Bird flu or avian influenza is a Type A influenza, caused by the H5N1 virus. The virus first infects the birds and then may spread to humans because of its highly contagious nature. The virus mainly resides in the birds of Far East and Eastern Europe, but infected migratory birds and humans traveling from that part to other parts of the world cause avian influenza to spread worldwide, making it acquire pandemic dimensions.

A human may contract the infection directly from the infected bird. When domesticated birds like chickens, ducks or Turkeys get infected, the above sort of risk is high. Direct contact with the droppings, nasal excretions or blood of the infected bird causes the human to get infected as well Also the human may acquire the infection from another infected human in whom the virus has undergone a change in to another form that is highly infectious for humans.

Thus in this way, the infection spreads briskly in the human world too. The symptoms of bird flu in humans are predominantly the typical flu-like symptoms such as sore throat, high fever, muscle aches, fatigue and cough. Some other symptoms of bird flu in humans could be abdominal pain, chest pain, diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding from nose and gums. Bird flu infection, in aggravated form, may lead to complications like Pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome. It must be checked timely or else it could be life threatening.

People, who butcher, slaughter or de-feather birds or children playing in free-range poultry areas are at the highest risk of getting bird flu. Symptoms solely are not enough to diagnose bird flu. For diagnoses of bird flu, laboratory test is required. A swab has to be collected from the nose or throat during the first few days off illness and sent to the laboratory for molecular detection of bird flu virus.

Home Remedies

1. Green tea is an excellent antiviral agent inhibiting the production of the neuraminidase, an enzyme required by the bird flu virus to reproduce. Drink 3-6 cups of green tea everyday.

2. Vitamin C supplements should be taken, for they boost immune system to fight viral infections.

3. Add 2-3 drops of tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil to a bowl of steaming water. Inhale the steam for 5-10 minutes by covering head with a towel. This de-congests nasal passages and combats infection.

4. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon honey to 2 cups of hot water. Stir and wait till it cools. Then gargle with the solution. This treats sore throat and is a useful remedy.

5. Sip from hot liquids like fuming herbal tea. This will give you relief from nasal congestion and throat irritation and soreness.

6. Try to stay warm. Wrap shawl or wear heavy clothing. Another means to keep body warm is to mix 1 teaspoon honey in to 1 ounce of whisky or rum or bourbon and drink daily.

7. Get enough sleep

8. Consume salads made out of brightly colored fresh fruits and vegetables like carrots, chili peppers, bell peppers, garlic, onion, horseradish, blue-berries, oranges, apples, cranberries etc. This will make you less vulnerable to bird flu infection.

9. Do not smoke and also stay away from smoke-filled rooms. This is because a smoky room can aggravate respiratory difficulties.

10. Cough or sneeze into disposable tissues or handkerchief.

11. Stay indoors if you are infected. Do not go to crowded places.

12. Do simple exercises, yoga or meditation, for these help to boost immune system and fight infection.

13. Drink ample water to sufficiently hydrate the mucus membrane of the nose. You can also sniff water in to nose from a bowl containing one-fourth teaspoon salt and one-fourth teaspoon baking soda mixed in 8 ounces of warm water.

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