A recent news report from the BBC said that the London Olympics later this year posed an extreme risk of a flu pandemic spreading in the UK with the argument that densely packed cities, and its status as a global travel hub, could contribute to the speedy spread of flu.
In another news report from England, it was said that Team GB (Great Britain) had been instructed to use common sense when shaking hands with rival competitors and others at the Games as the British Olympic Association was concerned about illness affecting the host country's hope of success. They were worried about hand hygiene and the risk of passing on germs and more.
The handshake is thought to have originated as a symbol of peace between soldiers to show that neither was carrying a weapon.
So it has rather lost its meaning today as the hand can be rather a weapon in its own right – spreading germs!
Here is the best way to keep those hands germ-free courtesy of Dr. Mercola:
“Good old-fashioned hand washing with plain soap and water is one of the oldest and most powerful antibacterial treatments there is; no harsh disinfectants or antimicrobial soaps required. To make sure you're actually removing the germs when you wash your hands, follow these guidelines:
- Use warm water with a mild non-antibacterial soap.
- Work up a good lather, all the way up to your wrists, for at least 10 to 15 seconds.
- Make sure you cover all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and below your fingernails.
- Rinse thoroughly under running water.
- In public places, use a paper towel to open the door as a protection from germs that the handles may harbor.
Also remember that your skin is your primary defense against bacteria — not the soap. So resist the urge to become obsessive about washing your hands. Washing too vigorously or too frequently can extract many of the protective oils in your skin, causing it to crack and potentially even bleed, providing germs a point of entry into your body where they can do harm. So mild to moderate washing is really all you need.
While flu can spread among crowds, and of course in airliners, there are several factors that make this less than likely to happen at the London Olympics:
- It is summer and many of the events will be taking place outdoors. These are two distinct advantages as flu is much more likely to be spread indoors and during winter.
- The London 2012 visitors would only be at the Olympic Park for four or five hours at a time, further reducing any risk.
- London and other places are always very crowded during the summer months with tourists and Heathrow airport is always one of the busiest airports in the world.
- Maplecroft's influenza pandemic risk index says that although the Olympics would increase the danger of flu spreading because of the extra 5.3 million overseas tourists expected to visit Britain for the Games, it found that Britain was in the top 10 of countries best placed to withstand any outbreak.
If you are one of the thousands who are going to be competing in or watching the London Olympics this summer, then don't be tempted to get a flu injection. You may well find health authorities, and especially the pharmaceutical companies themselves, will try and push such a flu vaccine drive. But it can come with unwanted side effects and compromise your immune system. So much better and safer to boost your immune system naturally and to adopt a hygienic approach instead.
You can boost your immune system by
Learning to relax and how to control the stress levels to raise the levels of immune antibodies, which are proteins that attach themselves to foreign bodies (germs) and destroy them to keep you from getting sick. Those who are comparatively stress-free will have high levels of antibodies. Find something that suits you to help you to relax. Medication is one good example.Getting enough sleep because you really do need that seven to eight hours regularly every night to boost your immune system. Good quality and regular sleep gives the immune organs the opportunity to regenerate, repair and renew for the restoration of energy.
- Quitting the smoking habit because this increases the risk of infection and once you have that cold, flu or other infection, it is harder to get rid of, you can get recurring sore throats and often this leads to bronchitis. In addition, smoking will weaken your immune system.
- Eating a healthy diet with lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, organic and free range eggs, poultry, meat, butter and dairy products from grass fed animals while staying away from all processed foods, sodas, sugar and artificial sweeteners. Drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water daily and including exercise in your daily routine will all help to boost that immune system too.
- Making time for enjoyable hobbies and pastimes as life should not be all about just working and sleeping with no play. Make sure you have time to include all those things that interest you – it is relaxing and will make your life more content.
- Vitamin D is an incredible asset to your health and to your immune system. With summer in the northern hemisphere, you should be able to get all or most of the vitamin D you need by exposing as much skin as possible to the sunlight several times a week for at least 15 minutes a session (or longer if your skin is darker). The optimum time is between 10 am and 2 pm and stay in the sun long enough for your skin to start turning pink. Forget about slathering on sun block because it often contains toxic ingredients and will undo the benefits of the sunlight. A vitamin D3 supplement is very useful as unfortunately the feel good hormone is almost totally absent from our food supply.