The current H1N1 Flu which has infected hundreds of thousands of people and caused numerous deaths worldwide is yet another grim reminder to us that all of us need to have two good habits – maintaining good personal hygiene and a strong immune system. Despite remarkable advacement in the medical field with the development of vaccines and treatments which had helped contained and eradicated many of the past killer infections such as smallpox, tetanus, leprosy and polio, infections continue to be the biggest threat to the world.
Do you know that infectious diseases such as hepatitis, AIDS etc. are responsible for the biggest loss of human lives, collectively accounting for at least 15 million deaths every year?
What is most worrying is the continued emergence of numerous new diseases that were unknown before, as well as the resurfacing of stronger new strains of old diseases (such as tuberculosis and malaria) that were thought to have been eradicated. The SARS outbreak several years ago was coused by a new virulent mutant strain of the corona virus and the H1N1 flu virus is also a new mutant flu strain.
While our scientists are normally able to identify the culprit quite quickly, finding the cure is quite another matter. Usually that will take some time, maybe months or even years before a vaccine or cure is found.
So what can we do to protect ourselves during such critical periods against the outbreak of deadly diseases such H1N1?
Of course, the best possible thing is to totally avoid being exposed to the deadly virus. So, as far as possible, avoid going to ‘high risk’ crowded areas with poor entilation. Take the necessary precautions advised by healtcare professionals such as wearing face masks, washing hands after touching things like doorknobs, handles, shaking hands etc. and exercise more care when using public facilities such as public telephone or public toilets.
Besides taking the necessary precautions. and important favour that we can do for ourselves is to strengthen up our body’s defence system, as one of the best forms of protection that we can have is a strong immune system.
While having a strong immune system cannot guarantee that a person will be safe from any infections, at least it will help increase the person’s resistance against an attack, and in the unfornute event that the person does get infected, a strong immune system will ensure a stronger chance of success in teh person’s battle against the pathogens, hence giving a better chance of survival or a speedier recovery.
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