Sunday, May 4, 2008

Summer Colds


An unexpected summer cold can be just as miserable as the more predictable winter illness. Although we usually expect colds to occur in the fall and winter, the nasty viruses that cause them are still around in the summer, and they seem ready to pounce just as we're ready for a summer vacation.

Summer colds, like their winter cousins, are caused by a large family of viruses. Common cold viruses are not only prevalent but worldwide, and summer travel puts us in contact with many of them. Colds are spread in crowded indoor areas and by contaminated surfaces such as door handles, telephones and slot machines. The viruses can live for hours on such surfaces and when we touch contaminated items we pick up the virus and transfer infection to our nose or eye tissues. Although we cannot avoid touching contaminated surfaces, and we cannot completely avoid crowded areas, we can decrease our risk of infection by washing our hands frequently. Many other viruses are also spread in the same manner and this simple precaution may also help prevent other infections.

Although summer colds occur less frequently than winter ones, there are some special factors that increase the risk of infection.

  • Long haul jet flights. We are squeezed in tight with several hundred potential sources of common cold infection. Experiments on exposing uninfected volunteers to others with common cold infections have shown that the chances of catching a cold are directly related to the number of hours of exposure to infection.
  • Air conditioning. Air conditions cool and remove moisture from the air. This causes drying of the protective mucous lining of the nose and predisposes to infection. Viruses like to grow in a cold nose.
  • Travel to foreign countries. We are used to our own viruses and may have developed some immunity, but travel exposes us to new viruses to which we have no immunity.
  • Hay fever. Common in spring and summer, allergic rhinitis disrupts the integrity of the nasal mucous membranes and, like air conditioning, predisposes to infections. Also the nose is already sensitized by the allergic response and this may result in more severe symptoms and longer duration of illness than a winter cold.

Treatment of summer colds involves measures such as decongestants, cough medications, acetominophen or anti-inflammatories for fever, and antihistamines if there is an allergic component. Rest, drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages, especially water, use a humidifier in the room where you sleep, and expect to get well in 7 to 10 days. If symptoms persist longer or worsen, seek professional assistance from your health care provider.

Visit Cruise Freek Forums to plan your summer vacation!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Cold Cure


Project Genesis, the largest cruise ship to ever make it from drawing board to production made a significant step in its journey towards the sea today (11th December) at Aker Yards ship yard in Turku, Finland.

At the milestone keel-laying ceremony, the first blocks constructing the 220,000 GRT Project Genesis were laid into the bottom of the dry dock. From here the ship will begin to take its form for the first time.

At 40% larger than any other cruise ship in the world, Project Genesis – the working title applied by cruise line Royal Caribbean International, the company behind its development – is scheduled to enter service in Autumn 2009. Project Genesis will be homeported year-round from Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale in Florida.

Project Genesis is 1,180 feet long, 154 feet wide, and 240 feet high and will accommodate over 5,400 guests. The ship will take 5,800 man-years to complete and is expected to float on water for the first time in Winter 2008 as it nears the finishing stages. At a cost of US$230,000 per berth, Project Genesis is the most expensive cruise ship ever to be ordered.

Jo Rzymowska, managing director, Royal Caribbean International, UK and Ireland commented:

“A leisure resort development of the scale of Project Genesis is confirmation of the rate at which cruising is growing as a holiday option. Over 1.55million Brits are forecast to take a cruise in 2008, and the pace of growth is accelerating faster than anticipated by industry body the Passenger Shipping Association. With ships like Project Genesis the options at sea really are giving land-based holiday resorts a run for their money.”

Standing upright bow-to-stern, Project Genesis would dwarf the One Canada Square building at Canary Wharf and New York’s Chrysler Building. The ship is also one and a half times taller than the O2 Arena and is longer than four football pitches.

Ships already in the Royal Caribbean International fleet feature surfing wave pools, rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks, children’s water parks and shopping centre-style complexes. Project Genesis is projected to carry on this tradition and include new facilities never before seen at sea.

Jo Rzymowska continued: “There simply are no limits when it comes to what could possibly feature onboard Project Genesis. Royal Caribbean International guarantees to push physical and creative boundaries with its next generation of cruise ship.”

Royal Caribbean International has a second ship of this scale, Project Genesis II on order from Aker Yards. Project Genesis II is scheduled to be completed in August 2010, and the first Project Genesis ship will begin taking guests in Autumn 2009.

Genesis Inaugural Cruise - Join Us

Fill out your e-mail address
to be on Cruise Freek Forum's
list for the Inaugural sailing of
Royal Caribbean's Genesis.
Subscribe Unsubscribe

Join Cruise Freek Forums and be part of history when we set sail on the worlds largest cruise ship to date, Royal Caribbean's Genesis in 2009.

