Why are some influenza viruses transmitted so easily between people while others are still restricted mainly to birds?

Are we better prepared for flu pandemics than we were in the past?

Avian influenza (bird flu) in feral pigeons - what are the risks?

Bird flu, fowl plague, bird influenza, Asian bird flu, HPAI, LPAI, H5N1, H7N2, H7, H5N2

Influenza has been known about since 1878 and is caused by a type ‘A’ influenza virus. It has historically been known as ‘fowl plague’. There are three types of influenza virus: type A, type B and type C. Most forms of influenza are solely associated with humans, but the type A influenza virus has been found in pigs, horses and occasionally in birds and other mammals. Types B and C are human-specific and are not found in animals, mammals or birds. The type associated with recent outbreaks of avian influenza (bird flu) in south-east Asia is the type A influenza virus.

Thousands of influenza viruses, belonging to many sub-types, have been found in both domesticated and wild birds all over the world. Currently, avian influenza is recognised in two forms:

  • Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI)
  • Low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI)

The highly pathogenic form ('pathogenic' refers to the ability of an infecting agent to produce disease - hence, a virus that is highly pathogenic is capable of producing severe disease) is the most virulent form of the disease and can spread rapidly, particularly when found in intensively farmed domestic poultry. The mortality rate for birds infected with the highly pathogenic form can be up to 100% and the disease can develop so fast that in some cases birds will die without ever having showed any signs that they had contracted the disease. The highly pathogenic form is so virulent that one gram of infected chicken excrement can contain enough highly pathogenic virus to infect 100,000 birds. Conversely, the low pathogenic form results in a milder, less significant form of the disease with infected birds rarely becoming ill or demonstrating symptoms, but they still have the potential to pass the disease on to other birds or animals. Certain low pathogenic forms can, however, mutate into highly pathogenic strains.

Avian influenza (bird flu) is a notifiable disease in the UK and is listed in section 88 of the Animal Health Act 1981. Section 15 (1) of the Act says:

“Any person having in their possession or under their charge an animal affected or suspected of having one of these diseases must, with all practicable speed, notify that fact to a police constable.”

Loosely translated this means that if you suspect or are aware of the presence of a notifiable disease there is a legal obligation to notify a DEFRA Divisional Veterinary Manager immediately. DEFRA is the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and is responsible for overseeing animal health in the UK.

Avian influenza in birds is spread via secretions from the eyes, respiratory tract and from faecal matter, with droplets of liquid sneezed by infected birds spreading the disease extremely rapidly in environments where large numbers of birds are housed. In wild birds the situation is different with many migratory birds (including waterfowl, sea birds and shore birds) carrying the virus for long distances and being implicated in the international spread of the disease. Migratory waterfowl - most notably wild ducks - are the natural reservoir of bird flu viruses and these birds are also the most resistant to infection. They can carry the virus over great distances and excrete it in their droppings, yet develop only mild and short-lived illness themselves. There is a great deal of speculation about the importance of this very large reservoir of influenza viruses in wild birds as it is a source of viruses for other species, including humans, lower mammals, and birds. The high rate of infection allows for the maintenance and emergence of new and potentially highly dangerous strains by means of mutation and/or genetic reassortment.

Some strains of avian influenza can be transmitted to humans and other animals but this is normally only the case following high levels of exposure to infected birds and/or their faecal matter. People most at risk would be those involved in intensive farming, in particular the poultry industry. These strains will normally only cause mild symptoms in humans but a current south-east Asian strain has caused a number of deaths. Although humans can be infected from birds the current highly pathogenic H5N1 strain does not readily infect people and there is very little chance, if any, for human-to-human spread of the disease.

The main significance for human health is that birds could be the source of new strains of influenza virus. Existing bird strains could mutate to form a new strain, which could, in turn, readily infect humans. Likewise, if mammals are infected with both human and avian strains of the disease at the same time the mixing of genetic material from the two viruses might produce new strains. These strains would have the potential to spread readily between humans. If a new strain of avian flu was to mutate, humans would have little or no immunity to it and a serious worldwide epidemic could occur.

