Escaping Swine Flu


Typical symptoms: sudden fever (38C or above) and sudden cough 1. Other symptoms include: Tiredness and chills 2. Headache, sore throat, runny nose and sneezing 3. Stomach upset, loss of appetite, diarrhoea 4. Aching muscles, limb or joint pain Source: NHS

Today’s print media highlighted the possible shortage of swine flu vaccine (when it eventually becomes available). The Director-General of WHO, Dr Margaret Chan was even reported to have accused Western nations of hoarding the vaccine and appealed to the big pharmas to divert just 10% of the supplies to developing countries so as not to deprive the less fortunate.

There is also a sense of panic developing as the number of deaths throughout the world rise to 700 (see here). Currently, the only form of possible cure, apart from the vaccine, is by taking Tamiflu or Relenza capsules by mouth. But they don’t come cheap at USD 60 per course. Besides, supplies are scarce and they need to be taken within 48 hours of the onset of the symptoms to be effective.

So where does that leave most of us, especially those who don’t like popping pills?

A comforting fact is that 95% of those who contracted swine-flu recover from it without any complications – this is a reassuring fact that is not emphasized by media hype. Apart from this consolation, an important principle is that the virus attacks those with diminished immunity. That explains why many of those that succumbed are either elderly, the very young, pregnant women, sufferers of chronic disease or thse taking steroids.


How can one increase one’s immunity?

  • Leading a  healthy lifestyle. Hate to repeat it, but regular exercise, no smoking, enough sleep and reducing stress are indispensable pillars.
  • Hygienic measures. Perhaps the most important preventive measure is washing the hands. You need to cough and sneeze safely too, because the tiny droplets expelled can contain the virus.
  • Hydration. Drinking water often and adequately (about 2 litres daily) is an important measure too.
  • Supplements to enhance the immune system. Zinc, selenium and ginseng have these properties.
  • Antioxidants. No need to buy expensive over-the-counter stuff. Taking them naturally is even better – berries,green tea, dark chocolate, coffee and red wine all have antioxidants.
  • Staying away from crowded places. This comes in last in my book as many of us just can’t avoid this, especially public commuters!

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5 responses

  1. Doc,
    In some countries, the effects of swine flu has been minimal. Does that mean these countries will escape deaths?

    Doctor2008 replies: Too early to say,IMHO. There may be a second wave if the virus mutates and can invade previously resistant hosts.

  2. is the swine flu spread from pigs?

    Doctor2008 says: Yes, but pigs also get human flu viruses too. These viruses can change very quickly to adapt to the new environment. Want to know more..check out

  3. i have worked in a pig farm for 20+ years and every year there are at least 2-3 outbreaks of swine flu on the farm what i am surprised is that none of the workers or staff are affected by it.

    Doctor2008 says: Swine flu in general is not a lethal disease and very few die from it. Its possible for pig-farm workers to get it without even realising they got it.
    What’s unique about the present strain is that the virus has changed its DNA to make it able to attack humans and thereby cause more severe symptoms.

  4. Hi Doc,

    Your thoughts on this.

    “Dr. V. M. Palaniappan said that such activities caused the body to develop friction heat which in turn, produced acid and made the body hyperacidised.

    “Thus, the body becomes an easy target for H1N1 infection,” he told Bernama, emphasising however, that normal sexual union between members of the opposite sex was absolutely safe.”

    Reads like a load of poppycock to me.

    Doctor2008 comments: I believe the author is not a medical doctor in the first place. Its easy to make such statements, probably for publicity purposes, without solid scientific evidence. You make up your own mind…”

  5. While we are more likely to pick up swine flu from another person than from a pig, we still have to remember that the risk is still there. Everyone needs to be careful – particularly people who work with pigs.

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