Information will be posted as it becomes available.

To be placed on the list to join this group cruise please fill out the email address form above OR contact:

Susan Schaefer, MCC, DS
Ships 'N' Trips Travel
* supporting charity through travel *

toll free: (888) 221-1209

Powered by Global Translation Services and LEC

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Flu Report for October 13 2007

U.S. National Flu Report

Influenza activity estimates, as reported by state health departments. Weekly reports are published about 10-12 days after the "week ending" date, due to the time required to compile national data.
No report No activity Sporadic Local Activity Regional Widespread
Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Monday, October 22, 2007

The 2007-2008 Flu Season

green square bullet Why is flu vaccine important?
green square bullet

Flu vaccine supply

green square bullet

When and where can you get vaccinated against the flu?

green square bullet

Primary updates in the 2007 recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

green square bullet Influenza ("flu") fact sheet
green square bullet Who should get flu vaccine?
green square bullet Persons who should not be vaccinated with FluMist (LAIV)
green square bullet King County weekly surveillance update

Why is flu vaccine important?

Influenza is a very contagious illness that strikes millions of Americans each year, with pneumonia as the most common complication in high-risk groups. Influenza, unlike the common cold, has a swift onset of severe symptoms beginning with two to seven days of fever, headache, muscle aches, extreme fatigue, runny nose and sore throat, and a cough that is often severe and may last seven days or more. Information about influenza disease in King County will be updated at 206-296-4949 and on our website at as the season progresses.

Flu vaccine supply

Public Health - Seattle and King County has begun receiving shipments of influenza vaccine and will continue to receive shipments through the end of December. This year, flu vaccine manufacturers plan to have over 130 million doses of influenza vaccine available for distribution in the United States.

When and where can you get vaccinated against the flu?

Public Health – Seattle & King County clinics will accept appointments for flu vaccination beginning October 8, 2007. October and November are the optimal months for people to receive influenza vaccine, however vaccination efforts will continue through December and into January, as long as vaccine supplies are available. People should get flu vaccine even after influenza activity has started in the community. For the 2007–08 influenza season, vaccine supplies are projected to be plentiful in the United States; therefore, influenza vaccination can proceed for all persons, whether healthy or at high risk, either individually or through mass campaigns, as soon as vaccine is available.

People should get flu vaccine even after influenza activity has started in the community. This year, the CDC has not recommended prioritization of flu shots for individuals at high risk for complications from the flu, so all persons who would like to be protected from the flu will be able to request flu vaccine.

» Public Health Immunization Clinic locations

Following is a list of providers who will be giving flu shots this season. For specific locations, dates and times for flu shots available near you, contact these providers directly.

Visiting Nurse Services 800-449-2221 or 425-744-2404 or 877-358-7468 or 877-FLU SHOT
Prevention MD 425-739-0700 ext. 204 or 202
Maxim Healthcare Services 877-962-9358
Fred Meyer Pharmacies
QFC Pharmacies Consult local newspaper
Safeway Pharmacies -- click on "pharmacy" or call your local store
Snohomish Health District South County Lynnwood 425-775-3522 or Everett 425-339-5220
Swedish Hospital 1-800-swedish or 1-800-793-3474
Walgreen Pharmacies

Two flu vaccines are available this year:


The traditional injectable flu vaccine which contains inactivated (killed) virus, is licensed for anyone age six months and older. Some patients experience soreness at the injection site lasting less than two days, but serious side effects from this vaccine are extremely rare. This vaccine may come in a multiple-dose vial or in single-dose prefilled syringes. Prefilled syringes for children three years and younger are thimerosal-free.

2. A live attenuated (weakened) virus vaccine (LAIV or “FluMist”) that is sprayed into the nose (intranasal) is licensed for healthy people aged 2 through 49 years. A small amount of vaccine is sprayed into each nostril, instead of getting an injection. Intranasal vaccine will be available at Public Health clinics and some clinics outside Public Health will also have the intranasal vaccine available.

LAIV is a good option for flu protection for people aged 2 through 49 years who are healthy and not, pregnant, including health care workers and household contacts or caregivers of people in high-risk groups. LAIV may also be considered for persons providing essential community services and persons living in dormitories or under other crowded conditions to prevent outbreaks

Both the injectable and intranasal flu vaccine formulations include protection against A/Solomon Island/3/2006 (H1N1)-like, A/Wisconsin/67/2005 (H3N2)-like and B/Malaysia/2506/2004-like antigens.


