Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Keeping Healthy during the Swine Flu Outbreak

The recent swine flu outbreak in Mexico and the few reported swine flu cases (50 as of this writing) in the United States are causing worry among older citizens who are generally more vulnerable to infections.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has published information to clarify the situation and allay the public's anxiety.

Swine flu is a respiratory infection caused by a strain of influenza virus A known as H1N1.  It is generally a disease found in pigs but from time to time it finds its way to humans.  Transmission is from person to person only, by droplet (sneezing, coughing or touching a surface like door knobs, telephones, and desks, with the virus and touching the nose, mouth, or eyes).  You cannot get swine flu by eating pork.  It is contagious one day before symptoms appear and up to seven days after the person feels better.  Previous outbreaks have been relatively mild.  In 1976, 200 cases were reported in Fort Dix, North Carolina and in the three years between 2005 to he end of 2008, 12 cases of human infection wer reported.  The April 2009 cases reported in the US seem to be mild as well. 

The symptoms of swine flu are similar to any influenza infection and consist of tiredness, fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.  Some people complain of diarrhea and vomiting.  As in seasonal flu, swine flu is self limiting although the course and intensity may be shortened by antiviral medications.  Of significance to older adults is that flu can worsen other medical conditions and persons with decreased immune responses may be quite susceptible to complications such as bacterial infections like pneumonia.  

Keeping safe and healthy:

  • Get plenty of rest, stay hydrated and continue with physical exercise.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • If you cough or sneeze, cover the mouth and nose with tissue paper and throw it in the trash.  If you do not have tissue paper, cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow.
  • Stay away from sick people.
  • If you feel sick, stay home, rest and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Call your health care provider if you get dizzy, experience chest pain or oppression, trouble breathing, or severe persistent vomiting or diarrhea.
There is no vaccine for swine flu just yet. Two prescription antiviral agents, oseltamivir and zanamivir, can shorten the course of the illness if taken within two days of the onset of symptoms.

Swine flu cases reported seems to all be mild and self-limiting.  Don't panic.  Call your health care provider if you have concerns or check the CDC website for further information.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Florists Love Mother's Day

The second Sunday in May is one of the seasons in a florist's year. Along with Valentine's Day, Easter and Christmas, Mother's Day, represents high sales volume. Weddings, professional recognition days such as Administrative Assistant Day ring up a smaller volume. Little wonder that florists, nurseries, and grocery stores ensure that they don't run out of Mother's Day flowers.

Since flowers now come from all over the world, florists can play with a variety of flower arrangements. No longer confined to local floral variety and seasonal blooms, florists are now only limited by their creativity in crafting floral arrangements. Well, perhaps the customer's budget as well. It can be an Ikebana arrangement with its simple style and line, an English garden style with radial colorful blooms or a contemporary high style arrangement. Any time of the year, florists can have orchids, birds of paradise, tulips and various flowers for every occasion. Recipients are equally pleased. A mom in Asia can have a spray of tulips while another mom in Greenland might receive a pot of phaelonopsis orchids.

Customers can have Mother's Day flowers hand delivered by their local florist or through floral wire and online services such as 1-800-Flowers.


This blog is a collection of musings about things that interest me. The opinions are my own. While I try my best to be accurate and ensure accurate links to relevant sites, I may make honest mistakes, hopefully few and far between. I intend no harm to anyone. I welcome comments but please be kind and observe a no profanity ethic. This site may contain paid content but this in no way affects the honesty and spirit of the writing. I do not collect personal information or insert cookies in reader's computers. Blog posts belong to me. Content may be copied and distributed (but not modified), as long as my authorship is acknowledged with a link back to the content page. Photos are either mine or obtained from free sites. I make an effort to track and acknowledge the owner but this is often not possible. If you are the owner of photos on this site, please contact me. As life is a continually changing process, this blog is a work in progress.