The person who wishes to have a new sober life can achieve that goal at any one of some 45 Narconon centers around the world. After withdrawal, the Narconon program guides each person through an intensive detoxification phase called New Life Detoxification. Through running to get the blood circulating, followed by time in a dry-heat sauna to sweat out the drugs, and good nutirition and adequate sleep, drug residues flush out of the fatty tissues of the body. As traces of drug use are eliminated, participants report that they experience return of alertness and reduction or elimination of cravings for drugs.

As the cravings depart, a person begins to think more clearly. This means that they can begin to address the damage they have done to themselves with their drug abuse. One loses personal integrity and feels guilt over the harm done to loved ones. The ability to say no to drugs is often gone and there are troublesome people in one’s past who could make more trouble in the future. To stay sober, it is necessary to recover one’s self-respect and learn the skills needed to make the correct decision in each situation one encounters.

The later phases of the Narconon program address these necessary skills and recoveries. The Narconon program has no set time limit, but usually takes 8-10 weeks. Each person progresses at their own rate. The program takes as long as necessary for the individual to become free of drugs, discover for themselves why they turned to drugs in the first place, and to learn life skills that empower them to live drug-free. The goal of the program is an individual free of drugs and the desire to take them and living a productive and happy life as a contributing member of society.

Intestinal Parasites Symptoms
The Early Warning Signals

Common Intestinal Parasites Symptoms can be recognized as early warning signs that you've got unwanted visitors. Pay attention to your body when it is sounding out the alarm.

The funny thing about parasites is that they are sneaky. I don't suppose they have a brain that literally plots against us, but they are very clever at mimicking other ailments and are able to go undetected by doctors for many years.

That is one of the reasons that I adopted the practice of cleansing my system on a regular basis to insure that no little microscopic creepy crawlies are able to take up permanent residence in my digestive system.

By keeping my colon healthy, I am able to enjoy a stronger immune system that is more prepared to fight off any visiting bacteria that it encounters.

An intestinal parasite may live in your body without you really knowing about it for several years.

You may not experience any symptoms, or even dismiss them as "just getting older" or "having a hard day."

Some of the most common symptoms of parasitic infection are.

  • watery diarrhea
  • intestinal cramping
  • fever
  • fatigue
  • gas
  • bloating
  • bad breath
  • constipation

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Amphetamine can be given orally, can be snorted or injected intravenously. Symptoms of use will show up immediately if it is injected, within 3-5 minutes if it is snorted and within 15-20 minutes if it is ingested.

There is a long list of the signs that show up when this drug is used medically or when it is abused. Many of them are typical of any stimulant use.

Signs and Symptoms of Amphetamine Abuse include:

  • Increased body temperature
  • Euphoria
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Dry mouth
  • Faster breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased energy and alertness
  • Decreased fatigue
  • Decreased appetite

Before amphetamine’s addictive problems were known about, this drug was used for weight control, depression, nasal congestion, even hangovers. It appeared to be an inexpensive, long-lasting solution to a number of problems. It has been sold as Desoxyn, Benzedrine, Adderall, DextroStat and Dexedrine.

After World War II, civilian use of amphetamines increased, and another form of the drug, methamphetamine— easily produced in small domestic labs—also hit the market. As more people used these two forms of the drugs, its addictiveness and other problems began to be obvious.

In addition to the symptoms of use listed above, less desirable symptoms of amphetamines became noticeable, including:

  • Hostility
  • Paranoia
  • Aggressiveness
  • Cardiovascular system failure
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Reduction of social inhibitions
  • Altered sexual behavior
  • Blurred vision
  • Chest pain
  • Hallucinations
  • Unrealistic ideas of personal ability and power
  • Convulsions
  • Malnutrition
  • Skin disorders
  • Amphetamine-caused psychosis

Some people who abused this drug would wear themselves out with amphetamine binges, taking the drug continuously and, not sleeping or eating for as long as a week. Then they would collapse. By repeating this pattern, amphetamine abusers— sometimes called “speed freaks”—would suffer severe damage to their health.

