"If all the good advice about coughing and sneezing into your sleeve to prevent the spread of flu hasn't sunk in, please take a look at this gripping video from NPR's Robert Krulwich and medical animator David Bolinksy.
Now, you can see how the flu virus--any flu virus--propelled by one man's sneeze--any man's sneeze--infects another poor guy, hijacking a cell to make a whole bunch more virus which could infect you.The new H1N1 virus is doing a lot of this lately. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention said on Oct. 23 that since April, when swine flu first hit, the multiplying bug has caused more than 1,000 deaths and put more than 20,000 people in the hospital. Here's how that gets rolling."
-Scott Hensley, NPR, "This Is Your Body on Flu", October 24, 2009-
One Last Thing
In our video we ask, if a flu virus inside your body can multiply by the millions within seconds, why don't we topple over and die quickly?
Here's a better, longer answer than the one in the video.
First, some new viruses get caught in mucus and other fluids inside your body and are destroyed. Other viruses get expelled in coughs and sneezes.
Second, lots of those new viruses are lemons. They don't work that well. Some don't have the right "keys" to invade healthy cells so they can't spread the infection.
And third, as the animation shows, your immune system is busy attacking the viruses whenever and wherever possible. That is why most of the time, after a struggle (when you get a fever and need to lie down), your immune system rebounds, and, in time, so do you.
Have You Heard The Good News That H1N1 May Be Less Severe If You are Over 50? It's all about something very special that happened in 1957. Click here to find out why.
More Tips to Keep You Out of Germs Way
1. I've been putting my neti pot to good use during this cold & flu season--and it usually seems to flush those upper respiratory viruses away before they can start making baby viruses in my body.
After watching David Bolinsky's video, it's making even more sense how rinsing my nose with salt water is keeping me healthy.
If you want a refresher course, please read:My Research-Backed Advice on How to Prevent Colds - Knock Them Out Quickly - or Shorten Their Duration
2. Here’s an interesting tidbit from Dr. David Nieman, the Human Performance Lab director at Appalachian State University.
After conducting about 50 studies on marathoners who are 6 times more likely to get sick after a race–Nieman found this combo to combat oxidative stress & ward off illness:
- Quercetin–-the antioxidant in apples, berries, grapes, cranberries.
- Green tea extract EGCG
- Fish oil
3. Moderate exercise can also boost your immune system and help you fight off those viral invaders. Go overboard--like running a marathon or exercising too intensely for prolonged periods of time--and the odds go up that you'll get sick.
To get the whole story, read Gretchen Reynolds' Oct. 14, 2009 NYT article, "Phys Ed: Does Exercise Boost Immunity?"