Tuesday, September 25, 2007


According to doctors and health practitioners, one should try to do at least 30 minutes of exercise daily in order to achieve good health. Exercise not only keeps us fit but also reduces the risk of many fatal diseases such as blood pressure and heart stroke. Exercise can be any form of physical activity such as walking, swimming or cycling.

Any activity that increases your heart rate and makes you slightly out of breath can be called exercise. Daily exercise can be a part of ones regular routine as well as something that one does in order to keep fit. Exercise can also be carried out in form of daily chores or any other activity that one likes.

In order to stay healthy and maintain better health, doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. 30 minutes is the minimum time to gain health benefits. However, one is not compelled to do all at once; it can be done in short periods with rest in between to avoid exertion.
Different Modes of Exercise

Exercise does not mean to exert yourself or forcefully do what you do not like. It can be an activity which you like and enjoy. It can range from walking to swimming to hiking or cycling. It can also be some household chore that you enjoy doing.

Exercise can be made more fun when it is carried out with some one else. A game of badminton or tennis could be played with a partner giving a healthy exercise to both.
Benefits of Daily Exercise

Daily exercise, besides providing many benefits, saves one from many illnesses and problems. Giving 30 minutes to daily exercise can not only lead to better health but also provide a short period of peace and recreation.

* It helps in reducing weight.
* It helps in keeping stress and depression away, as it is a good way to work out.
* Helps in burning extra calories and fats.
* The risk of heart diseases and angina is reduced with the help of exercise. Exercise is good for heart muscles and reduces risk factor.
* Exercise helps in maintaining normal blood pressure and cholesterol level.
* Regular exercise helps to prevent osteoporosis in women and strengthens the bones.
* Regular exercise is very effective in reducing the chance of colon (bowel) cancer as well as breast cancer in women.
* For older people it helps in maintaining their balance, especially if they exercise regularly.

Some benefits guide :

When you start planning an exercise, it is very important to keep in mind your health and age. If needed, you should also consult your doctor about which exercise suits you most and how you should do it.

* People suffering from heart diseases should ask their doctor before starting to minimize any risk.
* Some injury may occur due to repetitive use of the same exercise.
* If you have a joint or bone problem, you should stick to light exercise or consult a trainer.

In short, taking at least 30 minutes out of your life for exercise is very necessary, as exercise helps in maintaining your health as well as prevents many other problems. However, exercise should be done keeping in mind the problems you have previously faced and follow limits.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Influenza (the flu) is caused by a highly contagious virus, which is spread by coughs and sneezes. Flu epidemics occur when there are minor changes in the nature of the virus so that more people are susceptible.

Pandemics (worldwide epidemics) occur when there are major changes in the virus, and can cause very many deaths. There are three types of flu virus – A, B and C. Influenza A is more likely to cause epidemics.

Flu symptoms
Flu symptoms develop one to three days after infection and include:

* High fever, chills and sweating
* Sore throat
* Weakness
* Headache and generalised muscle and joint pains (legs and back)
* A non-productive cough that can later become more severe and productive.

Flu versus the common cold
The flu is more than a bad cold.

* Cold symptoms last one to two days while the flu can last up to a week.
* The flu causes a high fever. A cold sometimes causes a mild fever.
* Muscular pains and shivering attacks occur with the flu but not with a cold.
* Colds cause a runny nose, while the flu usually starts with a dry sensation in the nose and throat.

Serious complications are rare
In a small proportion of cases, flu will lead to:

* Secondary bacterial pneumonia – occurs when bacteria invade the lungs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, green-yellow phlegm, chest pains and a temperature. Mortality rates are high but it is less lethal than primary influenza pneumonia.
* Primary influenza pneumonia – almost always results in death. Symptoms include difficulty breathing and blue discoloration of the skin (cyanosis).
* Inflammation of the brain or heart – can occur during recovery from the flu.
* Reye’s syndrome – leads to brain inflammation and liver degeneration and is fatal in between 10 and 40 per cent of cases. Children under 16 years should not be given any medication containing aspirin as it increases the risk of Reye’s syndrome.

People at risk of complications
Complications are more common among people with an underlying medical condition or reduced immunity. Flu can increase the risk of death or serious complications from the underlying disease.

Flu treatment
There are now specific antiviral drugs available, but their effectiveness is very limited. The recommended treatment for flu is:

* Stay in bed and rest until the temperature has been normal for 48 hours.
* Drink enough fluids to maintain normal urine output.
* Take paracetamol to control fever, aches and pains (adults can use aspirin). Early use of antiviral medication may shorten the length and severity of illness. Consult a doctor to discuss treatment.
* Avoid exposure to dust, alcohol, fumes and tobacco smoke as much as possible.

Consult a doctor if symptoms such as difficulty breathing, coughing up green-yellow phlegm or severe headache develop.

Flu immunisation is recommended for older and ‘at risk’ groups
Immunisation against the flu each year is recommended for:

* Everyone aged 65 years and older
* Koori and Torres Strait Islanders aged over 50
* Adults and children with chronic heart, lung or kidney disease or metabolic disorders such as diabetes
* Adults and children receiving immunosuppressive treatment (including long-term steroids)
* Residents in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities
* Persons with immune deficiency, including HIV
* People in contact with high-risk groups, including health care providers, staff of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and anyone sharing a household with ‘at risk’ people including children six months or older.

In Australia, an annual influenza vaccine is recommended in March or April. Protection develops about two weeks after the injection and lasts for up to one year.

Where to get help

* Your doctor
* Your local Council
* Your local community health centre

Things to remember

* The flu is more than just a bad cold.
* Flu can occasionally lead to serious complications including death.
* Older and ‘at risk’ groups should be immunised every year against the flu.
* Protection after immunisation takes 10 to 14 days.