Long-term amphetamine abusers are likely to be severely malnourished and suffering serious mental effects from the drug use. When they stop using amphetamine, they experience the symptoms of the damage that was created. While they continued to abuse the drug, those symptoms were suppressed, but will show up strongly as soon as the stimulant is gone. Thus withdrawal can include depression, anxiety and extreme fatigue.

It is very likely that the recovering addict will suffer sharp, intense cravings for more of the drug. For this reason, it is a very good idea for a person to have professional support when coming off amphetamine.

Another reason for professional support is that the mental aspects of withdrawal can be serious and dangerous. A person may suffer hallucinations, delusions and aggressive or violent behaviors as they come off the drug.

When a person chooses a Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation center for recovery from amphetamine addiction, the withdrawal process is eased by the program’s unique and innovative techniques. First, each person is supported with generous nutritional supplementation. Those abusing any drug, but amphetamine or methamphetamine in particular, are likely to be severely deficient in usual nutrients. Nutritional supplements given around the clock help the body suffer fewer effects of withdrawal. Each person is given gentle “assists” that help relax the mind and body and ease the person through withdrawal.

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Budesonide 1,600 mcg by MDI with nebuhaler and face mask for first three days, then 800 mcg for another seven days

Total of 10 days

Two to five years

Six to 11 years

Nasal irrigation with saline17

Six to 10 years

3 to 9 mL per nostril

Up to three weeks

Pelargonium sidoides (geranium) extract (Umcka Coldcare)18

One to 18 years

10 to 30 drops (depending on age)

Two to five years

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Fever seizures can be frightening but they are not usually harmful to the child and do not cause long-term problems, such as brain damage, mental retardation, or learning problems.

M., I am going through the EXACT same thing with my 17 month old right now. He has had the flu for 10 days now with a fever for the majority of that time. I've been alternating Motrin and Tylenol and it brings the fever back down to normal but it's been anywhere between 102 and 103. Each day is getting better and we have to give less and less medication. I think we've kicked the fever today but like I said it's been 10 days. We took him in when it had been a week because the fever came back and was around 103 again and I was a nutcase because I thought it was something worse. They checked him for pnemonia and ear infections and everything else and he was okay. This strain of the flu is just horrible. I had it as well and I got a fever and it broke three different times. Its been two weeks for me and I'm still coughing. Our pediatrician told me that children this age get it way worse and for a lot longer than we do. Keep her hydrated. Pedialyte has worked well for us. I am sleeping with him and we have the mattress elevated and a humidifier in the room. Hang in there you're doing everything right. Use your mommy instinct, you know when something is not right. Take her in if you're too worried. Stear clear of the ER, if you can. Its full of germs that she doesn't need to catch on top of what she's already go though. It's so difficult to watch your baby suffer like this, I know. IT's been the longest week and a half of my life and I feel so helpless. Fortunately it won't last forever (although it feels like it). Good luck and hopefully our children will get well soon!

have you had your doctor check to see if she has a urinary tract infection?

I really wouldn't worry yet. A temperature of 103 is really not that high and means her body is trying to fight an infection (usually viral). The increase in body temperature makes the environment unfriendly for the infection, which is what you want. The vast majority of fevers are caused by viral infection and last no longer than 3 days. If the temperature gets to 105 then it could be bacterial. Fevers cause no harm, such as brain damage, when it is less than 107. Fortunately, the brain's thermostat keeps untreated fevers resulting from infection below 106. If she has convulsions, these are generally harmless (although very scary), but there is a need to rule out a more serious condition (especially meningitis).
You do need to see a doctor if:
a. the fever gets above 105
b. if it gets hard to wake him up
c. if her neck gets stiff (associated with meningitis)
d. she starts getting convulsions
See a doctor within 24 hrs:
a. the fever gets above 104
b. burning or pain with urination
c. if the fever "breaks" and then returns within 24 hrs
d. the fever lasts for longer than 3 days
The best thing you can do for her is to try and make her comfortable. Make sure he is getting liquids. Boil a chicken with lots of vegetables and feed him the strained broth. Don't use broth you buy at the store. It's really not a problem that he doesn't have an appetite, but he does need fluids.

