human Papillovirus infection).

Why then are we so focused on the swine flu epidemic? Flu has been around for centuries. Confirmed pandemics have been occurring with devastating regularity after 1918. The viruses responsible have a reservoir in birds and animals from where they mutate and transmigrate into humans. Since pigs share many genes with humans, the transition is this particular pandemic is very efficient. The rapid spread of the virus is helped by the lack of sunshine during the monsoon and in winter. It cannot survive long when exposed to our tropical sun, so in India the pandemic may be time bound.

It is difficult to differentiate the symptoms of regular flu from that of swine flu. Both start with fever, body ache, headache, sore throat, nasal stuffiness and cough. There may be diarrhoea or vomiting. The symptoms are more severe with swine flu. Most healthy people recover spontaneously from either. Those at risk are children under five, old people above 65, pregnant women and those with underlying medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease.

Vaccines are available, but they have to be “upgraded” and “restructured” each time there is a new epidemic, as the genetic nature of the virus changes. The WHO anticipates that a vaccine to protect us against this pandemic will be available by October or November. But will there be enough vaccine to cover the entire world (or even Indian) population at risk?

The diagnosis is confirmed by tests done on nasal and throat swabs or nasal aspirates. Blood tests can be done but they take five days and involve taking two different samples. Treatment too is available in government hospitals. The drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is administered once diagnosis is confirmed.

The likelihood of infection is reduced by:

• Washing hands with soap several times a day, especially after handling money

• Cleaning surfaces like doorknobs with disinfectant

• Using a face mask

• Covering the face while coughing or sneezing

• Not spitting.

Source: The Terlegraph (Kolkata, India)

Healthy Tips

10 Home Remedies to Avoid Swine Flu

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Are the rising swine flu casualties giving you jitters? Not sure how you can avoid falling prey to the growing epidemic? First and foremost, there  is absolutely no need to panic.

Watching television to keep tabs on the progress of H1N1, particularly in the badly affected areas like Pune, is all right. But don’t let the hysterical anchors get under your skin and start wearing a mask each time you step out of the house, unless you are visiting a very crowded area. Then too, the mask will protect you only for a specified period.

Without giving in to the swine flu panic and creating a stockpile of Tamiflu and N-95 masks at home and enriching pharma companies, there are a number of other measures you can take to ensure that the virus is not able to get you, irrespective of which part of the world you are in.

It is essential to remember that all kinds of viruses and bacteria can attack you when your immune system is weak, or they can weaken it easily. Hence, building your own defences would be a better, more practical, long-lasting and much more economical idea.

Here are some easy steps you can take to tackle a flu virus of any kind, including swine flu. It is not necessary to follow all the steps at once. You can pick and choose a combination of remedies that suit you best. However, if you are already suffering from flu, these measures can help only up to an extent. And, if you have been infected by H1N1, visiting a hospital and staying in solitary confinement is a must.

1. Have five duly washed leaves of Tulsi (known as Basil in English; medicinal name Ocimum sanctum) everyday in the morning. Tulsi has a large number of therapeutic properties. It keeps throat and lungs clear and helps in infections by way of strengthening your immunity.

2. Giloi (medicinal name Tinospora cordifolia) is a commonly available plant in many areas. Take a one-foot long branch of giloi, add five to six leaves of Tulsi and boil in water for 15-20 minutes or long enough to allow the water to extract its properties. Add black pepper and sendha (salt used during religious fasts), rock or black salt, or Misri (crystalised sugar like lumps to make it sweet) according to taste. Let it cool a bit and drink this kadha (concoction) while still warm. It will work wonders for your immunity. If giloi plant is not available, get processed giloi powder from Hamdard or others, and concoct a similar drink once a day.

3. A small piece of camphor (kapoor) approximately the size of a tablet should be taken once or twice a month. It can be swallowed with water by adults while children can take it along with mashed potatoes or banana because they will find it difficult to have it without any aides. Please remember camphor is not to be taken everyday, but only once each season, or once a month.

4. Those who can take garlic, must have two pods of raw garlic first thing in the morning.
To be swallowed daily with lukewarm water. Garlic too strengthens immunity like the earlier measures mentioned.

5. Those not allergic to milk, must take a glass of hot or lukewarm milk every night with a small measure of haldi (Turmeric) .

6. Aloe vera (gwarpatha) too is a commonly available plant. Its thick and long, cactus-like leaves have an odourless gel. A teaspoon gel taken with water daily can work wonders for not only your skin and joint pains, but also boost immunity.

7. Take homeopathic medicines
— Pyrogenium 200 and Inflenzium 200 in particular — five tablets three times a day, or two-three drops three times a day. While these are not specifically targeted at H1N1 either, these work well as preventive against common flu virus.

8. Do Pranayam daily (preferably under guidance if you are already not initiated into it) and go for morning jog/walk regularly to keep your throat and lungs in good condition and body in fine fettle. Even in small measures, it will work wonders for your body’s resistance against all such diseases which attack the nose, throat and lungs, besides keeping you fit.

9. Have citrus fruits, particularly Vitamin C rich Amla (Indian gooseberry) juice. Since fresh Amla is not yet available in the market (not for another three to four months), it is not a bad idea to buy packaged Amla juice which is commonly available nowadays.

10. Last but not the least, wash your hands frequently every day with soap and warm water for 15-20 seconds;
especially before meals, or each time after touching a surface that you suspect could be contaminated with flu virus such as a door handle or a knob/handle, especially if you have returned from a public place or used public transport. Alcohol-based hand cleaners should be kept handy at all times and used until you can get soap and warm water.

(The author is an avid reader and follower of alternative therapies including spiritual healing, ayurveda, yoga and homeopathy)

Source: The Times Of India

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Homeopathy Can Cure Swine Flu, Claims Practitioner

At a time the country is grappling with H1N1 virus and Tamiflu tablet is belived to be the only solution, a well-known medical practitioner
today claimed that people can have a cost-effective treatment in homeopathy for swine flu.

“The people can take some of cost-effective and clinically proved homeopathic medicines for swine flu treatment as well as prevention,” Batra’s Positive Clinic’s chairman and managing director, Dr Mukesh Batra, said.

Batra recommends `Oscilococcinium 30′ and `Influenzium 200′ for swine flu prevention as well as to improve the immune system among the general public towards the flu.

“The homeopathy medicine ‘Gelsemium 30’ has been proved effective clinically in the treatment of swine flu in France a decade back and has been reported in the British journal of Clinical Medicine,” Batra said.

Similarly, treatment for swine-flu was done in Spain during 1917-18 war period with ‘Bryonia 30’ and proved effective, he said.

In the case of Spanish flu, homeopathy brought mortality rate from 30 per cent to one per cent, he claimed.

Source: The Times Of India

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