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The Swine Flu epidemic is here.  It might not be so much the actual flu that is spreading at an alarming rate, but the fear and panic about the flu seem to be running rampant.

For healthy adults and children the H1N1 virus, commonly known as the Swine Flu, is no more deadly than the flu virus that spreads through the country every year about this time.

The best way to avoid getting the virus is to stay healthy and follow just a few basic rules about staying that way and keeping your body from becoming a welcome host to the virus.

The flu shot is not the end all be all savior that is has been said to be.  If you would like to learn more about the vaccination and the problems it has, you can read my blog post – Facts about the Flu Virus and its Vaccine.

The flu virus only has a couple of entry points where it can get into your body.  Those are the nostrils and the mouth and throat.  The virus is floating around pretty much everywhere but it’s not dangerous coming in contact with the virus as long as you take the precautions to not let it proliferate throughout your body.
In order to keep the virus from proliferating (multiplying and setting up shop in your body), you need to follow some simple steps while you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of the flu, whether it be the H1N1 flu virus or any other flu virus.

Here are several steps you can do to keep yourself healthy:

1. Frequent hand-washing with soap and for more than just a quick rinse.  Sing Happy Birthday to yourself a couple of times to make sure you have done a thorough job.

2. Do your best to keep your hands off your face. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face because this is where the flu virus has the best chance of entering your body.  I know it seems kind of a goofy thing to think about, but many of us use our fingers to pick something out of our teeth, we pick our nose (be honest, most of us do it from time to time), and we rub our eyes.

3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water.  The flu virus, including the H1N1 Swine Flu, takes 2-3 days after the initial infection in the throat/ nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. By simply gargling each day you can help to prevent proliferation. This again seems like a simple thing to do, but just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s not powerful.  And an added bonus it is an inexpensive preventative step.

4. Another step you can do with the salt water is to clean your nostrils every day.  This one is a little tougher for a lot of us.  Maybe you have seen or even used a Neti Pot.  It lets you clean you sinuses with warm water.  If you aren’t into putting water up your nose, you can just blow your nose (hard) when you get up in the morning and then swab your nostrils with cotton swabs dipped in salt water.  This method has been shown to be effective in reducing the viral population that may be trying to set up shop in your body.

5. Boost your immune system naturally.  Vitamin C, whether from foods or supplements has been shown to help with your immunity.  Researchers have also come up with an all natural supplement that can boost your body’s ability to produce interferon.  Interferon has been shown to have a significant impact on helping the body’s natural immune system.

6. And finally, drink warm liquids when you can. This does pretty much the same thing as the gargling does.  It loosens up and washes off the viruses but instead of expelling them from the body, it sends them out of the throat and down into the stomach.  The acidic environment of the stomach kills the viruses and does not allow them to proliferate through your body.

So instead of getting all worked up about the Swine Flu, relax (remember stress only helps the flu take a foot hold) and take the time to keep yourself healthy.  It only takes a few extra precautions and preventative measures to avoid catching the H1N1 or any other cold and flu that might be spreading itself around in your local environment.

It’s something to think about!

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More and more the consensus is to not do animal testing.  It is usually cruel in some fashion or another no matter how kind or wonderful the researchers are.  That is just the nature of testing and research.  Quite often the researchers are testing drugs or new products that could cause or cure a disease.  So how could that ever be humane.

The problem: How do you test the validity and effectiveness of these new drugs and products before you put them on the market for humans to use.

Clinical studies have become the “Gold” standard for determining the effectiveness of these new drugs and nutrition products.  It was often difficult to achieve the goal without performing tests and so animals were nominated as test subjects.

This was the problem and one companies solution to the problem.

The Shaklee Corporation has made a commitment not to use any animal studies in the testing of their products.

Recently they had to come up with a very ingenious plan for there latest research project in order to maintain this commitment of no animal testing.  I thought it was pretty impressive, and if you are an animal lover you might think so too!

Shaklee has an immune boosting supplement called Nutriferon.  They wanted to do some basic research on how Nutriferon might work to prevent viral infections in the lungs.  They asked research scientists from Cornell University to help them conduct these experiments.

Cornell has some of the world’s top experts in the field of immunology and the development of model systems that can be used instead of relying on animal studies.  A perfect fit for what Shaklee wanted to have done.

In order to conduct the research properly, the scientists from Cornell asked Shaklee to support some of their research into developing a model system that would simulate the layers of cells that line the lungs and windpipe.  This would keep the research animal free while still allowing the research to see how cells would respond to viral infections.

Even though developing this model did not involve any Shaklee products and was really of no direct benefit to Shaklee, the company agreed to support its development.

Well, long story short, the Cornell scientists have already used this new model to show how the lungs respond to a particular type of parainfluenza virus that is responsible for croup and bronchitis in children.

So Shaklee, a health and wellness company, was indirectly involved in creating a model to further science that can help people (kids in this case) stay healthier.  This research didn’t do anything to sell more products or make more money, it was research for the good of people.  (I think that is pretty cool.)

Now of coarse the reason all this came up in the first place is because Shaklee was interested in performing research to determine how Nutriferon helps the lungs resist infection by flu viruses.

The final results of that study have not been published yet, but the study did show that Nutriferon activates “natural killer cells” when a flu virus infects lung tissue.

This is significant because natural killer cells are an important player when it comes to “killing” a flu virus.  Nutriferon had already been shown to help fight viral infections but it was never known how it did this.  This research is one more important piece of the puzzle that shows the Nutiferon is effective.

This is just one more example showing that large corporations can do well for themselves while doing good for the community and mankind.

It is something to think about!