Although avian influenza has hit the headlines on numerous occasions over the last few years the disease is yet to have a major impact in the UK, with only minor outbreaks which have been confined to poultry production units. The most recent outbreaks of avian influenza have been the low pathogenic strain with an outbreak of H7N2 in Conwy, North Wales in May 2007 and more recently an outbreak of the H7 strain in St Helens, Merseyside in June 2007. In both cases restrictions that were imposed on the sites concerned were removed promptly, in the case of Conwy within 5/6 weeks of investigation and in the case of St Helens within a day of investigation. The most recent outbreak of highly pathogenic avian flu was the strain H5N1 identified on a poultry unit in Holton, Suffolk in February 2007. Amongst restrictions imposed on the facility were a 3 km Protection Zone and a 10 km Surveillance Zone along with a much wider Restriction Zone. All restrictions were removed from the farm just over one month later.

Although avian influenza has been restricted, in the main, to the mass production of poultry, the feral pigeon has inevitably been identified as one species that has the potential to carry and pass the disease onto humans based on the birds’ close association with man. The main focus of attention has been the racing pigeon industry due to the fact that it involves the transportation of pigeons across international borders. Clearly, if pigeons are released in EU countries where avian influenza is active, when they return to lofts in the UK there is clear potential for those birds to carry and transmit the disease to other domesticated birds, wild birds and animals and indeed humans. As it is migratory birds that are considered to be the main carriers of avian influenza, racing pigeons must also fall into this category as they are frequently required to cross international borders.

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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.

Some people who react to milk may either have Coeliac disease or Non Coeliac Gluten Intolerance. This is because these people also develop lactose intolerance. Please read our dedicated page for this. Read More »»

Currently the only 100% successful treatment for milk allergies is total avoidance of milk proteins. Infants who develop milk allergy, usually outgrow the condition. However, if the infants are breast-fed, the lactating mothers are given an elimination diet. If symptoms are not relieved or if the infants are bottle-fed, milk substitute formulas are used to provide the infant with a complete source of nutrition. Milk substitutes include soy milk, rice milk, and hypoallergenic formulas based on hydrolysed protein or free amino acids. Please note soy milk is hyperallergenic i.e. it is easy for the immune system to think it is harmful.

Enzyme Therapy:
As explained above food allergy is triggered by proteins and the immune system mistakenly thinks they are harmful proteins. Proteins are broken down by enzymes when digested, and lack of proper breakdown may be the cause for the proteins to become allergens. Hence, as explained in Better Nutrition Journal and several medical papers enzyme therapy can help eliminate or minimise symptoms. Read Enzymes to the Rescue. Commercially available enzymes that break down proteins are available on the market and a very effective product is availably in the 'products' section here. Prolactazyme Forte does a brilliant job in most cases and can be used by children and adults alike.

FOOD POISONING STORIES

Years ago, my husband and I ate at a “hole in the wall” Mexican restaurant. He thought his meal tasted great. Mine was pretty good too. While we were waiting for the check, he started to feel sick. It came on so fast. He got up to go look for the bathroom and immediately started vomiting. He left a trail of vomit all the way to the bathroom (which unfortunately was the women’s bathroom, poor guy). Anyway, when he finished vomiting he felt fine. Two hours later, he had a big bowl of ice cream with chocolate sauce. I suspect that this type of food poisoning was from the toxins produced either by Staphylococcus aureus or Bacillus cereus since it came on so suddenly and was over so quickly. No one else caught it from him which further supports a diagnosis of food poisoning.

Another example of obvious non-contagious food poisoning happened to my sister and her coworker recently. They went to happy hour (at 5pm) at a local restaurant and shared an appetizer of fried calamari with a dipping sauce. At 10pm, they were both vomiting. Since they don't live together and didn't eat anything else that was the same that day, I am very certain that they got food poisoning from that shared appetizer. The dipping sauce was probably sitting out barely warm under a heat lamp all afternoon growing toxin producing bacteria. No one else caught it from them so that further suggests that it was food poisoning.