DON'T GIVE HER ASPIRIN. Several studies have linked aspirin and viral illnesses with Reye syndrome.

If you have to give her anything give her acetaminophen. This should reduce the fever by 1-2 degrees in a couple of hours. Keep in mind though that the fever is helping her fight the infection, so why try to help the enemy?

Good luck and I hope he feels better soon.

Most of the info above comes from "Current Pediatric Diagnosis & Treatment" by Hay, Hayward, Levin, and Sondheimer 15th Edition.

I am sorry to hear your daughter is ill. When I worked at Spears Chiropractor Hospital many years ago we would take Rubbing Alcohol & rub under their armpits & between their thighs with it. It did bring down their fever. I was working in the Pediatric Floor at the time.
C.

I'm NOT a Dr. I'd suggest you go to a second pediatrician if you don't like what yours has to say.

However, what our Dr. told us was that as long as it's not a constant temp for days and it does go down(night or day) that it's ok and just helping her get rid of the infection. As far as it being high at night, we had a Dr. who also told us to make sure not to overdress them. that they aren't covered in tons of covers.

I think you're totally sane to be nervous. what parent wouldn't be - and feel free to go to the Dr. more (rather than less). I had a pediatrician tell me a LONG time ago that mother's instinct is often much better than Dr's. So if you're really really worried go in and insist on even seeing another Dr.

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my hair is always falling out, i have low energy levels, low libido, major mood swings and I'm not even ovulating! Guess the next step is some medication to get me back on track! Hang in there girls!

12) i am also having same problems - depression,mood swings,loss of hair,weight gain. In my case I have developed dermoid and endometrium thickness, PCOD. Even after consulting two or three doctors and taking medicines for one year, things did not improve. Now I have switched to homeopathy and is finding some improvement. As it's just one month since I started taking medicines, I am hoping for some positive results.

11) My first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage. The doctor monitored my levels with second pregnancy to keep from miscarrying. I also had to take the progesterone with my third pregnancy because levels were actually lower than the doctor wanted.

I now have diabetes and hypothyroidism and after reading the above info I am wondering if my progesterone has something to do with those two health issues.

I have issues that really bring me to a conclusion of PMDD. I am going to make an appointment with my doctor to see if the progesterone has anything to do with my diabetes and hypothyroidism as well as needing to find some help with the symptoms that coincide with PMDD as they are ruining my life!

10) Same case with me. i used to have so much tension and I always had bad moods. I have started taking medicines since last week but still i don't feel much change.

9) I am in the process of being testing for low hormone levels and thyroid dysfunction because, quite tragically, I've lost at least half of my hair in one month! I'm only 32 and feel like I'm having a nightmare!

I tell myself things could be much worse, but dealing with hair drastically, severely, suddenly falling out everywhere is emotionally exhausting. Has anyone else had this? What do I do?

8) I had all these symptoms of depression: panic attacks, hot flashes, insomnia, fuzzy thinking, and I was tired of seeing doctors and them not helping me with my problems.

So they recommended to me this female doctor and she tested my levels of progesterone and i was very low, so now she is treating me my progesterone. I feel a little better now. I have been treated for three months now but I know this medication is going to help me.

7) Because male doctors are often not attuned to female symptoms or concerns. The best help might come from a specialist in bioidentical hormones.

I went to a female specialist who knows exactly the issues women face in menopause and has reversed these to good results with both men and women.

Seek beyond the standard help and you will get better, healthier results. Often the conservative male doctor just wants to put you on depression meds and chemical manufactured hormones. Don't do it!

