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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

New Strain of Bird Flu in China is Not Good News

It is easy in today’s age of medical technology and ranking of international health care systems to assume that everything on the flu front is under control. The trouble is, flu bugs have very little respect for public health policies and international virus controls. In fact, the very idea that viruses can be absolutely contained is an illusion. New strains of viruses, bacteria and other infectious agents are evolving all the time. That’s the way nature works.

In fact, if you study nature at all, you know that the scariest diseases for humans generally come from the creatures with which we share the earth. The blood disease we call AIDS migrated from primates to humans. Mice transmit the deadly Hantavirus. Insects carry malaria, West Nile virus, and other infections known to kill human beings. Even healthy ones.

So when we hear about a flu that evolves among chickens we should not just cluck and forget about it. These viruses are so creative and prevalent, the best we can do is assign a letter and number system to categorize them. The newest flu variety threatening to make people sick and die is called H7N9.

Medical officials in China think the chicken flu virus has been percolating for nearly 2 years in the country. Sometimes the transmission of such viruses is confined to those who handle the chickens infected by it. But when that same virus makes a jump from one person to another, that’s when things get unhappy and more interesting than we’d like.

As cases of the virulent H7N9 flu migrated out of the country (unlike the chickens, which can’t really fly) and people actually died from the infection, health officials around the world took note. It is hard to predict what or when the next deadly flu virus will become a pandemic. The tough thing about flu viruses is that sometimes a vaccine is weeks away from creation. During that period people are highly at risk of infection. And that can mean millions of people getting sick and many dying.

One of the first points of defense against any flu is good personal habits like washing hands in public places and even protecting yourself with masks if necessary. Should a flu pandemic ever break out in America, it is unlikely most people will know the best first steps to take. So here, as a bit of public service, is a list of preventative measures you can take to protect yourself if the Chinese Bird Flu ever does some calling in America.

1.      Air purifiers can filter out airborne germs, viruses and allergens. Travel Air Purifiers are even more specific. The Wein Mini-Mate Wearable Air Purifier literally filters air in your breathing zone.

2.      Allergy masks are worn by many people who live in societies that live in close quarters.

3.      UV Sanitizers are used by hospitals and other healthcare agencies to kill germs and viruses as well as bed bugs and dust mites that can cause wounds or allergies that weaken your immune system. The Baby Bottle Nipple UV-C Sanitizer keeps baby’s bottles and pacifiers, teething rings and more safe from germs.

4.      The NANO UV Water Disinfection and Surface Sanitizer enables you to disinfect a surface or water with the power of Ultraviolet light.

5.      The Zadro Nano-UV Disinfection Light Scanner is a cell-phone sized handheld sanitizer you can take anywhere to scan anything you touch.

You do have weapons of defense against Chinese Bird Flu if the H7N9 virus ever comes calling. Best to be prepared!

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