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When to Call the Doctor About Flu

If you just came down with miserable flu symptoms, you may wonder when to call the doctor. Sooner is better than later in case your doctor thinks you would benefit from flu medications that can help shorten the duration of the flu.

What Are Common Flu Symptoms?

The first challenge is determining if you have flu symptoms. If you have these symptoms, give your doctor a call. Common symptoms of the flu include:

In addition, if you've had the flu for a few days and then get worse, call your doctor immediately. These symptoms may indicate a secondary or bacterial infection with flu. Call your doctor if:

  • Your fever returns
  • Your fever lasts for longer than three days
  • You have difficulty breathing
  • You cannot stop vomiting and can't keep liquids down You wheeze when you breathe
  • Your flu symptoms are worsening each day

If you have a chronic medical condition such as heart disease, asthma, COPD, diabetes, or HIV/AIDS, it's important to call your doctor when the first flu symptoms appear as flu might increase the risk of serious problems associated with your chronic condition. For instance, if you have asthma and flu, you may need to boost your asthma medications and asthma inhalers to prevent an asthma attack. Your doctor can instruct you.

Also, seek emergency medical help if you or a loved one is extremely short of breath or has a severe headache or stiff neck.

What Flu Tests Will My Doctor Use?

Most of the time, a flu diagnosis is made by the person's symptoms. In some cases, your doctor may also run flu tests to make an accurate flu diagnosis. These tests usually involve taking a swab from your mouth and culturing this to identify the flu virus. Rapid flu tests may give your doctor results in about five to 30 minutes. Your doctor may prefer to use a rapid flu test before prescribing flu drugs, which must be taken within 48 hours of the first flu symptoms.

What Antiviral Drugs Will My Doctor Prescribe for the Flu?

According to the CDC, two flu antiviral drugs are recommended for use in the United States. These antiviral drugs are Tamiflu and Relenza.

  • Tamiflu is approved for prevention and treatment of flu in people 1 year old and older.
  • Relenza is approved to treat flu in people 7 years old and older and to prevent flu in people 5 years old and older.

Tamiflu and Relenza must be given within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms. These flu drugs can decrease the duration of the flu by one day if used within this early time period. They are usually given for about five days.

Your doctor will determine if you can take antiviral drugs with a flu diagnosis, but you need to call your doctor as soon as you have flu symptoms for these drugs to provide a benefit.

WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: American Academy of Family Physicians: "Tips for Treating the Flu." American Lung Association: "Influenza Fact Sheet." Mayo Clinic: "Flu Shot: Your best shot for avoiding influenza." CDC: "Seasonal Flu: Key Facts About Antiviral Drugs and Influenza (FLU)."

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on December 20, 2007

Love Letter (Beatrice Cambell)

George Bernard Shaw, an Irish dramatist, and 'Stella' (Beatrice Campbell, English actress), corresponded for 40 years.

18th November 1912
33 Kensington Square

No more shams -- a real love letter this time -- then I can breathe freely, and perhaps who knows begin to sit up and get well --

I haven't said 'kiss me' because life is too short for the kiss my heart calls for... All your words are as idle wind -- Look into my eyes for two minutes without speaking if you dare! Where would be
your 54 years? and my grandmother's heart? and how many hours would you be late for dinner?

-- If you give me one kiss and you can only kiss me if I say 'kiss me' and I will never say 'kiss me' because I am a respectable widow and I wouldn't let any man kiss me unless I was sure of the wedding ring --

(Liza, I mean).

Love Letter (Lady Shigenari)

Considered the ideal Japanese hero, Lord Kimura Shigenari was the Governor of Nagato in the 16th century. In this letter, Lady Shigenari, sensing that her husband would soon be killed in battle, chooses to take her own life rather than continue the journey of life alone.

16th Century

I know that when two wayfarers 'take shelter under the same tree and slake their thirst in the same river' it has all been determined by their karma from a previous life. For the past few years you and I have shared the same pillow as man and wife who had intended to live and grow old together, and I have become as attached to you as your own shadow. This is what I believed, and I think this is what you have also thought about us.

