Posts made in May, 2015

Flu Fighting Foods

Posted by on May 22, 2015 in Health Topics | 0 comments

Flu Fighting Foods

Instead of battling with winter colds and flu, try using natural remedies to overcome these ailments With winter fast approaching, sniffles, colds and flu are imminent. Babies and young children go to crèche or primary school, where they are exposed to a variety of germs through coughs and runny noses. Older children are exposed to the same germs, and on top of this, have to contend with the stress of writing tests and exams. All of this takes its toll on the immune system, sending our little ones on a downward spiral of winter colds and flus. When it comes to diet, there are a few foods that can help stave off the germs, or at least, soothe the symptoms. Chicken Soup It could be that chicken soup makes you feel better, just because of its comfort factor. But studies have found that it has anti-inflammatory properties, helping with sore throats, while also being a decongestant and keeping you hydrated. Scroll to the bottom of the article for a recipe. Garlic Garlic’s natural antibiotic properties help to relieve the symptoms of colds and flus. It is also high in vitamin C. Garlic works best when raw, so you could always chew a garlic clove, which will have the added benefit of keeping everyone at bay and preventing the spread of germs. But if this doesn’t tickle your fancy, try adding it to stews, roasts or pastas. You can also try a gremolata as a zesty topping: mix together the juice and zest of a lemon, with a handful of chopped parsley, a clove or two of garlic and a splash of olive oil. Ginger This root may help ease sore and scratchy throats, while suppressing coughs and relieving congestion. Add grated ginger to a stirfry or steep a small amount to make a ginger and honey tea. Honey This wonder food is antibacterial and antimicrobial, which means it stops the growth of bacteria. Honey can also boost the immune system while helping to relieve sore throats. Try taking two teaspoons of honey before bedtime to relieve a cough. However, honey should not be given to children younger than one. Rooibos tea, with honey and lemon, is a comforting drink that can also help remedy sore throats. Honey can also be used as a marinade for chicken or as a topping on fruit and yoghurt. Horseradish, Wasabi, Mustard and Chillies Any of these are great for clearing the sinuses. Chillies and red peppers are also a good source of vitamin C. Of course, getting children to eat and enjoy these may be a challenge. Lemons Another food high in vitamin C, lemons help to reduce phlegm, help sore throats and ease coughs. Used as part of a gargle, the acidity could also help eliminate germs. Vitamin C This vitamin helps to build up our natural defences and boosts the immune system. It may not be able to prevent or treat colds, but it can help shorten their duration. Some other foods that are high in vitamin C include oranges, guavas, fresh broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, strawberries and papaya. Water and Hot drinks When winter ailments set in, we often feel congested and stuffy. Lots of fluids help to keep you hydrated, preventing this congestion. Hot drinks are especially good for decongestion and relieving cold and flu symptoms. source:...

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Shoo Flu

Posted by on May 9, 2015 in Health Topics | 0 comments

Shoo Flu

The flu vaccine will give your child a fighting chance against the influenza virus Every year, especially during the winter season, the influenza virus makes its infectious rounds. The virus infects the nose, throat and lungs, causing illness, hospitalisation and even death, so it’s not to be taken lightly. Young children, and those who have certain long-term health conditions such as asthma, are particularly at risk of getting serious flu complications. Having a strong immune system is a vital line of defence against the mutating virus, but health practitioners encourage parents to also have their children vaccinated with the latest influenza vaccine. The best time to do this is in March or April, but it’s never too late. The vaccine is recommended from six months old. “Each year, new vaccination formulations are developed based on the latest influenza strains,” explains Dr Neville Wellington, a GP in Cape Town. “The vaccination is made up of a chemically inactivated virus [parts of three different strains], which enables the body to get to know and store the ‘shape’ of the virus so that when you are exposed to the actual virus, your body is armed to fight it.” Lee Baker, a medicine information pharmacist from Joburg, explains that the vaccine is not live, so it cannot cause flu. But how effective is it in preventing flu? “This all depends on whether or not the strains circulating are those in the vaccine this year, as well as the age and health of the person being vaccinated,” says Baker. “A two-year study published in 2003 of children aged 6–24 months old found that the vaccine was 66% effective in preventing laboratory-confirmed influenza in one year of the study.” The flu vaccine will only protect against the strains of flu in the vaccine, points out Baker, so you may still get sick if a different strain has been circulating. “And you may also get sick after being vaccinated if you were already incubating the flu virus at the time of being vaccinated,” Baker explains. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, it takes about two weeks after the vaccination for antibodies that protect against influenza virus infection to develop in the body, which is why it’s best to get vaccinated before the flu season. The side effects to the vaccine are generally mild, as is the case for most vaccines, and may include pain and redness at the injection site, as well as a headache and body ache within 24 hours after the vaccine is given. “But these are usually resolved within three days,” says Baker. You can get this year’s flu vaccine at pharmacies, your family doctor or hospitals. If you do happen to get flu, antibiotics are not advisable to treat the infection as they are only effective against bacteria. Wellington advises that you get enough rest at home to give your body the chance to fight the virus and also prevent spreading the virus at school or work. There are plenty of medications available to help relieve the symptoms and discomfort, but always consult with your child’s paediatrician first. source:...

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