6) I stopped taking the pill so we could get pregnant and it threw my body off and my periods are not regular, so my doctor did a blood test and said my progesterone levels are very low! Yea! Finally I have a answer. I have a lot of these symptoms and can't wait to feel normal again!

5) Women who have low levels of progesterone often have infertility problems and when they do conceive, they are at a higher risk for miscarriage. You may have low progesterone levels if you have any of these symptoms.

4) We finally tested my levels. I barely produce progesterone. Depression, practically no libido, metabolic basal rate that is lower than normal, hair loss (scalp and eyebrows), mental fog.

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Milk allergy is caused when the immune system (IS), which is there to protect us from bacteria and infections, mistakenly marks one or more of the 25 proteins found in milk to be harmful. Therefore it initiates a response to fight against the milk protein/s. The IS through specialised cells releases toxins, and it is these toxins that make persons with milk allergy to suffer the symptoms associated with food allergy. Milk is ranked among the top offenders for food allergies! In fact, many doctors, scientists, and health specialists recommend going dairy free as an initial test when a food allergy is suspected.

The symptoms of a milk protein allergy fall into 3 types of reactions:

Skin:

  • Hives - red, itchy bumps on skin
  • Oedema - swelling of the skin, sometimes of the eyes and lips
  • Eczema - a dry and bumpy rash

Stomach and Intestinal Reactions:

  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Diarrhoea (usually very runny)
  • Vomiting
  • Gas/wind
  • Cramps

Nose, Throat and Lung Reactions:

  • Runny Nose
  • Sneezing
  • Watery and/or Itchy eyes
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of Breath

Milk allergy is often muddled with lactose intolerance. It is very important to understand the differences because it is only this way that you can help avoid the symptoms. When a person reacts to milk, the first assumption is that it is an allergy. However, things are the opposite, because while only around 2% of adults suffer from milk allergy the amount of people who have lactose intolerance are 50% or more! Lactose intolerance is caused by insufficient amount of enzymes to break down lactose, the sugar found in milk. For more details on lactose intolerance read here.

The table below shows the differences between lactose intolerance and milk allergy. Some symptoms may be common for both.

affects the digestive system only, mainly:

abdominal bloating
gas and wind
flatulence
stomach cramps diarrhoea

usually immediate and affecting more that one part of the body-

digestion: nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhoea
skin: swelling eczema, hives
airways: wheezing, coughing, congestion and a runny nose
anaphylaxis: most known to happen in peanuts allergy but can be triggered by all sorts of food ingestion.

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  • Blood in your stool or vomit
  • High fever
  • Severe, localized stomach pain. You should be especially concerned about pain in the lower right abdomen, a possible sign of appendicitis.
  • An inability to keep food or liquids down, or losing fluids faster than you can replenish them orally
  • Vomiting that becomes more violent or lasts for more than 48 hours
  • Signs of dehydration (dry mouth, dry skin, thirst, no urination for six hours)

What can a doctor do to treat the illness?

Before doing anything else, your doctor will try to confirm the diagnosis by checking your symptoms and conducting a physical. If you've recently eaten something that might have spoiled or you've visited a place with poor sanitation, be sure to mention it. It would also be good to tell your doctor if you've been traveling recently or if you've been in contact with someone who has similar symptoms.

Once the condition has been diagnosed, your doctor can start treating the symptoms.

Doctors may suggest a bland diet (although the scientific data to suggest this is sparse), and frequent small amounts of fluids, possibly including rehydrating fluids to treat dehydration. Rehydrating fluids are a special mix of water, sugar, and salts available in pharmacies that replace the water you lost. In extreme cases, the fluid may be given intravenously.

If you have severe diarrhea, your doctor may advise you to take an over-the-counter drug that slows down intestinal function and prescribe an anti-nausea drug as well. If you have been experiencing the symptoms for only a few days and the symptoms are relatively mild, your doctor will most likely suggest you try to treat the symptoms and avoid antibiotics.