Another example of non-contagious food poisoning recently happened to a friend and her husband after having dinner at a restaurant. They had different meals but they both got the same house salad (lettuce, eggs, tomato, cheese, croutons, cucumbers, and creamy Italian dressing). My friend went to bed at 9:30pm and thought her stomach felt odd but she fell asleep anyway. She woke up at 10:15pm and had to run to the toilet to vomit. She had 1 violent episode of vomiting and then felt okay. She slept the rest of the night. She was perfectly fine the next day. This seems like a case of non-contagious food poisoning because it came on so quickly after the meal and was over quickly. Although it is possible to vomit just 1 time from a stomach flu virus, they usually don't end that quickly. Her husband had a different story. He had a stomachache after dinner just like she did. However, he did not vomit. He had a stomachache for the next 2 days and then had diarrhea for the following 3 days. He wasn't right for a week. If I was just looking at his symptoms, I'd say that he probably has something contagious. However, since his wife most definitely has the non-contagious form, and they both felt sick at the same time, I would blame it on a bad salad. This example shows us that even the same bad food can affect people differently. I know throwing up is scary but when you eat something bad, it is probably the fastest way to feel better. My friend's husband didn't throw up and kept the bad stuff in. He was sick all week.

Here's some information about cold and flu problems.

It is possible to effectively ease the pain and discomfort of colds and flu, naturally. Check out these two pages and hopefully they can help.

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Of course mainland ethnic Chinese have not suffered any noticeable calcium deficiency - or osteoporosis. In addition - ethnic Chinese eating a traditional diet of fish, vegetables and rice alos have low levels of cholesterol and heart disease.

On the other hand - Westerners in developed countries with abundant dairy foods in the diet have the highest levels of osteoporosis and other chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.

  • This is at odds with the 'general rule' peddled by dairy corporations that milk prevents osteoporosis

Recent clinical studies have shown that consuming dairy products at the recommended level (three serves a day) does not reliably prevent osteoporosis. In fact it can contribute to bone density loss. A 1992 study showed that women on dairy-rich diets actually had a higher rate of bone fracture from osteoporosis that those on a dairy-free diet. It was found that the level of calcium in the body was a delicate balance:

  • Calcium absorption from the diet offset by
  • Leaky Gut: allowing nutrients to leave to body before absorption
  • The loss of calcium leached out by eating animal protein, caffeine, salt and also by smoking and physical inactivity.

So prevention of osteoporosis is not just a matter of eating calcium-rich foods. Firstly the calcium must be in a form that is readily absorbed and secondly we must take care with factors that cause calcium loss, like Leaky Gut

I think I might have food intolerance: What should I do?

Beginning with our free e-book, we can help you establish if you are suffering from gluten or wheat intolerance or if your symptoms indicate an intolerance to dairy, fructose or yeast. You may even be suffering from more than one food intolerance.

Doing nothing can be a risk. Undiagnosed food intolerance can cause serious long-term health problems like osteoporosis, anaemia and many others.

To learn more – sign up for the free e-book‘How To Tell If You have Food Intolerance’

Mosquito season is just around the corner, which means the U.S. and other countries are ramping up mosquito control in an attempt to contain the rapidly spreading Zika virus.

But as TIME recently reported in our cover story, authorities still expect the U.S. to see some locally transmitted cases of the virus this summer. One challenge is that it can be difficult to track the exact number of people infected with Zika, because the symptoms are similar to other diseases—and the vast majority of those who are infected don’t show any symptoms at all.

For those who do develop symptoms, the most common ones that characterize a Zika infection are red eyes, joint pain, rash and fever. If a person has a rash with or without a fever and another one of the four symptoms, that is considered a probable case of Zika. Still, there are other ailments that can cause similar symptoms, like the flu or other mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue.

