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DR MICHAEL MOSLEY: I finally have Covid, but I’m tackling it with two amazing remedies

After more than two years dodging the Covid-19 bullet, I have been shot down.

This is particularly irritating because during the pandemic I have tried to reduce my risk by avoiding crowded places, such as pubs, and by wearing a mask on public transport and in shops.

But the sneaky virus eventually got to me through my wife, Clare. Last week she fell ill with classic Covid symptoms (a lot of coughing and sneezing) and a few days later, after futile attempts to avoid us while living in the same house, I followed her and now I am plagued by frequent outbursts. cough that sounds like someone trying to start an old tractor on a cold winter morning.

To be honest, I am not surprised that I succumbed, because the most recent variant of Covid, Omicron, is the fastest spreading virus in human history.

Omicron is much more infectious than previous Covid variants but luckily it has also mutated into something that is less dangerous.

After more than two years dodging the Covid-19 bullet, I have been shot down.  This is particularly irritating because during the pandemic I have tried to reduce my risk by avoiding crowded places, such as pubs, and by wearing a mask on public transport and in shops.

After more than two years dodging the Covid-19 bullet, I have been shot down. This is particularly irritating because during the pandemic I have tried to reduce my risk by avoiding crowded places, such as pubs, and by wearing a mask on public transport and in shops.

A study by Imperial College London, involving more than 1.5 million people who had received Omicron or Delta, found that Omicron victims were half as likely to end up in hospital or worse.

The study showed that vaccines are saving lives, with people who are fully vaccinated being 85 percent less likely to die from Omicron than someone who is not vaccinated.

Although the covid seems to be in retreat, the virus will continue to mutate and it almost certainly has more tricks up its sleeve. So what is the next step in our fight against Covid?

First, some promising antiviral drugs are being tested, including Paxlovid, which in an early study reduced the risk of ending up in the hospital by 89 percent when given within three days of symptom onset.

And there’s a new generation of nasal spray vaccines, which is exciting because research suggests that spraying a vaccine in the nose can dramatically reduce the risk of transmitting the virus.

This is because the Covid virus usually enters your body through your nose, so if you bolster your nasal defenses, you can nip it in the bud. This would have a huge impact on how quickly it spreads and how easily it mutates.

Another advantage of nasal vaccines, as shown in animal studies around the world, is that they not only generate many antibodies and ‘killer’ T cells, as one would expect from a vaccine, but also immune ‘memory cells’ that remain in the nose for months.

Researchers at Lancaster University, who were the first to start developing a nasal vaccine against covid-19 in 2020, showed that two doses of their vaccine, given to hamsters, completely protected them from lung infections and prevented them from shedding viruses. .

The results were so encouraging that they are planning human trials later this summer. If it works as well as expected, the idea is that you just go to a chemist and get a spray to use yourself. Because there is no needle, it would be simpler and potentially much cheaper. This should also reassure people with a phobia of needles.

In the meantime, what can you do if Covid hits you?

If, like me, your symptoms are not that severe, the advice from the NHS is to get plenty of rest, drink water to stay hydrated, and take medication such as paracetamol to help with your symptoms. I also suggest you keep exercising, if you can. Exercise increases blood flow to your muscles and brain, and this increased blood flow, in turn, encourages your blood vessels to release immune cells that fight viruses.

There’s a well-worn adage for exercising with infections: if the symptoms are ‘above the neck’ (eg, sore throat, sneezing, and stuffy nose), it should be okay to exercise. But below the neck (for example, fever, cough, aches and general fatigue), be more careful. You certainly don’t want to exercise while you have a fever, as this could make it worse (but it’s highly unlikely you’ll feel like exercising anyway).

Although I’ve been coughing, I don’t have a fever, so I’ve continued to do my usual push-ups and squats and walk four or five miles a day.

But when you can, exercising more might help if you’re having a hard time shaking off the effects of Covid.

You could also consider singing. A study published last month in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine showed that an online singing program, called ENO Breathe, designed specifically for long-term Covid patients, led to a significant reduction in breathlessness and a huge improvement in mood. The program encourages you to do things like sing lullabies and breathing exercises.

If you’re a terrible singer, like me, you’ll be happy to know that “no experience or interest in singing is required.” But you have to be referred by a specialist NHS Covid clinic, so you have to wait.

You could also sing in the shower, something I like to do, to the delight of my family!

U-turn in BOGOF agreements will be a tragedy for generations to come

With childhood obesity rates on the rise and a recent Cancer Research UK report predicting a doubling of severe obesity rates by 2040, I was extremely disappointed to see that the government has largely abandoned its anti-obesity strategy.

Under pressure from some MPs and members of his own cabinet, Boris Johnson announced a delay of at least a year for BOGOF (buy one get one free) bans, deals and restrictions on advertising junk food to children.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the legal maneuvering of the food giants to try to dilute the impact of new laws designed to prohibit the placement of foods high in fat, salt or sugar in prominent places in supermarkets, such as near the boxes. . The reason given for abandoning plans to get rid of BOGOF deals is that with food prices on the rise, we can’t deprive consumers of money-saving deals.

William Hague described this U-turn as ‘weak, superficial and immoral’ and pointed out, like others, that supermarkets do BOGOF promotions to increase profits, not to save us money. Thanks to BOGOF, we buy about 20 percent more sugary junk food than we would otherwise.

And it’s pretty clear that if people spend more on junk food, they have less to spend on healthy stuff.

It’s also worth emphasizing that the legislation would only have banned junk food promotions, not three-for-two deals on fruits and vegetables or other staples.

As for abandoning the promised restrictions on junk food advertising directed at children, that really brings tears to my eyes.

I’m old enough to remember when half the population smoked, but today it’s only 13 percent. Educational campaigns made little difference (most people already knew that smoking was unhealthy), but one of the few things that made an impact was the ban on cigarette advertising.

McDonald’s alone spends £90m a year on advertising, while total spending on fast food ads is almost 30 times more than the government spends on promoting healthy eating.

The UK is one of the biggest consumers of ultra-processed food in the world and it’s creating a huge and growing problem: obesity increases the risk of cancer, depression, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and kills more people than smoking.

Sir Winston Churchill once said that “healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.” If this government capitulates to the power of the food industry, it will be a tragedy not only for this generation, but also for those to come.

Hidden health benefits of donating blood

People donate blood out of the goodness of their hearts, but they may also be reaping an unexpected reward.

Research from the Australian Environmental Protection Authority has shown that donating blood reduces donor levels of chemicals called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (or PFAS), which can build up in our bodies over time.

Animal studies have linked high levels of PFAS to a variety of health problems, including obesity.

What about the recipients? To be honest, if I had a bleed, I don’t think I would worry too much about the PFAS.

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