Winter is well and truly here . and with it comes 'flu.
And it's not to be taken lightly as each year the seasonal form of 'flu affects millions of people across the world. Which is hardly surprising since it's so easily transmitted by saliva in general through coughs and splutters, sneezing, and of course by hand to hand contact as hands are often tainted by infected droplets and respiratory secretions.
Yet a few simple steps can help protect you against contagion.
First of all, washing your hands in soap and water. Do this several times a day: each time you blow your nose, or cough or sneeze, and of course if you visit someone already suffering from 'flu. In fact it's even recommended to wash your hands each time you come indoors after being outside.
Handwashing is also essential - both for adults and children - in most operations involving the preparation and consumption of food.
And it's best to use disposable hankies: use once and throw away. This will avoid turning your pockets into microbe incubators! If you become ill, it's a good idea to wear a surgical mask to avoid spreading the virus. You can buy these at a pharmacy. Change your mask every 4 hours or as soon as it becomes damp. And don't forget to wash your hands before and after handling it.
Finally, avoid taking infants and young children out into busy environments such as shopping centres. Don't share personal items (such as cutlery, crockery, tumblers and towels.). And one final recommendation - avoid shaking hands or embracing friends and relatives. Precautions like these will help to keep the 'flu epidemic well under control.
Melamine - the WHO sets a "tolerable" daily level in food Since the outbreak of the scandal about the Chinese milk contaminated with melamine, this toxic substance has been a matter of concern to world health authorities. To such an extent that WHO experts recently met in Ottawa, Canada, to review the situation. And they have now set a tolerable melamine level for food of 0.2 mg per kilo of body weight per day.
This means that for a person who weighs 50 kg, a daily intake of 10 mg is acceptable. But beware - the lack of reliable data makes it impossible to be sure that such a level presents no risk to human health, the 31 experts meeting in Canada warn.
They also point out that melamine is a contaminant which has no place in the food chain. And its presence, which can often be explained by being rubbed off packaging and containers, can be "tolerated" but in no case should be seen as "normal". Which is also why there is no international standard in place in this respect.
Melamine - actually melamine formaldehyde or FM - is a resin developed in the 1930s. Although toxic it is still used today in the manufacture of plastic packaging, glues and even flame retardants.
Sidaction in . Marrakesh! In Morocco, the end of 2008 saw massive mobilization against HIV/AIDS, reaching its climax on the 19th of December with a live 5-hour television broadcast on various national channels. Under the patronage of His Majesty Mohammed VI, the event was organised by the Moroccan Association against AIDS (the ALCS) in partnership with the French association Sidaction. According to Ahmed Moulay Douraidi, national sectional coordinator of the ALCS, there were a number of aims. Firstly, to raise funds to finance our action in the field. And this was successful, as over 598,000 euros were in fact collected. Another aim was to get certain messages across to the public to raise their awareness of the risks associated with HIV/AIDS and of the vectors of contamination. We have a major task ahead of us in terms of therapeutic education, he continued. And it's a matter of urgency as the epidemic is on the increase in Morocco. According to official figures from UNAIDS and the Moroccan Ministry of Health, there are now 2,800 people suffering from this condition. And 22,300 (ie 95% of them heterosexual) living with the AIDS virus, whereas there were only 14,500 in 2003, Moulay Douraidi points out. More worrying still, the south of the country is seeing a strong upsurge in the illness, now accounting for 29% of the total number of recorded cases. This can be largely explained by the poverty and movement of the loca population. Prevention is hard to implement in this remote area of Morocco.
The increase in the number of infected women is also worrying. It has risen from 8% in 1988 to 43% of total reported cases today. And the use of injected hard drugs, which is spreading dangerously among young people, is also playing a part in the rise of the epidemic.
Combating high blood pressure - start early and go gently Arterial hypertension (HA) is the leading cause of cerebral vascular accidents (strokes) in France and often sets in very early. But it's not inevitable. An Australian study has shown that even without restrictive treatment and without medication, simply taking Coenzyme Q10 as a food supplement can significantly lower blood pressure. In order better to assess its capability, a team led by Dr Franklin L. Rosenfeldt of Melbourne compiled 12 clinical trials. All related to the role of this natural nutrient in regulating blood pressure. The results are quit conclusive. One supplement of 100 to 120 mg of Coenzyme Q10 per day can lower both systolic and diastolic pressure. And it can do this without any significant secondary effect, Dr Rosenfeldt reports. Better still, this approach has proved effective as a complement to conventional treatment for those suffering from unbalanced blood pressure. In fact, Coenzyme Q10 acts both as a preventive and as an adjuvant to conventional treatment. Exactly right, according to Professor Svend Aage (pronounced "Oogue") Mortensen of Copenhagen University Hospital. Professor Mortensen is one of Europe's leading cardiologists in the use of Coenzyme Q10. However, he also points out that supplements must be at least 100 to 200 mg per day or the benefits are not the same. Your doctor will be able to guide you in choosing the right supplement for you. It's also important to remember that as CoQ10 is liposoluble the complement you take with it should be oil-based rather than in powder or tablet form. This combination will ensure that the body is able to assimilate it properly.
Mortality from measles is dropping steadily across the world In just 7 years, deaths from measles worldwide have dropped by 74%. The number of fatalities was brought down from 750,000 to 197,000 between 2000 and 2007. This excellent news announced by the World Health Organisation in fact contains another triumph: in certain countries, such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Sudan, the figure has fallen by 90%! Credit must go to the thousands of health workers who led awareness-raising and mass vaccination campaigns in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. These were mainly volunteers from UNICEF and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. Africa is the main contributor to these results: it is on this continent that 63% of the fall in mortality has been recorded. In Asia, on the other hand, progress has been more limited. Mortality has only fallen by 42% due to the late implementation of large-scale vaccination campaigns in India. Yet India alone accounts for two thirds of deaths from measles.