Right now, the people at risk of getting infected are those who travel to one of the over 40 countries with ongoing Zika virus transmission. Should a person start having symptoms of the virus within two weeks of traveling to an affected region, it may be a good idea to see a doctor and determine whether to be tested. All pregnant women who travel to regions with Zika should be tested regardless of whether they have symptoms, health experts advise. Pregnant women are especially vulnerable since Zika is now proven to cause microcephaly, a birth defect, in infants. Partners of pregnant women should also be aware that the virus can be sexually transmitted, which is why health officials are advising men to abstain or use contraception for six months if they have been exposed and don’t want to pass it on. Women who may have been exposed should wait at least eight weeks before trying to get pregnant.

Currently, only state and federal laboratories can test for the virus and sometimes results can take weeks to get back. You can read more about whether you should be tested here.

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I haven’t heard that it causes a low WBC count but mine has been low for years. It will be interesting to see if it’s changed the next time I go to the doctor. I haven’t had anything diet in about 7 weeks.

Congratulations. You’ve given yourself a wonderful gift. May you keep feeling better and better.

I gave up all aspartame products back in September and lasted almost 4 months then my parents visited end of December and I was back on it!
All was going ok til about a month ago and now I am back to an odd feeling in my ears, my allergies are worsened, my stomach is ultra sensitive, my legs ache and have weird bruises, my fingers ache, I get tingling and numbness in my hands and feet, depression and anxiety.
This time I need to quit for good!!

Sarah I have had swelling in the legs, headaches, ringing in the ears,aching joints, bad skin, tingling and numbness in my hands and feet, depression, anxiety at times..I hope you can stay off it, I have been off it for 3 weeks and I will never go back, it is far to frightening-I want to live a long life, I wish you the same GIVE IT UP GIRL and good luck

4 days off the evil stuff, have not had many withdrawal symptoms just nausea, lack of appetite, trouble sleeping, lethargy and mood swings but my raynauds is gone, my joints are feeling better, the tingling in my leg has gone and a lot of the other aches and pains are disappearing!

Hi Gwenda, your post has inspired me. I am totally addicted to diet coke and I want so badly to be able to quit and trying to prepare myself to try again. I know I am unhealthy and I know I am probably slowly killing myself. I am wondering if you were able to continue being free from the addiction and how your symptoms are now. Did the ringing in the ears stop? Thanks so much!

I just quit aspartame because I’ve been trying to get pregnant for the last year and I’ve succeeded a few times. But, unfortunately it never lasts longer than 6 weeks. I started taking progesterone to help. But, then I remembered someone mentioning aspartame to me about five years ago and I blew off the warning. So, I looked it up and sure enough, I found it causes miscarriage and birth defects. I’m now convinced that the reason such a HUGE number of children are born with autism these days and an even larger number are diagnosed with ADHD and it’s because of aspartame, along with the rest off the artificial sweeteners. I’m including those “made from real sugar” like Splenda. I was drinking diet caffeine free Dr Pepper. So, I’m thinking maybe the withdrawal everyone’s complaining about are caffeine withdrawals. I have been drinking purely soda as my only fluid since high school at the latest. I can’t remember when I started on sodas and I can’t remember ever drinking anything but. So, since at least 1987, when I was 12. I quit caffeine in 12 days by drinking caffeine free Dr Pepper and when I’d start getting a headache, I would drink one of the caffeinated cans that are like 8 ounces, tiny. But, I haven’t had any soda in five days. No withdrawal. I miss the sharp carbonation on my throat, but my future baby is more than worth it.

What I’m trying to find out is how long before the aspartame is out of my system? If you know that, please email me.

Thanks for all this info. I want to see the long list of the complications of aspartame too. I’m 38 and have had tendonitis for years, along with joint pain, hair loss, major memory problems, etc.

I just quit Diet Coke, after a friend telling me about aspartame.
I was telling him how bad my finger joints had gotten in the past few weeks. I had gotten to where I had to quit my business because I could not use my fingers. Swollen joints, high pain from joint movement, and excruciating pain when I would even just move my fingers. Many things just got impossible to do.