If the illness is severe or lingers for more than a couple of weeks, your doctor may want to collect a stool sample to pinpoint the exact cause of the distress.

What should I do if I have the condition?

Most people with gastroenteritis just need to rest for a few days. If vomiting is a problem, you have to avoid certain solid foods for a while. As soon as you feel up to it, sip small amounts of clear liquids such as tea or broth every 15 minutes. As your stomach starts to settle down, you can move on to solid food.

Because children with diarrhea can get dehydrated very easily, they may need special care. Give sick children plenty of liquids -- offering a small amount of liquid every few minutes or so, even if they are vomiting. Infants who seem restless or unusually thirsty should be given an oral rehydration solution, water mixed with a packet of salt and carbohydrates; they are also sold in bottles (e.g. Pedialyte and Ricelyte). These packets and rehydrating liquids are widely available in supermarkets and drug stores and are even sold in popsicle form. Don't give children carbonated beverages or sports drinks. A child who needs to take these liquids for more than a day or two should probably see the doctor to be sure that he or she is not getting dehydrated.

Can the condition be prevented?

Because most cases are caused by bacteria or viruses, you can prevent much misery by taking a stand against germs. First and foremost, make sure everyone in your house washes his or her hands regularly, especially after using the bathroom and before touching food. Hand washing becomes even more important when someone in the house is having a bout of gastroenteritis.

You should also take steps to prevent food poisoning. Keep your kitchen clean, carefully watch expiration dates on food, and don't leave perishable food at room temperature for more than two hours. Be extra careful with raw chicken, a major source of Campylobacter, or any raw meats or eggs, for that matter. Clean any surfaces and kitchen tools that you use to handle raw chicken with soap and hot water before preparing another dish.

Before you leave on a trip, it's a good idea to visit your doctor to talk about what you can do to prevent problems with diarrhea when you are traveling in areas with poor sanitation. Among other things, you can get immunized against typhoid, hepatitis A, and other illnesses. Your doctor may also advise you to travel with Pepto Bismol, which has some antibacterial activity. Or he may recommend an antidiarrheal medication that can help you if you're stuck on a long bus ride in with no bathroom readily available or suggest prophylactic antibiotics in case you are somewhere without a doctor.

And if you're traveling to an area with poor sanitation, don't trust the water. Simply brushing your teeth with tap water or tossing a couple of ice cubes in a drink can be enough to make you sick. In many areas, the only safe beverages are boiled or bottled water, canned or bottled sodas, tea and coffee made with boiled water, beer, and wine. If it's not possible to boil your water, you may have to use chemical disinfectants such as iodine or chlorine.

Keep in mind that the food can be as risky as the water. You should be especially suspicious of salads, garnishes, uncooked vegetables, unpasteurized milk, raw meat, shellfish, and any foods sold by street vendors. In general, fruits that you peel yourself and hot meals are safer choices. (Some restaurants in developing countries that cater to tourists disinfect their lettuce and other vegetables before making them into salads, but salads sold on the street may not be.)

Since 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended a rotavirus vaccine for all infants. Two vaccines given orally, not by a shot, are licensed for use in the United States: RotaTeq (RV5) is given in 3 doses at ages 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months; Rotarix (RV1) is given in 2 doses at ages 2 months and 4 months.

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    Si vous pensez présenter des symptômes de grippe, notre ligne sans frais et info-santé (8-1-1) sont de bonnes ressources pour vous guider.

    Vous devriez consulter un médecin si vous présentez des symptômes de la grippe en plus d’un ou de plusieurs des symptômes ci-dessous:

    • Perte d’appétit
    • Essoufflement, difficulté et douleur à respirer
    • Lèvres et/ou doigts bleutés
    • Étourdissement
    • Confusion
    • Forte fièvre qui persiste durant plus de 3 jours
    • Vomissements persistants
    • Sang dans les sécrétions

    Un enfant grippé qui ne mange pas, ne boit pas et ne joue pas devrait voir un médecin.

