Tag Archives: Health

Citrus

Those of you who bother to read my febrile ravings might have noticed a little mischievousness on my part. It’s sort of an existential protest at WordPress for changing their editor without a bye, leave or thank you. So if you read rude words spelled out down the index, please don’t take it personally. it is not meant for you.

Obviously I direct my rancorous bile toward those who screw around with the lives of others without a thought as to the consequences of their policies. Those who take bad advice and inflict it on others for example. The average modern career politician being a case in point, and aren’t they all just that? Average. Decidedly so and only good at sound bites and getting elected. Some would say by fair means or foul.

So, to the title of this post, Citrus. Well chums, I’m at it again, growing citrus plants from seed. Hopefully this time my little jungle will not be dumped because we’re moving continents yet again. The current count is 100% germination, with two lemon and one grapefruit plant germinated and developing root systems.

Simplicity appears to be the key for germination. My germinator, is a transparent plastic pot which once contained coleslaw, wadded at the bottom with a couple of damp (but not wet) squares of kitchen towel. Yes I know I could just slip out and buy a Citrus plant from a garden centre, but that’s not the point. The idea is to do it from scratch. Like I have just started doing with five navel orange seeds, and will do with limes, when of course I find some grocery store limes with seeds in them.

Essentially, my mindset is one of experimentation. Does it work or doesn’t it? If it does, wonderful, great. If not, back to the drawing board. So it has been with my experiments in growing citrus fruit plants in temperate climes.

Right, so what else? So I cultivate citrus plants, big deal. Well there is a therapeutic motivation. Firstly, growing things, like jigsaws, is good for the soul and keeps the blood pressure in check. Secondly, various fruits have real health benefits. A couple of Pineapple chunks a day, no more, I have found, keep the floaters in my eyes at bay. Something to do with an enzyme called Bromelain, or so I am informed.

Similarly Grapefruit, which is supposedly good for the old ticker, but not if you’re on heavy medications like statins, and can increase the effect of those little rhomboid shaped blue tablets we men occasionally defer to when the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. But here’s a thing; I find that regular consumption of grapefruit helps clear the relevant blood vessels and saves having to take those little blue diamonds in the first place, which is nice, as those pills are expensive, and I’ve already sold my shares in Pfizer.

It’s good for you

From the comments in my last post, I have been doing a little research. You know Summer 2020 when people were being castigated for scarpering down to Devon and Cornwall and other coastal nadirs? If you believed the mainstream, everyone was going to have their froats slit in their beds and all sorts of gharsley happenings because people needed a time out in relative warmth and fresh sea air. If for nothing else but their sanity.

Oddly enough, nothing like the media prognostications of doom happened. Despite the lack of masks and social distancing there was no observable ‘spike’ in ‘cases’ during or after the 13.5 day median SARS/COV-2 incubation period following the rush to the coast, and I have yet to hear anything in the mainstream or from the politicians as to why this should be. Surely, if you believe the various health authorities, there should have been a massive rise in deaths, lung rot and all sorts of awfulness. Instead the excess respiratory mortalities did what they normally do in Summer, bumped along the bottom.

“But-but-but.” cry the true believers in Sceance. “We’re doomed because we are told we are by our beloved governments and news media. If you don’t believe them you’re just a no-good Science Denier.” Well chums, have you ever thought that there may be some pretty good reasons why they (and you) might be wrong?

Let me digress for a moment and introduce an olde worlde anti-viral treatment once used by many before the nascence of new fangled pharmaceuticals. I’ve used it a few times when the old tubes were extra snotty and whilst it’s not as convenient as Night Nurse or similar medications, it does work.

What you will need:
A heat resistant bowl.
An old towel.
A couple of pints of hot water.
A dessert spoon of salt.
A touch of menthol. A couple of crystals, no more.

Method:
Put hot water in bowl.
Stir in salt and menthol.
Bend head over bowl.
Drape towel over head so it forms a steam tent.
Slowly at first, a few shallow breaths at a time, breathe in the vapour from the hot mixture. This will start the process of clearing the catarrh from your nose, sinuses and throat. After five breaths, straighten up and cough up any loosened snot and catarrh. Wait thirty seconds, breathing slowly. Rinse / repeat for about five minutes or so. The congestion should start to clear after the first five breaths, but if it doesn’t, repeat as necessary.

Okay, you might say, that’s fine for a cold or man flu, but does it work for worse? Actually yes. The Menthol helps open up your sinuses and nasal passages and the salt water vapour makes life difficult for viruses whilst helping liquefy any congestion and letting the cilia in your airways shift the loosened sputum (a.k.a. snot and catarrh) from your airways. Spit any detritus thus dislodged into the bowl. If it’s a horrible pastel green, repeat for a day or so until the dislodged crap turns a cloudy white and then clears. Takes a few sessions, and the heat from the water can feel a bit uncomfortable, but it does work.

Caveat: If you see bright red and you haven’t a split lip or a nosebleed, call your Doctor, now. Tiny flecks aren’t too bad, but big red gobs more than two mm across spell real trouble. Seek help.

However, if you aren’t coughing blood the likelihood is that you’ll survive, so no panic. Carry on breathing in the vapour. By the way, for those of you still not convinced, have a read of what the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute has to say on the matter. For the hypochondriacs amongst you, you can even sign up as a volunteer for the ELVIS study. Yes, their study really is called ELVIS.

Now, returning by this circuitous route to the original panic, and I can’t find any maps showing where SARS/COV-2 deaths have been highest, but I’m pretty sure that the saline element in sea breezes provide a less than hospitable environment for the SARS/COV-2 virus and variants. Hence the lower rate of infections and deaths reported from seaside towns and villages. Now I hear rumours that fishermen out on the briny are less afflicted by this pandemic, and only seem to be at risk of infection when onshore. Personal anecdote here; used to do a lot of deep sea fishing and ‘wrecking’, and if I was feeling snotty and hungover or had a cold when we shipped out on the tide, I always felt better after an hour or so out on the water. Could this have something to do with the salt content of sea air?

No idea, but it sounds like it’s got legs doesn’t it? Otherwise why does sea air have so many claimed beneficial health effects? The link is there, both in folk medicine and scientific study. The two tend to agree. Will the ELVIS study confirm the hypothesis of salt as a protecting factor against nasty bugs like SARS/COV-2? Is the old GP’s treatment for respiratory illness like sunshine, fresh sea air a little fresh fruit and moderate exercise, take two aspirin and call me in the morning, a better preventative than all the masks and lockdowns on the planet? Could it be true that;

By jingo, if it is, we’re all saved! Huzzah! Instead of drugs you should be prescribed a weekend by the sea. Although I think some deeply unpleasant people are actually enjoying the drama of the dreaded lurgi and being able to grass on their neighbours to the Stasi. They don’t really want to get out of this unhappy pandemic situation. Miserable arsehead bastards.

Human immunity; a primer

How does human immunity from disease work? There seems to be a lot of confusion out there, even from people who should really know better. So in this post I’ll simplify things and try and keep them as easy to understand as possible. This is stuff I learned at school for heavens sake, and why this knowledge is not shared among the population baffles me.

Right; everyone has heard about antibodies and the role they play in suppressing an infection. What are they and where do antibodies come from? From type B white blood cells. Everyone has this type of blood cell unless you suffer from a rare genetic disorder.

Okay, so how do antibodies work? Antibodies against viruses work by latching on to the receptors on, say a coronavirus, and literally suffocating it, preventing the virus from latching onto certain molecular shapes in a given cell wall and doing what a virus does to reproduce, which is inject itself into the cell and use the material within that cell to xerox millions of copies of itself until the afflicted cell literally bursts. Antibodies prevent viruses doing this. That’s it. It is that simple.

Mmm, so now we know what produces antibodies and how antibodies work, how do the type B white blood cells know what kind of antibodies to reproduce? In a nutshell, type B white blood cells get genetically programmed by previous infections, a.k.a Immunological memory. The B and T white blood cells, when they reproduce, ‘remember’ the stimulus that went before and later generations (For a number of years) will produce antibodies that will block those same cell receptors. This creates immunity, whether by previous infection, genetic predisposition (natural immunity), or vaccination (Acquired immunity).

What’s this we hear about Mast-T white cells Bill? What’s that all about? There are various kinds. Some that aggressively attack a given virus in a ‘hunter-killer’ role and destroy infected cell tissue. Those that help spread the response by triggering other B and T white blood cells, known as ‘helper’ cells. And ‘memory’ cells, which ‘remember’ the right response to a given virus or bacterium and tell all the other white blood cells what to do, even when there aren’t any ‘programmed’ white blood cells left from a previous infection or vaccination. They all act together to eliminate a given disease, and even if you aren’t aware of it, do this all the time.

Which is why you should find out what your white blood cells need to remain healthy and ensure they get it. Like getting enough of the right vitamins and minerals and avoiding stress for example. Too much stress suppresses your immune system so your white blood cells don’t do their job as effectively. So if you are exposed to a given virus while under extreme stress you are liable to suffer more. Those who can ‘burn off’ the excess cortisol, say with vigorous excercise with plenty of fresh air suffer less because then their immune systems are not so compromised.

Which is why media panics and lockdowns should be avoided at all costs because they increase cortisol production in the general population and are thus injurious to the public health. This is the real science. Not the fantasy kind peddled by so-called ‘experts’ who are nothing of the kind. Governments and those who work in them should take note.

So a good stiff stroll outdoors in the park with plenty to drink, vitamins D (About 2000UI a day in northern climes) and C (About 2000UI) with the occasional top up of zinc and magnesium (Once a week, no more if your diet if deficient) should keep anyone with a song in their heart and a spring in their step whilst all the rest are falling by the wayside.

You know, it’s funny, but I feel quite relaxed now for having got that off my chest.

Trust me, I’m not an ‘expert’.

Regards,

Bill

To mask or not to mask

That is the question. Do surgical masks do any good? Or as many ‘authorities’ like Canada’s Federal chief medical honcho keep telling us, masks are baaad and raaacist and your legs will drop off if wear one.

Well, I look at the public health ‘advice’ out there and I’m having a bad case of “WTF?” Finding advice given over the mass media often contradictory and downright bad. Especially if you want to avoid spreading or contracting any form of lurgi.

Declaration of interest here. I’ve done basic operating theatre training and a six weeks placement assisting with a number of operations from tonsilectomies to hip replacements. So I’m not entirely ignorant. Okay, much of my experience is dated, but the basics are pretty simple and haven’t changed that much.

Ask yourself this;

Q: Why do operating theatre staff wear disposable paper deflector masks rather than filter masks?
A: To prevent them breathing germs over open wounds.

You see, I was taught that the purpose of a surgical mask is to slow and direct breathed (and infected) air away from the area being operated upon. This is why the one time I picked up a filter mask because we were running low on the soft surgical variety, the Senior Sister on duty tore me off a serious strip and sent me back to the scrub area to get a proper surgical mask and wash up again. That woman had a tongue that could scour rust. Hey, but she was old school and her lessons stuck.

Her lesson was that filter masks are not that useful in containing viruses, especially when containing coughs and sneezes, because a little expressed airflow still escapes over the area you want to keep clear of infection and viruses can pass through even an N95. With a soft surgical mask the ever present germs from your breath tend to be directed behind the mask and not over someone else whilst still allowing you to breathe freely. That is why they work.

Which if containing diseases is the effect you are looking for, surgical masks are quite the thing. You can even make your own if the stores are out, which at the moment is probable. Pattern here if you’re handy with a sewing machine. Or watch the video below (Sorry about the accent, she’s American, poor lamb). A normal Kleenex will do for a disposable insert. Make a few and give them to your friends. Sell them to your enemies. At top dollar.

This isn’t an April fools by the way.

To reiterate; in terms of restricting infection spread a soft surgical style mask does not have to be tight fitting and fulfills it’s function pretty well even if worn over a beard. A scarf over the face works too. Anything that slows droplets expressed during a cough or sneeze (Or even excited talking) will do at a pinch. A scarf or large bandanna tied over the face while you’re out and about mitigates the worst of the spread simply because it reduces the radius of potential infection to centimetres rather than two metres. Cotton or viscose will do. Don’t forget to wash after each use. Cover your mouth with paper tissues or even an old fashioned handkerchief if you have nothing else. Japanese and Koreans wear masks a lot, and their infection stats are much lower than those in the Anglophone west. We should profit from their example.

Conclusion; masks aren’t bad. They’re quite good, no matter what the PTB say. To say otherwise is monumentally bad advice, especially when it comes to preventing the spread of a nasty disease like SARS-CoVD 19. Add a mask to decent hygiene and cheap non-latex gloves you will maximise your chances of coming through this pandemic relatively unscathed when out and about, going to work or the stores.

So long as Security think you’re not trying to rob the place and call the cops on you, you’ll be fine.

This has been a public information post. Stay safe.

Squirrel!

Over at Longriders, I picked up the story of UK Government ‘health’ advice for people between 40 and 60 to get more sleep so as not to burden the ‘wonderful’ (Snarky guffaw) NHS with more of our unwelcome ickiness than necessary. What is it with these people? Don’t they know there’s a pensions crisis? Too many people (Including my good self) who are hurtling towards old age and presumed infirmity for the nations finances to afford. Not that I intend to use or expect much from the system. I have my own resources, and intend to keep them well out of the reach of HMRC through every legal avenue available. Yet I’m left with the thought, if ‘unhealthy’ living causes people to pop their clogs in an untimely manner, isn’t that a good thing, economically speaking? Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow ye certainly die, yes? Fewer ‘seniors’ pottering around with their walkers, using ‘precious’ health resources, nonchalantly trying to avoid the questing gaze of the old grim reaper. Good, not so good? You tell me. If the options are between dying of a massive coronary at age 79, or facing the mercy of the Liverpool care pathway at age 81, it’s not much of a choice, is it?

There’s a lot of contradictory ‘advice’ that squitters out of the anus of Government propaganda via the lamestream media. Save, don’t save, spend, don’t spend. This is bad for you, oops, no it’s not but this is, oh sorry, wrong again. The Earth is warming out of control and it’s all your fault but if we tax you more it’ll be fine don’t you worry, but we’ll spend the tax on things like ‘outreach’ groups and other pork barrel promises to buy minority votes. To which my response is always WTF? Even if the lamestream told me the Earth was about to be hit by a ten mile wide asteroid I wouldn’t believe them. I’d be out in the back yard at night trying to spot it with my 20×50’s and a nice big mug of hot chocolate. The only people I’d actually believe would be the first hand sources like the less hysterical astrophysicists and Astronomers who can prove they know their stuff about orbital mechanics.

As for my Canadian GP, he’s a bit old school which I’m quite happy with. He doesn’t lecture or fuss over the latest directive, just deals with whatever problem we come in with. Which is quite refreshing. “Yeah, that’s healing nicely.” He said, checking over Mrs S’s busted wing having read the Orthopedic surgeons report from the rehab clinic. No other questions like “How much do you eat, drink, sleep, smoke and shit?” Our health is our concern. His job is to fix it when it’s broke. Which is as it should be.

For our part, we emulate the Squirrel. Building up resources against the Winter of infirmity and old age so the state doesn’t have to.

And we have a lively local population of tree rats. Mostly Greys, but there is a tribe of Blacks across and down the street. One of the Greys regularly makes a racket using our front guttering as a rodents rat run from one side of the property to the next, then three others which have been busily raiding next doors Walnut tree up to three nuts at a time each. Don’t believe me? Here’s three shots I took late yesterday afternoon.Squirrel raider 0 Here’s one, on his first Walnut raid of the day, legging it across the carport roof outside my office window as though all the voraciousness of the world were on his heels. Which for a squirrel is quite possible. They’re a prey species for just about everything short of Mule Deer.
Squirrel raider 1 Now see the little tinker, taking three(!) nuts at a time off to some store for what may be a harsh Winter. It might be a rerun of 2013/4 where we saw icicles as big as Elephant tusks as far south as Langford and Esquimalt. So, these squirrels are obviously ‘prepping’. Which is a sensible precaution, and probably why there are so many healthy looking squirrels in the neighbourhood.
Squirrel raider 2In this shot, here is our little interloper, selecting the biggest nut he can find (I think it’s a he, but with squirrels it’s hard to tell). For my part I am emulating the Squirrels provision gathering. Nothing fancy, just basics. Rendering Landladies abundance of tomatoes into litres of a very nice pasta sauce which reside in the freezer with the curry and soups. Picking up flour and yeast when it’s on a deal to bake my own artisan breads when necessity dictates. Squirreling comestibles into storage so that when relatives descend upon us from across the globe this September and December, they will leave for warmer climes (Australia, Tanzania and elsewhere) with full stomachs and happy memories while we will have spare in the larder for the cold months from January to March. All you have to do is keep your stocks rotated, and Robert is one’s Father’s brother.

Not that I believe there’s going to be any worldwide disaster, just that things will carry on being a bit tighter than they should be, and the wise man will always emulate the Squirrel, putting a little by in the Summer for when the hard times inevitably come.