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It’s typically those microscopic and pesky protozoa that cause the more uncomfortable symptoms like diarrhea or loose stools. This is because they release prostaglandin which is substance that causes a loss in chloride and sodium. The result is stools that are watery because the body is attempting to rid itself of the attacker.

Constipation can also be caused because some of the larger parasitic worms can lodge themselves in the intestines and cause a blockage. Over-the-counter stool softeners and a healthy diet should clear up natural bouts of constipation. You may have a parasitic worm causing a blockage if stool softeners don’t provide relief.

A common condition caused by these intestinal parasites is irritable bowel syndrome. This is a painful and uncomfortable condition that is a result of the parasite irritating the wall of the intestine and causing swelling. Many doctors have been quick to dismiss IBS as just something people must cope with. In the year 2000, researchers in England did a study that showed a significant link between the parasite giardia and irritable bowel syndrome. Ridding the body of this parasite gave great relief to the patients who had previously been diagnosed with IBS.

Since parasites don’t always stay put in the intestines, but rather move about and enter the blood stream, nervous system, and the organs, joint and muscle pain can be a symptom to look out for. This joint pain can commonly be mistaken for arthritis when in reality it is caused by inflammation due to the parasites becoming encased in a sac and existing despite our body’s best efforts to expel it.

Some parasites can cause a person to become agitated, nervous, or anxious. Researchers believe this is due to the body reacting in a way to try and rid itself of the foreign body. It’s also known that parasites release waste which can have an adverse effect on the central nervous system.

People who experience anxiety and nervousness that doesn’t improve with conventional treatments like medication or even meditation may have a parasitic infection. There have been reports of people who underwent a parasite cleanse and experienced a dramatic improvement with their anxiety symptoms.

Sleep loss can also be associated with the presence of parasites. Much like the anxiety and nervousness that can be caused by the toxins the parasites release, sleep loss occurs with the body’s attempt to deal with the parasite invasion. The liver makes valiant attempts to rid the body of the toxic waste the parasites leave behind which can cause sleep disturbances.

Another cause of sleep disturbances is associated with pinworms. These tiny white worms exit the body when the host is sleeping to deposit their eggs around the anus. This causes extreme itching and discomfort.

People, especially children, who have a parasitic infection, have also been known to grind their teeth while sleeping. This is also associated with the nervousness that can be caused by the toxins the parasite is producing in the body.

Generally, parasites can weaken your immune system. This leads to being more susceptible for infections like the common cold and flu. You may have a parasite that is compromising your immune system if you find that you chronically experience cold and flu symptoms. It’s not abnormal to come down with a cold or flu occasionally, but when it seems like you are always fighting one off, it may be caused by a parasite weakening your body’s defenses.

Skin conditions are also a common symptom of having a parasitic infection. They can be very uncomfortable, unsightly, and painful to deal with. You may think that only parasites that feed off skin cells will cause these conditions, but that isn’t quite the case. While it’s true that fungi like ringworm cause itchy, patchy skin lesions, intestinal invaders like worms and protozoa also cause irritating skin conditions.

Hives, eczema, and other rashes have all been linked to intestinal parasites. It’s not known exactly why, but one theory is that the toxins released in the blood stream affect the skin from the inside out. Skin conditions that are not caused by parasites should clear up with topical ointments or steroid treatments prescribed by doctors. If the condition doesn’t clear up with these methods then the culprit may be a parasite.

When it seems like typical treatments are not providing any relief for any of these parasitic infection symptoms, it may be time to try a parasite cleanse. If left untreated, parasites will continue to multiply and cause damage inside the body. Some can live for years and years causing painful parasite symptoms the entire time.

From its discovery until 2006, confirmed cases of Zika virus infection were rare, although cases were reported during the 60's in Africa and South-East Asia. Analysis suggested that the African and Asian strains emerged as two distinct lineages.

The first outbreak outside of Africa and Asia was documented on Yap Island in the Federal States of Micronesia, in 2007.