The fee for flu vaccine at Public Health - Seattle & King County clinics is $25.00 for the flu “shot” and $33.00 for the intranasal flu vaccine. Pneumococcal vaccine is $39.00. All of these vaccines are available on a sliding scale based on income. Costs vary for flu and pneumococcal vaccines through other providers. Flu and pneumococcal vaccines are covered by Medicare Part B. If you have Medicare coverage and belong to a managed care plan or HMO, you should go to your regular health care provider to receive your vaccine.

The federal and state funded Vaccines for Children program subsidizes the cost of children’s vaccine at most health care clinics. This program now includes funding for flu vaccine for all children ages 6 months through 18 years of age. Families may want to check with their clinic or physician about this program.

Primary Updates in the 2007 Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

  • CDC reemphasizes the importance of administering 2 doses of vaccine to all children aged 6 months--8 years if they have not been vaccinated previously at any time with either the intranasal spray or injectable vaccine. Doses should be separated by at least 4 weeks.

  • CDC recommends that children aged 6 months--8 years who received only 1 dose in their first year of vaccination receive 2 doses the next flu season in which they receive flu vaccine.

Who should get flu vaccine?

People who should receive flu vaccine include those at risk of complications if they get influenza disease, and adults and children who live, work, or may come in contact with people at high risk. These groups specifically include:

  • All children 6-59 months of age

  • All persons 50 years of age and older

  • Women who will be pregnant during the influenza season

  • Adults and children with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, (except hypertension) lung disease (including asthma), kidney disease, liver disease or diabetes

  • Children and adolescents (aged 6 months--18 years) who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy, to prevent the risk of Reyes’ syndrome;

  • Adults and children with weakened immune systems due to HIV/AIDS or other diseases affecting the immune system, long term treatment with drugs such as steroids or cancer treatment with x-rays or drugs

  • Adults and children who have any condition (e.g., cognitive dysfunction, spinal cord injuries, seizure disorders or neurological disorders that can compromise respiratory function or the handling of respiratory secretions or increase risk of aspiration

  • Residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities that house persons of any age who have chronic medical conditions

In addition, to prevent transmission to persons identified above, flu vaccine is also recommended for:

  • Healthy household contacts (including children) and caregivers of children aged 0--59 months and persons at high risk for severe complications from influenza

  • Health care workers

Persons who should not be vaccinated with FluMist (LAIV)

  • Adults 50 years and older or children less than 24 months of age (children younger than 6 months cannot get either LAIV or the injectable flu vaccine)

  • Persons with long term health problems (i.e. heart, lung, kidney, metabolic diseases such as diabetes, anemia and blood disorders)

  • Persons with known or suspected immunodeficiency diseases or who are receiving immunosuppressive therapies

  • Children or adolescents receiving aspirin or other salicylates (because of the association of Reye syndrome with wild-type influenza infection)

  • Persons with history of Guillian-BarrĂ© Syndrome

  • Pregnant women

  • Persons with a history of hypersensitivity, including anaphylaxis) to any of the components of LAIV or to eggs

  • Persons with asthma or active wheezing. Children less than 5 years of age with recurrent wheezing.

For more information about FluMist, go to

Although vaccination is the best method for preventing and reducing the impact of influenza, antiviral medications are a valuable adjunct. For patients who consult a healthcare provider within 48 hours of illness onset, antiviral medications can reduce the duration of illness and might reduce the likelihood of complications. It also can be used to prevent influenza in persons who have not received vaccine and to control outbreaks in institutions or group residential settings such as nursing homes.

Important Reminder:

Persons at high risk for influenza-related complications may also need immunization against pneumococcal pneumonia. This vaccine is given only once in a lifetime for most people, with a one-time revaccination recommended for people with certain medical conditions. For information about the pneumococcal vaccine, go to

This is also a good time to check your immunization record for the date of your last tetanus-diphtheria (or Td) booster. Tdap, a vaccine that provides protection against pertussis (whooping cough) in addition to providing protection against tetanus and diphtheria, was licensed in September, 2005. Tdap is available for anyone 11-64 years old who has not had a Td booster in at least 2 years. This can be given during the same visit in which you receive flu vaccine. For information about the Tdap vaccine, go to

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Flu chart week of October 6 2007

No report No activity Sporadic Local Activity Regional Widespread
Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Monday, October 15, 2007

Disney Short about catching cold

I went to work for half a day and I'm back in bed, fever back up. Here's a cute Disney short for you while i am under the weather myself.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

No post

Getting better but still under the weather, going to force myself to work tomorrow regardless how i feel.

Add to Technorati Favorites