    Aide à la décision

    Aide à la decision si vous avez des symptômes de la grippe

    Dans les cas sans complications, les symptômes de la grippe disparaissent habituellement sans traitement. Il est surtout recommandé de prendre du repos et de se soigner à la maison pour éviter de contaminer d’autres personnes.

    Voici quelques façons de soulager vos symptômes:

    • Se reposer
    • Boire beaucoup d’eau
    • Prendre des médicaments contre la fièvre en vente libre comme l’acétaminophène (Tylenols®), l’ibuprofène (Advil®) et l’acide acétylsalicylique (Aspirin®)

    Pour tous médicaments en vente libre, n’oubliez pas de lire l’étiquette pour vous assurer que le traitement convienne à votre situation (âge, problématique de santé, etc.) ou consulter votre pharmacien, il saura vous guider.

    Dans certains cas, le médecin peut également prescrire un médicament antiviral administré par voie orale. Pour être efficace, il doit être pris dans les 48 heures suivant l’apparition des premiers symptômes grippaux.

    Les médicaments antiviraux tels que l’amantadine, le zanamivir et l’oseltamivir peuvent prévenir et traiter la grippe causée par le virus de type A ou B. Cependant, ils ne sont pas destinés à remplacer le vaccin annuel pour les gens à risques. Les médicaments antiviraux auront pour effet de diminuer les symptômes de la grippe s’ils sont administrés dans les 24 à 48 heures suivant l’apparition des symptômes. Notez qu’ils ne gênent pas l’action du vaccin administré par injection.

    Ces médicaments ne doivent pas être considérés comme substitut à la vaccination qui demeure le meilleur moyen préventif contre la grippe.

    On peut prévenir la grippe en se faisant vacciner tous les automnes. Le vaccin permet à l’organisme de produire les anticorps qui le protégeront pendant les cinq à six mois que dure la saison de la grippe. La vaccination annuelle permet de prévenir la grippe, et de réduire la gravité de la maladie. Le meilleur moment pour recevoir le vaccin antigrippal est au début de la saison grippale soit au mois d’octobre et de novembre.

    Voici quelques façons simples et efficaces de vous protéger contre la grippe:

    • Lavez-vous fréquemment les mains
    • Nettoyez les surfaces les plus utilisées (poignets de porte, surfaces de comptoir, etc.)
    • Limitez les contacts avec les personnes malades
    • Faites-vous vacciner (consultez l’onglet Vaccination pour plus d’information sur le vaccin antigrippal)

    En 2011, le Québec présentait le plus bas taux de vaccination au Canada avec 27% de sa population ayant reçu le vaccin. De plus, 25 % des Québécois affirmaient avoir contracté la grippe, ce qui représente le plus haut taux au pays.

    En comparaison, la Colombie-Britannique a eu un taux de vaccination de 52% et, par conséquent, seulement 10% de la population avait été incommodée par la grippe cette même année.

    Au Québec, chaque année, plus de 300 décès sont attribuables au virus de la grippe. Ce n’est donc pas une problématique à prendre à la légère.

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    Experiencing Chronic Constipation
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    Do I have Intestinal Parasites?
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    Worming Myself
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    Parasites In Lower Abdomen
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    Wow where to start? I am a 55 year old female. Post menopausal now. In the past many years I have had a lot of weird, seemingly unrelated, symptoms that …

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    Why take Metronidazole for five days? Hello HK, Metronidazole (Flagyl) is a synthetic antibiotic that is usually prescribed for five to …

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    Thinking of trying Parasitin. Could I have parasites? For the last month, I have had constant stomach gurgling, most severe at night. Feels like …

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    Cat flu is quite a nasty illness for your pet. If you have never seen a cat with flu then count yourself lucky. It is far worse than cat colds.

    Our cats have always been vaccinated and have never caught the feline flu, but because Little Mo came from an animal shelter, we did not know her previous history and she caught the flu soon after we re-homed her.