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Oklahoma County records high number of people hospitalized for flu 2

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Shocking new study proves that the vaccine industry is just an extension of the abortion industry 4

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    It is a contagious and infectious condition which often manifests itself as major pandemics, which may occur in any season interspersed with seasonal epidemics of varying severity.

    Influenza is more prominent during the winter season. In winter, the immune system of the body is weak. As people usually stay indoors and are in close proximity to each other, it spreads quickly during winter.

    Prognosis of Influenza

    The prognosis of Influenza is more severe and lasts longer than ‘common cold’. Recovery period of flu is about one to two weeks. The person remains contagious for about six days from the date of infection.

    Influenza leaves the respiratory epithelium weak and prone to several other infections and attack by other pathogens. Influenza can be life threatening when it develops into pneumonia. It may affect people of any age.

    Types of Influenza

    There are three types of influenza viruses, they are:

    1) Type A influenza virus which generally affects the mammals and birds like ducks, chicken and in some cases human beings. There are three variants of Type A influenza viruses namely H1N1 (e.g swine flu), H1N2 (e.g Asian flu and Hongkong flu), and H1N3 viruses.

    2) Type B flu virus that infects only humans. This causes mild fever and is less harmful than type A flu.

    3) Type C flu which causes mild respiratory infections. virus C. The symptoms of Type C influenza infection resembles the symptoms of common cold and is not pandemic.This flu infects only humans.

    Causes of influenza

    Influenza is usually caused due to faulty eating habits (dietetic errors) and unhygienic living conditions, like stuffy rooms. Anxiety, overwork, Lack of exercise and faulty lifestyle also provide grounds for influenza infection. The flu virus spreads easily through the saliva droplets released in the air due to sneezing and coughing of the person infected by flu and can infect and weak person quickly.

    The birth of influenza virus is closely associated with birds(Avian flu) and other animals (e.g swine flu). Thus Influenza pandemics often originate in places where human beings live in close proximity of animals.

    Symptoms of Influenza
    The symptoms of influenza are:

    • High fever (upto 40 ° C)
    • Chills and headache
    • Sore throat
    • Dry cough
    • Irritated eyes
    • Nasal congestion and Congestion of the lungs
    • Body aches including Muscle and joint pain
    • Wheezing
    • Fatigue
    • Pharyngitis

  • acheter zyban en ligne

    It is a contagious and infectious condition which often manifests itself as major pandemics, which may occur in any season interspersed with seasonal epidemics of varying severity.

    Influenza is more prominent during the winter season. In winter, the immune system of the body is weak. As people usually stay indoors and are in close proximity to each other, it spreads quickly during winter.

    Prognosis of Influenza

    The prognosis of Influenza is more severe and lasts longer than ‘common cold’. Recovery period of flu is about one to two weeks. The person remains contagious for about six days from the date of infection.

    Influenza leaves the respiratory epithelium weak and prone to several other infections and attack by other pathogens. Influenza can be life threatening when it develops into pneumonia. It may affect people of any age.

    Types of Influenza

    There are three types of influenza viruses, they are:

    1) Type A influenza virus which generally affects the mammals and birds like ducks, chicken and in some cases human beings. There are three variants of Type A influenza viruses namely H1N1 (e.g swine flu), H1N2 (e.g Asian flu and Hongkong flu), and H1N3 viruses.

    2) Type B flu virus that infects only humans. This causes mild fever and is less harmful than type A flu.

    3) Type C flu which causes mild respiratory infections. virus C. The symptoms of Type C influenza infection resembles the symptoms of common cold and is not pandemic.This flu infects only humans.

    Causes of influenza

    Influenza is usually caused due to faulty eating habits (dietetic errors) and unhygienic living conditions, like stuffy rooms. Anxiety, overwork, Lack of exercise and faulty lifestyle also provide grounds for influenza infection. The flu virus spreads easily through the saliva droplets released in the air due to sneezing and coughing of the person infected by flu and can infect and weak person quickly.

