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Swine Flu Update
'Prevention' better than 'Cure'

Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by influenza A. There are four main subtypes (H1N1, H1N2, H3N2 and H3N1) which have been isolated from the pigs. The most recently isolated strain is H1N1. Normally, swine flu viruses do not infect humans. However, the sporadic human infections with this H1N1 have occurred. It is a highly contagious infection and causes a lethal global health problem. First case of swine flu was recorded in Mexico on 18th March 2009. In April 2009, two cases of swine flu were confirmed in children living in California by the official of CDC (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and the WHO Director General, Margaret Chan declared a ‘public health emergency of international concern’. Now, swine flu has created a terror effect all around the world and has been declared as epidemic in most of the countries.

The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar as in the cases of seasonal influenza. They include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing, and some people develop runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.


Change in daily routine

  1. First and foremost thing- 'don’t panic, relax and sleep well'. Stress suppresses your ability to fight against infection and sleep helps to strengthen the body defense.
  2. Garlic is considered to have an effective antiviral property. Two or three garlic pods can be chewed with a glass of lukewarm water empty stomach daily in the morning. It keeps your body warm through out the day. Children may not like the taste of garlic. For them, two or three leaves of Indian herb ‘tulasi’ can be given. Tulasi (Sacred Basil) strengthens the overall body defense mechanism including its ability to fight against viral diseases.
  3. After that start deep Breathing Pranayama like Bhastrika, Kapalbhanti and Anulom Vilom- It improves lungs capacity and immunity against any infections from the virus. How will you do these pranayama?
  4. Bhastrika
    Step 1: First sit in a comfortable posture with straight spine (Figure 1). Focus on your breathing and relax yourself.
    Step 2: Take a deep breath in through both the nostrils till your lungs are full of air and then exhale forcefully making hissing sound.
    Step 3: Repeat the same procedure again and perform it for 5 minutes.

    Figure 1: Posture during pranayama

    Step 1: Sit in a comfortable same position.
    Step 2: Exhale forcefully through both the nostrils by contracting the abdominal muscles simultaneously without consciously inhaling all the time (inhale as normal).
    Step 3: Practice it for at least 5-6 minutes.

    Anulom Vilom
    Step 1: In the same position, close your eyes and relax.
    Step 2: Close your right nostril with your right thumb, breathe in from your left nostril and hold the breath for a couple of seconds.
    Step 3: Open right nostril and close left nostril with middle and ring finger and breathe out from right nostril.
    Step 4: Now breathe in from right nostril, close the right nostril, and then open left nostril and breathe out.
    Step 5: Repeat again, and practice it for at least 5-6 minutes.

  5. Take a nice hot shower or bath and end it with a cold mitten friction rub by using wet towel. It strengthens the immune system. After that wear suitable clothes to keep your body warm and avoid traveling in cold wind blows.
  6. If you have a habit of drinking tea, then add crushed ginger. Ginger tea is antiviral.
  7. Fresh apple and dark grape juices with pulp offers more antiviral protection. Dark grape juice is rich in tannins which have been shown to kill viruses under laboratory conditions. Red beet juice makes the flu virus inactive.
  8. Sprinkle black pepper and dry ginger power in your salads, and chew a bite of ginger with little bit of salt before meals.
  9. Steam inhalation, saline gargle and a glass of warm milk with ¼ teaspoonful of turmeric powder in nights can help to prevent swine flu.

Maintain hygiene

  1. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol based sanitizers especially after being out in public.
  2. Disinfect household surfaces by using either alcohol or dilute chlorine based solution.
  3. Use tissue papers while coughing and sneezing, and dispose of in a closed bin.

Immediate measures if the symptoms of flu develop

  1. As soon as the symptoms of flu start, take high dose of Vitamin C about 3,000-4,000 mg to start which boosts the immune system and then reduce the dose over 3-4 days to 500 mg until you feel completely better.
  2. Prepare herbal tea by adding about 10 leaves of tulasi, 5ml of fresh ginger juice, half teaspoonful clove powder, half teaspoonful cinnamon powder, half teaspoonful cardamom powder, half teaspoonful turmeric powder and half teaspoonful rock salt powder in 200 ml water and boil till it remains half. After that add one spoon honey when the mixture is lukewarm and have it twice or thrice a day.
  3. Anyone with flu like symptoms should stay away from work and public transportation.
  4. Observe it for two or three days, if it is not cured or the symptoms are worsen then contact nearest heath clinic.

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I am grateful to Swami Ramdev for giving me inspiration through 'Astha Channel' to write this article.

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Comments posted on 31/08/2009 by Ms. Smita Kachhwaha MSc (Anatomy) from SSR Medical College, Mauritius

Sir, I read your article on swine flu update saying that prevention is better than cure which is really I liked the home remedies discussed in your article which are readily available in our homes. I must say thanks to you for taking step forward to enlighten each and every one of us to face this health threat. It’s our moral responsibility to come forward and help each other in these difficult times, and make world a healthy and better place to live in.

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