    Cat Flu is the common name given to a group of viruses, which affect the upper respiratory tract in cats.

    Healthy cats are normally able to cope with the illness and it is not usually fatal, but it can be much nastier and dangerous to kittens and cats with a weaken immune system.

    Anyway we all know how unpleasant the flu can be in ourselves, so it is something that we should try and protect our pets from catching it in the first place.

    This is a very serious condition which can cause long term damage to some cats such as blindness. It can also kill young cats and which is why vaccination is so important.

    The disease affects the:

    • eyes, nose, mouth and windpipe. In severe cases it may even spread to the lungs and bronchi.

    The viruses are spread:

    • Via sneezing and contact with the discharges.

    The Spread of the virus needs to be contained. The best method is to:

    • Cats infected with the feline flu should be kept separate from other animals to prevent spreading the disease.

    If you notice your cat displaying any of the following symptoms, you should take them to the vets immediately to have the illness diagnosed professionally and treated quickly.

    The symptoms of cat flu can last between 7 and 14 days depending on the strain of virus.

    Viral infections cannot be cured but the symptoms can be managed. Depending on the symptoms your cat is showing your vet may prescribe, eye drops and or antibiotics.

    In severe cases where the cat cannot eat or drink due to mouth ulcers, your vet may want to keep your cat at the clinic so that they can be fed intravenously.

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    Another type of influenza vaccine (nasal spray) is made with live attenuated (altered) influenza viruses (LAIV) but is not currently recommended by the CDC. This vaccine is made with live viruses that can stimulate the immune response enough to confer immunity but do not cause classic influenza symptoms (in most instances). The nasal spray vaccine (FluMist) was only approved for healthy individuals ages 2-49 years of age and was recommended preferentially for healthy children aged 2 through 8 who did not have contraindications to receiving the vaccine, if it is readily available. This nasal spray vaccine contains live attenuated virus (less able to cause flu symptoms due to a designed inability to replicate at normal body temperatures). This live vaccine could possibly cause the disease in infants and immunocompromised people and does not produce a strong immune response in many older people. Side effects of the nasal spray vaccine include nasal congestion, sore throat, and fever. Headaches, muscle aches, irritability, and malaise have also been noted. In most instances, if side effects occur, they only last a day or two. This nasal spray has been produced for conventional flu viruses and should not be given to pregnant women or anyone who has a medical condition that may compromise the immune system because in some instances the flu may be a side effect. Please note that the CDC recommended that the nasal spray (LAIV) vaccine should not be used during the 2017-2018 flu season because of relatively lower effectiveness seen from 2013-2016 (see the entire recommendation at http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/s0622-laiv-flu.html).

    Some people do not receive influenza vaccine because they believe it is not very effective. There are several different reasons for this belief. People who have received influenza vaccine may subsequently have an illness that is mistaken for influenza, and they believe that the vaccine failed to protect them. In other cases, people who have received the vaccine may indeed have an influenza infection. Overall vaccine effectiveness varies from year to year, depending upon the degree of similarity between the influenza virus strains included in the vaccine and the strain or strains that circulate during the influenza season. Because the vaccine strains must be chosen nine to 10 months before the influenza season, and because influenza viruses mutate over time, sometimes mutations occur in the circulating virus strains between the time the vaccine strains are chosen and the next influenza season ends. These mutations sometimes reduce the ability of the vaccine-induced antibody to inhibit the newly mutated virus, thereby reducing vaccine effectiveness. This commonly occurs with the conventional flu vaccines as the specific virus types chosen for vaccine inclusion are based on reasoned projections for the upcoming flu season. Occasionally, the vaccine does not match the actual predominating virus strain and is not very effective in generating a specific immune response to the predominant infecting flu strain.