    The birth of influenza virus is closely associated with birds(Avian flu) and other animals (e.g swine flu). Thus Influenza pandemics often originate in places where human beings live in close proximity of animals.

    Symptoms of Influenza
    The symptoms of influenza are:

    • High fever (upto 40 ° C)
    • Chills and headache
    • Sore throat
    • Dry cough
    • Irritated eyes
    • Nasal congestion and Congestion of the lungs
    • Body aches including Muscle and joint pain
    • Wheezing
    • Fatigue
    • Pharyngitis

    Transmission of influenza virus

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    But sometimes acid reflux symptoms are less than obvious or easy to mistake for something else.

    If left untreated, heartburn can lead to Barrett's esophagus, which is a precursor to cancer, says Timothy Pfanner, MD, assistant professor of internal medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, in College Station.

    Here are some symptoms—both common and unusual—that could mean you have acid reflux.

    Photo: Getty Images

    Chest pain, which occurs because stomach acid is splashing into the esophagus, is a classic acid reflux symptom. But the pain can last longer and be more intense than expected. Many people mistake heartburn for a heart attack. You can never ignore chest pain, especially if it gets worse when you exercise or exert yourself. (Check out Heartburn or Heart Attack? How to Tell the Difference.)

    If you're having chest pain, check with your doctor to make sure you're not having a heart attack, says Walter J. Coyle, MD, gastroenterologist with Scripps Clinic Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

    Photo: Getty Images

    The acid that is supposed to stay in your stomach is more likely to escape into your esophagus when you lie down or bend over, causing heartburn.

    "If you're sitting up straight, gravity helps keep food in the stomach," says Dr. Coyle. "If you lose the gravity, you're more prone to reflux."

    That's why people with chronic heartburn raise the head of their bed, and why they shouldn't eat big meals right before bedtime.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    c) Children aged 6 months to under 5 years (59 months).

    d) Residents of old-age (nursing) homes and other chronic care or rehabilitation centres.

    e) Children aged 6 months to 18 years on long-term aspirin therapy.

    f) All persons aged 65 years and older.

    The Western Cape Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo encourages the high risk individuals and vulnerable groups to access these vaccines at the local health facility.

    "Part of our vision for Healthcare 2030 is to increase wellness amongst society and this vaccination campaign forms part of our strategy to boost people's immune systems, so that their bodies are less vulnerable to disease. By receiving these vaccines these individuals are healthy and strong and able to go to work every day and live the life they value. 'Flu' vaccinations are only steps on that road, but building blocks towards a healthier society. So make use of this opportunity that our health services offer so that we can be better together," says Minister Mbombo.

    As usual, surveillance programmes run by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) have detected sporadic cases. In the first nine weeks of 2016, 39 specimens have been received from Viral Watch sites of which 3 yielded evidence of influenza.

    Vaccination is the most effective strategy to prevent influenza.

    The influenza vaccine could be accessed at public health sector clinics and private healthcare providers (pharmacies and private practitioners etc.).

    Frequently asked questions

    1) How do you get flu?

    3) Who is at risk of developing complications?

    • Pregnant women, and including the 2 week period after delivery.
    • Young children ( 65 years of age).
    • People with existing chronic diseases (heart, lung, kidney, endocrine) for example diabetes or asthma, persons who are immunosuppressed.
    • Morbidly obese people (BMI ≥40 or BMI ≥35 with obesity related health conditions).
    • People ≤18 years of age receiving chronic aspirin therapy.

    I was prescribed Lamictal for BiPolar. I started off at 25mg a day for 14 & then 5omg for 14 days. I am on my 4th day ( of the 50mg) & am having horrible "flu" like symptoms. Has anyone else experienced this. Thanks for any info.:)

    I have hoarseness weight gain achiness in my legs and feet and more I askes to be dropped to 50 as I was on 100mg and had more side effects

    Are your feet swollen and hands? do you feel weak? and you mentioned you have gained weight, What other side effects do you have because they may be serious.