But now I have learnt about the final enterprise on which you have decided and, though I cannot be with you to share the grand moment, I rejoice in the knowledge of it. It is said that (on the eve of his final battle) the Chinese general, Hsiang Yü, valiant warrior though he was, grieved deeply about leaving Lady Yü, and that (in our own country) Kiso Yoshinaka lamented his parting from Lady Matsudono. I have now abandoned all hope about our future together in this world, and (mindful of their example) I have resolved to take the ultimate step while you are still alive. I shall be waiting for you at the end of what they call the road to death.

I pray that you may never, never forget the great bounty, deep as the ocean, high as the mountains, that has been bestowed upon us for so many years by our lord, Prince Hideyori.

To Lord Shigenari, Governor of Nagato

From His Wife

Love Letter (Napoleon Bonaparte)

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) was born in Corsica. He became an army officer in 1785, and after rapid promotion, took command of the army of the interior in 1795. After a coup in 1799, Napoleon became first consul, and in 1804 emperor. Between 1804 and 1810 he consolidated his empire in Europe. In 1814, following defeat in Russia, he abdicated and was banished to Elba. In 1815 he resumed power, but was crushed at the Battle of Waterloo and exiled to St. Helena, where he died in 1821.

Here Napoleon Bonaparte Love Lattes :

Paris, December 1795

I wake filled with thoughts of you. Your portrait and the intoxicating evening which we spent yesterday have left my senses in turmoil. Sweet, incomparable Josephine, what a strange effect you have on my heart! Are you angry? Do I see you looking sad? Are you worried?... My soul aches with sorrow, and there can be no rest for you lover; but is there still more in store for me when, yielding to the profound feelings which overwhelm me, I draw from your lips, from your heart a love which consumes me with fire? Ah! it was last night that I fully realized how false an image of you your portrait gives!

You are leaving at noon; I shall see you in three hours.

Until then, mio dolce amor, a thousand kisses; but give me none in return, for they set my blood on fire.


Spring 1797

To Josephine,

I love you no longer; on the contrary, I detest you. you are a wretch, truly perverse, truly stupid, a real Cinderella. You never write to me at all, you do not love your husband; you know the pleasure that your letters give him yet you cannot even manage to write him half a dozen lines, dashed off in a moment! What then do you do all day, Madame? What business is so vital that it robs you of the time to write to your faithful lover? What attachment can be stifling and pushing aside the love, the tender and constant love which you promised him? Who can this wonderful new lover be who takes up your every moment, rules your days and prevents you from devoting your attention to your husband?

Beware, Josephine; one fine night the doors will be broken down and there I shall be. In truth, I am worried, my love, to have no news from you; write me a four page letter instantly made up from those delightful words which fill my heart with emotion and joy. I hope to hold you in my arms before long, when I shall lavish upon you a million kisses, burning as the equatorial sun.


Can a Magnetic Connection Cure Pain?

Alternative Medicine
By: Lara Endreszl
Published: Sunday, 14 December 2008

As a kid, I had a bunch of little round magnets that were supposed to be glued onto the back of homemade refrigerator magnets. Instead I used to stack them up on the kitchen table and turn them around and around attracting and repelling the little discs for the sheer wonder of the power they held. Little did I know magnets have been widely used as an alternative method of treating pain from headaches and motion sickness to joint pain.

For centuries magnets have been used for various health purposes and were first used in stone form. Called lodestones, ancient Greeks used the magnetized stones as a way to cure certain ailments. To keep patients from bleeding, physicians used amber pills that were magnetized, as well as magnetic rings, to ease arthritis suffering. The Middle Ages found magnets being used against poison, gout, and the threat of baldness, as well as for pulling out objects containing iron (like arrowheads) and as an antiseptic for cleaning wounds.

Ancient healers thought that the blood contained magnetic energy and when it became low or displaced, the patient became ill. After the Civil War, magnets were put into clothing in order to reduce the need for doctors, which were hard to find. In the United States, magnets are still in use today, not so much in clothing to replenish deficiencies in the body, but for shoe insoles to stabilize painful foot symptoms, inside a mattress pad for general body well being, and inside discreet elastic bands to wear against pressure points (most common on the inside of your wrist) to ward off sickness from the sea, from altitude, or motion in genera—like a long car ride in the backseat.

Multiple conditions are said to be fought by manipulating the magnetic fields coursing through your body. Liver and kidney problems, back pain, and fibromyalgia are some of the major health concerns people look to magnets to solve.

