Symptoms are Not the Disease of Bird Flu Even Though Theyre Unpleasant

By: rickstooker
There's a huge worldwide, multi-billion industry devoted to helping people lie to themselves and spread diseases to the rest of the world.

It consists of every over the counter and prescription drug whose sole purpose is to hide the symptoms of a disease.

Decongestants, cough syrups and tablets, loperamide (Imodium) to stop diarrhea -- the list is long one.

Too many people think that diseases are their symptoms. Get rid of the symptoms and you're disease-free, they want to believe. Never mind that the cause of the disease has simply been covered up.

Yet I can't really blame people. Symptoms are uncomfortable, often painful.

In fact, pain itself is not a disease or injury -- it's nature's way of telling you that you have a disease or injury so you take care of it.

And usually can't see the actual causes of our diseases -- they're tiny bacteria and viruses.

We don't feel them infect us -- what we feel is the scratchy feeling in the back of our throats and deep desire to lie down before we throw up.

Same with H5N1. None of its victims have yet seen those pesky sub-microscopic critters jump from a chicken into their own mouths or noses.

None of its victims know they're sick until they feel a symptom:

High fever

Diarrhea

Muscle ache and Fatigue

Nausea and vomiting

Sneezing and Coughing

Yes, oh what fun these symptoms are. Yes, I cannot blame you for wanting them to be over and done with.

However, they're all mechanisms our bodies have developed over countless years of evolution to fight infections. They work, or the human race would have died out hundreds of thousands of years ago.

No, they don't replace medicines that actually fight diseases, such as antibiotics. But the only medications for bird flu are Tamiflu and Relenza, and they would be in short supply during a pandemic.

However, it's also true that some of these symptoms are dangerous if taken to an extreme.

High fever -- a temperature over normal body heat helps kill bacteria and viruses. With bird flu, there is danger if the fever goes too high for too long.

Diarrhea -- removes a lot of viruses from your body. There is the danger of dehydration if you lose too much water. Drink water with a pinch of salt, chicken soup and Gatorade or other sport/electrolite replacement drink. Small children should be given pediatric electrolite preparations.

Muscle aches -- Your body is marshalling its strength to fight the infection. It wants you to lie down and rest. Do so. Right now.

Nausea and vomiting -- another way of ejecting the virus from your body. Don't fight it -- let it out.

Sneezing and Coughing -- These are obviously ways that your body expels viruses out of your respiratory tract. These symptoms are not as applicable to bird flu, since it likes to infect us deep inside our lungs, unlike ordinary colds and flu.

This is good in terms of limiting bird flu contagion. Since avian flu victims don't cough or sneeze much, it's difficult for them to spread the virus to other people. This has undoubtedly helped to limit the spread of the disease.

However, it makes the infection more likely to be deadly to the victim who does get it, because they cannot get the deep-seated viruses out of their lungs.

It's possible that if a pandemic avian influenza does appear, it will be adapted to infecting our upper respiratory tracts. This will make it less deadly, but more contagious.

Whatever your disease -- Don't cover up the symptoms, fight the disease.

That means, if you're tired, nauseated and sneezing . . . don't take some over the counter medication that allows you to go to work and spread your germs to the rest of us.

Stay home in bed, drink plenty of fluids, sneeze and cough, vomit and let the diarrhea out of you whenever it wants to come.

It's not any fun, but you'll let your body defeat the infection.

You'll be healthier -- and so will the rest of us.
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