    Vaccine efficacy also varies from one person to another. Past studies of healthy young adults have shown influenza vaccine to be 70%-90% effective in preventing illness. In the elderly and those with certain chronic medical conditions such as HIV, the vaccine is often less effective in preventing illness. Studies show the vaccine reduces hospitalization by about 70% and death by about 85% among the elderly who are not in nursing homes. Among nursing-home residents, vaccine can reduce the risk of hospitalization by about 50%, the risk of pneumonia by about 60%, and the risk of death by 75%-80%. However, these figures did not apply to the 2014-2015 flu vaccine because the quadrivalent (four antigenic types) vaccine did not match well with 2014-2015 circulating strains of the flu (vaccine effectiveness was estimated to be 23%). This occurs because the vaccine needs to be produced months before the flu season begins, so the vaccine is designed by projecting and choosing the most likely viral strains to include in the vaccine. If drift results in changing the circulating virus from the strains used in the vaccine, efficacy may be reduced. However, the vaccine is still likely to lessen the severity of the illness and to prevent complications and death, according to the CDC.

    Why should the flu (influenza) vaccine be taken every year?

    Although only a few different influenza virus strains circulate at any given time, people may continue to become ill with the flu throughout their lives. The reason for this continuing susceptibility is that influenza viruses are continually mutating, through the mechanisms of antigenic shift and drift described above. Each year, the vaccine is updated to include the most current influenza virus strains that are infecting people worldwide. The fact that influenza viral genes continually change is one of the reasons vaccine must be taken every year. Another reason is that antibody produced by the host in response to the vaccine declines over time, and antibody levels are often low one year after vaccination so even if the same vaccine is used, it can act as a booster shot to raise immunity.

    Many people still refuse to get flu shots because of misunderstandings, fear, "because I never get any shots," or simply a belief that if they get the flu, they will do well. These are only some of the reasons -- there are many more. The U.S. and other countries' populations need to be better educated about vaccines; at least they should realize that safe vaccines have been around for many years (measles, mumps, chickenpox, and even a vaccine for cholera), and as adults they often have to get a vaccine-like shot to test for tuberculosis exposure or to protect themselves from tetanus. The flu vaccines are as safe as these vaccines and shots that are widely accepted by the public. Consequently, better efforts need to be made to make yearly flu vaccines as widely acceptable as other vaccines. Susceptible people need to understand that the vaccines afford them a significant chance to reduce or prevent this potentially debilitating disease, hospitalization and, in a few, a lethal flu-caused disease.

    What are some flu treatments an individual can do at home (home remedies)?

    First, individuals should be sure they are not members of a high-risk group that is more susceptible to getting severe flu symptoms. Check with a physician if you are unsure if you are a higher-risk person. Home care is recommended by the CDC if a person is healthy with no underlying diseases or conditions (for example, asthma, lung disease, pregnant, or immunosuppressed).

    Increasing liquid intake, warm showers, and warm compresses, especially in the nasal area, can reduce the body aches and reduce nasal congestion or head congestion. Nasal strips and humidifiers may help reduce congestion, especially while trying to sleep. Some physicians recommend nasal irrigation with saline to further reduce congestion; some recommend nonprescription decongestants like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed). Fever can be treated with over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and others); read labels for safe dosage. Cough can be suppressed by cough drops, over-the-counter cough syrup, or cough medicine that may contain dextromethorphan (Delsym) and/or guaifenesin (Mucinex). Notify a doctor if an individual's symptoms at home get worse.

    Individuals with mild flu symptoms may not require the care of a physician unless they are a member of a high-risk group as described above. For many individuals, treatment is provided by their primary care physician or provider (including internists or family medicine specialists and physician assistants and other primary caregivers) or pediatrician. Complicated or severe flu infections may require consultation with an emergency-medicine physician, critical care specialist, infectious-disease specialist, and/or a lung specialist (pulmonologist).

    The CDC published the following guidance concerning antiviral drugs:

    Antiviral medications with activity against influenza viruses are an important adjunct to influenza vaccine in the control of influenza.