Flu/Influenza

Bad Cold

Back in 1348, Europe and other parts of the World were hit by a catastrophe, The Black Death (Bubonic Plague) swept through Europe, killing an estimated 25% of the population. The total number dead is said to be between 100 and 200 million. The plague was carried by rat flees. The disease originated in China and carried West along the Silk Route, to the furthest westerly European locations, of England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland.

At that time, no one knew what caused the disease. Many believed it was a punishment from God. The atheists knew it wasn't God, as his remit did not include killing his children, cos God didn't exist.

As so little was known or understood about the disease, many beliefs did the rounds, but no-one knew for sure the cause or cure. (Except for the Church, which knew it was punishment for our sins).

To contract the disease, direct exposure to rats (which carried the flees) or an infected body, was essential. In a sense it was quite difficult to get sick if you knew its source, as the flees cannot fly and only jump to 13 inches. If ya didn't know the source... you had a problem.

The disease was thought to be caused by rats, an inaccurate deduction, as the rats acted as hosts. The flees living on rats did the transmission. Flees bite. Suck blood, and in return gratefully dose ya with the Black Plague bacteria (Xenopsylla cheopis). Fair exchange or what?
 
Millions died and the middle ages gave way to the Renaissance. The Age of Enlightenment and the start of science. Thank God for science. Or maybe just thank the scientists?

Time passed and our innate curiosity got the better of us and we began to understand how Nature worked.  The many Laws that governed Nature along with her biological functions. Slowly but progressively we got a handle on things and developed methods and drugs to combat disease. We beat Polio, we beat TB, we beat Smallpox.

The march of medical science was unstoppable. Except for a couple of minor nuisance afflictions: Influenza and the Common Cold.

No matter how hard our Bio-Scientist tried, these two minor ailments had them licked.

Why?

Ya see, they are caused by virus. Virus mutate. That means they change. So no matter what Flu/Cold jab you prepare, the virus will mutate (change) and the medicine will not work. You cannot stop Virus from mutating, its in their blood (so to speak), its in their nature. Constantly mutating to produce new virus forms.

In order to combat something like the black plague, the flu virus or any kind of disease, first you must understand it. How it works. How its transmitted. And how its sustained.

Where does that leave us? Out in the cold?

If you wander round town in winter, you see countless helpless souls sniffling, sneezing, coughing, eyes running, feverish. Yeah. The Flu's in town.

Every winter I watch so many people go down with flu or the common cold.

For years, I too suffered an annual dose. Initially I didn't understand how I was catching the disease. I thought it was due to a weak immune system, or being generally run-down.

When I worked in Central London, I travelled on the tube (subway/underground) into work each day. A carriage full of sweaty, sneezing, wheezing, salarymen. Though I would try to avoid them, best I could, I would end up with a heavy dose of flu each winter. Thanks for nothing. I pay for a train journey and I get the flu as a freebie.

I didn't understand how it was transmitted, or how it could be contained. But now I know.

Recently I stayed with some friends who work in a kiddies school. What a fertile source for virus transmission. After a week, I was down with the flu. Bed-ridden, choked, coughing, sneezing, the works.

I had to understand this thing.

Transmission

How is the flu passed from one grateful host to another?

You cannot get sick if the flu/cold virus cannot enter your body. Fact.

The most common means of transmission are coughing or sneezing. This fills the air/atmosphere with moist virus laden droplets ready for some one to inhale. Fill their lungs to capacity, and get sick real quick.

People with flu or cold should sneeze into a tissue (kleenex) or their sleeve. DO NOT cough or sneeze into their hands.

If you are staying with someone already infected, stay at least 6ft away from them. This will minimize the chance of virus inhalation.

The other method of picking up the virus, is through contact. If you have the virus and sneeze or cough into your hands, then touch the light switch, door handle, cupboard doors, tap, computer mouse, Tv remote control, book, etc. You transfer the virus onto those surfaces. If you or anyone else later touches them, voila, you're ripe for infection. You need to get it into your body of course, but that's easily done. Touch your lip, mouth, nose, eye, and the virus is home. To prevent the spread of infection:
  • Wash your hands several times a day.
  • Use disposable tissues to cough or sneeze.
  • Cough into a tissue or your sleeve. 
  • DO NOT cough into your hands.
  • Wash your clothes in a hot wash
  • No French-kissing anyone with flu.
    (unless the pain of love is worth the pain of flu).
There is no medicine to cure flu or the common cold. You'll have to stick it out and suffer, then let your body fight its battles.

Stay warm. Get some rest and recover.

Done!