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A layperson’s perspective on viruses

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I am not criticizing anyone, but we need to hear more from the medical people about the viruses we have to deal with. I am not about to give a lecture, because I am only a layperson when it comes to these matters. Thanks to the Internet we can learn more. But there are many persons out there who do not have the Internet and they need to know. We talk about a flu season, which means we expect a heightened number of flu cases some time of the year. The common cold and the flu have been around for a long time, especially since the increased contact with persons on public transport and public places such as supermarkets, churches, schools and other meeting places. Our foreparents used natural remedies, certain kinds of bush, to stave off the worse effects. They boiled the leaves and drank the concoction. Today we go to the doctor for the common cold, flu and coughs and we get medication. We need more awareness about the common cold and flu.

The colds and flu start with a virus. The virus enters the body through the nose and mouth and travels around our respiratory system causing havoc in our nose, throat and lungs. Sometimes these lead to pneumonia, bronchitis and sore throat. This tiny virus could cause death if we do not deal with it. So my people I urge you to take precautions. Call it self-preservation not selfishness. Most importantly, avoid viruses at all cost. Don’t want you to panic or to take extreme measures. A virus is tiny, so you can’t see it with the naked eyes, but you know when it is around. You hear people cough and sneeze, you hear hoarseness in the voice, and your precious little ones come home from school coughing. You can contract these diseases from the droplets in coughs and sneezes of others. It can also be introduced into your mouths by touching infected hard surfaces. The virus can stay on hard surfaces for a long time. The need to wipe up with disinfectant cannot be stressed too much. The schools have to make a greater effort at cleaning and disinfecting. Children must be taught how to deal with coughs by covering the mouth with the arm or hands and washing the hands with soap. Hand sanitizer can also be used. There has to be greater emphasis on prevention. Don’t forget your Vitamin C in citrus fruits- limes and lemons. Mask is a last resort.

Long before a virus catches up with you, you should have been building up your defenses. Your immune system fights off viruses and when you get a fever you know it is trying to fight off the intrusion. But your immune system might not be strong enough to fight off the attack. Be prepared by eating foods that would build up a strong immune system. There are over-the-counter supplements. Make sure you ask your doctor about them. I have heard people saying, “the rain wet me and I caught a cold.” It might have been because your immune system was depressed with the colder weather. It is always a virus that causes colds and flu. There are different strains of virus. You could have the A or B flu strain.

There is news of a dangerous virus in other countries. Be aware! Take care of yourself. Don’t make it come here! It could affect all areas of our society.

Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law. E-mail address is: [email protected]

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