Popular, yes, but healthy? No one can say for sure. Dr. Andrew Weil—renowned alternative medicine doctor and famous for being a specialist in giving practical health advice related to his field to public figures such as Oprah Winfrey—says the jury’s still out. Weil addresses their popularity and widespread use on multiple causes, but isn’t sure spending money on gimmicky magnets are worth your while in the long run, especially because there have been no previous studies confirming their positive results.

Weil says there are two main types of magnets, static and electromagnetic. Static magnets are like the ones I used to play with on my kitchen table which don’t change their magnetic field. These are the types that are usually associated with small adhesive patches and the elastic bands for cabin pressure and motion sickness and inside shoes and key rings and other devices said to “balance” out the body. Some people have claimed that these types of magnetic fields are able to help temporarily relieve pain associated with chronic back symptoms and can even give you a boost of energy throughout daily wear, but concrete research has yet to back those theories up.

On the other hand, electromagnets are often used in hospitals in devices like MRI machines using magnetic fields with an active electrical current, using radiation to help doctors see inside the body and sometimes speed up the bone-healing process. As recently as March, a medical journal published a paper that touts researchers’ findings that electromagnetic technology was able to reduce depression in people who didn’t respond to other methods of treatment. With all of these methods, more research always has to be done.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) cites that science may find a way to propose the worth of magnets for the body and have conducted small trials using animals instead of humans. Possibilities are that magnets may be able to change nerve cell functions and block pain signals from getting to the brain, blood flow and oxygen transport can be increased thereby inducing body temperature to ailing areas of the body, and by balancing the rate of cell growth and death. With every type of medicine there are risk factors involved and a consultation from a doctor or natural healer would always be wise before starting any type of radical therapy.

Whatever type of medical theory you subscribe to, doctors and researchers alike warn to use your own judgment when applying magnetic fields to what ails you. Talk to your physician and rate the pros and cons. Whether or not this type of magnetic manipulation appeals to your common sense, I think we all have learned that magnets aren’t just for the refrigerator anymore.

Driving While Using the Cell Phone

Natural Health
By: Nicki
Published: Friday, 26 December 2008

As a blind individual, one thing I will never be able to do is drive. However, I do ride with my mom and also with my friends at times. Mom is a very safe driver; she watches the road and never eats or talks on the cell phone while driving. But many other people do drive while distracted. One estimate held that cell phone distractions alone cause 2,600 deaths and 330,000 injuries in the United States every year. And, among teens, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death. That is why I am an advocate for a new device I read about recently that is aimed at cutting down on road deaths by preventing teenagers from talking on cell phones or text messaging while driving.

The device, invented by researchers at the University of Utah, is called Key2SafeDriving. It encloses an automobile key—one for each teen driver, or for any family member, and then connects wirelessly with each key user’s cell phone either through Bluetooth or RFID (radio-frequency identification) technologies.

To turn on the car engine, the driver must either slide the key out or push a button to release it. Then the device sends a signal to the driver’s cell phone, which places it in “driving mode” and a “stop” sign is displayed on the phone’s screen. While in the driving mode, the driver cannot use their cell phone to talk or send text messages, except for calling 911 or other pre-approved numbers, such as family members’ numbers. Incoming calls and texts are automatically answered with a message saying, “I am driving now. I will call you later when I arrive at the destination safely.”

Studies by other researchers at the university have shown that driving while talking on a cell phone is as dangerous as driving drunk. Several states have banned cell phone talk and texting while driving, especially for novice drivers. Co-inventor, Xuesong Zhou says that “at any given time, about 6 percent of travelers on the road are talking on a cell phone while driving. Also at any given time, 10 percent of teenagers who are driving are talking or texting.”

The university has obtained provisional patents and licensed the invention to a private company that is currently working to manufacture and commercialize it. If things go as planned, the company hopes see it on the market within six months and says the technology may be licensed to cell phone service providers to include in their service plans. The cost is estimated to be less than $50 per key, plus an undetermined monthly service fee.

Not only could this device improve driving safety, it could help parents get lower insurance rates. By using the system, you could prove that teen drivers are not talking while driving, which could significantly reduce their risk of getting into an accident.

