Bird flu occurs due to infection by a type of influenza virus. This condition does not usually affect humans, but when it does develop it can be serious. For a large number of people, the bird flu pandemic has been fatal. Recently, outbreaks of the bird flu epidemic have taken place in Asia, Africa and regions in Europe. People who experience symptoms of the disease usually have had close contact with infected birds. In some cases, the infection has spread from one individual to another. Health experts warn that if the virus responsible for bird flu undergoes mutation and turns into a form that spreads more easily among people, a global bird flu outbreak is possible. Currently research is underway on vaccines that can offer protection from this disease.
The symptoms of bird flu usually develop about two to five days after infection. In many cases, these symptoms appear similar to those of influenza. Some of the common signs and symptoms of bird flu include:
It is important to seek medical care immediately if any of the symptoms above are detected. It is also advisable to consult your doctor if you have recently visited an open-air market, farm or region where bird flu is prevalent.
Bird flu usually develops in wild waterfowl, but can also spread to domestic chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys. The infection spreads due to contact with the feces of infected birds. Secretions from the eyes, nose and mouth of infected birds can also cause the disease to spread. Bird flu is rampant in open-air marketplaces where poultry is sold in unsanitary conditions. This can cause the condition to spread to the other areas of the community as well.
Eating poultry meat is safe and does not cause infection provided that the meat or eggs are cooked properly. The meat should be cooked preferably to 165F while eggs should be cooked until the white and yolk become firm.
The main causes of bird flu are direct contact with infected birds. Exposure to surfaces contaminated by infected saliva or droppings can also place a person at risk for bird flu. In rare cases, bird flu spreads from one individual to another. The reason for such human transmission is not fully known.
Bird flu can lead to the following complications:
Bird flu has proved to be fatal for about half of the people affected, but this number is still small since the disease has affected only a few people.
Since several influenza viruses are now resistant to common anti-viral drugs, the use of oseltamivir is recommended for the treatment of bird flu. The drugs must be taken with a couple of days after the symptoms are experienced. These drugs are still in short supply across the world and hence administering them in the initial stages may be difficult. Also due to their low availability, allocating them during a widespread epidemic may pose a challenge.
Bird flu only became better known to the larger public in the last decade, with the reach of the internet and news media. Considering how recent these developments are, there has been inadequate time for extensive research into natural remedies for birdflu. This said, many natural health care enthusiasts claim that there are natural cures that work, but most of these are based on little other than hearsay. Most home remedies for birdflu have not been adequately research, while some are just baseless. This said, it does not hurt to try out some of the more harmless remedies, provided you do not rely on them and underestimate the seriousness of the disease. However it is important to consult a doctor and seek medical treatment for bird flu immediately in case you notice any signs of the infection. While natural treatments that boost immunity would logically help facilitate recovery, not all will work. Here are some tips to help lower the risk of succumbing to the flu or to help with recovery:
Recent studies have indicated that probiotics may help to improve immune function which is helpful in protecting the body from bird flu and its serious symptoms. Probiotics are present in yogurt and are referred to as friendly bacteria since they aid in digestion and help to fight yeast infections. The studies examined the effects of probiotics on pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines. It was found that probiotics has a stabilizing effect on the cytokines thus preventing the immune system from over-reacting. Probiotics are commonly found in yogurt and other foods. It is advisable to opt for fortified yogurt as it also contains substantial amounts of vitamin D which helps to protect you from various types of influenza.
Since prevention plays an important role in combating bird flu, you need to include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet. This will help to enhance your immunity. Research indicates that the nutrients vitamin C, quercetin, selenium along with certain other immunity-boosting nutrients help to protect the body from the bird flu virus. These nutrients are found in large amounts in a plant-based diet. You can also add leafy vegetables, fresh juices and citrus fruits to the daily diet since they are valuable sources of pro-immunity nutrients which protect from viral infection.
Here are some precautionary measures which help to prevent bird flu infection: