Tag Archives: Health

A rhapsody of sorts

Spent time talking to people over the weekend. One guy, an ex-roadie who is one of Localtown’s ‘characters’ and thus up against some pretty stiff opposition let me tell you, was bemoaning the modern ‘Machine music’. He had a point. The sanitised pop music since the 1990’s leaves me yawning, but older stuff, with complex melody lines and interesting lyrics still compares more than favourably with mainstream pop.

Similarly, we spent some time jawing with Colum our landlord. He told us he’s stopped watching TV or listening to the news “Because it’s all madness.” Mrs S and I agreed, having seen the news about the petrol shortage that never was in the UK. I’d bought a copy of the Times, and the front page, apart from being dominated by a murder committed by a copper, carried a complete wind up story about Christmas shortages like there weren’t going to be enough goodies and everyone is going to starve to death over the holiday season and other such nonsense.

Hence today’s earworm; Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. Freddie Mercury’s covert expression of his newfound homosexuality. Yet the opening lyrics can be used as an expression of the insanity currently enveloping the world.

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?

Yes, this isn’t real life. Vaccine passports for a disease with a mortality rate far lower than advertised. ‘Green’ politics threatening to beggar whole peoples based on the fantasy, and yes it is a fantasy, of man made global warming. The real science says different.

Caught in a landside,
No escape from reality

Superficially the world seems to be in inescapable chaos. Supermarkets and shops short of goods. Panic buying of fuel. Threats of power cuts. There seems no way out. This is our new reality. Yet hang on;

Open your eyes,
Look up to the skies and see,

As for the current talk of shortages, the global supply chain is currently disrupted by prolonged lockdowns. Public demand for goods is spiking erratically driven by mainstream media scaremongering. Everyone wants to be a prophet of doom when there is a more sensible answer. See embedded video.

I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy,
Because I’m easy come, easy go,

For myself all this talk of Christmas being cancelled is just hyperbole. Sure, a few items of cheap Chinese tat won’t struggle into your families stockings this year, but is that such a big deal? Is their love really conditional on getting the latest shiny new electronic toy? Or like me, can you make do with quite serviceable machines? Do I need a sparkly new office chair built in China by slave labour? No? Can I step back from wanton consumerism and watch a few YouTube videos on acquiring new skills and having a little old fashioned fun putting them into action? Why yes I think I can.

Why do we have to spend our time running around the supermarket buying up stuff that will probably end up in the bin? Why do you have to have a mass produced turkey? Why not roast beef, lamb, or pork with crackling (Yum) from your local butcher instead? Or chicken or salmon? I’ve already ordered a 3lb rind on pork joint. No one goes hungry on my watch. Or cold. All it takes is a little forethought. A little budgeting. Anyway, I’m preaching to the choir here, aren’t I?

Little high, little low,
Any way the wind blows doesn’t really matter to me, to me

I still have a quarter full catering size bag of Yorkshire tea bought last October which should last us another month. A kilo and a half of coffee beans. The freezer is three parts full, and when people get their act together and stop running around like headless chickens there will be a house move (Yes another bloody house move) to organise.

Think on this; without the protracted lockdowns, this would not be happening. These shortages are all down to big government and their mishandling of what was a moderate health crisis. I say was, because the pandemic has mostly been over since November / December 2020. It was panicking politicians who made the decision to send infectious people into care homes in March / April 2020 and cause biggest spikes in COVID deaths. It was panicking politicians who stood in the way of letting health professionals treat the infected with well established doses of cheap anti-viral drugs. It was panicking politicians who pissed Billions of taxpayer dollars over the sacred cows of nationalised health services. It was they who screwed up and blamed us.

Yet it doesn’t matter to me. The politicians can talk about Winter lockdowns and shortages all they want, but I’m in the system now and I can see how it works and where the workarounds are. Where the back roads are. Who can supply me with barter goods and who we can exchange gifts of real value with. Food, alcohol, goodwill and good fellowship for example.

That said, things should start to settle by March 2022. I hope. However, if that doesn’t work, I can see me digging deeper into my large store of sheer bloody mindedness to get by. But you can take this to the bank; I won’t be bothering with the mainstream press, RTE, or BBC. It’s all clickbait.

As for mask mandates; book plug. James Nestors’ ‘Breath‘ is worth a deep read. Stop breathing through your mouth, use your nose instead, because your nose is a crucial part of your immune system. The old schnozzle could even be compared to having a built in surgical mask. So masks don’t matter. Re-learn the art of breathing and become a healthier person. Personal anecdote; it seems to work.

So I’m not quite gone. Just busy getting ready for when everything frees up. The blog has to take a long second place.

COVID DATA

These are the official stats from the USA.

Who is going to live and who will die should you contract the disease. Here’s the parsing and analysis. Watch and be informed.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

News from down under that Sydney is in lockdown again, further isolating ‘South’ and a need to talk to her whenever she needs to vent. She’s missing her friends terribly poor thing and has even taken to speaking to me directly, not via her Mum to try and keep a grip on things.

From the fabled land of Oz I’ve seen footage of people being ordered off the beach by loudspeaker toting helicopters, being ushered into their houses by the fecking Australian Army for heaven’s sake! Out of the healthy fresh air and back into the bacteria and virus ridden captivity of their houses. For what? 140 positive tests and one attributed death after a positive PCR? That’s just full on, disproportionate, out of your tree batshit crazy.

Going back to my operating theatre training, we had it drilled into us that the average human habitation is a veritable plague pit. Because if you did swab tests of your own living space you would be horrified at the concentration of contagion lurking there. Even if you are incredibly houseproud and everywhere stinks of disinfectant. Bacteria, viruses, fungi and moulds proliferate, and even apparently ‘clean’ surfaces can be as full of spores and lurgi as any outside space. Not a place you want to spend too much time, you old plague carrier you. Because most of the lurgi in the average home has one major source; humans. Sorry. You can’t blame this one on your Dog / Hamster / Goldfish. They get what you got.

As an aside it’s the same for CO2. CO2 levels are much higher within the average building than out. Take a CO2 (Dioxide, not Monoxide) meter and check if you don’t believe me. Then stick it behind your mask. Go on, just do it. Now try it outdoors with your mask off. You might be surprised at the readings.

FYI: A side effect of CO2 in higher concentrations means your cognitive performance can be significantly reduced. Here’s the science. Prolonged exposure to levels over 500ppm means you’re not as quick witted or on your game as you should be. Work in a stuffy office? Check the CO2 levels.

Put simply; wearing a surgical or other mask without additional squirts of oxygen for more than two hours or so increases rebreathing of CO2 to a point where the oxygen content of your blood is reduced. Not to the point of hypoxia, but certainly making you a little more stupid and possibly more compliant than you are naturally.

Ergo, you are safer outdoors taking a brisk healthy walk than lurking indoors with all the sources of infection and increased Carbon Dioxide. Of which you are one. So taking a shower on a regular basis might be a good idea. Some fresh food, a little fruit, and regular time out in the garden or sitting in a open window. Or at work, if you have a regular job, some time away from your desk is a good idea. You are at no more risk at a restriction free workspace than you are at home. Which studies on Supermarket workers from the start of the pandemic have demonstrated.

As for the reduced numbers, my argument for some time has been that we already have herd immunity. The constant reduction of cases, irrespective of vaccine take up and low mortality speaks volumes. The worst has come and gone long since. There is no need for extra vaccines. Only the pantywaist class of professional politician or the under informed think that.

Taking the aforementioned into account, under lockdowns, a strategy last used during medieval times, your risk factor of catching anything indoors is therefore elevated. Like you are more likely to catch the dreaded lurgi in a hospital, because guess what? Hospitals are full of sick people.

This is the simple truth. Not ‘disinformation’. I leave that to the real ‘experts’ in the mainstream of politics and the media. Those with product to sell and for government propaganda to foist on everyone.

In the meantime, my family is shattered. The economy is in tatters, as are our civil rights. I hate it.

PING!

Lovely warm day today, the skies have been a cloudless vault of wonderful blue since first thing, only marred by a few puffs of cloud. Mrs S and I have been sitting outside under a recently purchased gazebo, one of those nylon sunshade things you see used as market stalls, preventing us from being cooked by the big yellow thing in the sky.

Well we seem to be dodging bullets over here in the Wilder West of the Emerald Isle despite all the prognostications of doom from the man made climate change crowd. A solar flare was supposed to cripple the power grids and all the rain has migrated into Germany, France, the Netherlands and Belgium, causing all manner of chaos, from floods to sinkholes.

The ‘experts’ have been bouncing out of their hidey holes like funnel web spiders to pronounce that it’s all our fault unless you renounce anything that looks like fun. Right guys. All your predictions have failed. Every last single one. Your public credibility should be flushed down the toilet by now. Besides, if anyone does any basic historical research, they will find similar incidents, although not in the same locations, from eighty or ninety years ago. When it comes to climate, there is little new under the sun.

At the moment I’m sitting around waiting for the anaesthetic to wear off after I lost a fight with a well done steak a few days ago. There was a tiny crack and half of one of my bicuspids ended up on my plate. A little discomfort, but more surprise than anything else as my errant tooth fragment bobbed around in the gravy. So I did what anyone with any base would do and picked up the fragment, sucked off the sauce before putting it in my top pocket wrapped in half a paper serviette. “Half my tooth has broken off.” I announced quietly.

“Where?” Said Mrs S. I pointed to my upper mandible before proceeding to demolish the rest of my steak. “Does it hurt?”

“Damnedest thing, no.” I replied. And here’s me not registered with a dentist. Well that was just rectified. It had just slipped down the list of priorities under a slew of other details.

Came as a bit of a surprise as I’m pretty assiduous about brushing my teeth, using toothpicks to clear detritus from between my pearlies and even flossing twice a week. Although I thought I would miss North American dentistry, but it turns out that modern Irish dentists are pretty good. So Mrs S and I are now registered as private patients. Wasn’t as expensive as I thought it would be either.

Despite that, the gods appear to be looking favourably upon us, unlike a certain memorial to a dead junkie that got hit by lightning, according to witnesses. My driving licence is now up to date after three months wrangling with the NDLS and we’re starting to get taken seriously by some people who like the cut of our wallets. Our investment strategies have borne fruit and we’re into the numbers now with regard to buying a project house.

China is getting flooded again and certain EU countries are suffering under huge rainfall, so maybe God is trying to get their attention, saying “Okay you EU chappies, stop messing the Brits around. They’ve left your club, now calm down or next time it’s the Frogs.”

As far as the Chinese are concerned, maybe he’s registering his displeasure at the germ warfare they’ve been indulging in. The SARS/COV-2 virus, the balance of probabilities tells us, leaked out of the Wuhan lab. Whether the leak was deliberate is moot. But what was deliberate was the propaganda campaign designed to frighten the West into submission.

Oh yes, and what about this rogue NHS ‘track and trace app’ pinging all and sundry, forcing them to self isolate when they probably don’t need to. Apparently the promoters of this piece of software were warned by some of the Project Engineers, who said it was too sensitive, but no, the bureaucrats and politicians didn’t listen and now somewhere in the region of ten million plus people (Allegedly) have been pinged and told to self isolate. That’s a good chunk of the working population. Talk about an accident waiting to happen. Put not thy faith in Bluetooth should be the lesson here.

Like the Blair regime before them, the Johnsonites are finding that the technology they thought had all the answers, doesn’t. Maybe this will curb their control freak ambitions. We can but hope.

Happy weekend everybody.

Covid Passports, a modest proposal

Feeling a little buzzed and mischievous right now, having had my first dose of muscle relaxant and painkiller. Talk about pukka stuff. Right now you could cut my arm off and I’d laugh myself senseless.

Mrs S is deriving great merriment from watching me wobbling around the house, bouncing off the furniture like some bipedal bumper car. Everything has stopped hurting and I’m high as a kite. Whoopee. Look kids, don’t do drugs or, oh who am I kidding?

Nevertheless, onto the meat of this post dear reader. Ah, the dreaded lurgi, the not so fatal disease everyone has been running around doing headless chicken impersonations about for the last year and a half. At least if you’re under eighty without a ‘co-morbidity’. The disease 80% less likely to kill you than pneumonia. This plague that has people wearing masks in the streets and more ridiculously, behind the wheel of their car. Now it is being mooted that we must not go anywhere without some form of documentation to ‘prove’ that we are not ‘unclean’. Well now, there’s a thing.

Those of us who object to such an iniquity as a ‘COVID Passport’ have been subject to a litany of public misinformation and vile slander. Despite having proper scientific evidence to hand, not some regurgitated media ‘facts’. So I think it’s high time we got some payback.

Having heard a discussion about how our medical histories might be made available to every low ale house keeper and entry level security guard, I thought; “Hmm. What we need here is a little pre-emptive poetic justice.” And like all seriously good ideas it’s simple and cheap, and here it is;

If some person denies you service because you are reluctant to hand over your personal data, simply log on to your social media account, or better still an account with something like Tripadvisor or Expedia and post a bad review. I mean a zero star complete stinker. No swearing. No abuse. Just keep it polite, brief and succinct.

Say for example a restaurant insists on seeing some form of Vaccine related ID, don’t make a fuss, do as you are asked and have your meal. Enjoy yourself. Then give the premises in question the bad review. Same for any other place.

For example; a bad review in the case of a ‘No Jab-no entry’ café might look like the following; “Appalling coffee, stale pastries and very rude staff. It’s a shame I can’t give a minus star rating to these premises.” Make no mention of the bar to entry, but contrariwise, a café that does not make a big deal about “Papieren bitte.” should get a five star review and fulsome praise like; “My new go-to coffee hangout, lovely helpful staff and sausage rolls fit for the Gods.”

This principle can be applied across social media. Nothing abusive, just muted disgust and a soupcon of sarcasm. Night clubs could be critiqued with “Stale DJ, overpriced drinks that taste like they’ve been watered down and some of the ugliest people this side of Watford Gap.” other venues might attract something like “Doesn’t anyone clean up around here? The place smells like it’s been used as a lavatory.” Yes of course owners read their competitors reviews, wouldn’t you?

Nowadays everyone checks reviews before visiting. The idea being that if enough genuine-looking negative reviews begin to impact the bottom line of any zealous enforcer of the COVID tyranny, I’m sure that eventually they’ll get the message and the whole silly circus will grind to a suitably embarrassed halt.

Me, if found out and challenged, I will simply kiss the rod and plead the painkillers. They really are seriously good.

A little pain

My back is giving me grief once more. This is an event that happens once a year. It begins with a localised stiffness in the lumbar region, which if I do nothing about it turns into a full and agonising lock up of my lower spine. Drugs are being applied. I know the cause and the fix, so today am going to try and get a prescription from my GP for the only medication I know that works.

It’s my own fault for having spent a good deal of my life in very physical and occasionally modestly hazardous occupations, from rough sports and the occasional bout of fisticuffs to long hours of physical exertion. The experiences I would exhort any reader young enough to profit by my example not to follow. Be gentle with yourself. When you get past the big five-oh you’ll thank yourself.

But it’s easy to be wise after the event. For my part I’m stuck with a dicky knee and occasionally excruciatingly painful lower back. No-one to blame but my younger and more foolish self. But when you’re 20-something it’s easy to think you’re invulnerable. These are the repercussions of ageing.

On the topic of repercussions, watch the video below of TD’s (US, think Congressmen, UK think MP’s) in the Dial (Irish Parliament).

As the economic and social damage from lockdowns becomes more obvious, I expect these politicians calls for action to get louder and ask myself; “Where were you lot when you were needed?”

Day two

24 hours after getting the jab.

Symptoms; Low BP (Light headedness upon standing) mild fever and a feeling like someone has punched me hard on my right shoulder. Creaky knee is also playing up more than usual, but that’s not really a symptom. Mild headache. Pulse 70 ish. Elevated body temperature within normal range +0.75-1 Degree Celsius. No visible rashes. Injection site barely visible.

Mrs S has given me the day off.

Normally I’d ignore my current level of aches and pains and carry on regardless, but what I am doing is taking a large shot of grapefruit juice twice a day 500mg of paracetamol and 2000UI of vitamin D to fend off the worst of the vaccine symptoms.

These measures appear to be working. Or not, as they are purely precautionary ameliorations. Still feel tired though. Just want to curl up in a ball and do my best impersonation of a hibernating bear.

Update: 36 hours post jab. Fever has increased, as have the sensations of light-headedness. Resting pulse has dropped to just under 70. Paracetamol and vitamin D deployed.

As an aside, ex-Beeb TV and Radio presenter Alex Belfield reckons that Summer festivals and flights are being cancelled over insurance issues caused by the UK Governments uncertainty over imposing more flaming lockdowns. Is he right or wrong?

In addition, we would like to see ‘North’ this year, but if the rumours are true, she’s going to be stuck in the UK for the second year running. Despite all the vaccinations and flatlining infection stats.

The things I do…

Partly In the spirit of an experiment, and mostly because Mrs S would give me no peace until I did, I’ve had my first jab for the dreaded lurgi. Not that I think that it will make any difference, but because I was nagged into it and thought “These side effects, we need a first person perspective.” So this is a live report on the effects, or lack thereof from the AstraZeneca injection.

I’d done my research. The clotting risk is low for my blood group, so today I heeded the call to pop downtown to my local vaccination centre in an under-utilised hotel.

The deep subcutaneous injection itself was well done by a male Paramedic. Good needle technique, didn’t feel a thing. Five minutes afterward, waiting to see if I was going to suffer any anaphylaxis, I felt a mild pinpoint of heat at the injection site and the sense of something spreading outward in my left deltoid muscle. About an hour after that I sensed a sense of tightening at the posterior base of my skull followed by a brief bout of mild light-headedness. This eased after another hour and a low dull ache settled into my left shoulder and my upper left latissimus dorsi muscle at around the three hour mark.

No noticeable rash, no reddening at the injection site. Indeed it was so well done the I’m hard pressed to see the injection site after four hours. Feeling a little tired at the five hour marker. Tired enough to want to go and have a nap. So I did. Flaked out for three hours in the afternoon.

Resting pulse before bedtime; 84. Elevated temperature. About one degree over normal. Sensation of tightness in left deltoid, but no other muscle aches. Apart from that, no nausea. Nothing to write home about.

Note to any reader. Anecdotal reports indicate that everyone we know who has had the AstraZeneca vaccine reports at least a mild reaction. Additional note; this is the first time, in all the vaccines I’ve ever had, that I’ve experienced any symptoms at all.

Notwithstanding; here endeth the first day.

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.