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Blog Archives

Man flu

I’ve mentioned man flu briefly in a previous post. But I feel it is my public health duty to dedicate a full post to this malady.

For the uninitiated: “Man flu is a crippling and debilitating disorder indiscriminately striking down male members of the human species without warning. The illness is often referred to pejoratively by female members of the species who are in fact immune from the illness as man flu is now known to exclusively attack the XY chromosome carrier. If Man Flu is kind enough not to kill the infected party it will definitely leave him weak, sick, hurting everywhere and in dire need of TLC.”

Sound familiar? Check out www.manflu.info. It has been created to provide assistance for the men who are hapless victims of man flu (and the women who love them).

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Airborne and Berocca

So it’s been a ridiculously busy week for me and I’ve been nobly fighting off the beginnings of a cold for several days now.

My battle plan is simple: at first signs of a cold, I drop an Airborne in a small cup of water, wait until it stops fizzing and drink. This vitamin-packed tablet always seems to stave off a cold for me if taken early.

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A sad news day for milky tea

Tea without milk is like a day without sunshine. Photo credit: iFood

Tea without milk? Blasphemous, I say!

But there is some debate over whether milk diminishes the heart-healthy properties in a cuppa. Tea apparently won’t help regulate blood pressure or control diabetes when milk is present. To this I say, “Poppycock!” (Ooh, I feel like Maggie Smith in “Gosford Park” or … anything really … when saying that.)

Read it and weep.

Big shot

Yesterday, I had to take a tuberculosis skin test for work. A truly foreign concept for Brits, who receive a Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (better known as a BCG) vaccine in childhood and then are done with it.

Now most Americans have no idea that a vaccine exists for tuberculosis. I know I didn’t. I thought it was a joke when I studied in Scotland and found that everyone had this weird pox scar on their upper arm, a scar left over from the vaccine. Apparently the shot hurts like hell when you get it. I mean, pox-scarring, hold-on-don’t-pass-out pain. But it means immunity for life. Well, almost.

Apparently, the efficacy of the shot actually depends on your geography. Whaaaa? Yes, apparently UK trials have shown a 60-80% protective rate, but the closer you get to the equator, the less effective the shot. And there are scientific reasons for that, but I won’t bore you.

What I will say is that it does sort of explain why American doctors, who are typically vaccine-crazy, don’t give out the BCG vaccine. Only these TB skin tests, which can be given on a regular basis to check for exposure to TB.

We have dodged the big needle, my friends. Sometimes, being American has its privileges.