The marketing company hopes to get automobile and insurance industry backing so that Key2SafeDriving data on cell phone use and non-use while driving can be collected and compiled into a “safety score” of sorts and sent to insurance companies monthly, which then could provide discounts to motorists with good scores.

I personally think it’s a wonderful idea and if I were a parent, I would want one for my teen. Actually, it wouldn’t be a bad idea if everyone in the family had one—just to keep things fair!

Coconut, Not Your Average Oil

Natural Health
By: Lara Endreszl
Published: Sunday, 28 December 2008

When I have a little time on my hands, whether I am feeling stressed or bored or just in need of a task, I bake. One of my favorite ingredients to use is coconut. The rich sweet flavor, the soft chewy texture if it’s inside a baked good, and especially the nutty toasted crunch after it’s been baked and sprinkled over cakes, ice creams, or just about anything else you can think of. There are a lot of varieties of coconut sold at stores: flaked, whole, shredded, flour (good for people with wheat flour allergies), raw, unsweetened, dried, milk, and the most unusual type which I have been hearing about recently: coconut oil.
Claiming to be a “miracle cure” everyone has seemed to be raving about it from a new diet to an
unbeatable moisturizer, Jennifer Aniston has supposedly been known to swear by it as well as professional international sports teams for multiple aspects of the oil's promising effects. Coconut oil promises a lot, but is it enough to withstand the dangers to your diet?

According to the
Coconut Research Center based in Colorado, scientists are aware of the saturated fat content but are also aware of the more substantial positives found in the oil, like fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Used for centuries in Asian and Pacific cultures, they call it the “Tree of Life” for its many remarkable uses. Both food and medicine, coconut oil goes beyond what Americans describe as “dietary oil,” used to prepare foods and for taste without all the calories, dietary oil is a type of oil used for its natural fatty acids and often marketed as a weight loss supplement.
The researchers from the Center urge us to take another look at coconut oil, beyond its dietary purposes. Around the world, traditional alternative medicines have been using this oil to treat a myriad of symptoms and conditions, “asthma, baldness, bronchitis, bruises, burns, colds, constipation, cramps from menstruation, dysentery, earache, fever, flu, gingivitis, gonorrhea, jaundice, kidney stones, lice, malnutrition, nausea, rash, scabies, skin infections, sore throat, swelling, syphilis, toothache, tuberculosis, tumors, typhoid, ulcers, upset stomach, and wounds,” among others. In Western medicine, however, studies have shown that scientists have had some luck in proving coconut (in certain forms) may be a healing substance in the lab.

The possibilities are endless, from killing bacteria and parasites, to boosting the immune system and the body’s energy, acting as an antioxidant, as well as having a lower cholesterol content than other oils, it seems science knows something we don’t. A new study recently conducted and presented by Drs. Gilda Sapphire Erguiza, from the Philippine Children's Medical Center and Daniel Rauch, from the New York University Langone Medical Center, found that children diagnosed with community-acquired pneumonia healed faster while on normal antibiotics when also given a dose of coconut oil according to their weight, though researchers have more to investigate as to why this effect took place.

On the opposite side of the crowd, nutritionists and the health-conscious weigh in on why coconut oil shouldn’t be a part of a regular diet. Just look at the numbers: Coconut oil has a whopping 117 calories per tablespoon and with the artery-clogging qualities of a saturated fat to boot. Coconut oil on its own has 87 percent saturated fat compared to a juicy burger that contains merely 38 percent. With most American diets already high in fats and saturated fats, adding additional oil on top of all the rest probably won’t be good for your overall health.

The fatty acids in foods are measured in length that tells of the danger to our bodies: short, medium, and long. Most fatty acids we consume are of the long variety and essentially it takes our bodies longer to break them down and metabolize within our system. Most of the long-chain varieties are what we consume—98 to 100 percent—from plants and animals daily. Coconut oil is medium-chain or known as MCFA. Some nutritionists warn about the high saturated fat content of coconut oil but advise to use caution and think about what we are substituting it for within our diet in order to keep a balance and keep our heart in check.

Whatever your choice, for or against the “miracle cure” of coconut oil, remember that everything even supplements and natural remedies should be used in moderation no matter how healthy they may seem and to always consult a doctor before trying anything new so as to prevent future complications. I always knew I loved coconut, but I didn’t know it could be for more than just taste.