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Taking daily multivitamins, with our without added Vitamins A, B, C, D & E, and/or or eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, will boost our immune system but it will not guarantee protection against SARS following contact with an infected person. As we have stated weeks ago, the only guaranteed way not to get SARS is not to be exposed to the SARS virus in the first place. We have to be pre-emptive in our strategy and remain calm but ever-vigilant to win the SARS War.

Since SARS is not an airborne viral infection, but is transmitted by droplet (contact with virus-loaded secretions from a SARS patient or "carrier"), frequent hand washing with regular soap and water is much more important than wearing a mask. But we recommend donning on a mask anyway for anyone who unavoidably needs to be close to a SARS patient or a suspect. The mask will prevent the uninfected person from touching the areas of his/her own face with mucus membrane (nose, mouth), where the virus could be absorbed. Eyeglasses will afford some protection for the eyes, which also have a mucus membrane. Again, in such a situation, avoid contact (no hug or hand shake), even with inanimate objects in the room, including pen, telephone, etc., and wash the hands frequently, on top of wearing a mask. If exposed to the SARS virus, or if in doubt, remove all clothing and wash them (warm cycle and using chlorine bleach), and take a warm shower as soon as possible. Anyone exposed to a SARS patient or to a suspect who has been to those SARS countries (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Canada, etc) should see a physician immediately and quarantine (total isolation at home) himself/herself for at least 10 days to prevent a cluster outbreak of SARS, and later, an epidemic. In dealing with SARS or any communicable diseases, we have to remain cool but alert.

Smoking zaps the immune system and makes one more vulnerable to catch illnesses, like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Smoking is also the major cause of erectile dysfunction (impotence) among men, and those who smoke more than 20 sticks a day have 60% risk of developing impotence. Not to mention cancer of the lungs, the breast and other organs, and heart attack and stroke.

Laughter, the best medicine, is in fact a longevity-stretcher. Researches have shown that laughter and frequent humor-packed pastimes do not only reduce stress but is potent in reducing pain, improving immunity and lowers blood pressure. A such, it can help us live longer. So, here's our prescription for you: multiple daily doses of the age-reducing, life-prolonging, belly laughs.

There are about 1.7 billion people who are severely overweight or obese worldwide. Obesity is a significant health risk. To read more about obesity, visit our internet website at: www.cdc-cdh.edu/hospital/cardio

Men who eat a handful of nuts (peanuts, almond, walnuts, Brazilian nuts, etc) a week have 46% lower risk of sudden cardiac death compared to the same subset of men who rarely eat nuts.

Those who drink citrus juice or eat fruits, like orange juice or grapefruit, have a lower risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis because of a substance in them called beta cryptoxanthin.

The healthcare cost of the treatment of heart diseases in the United States in 1997 was 58 billion dollars. Today, one American dies of a heart attack every 60 seconds.

More than 600,000 physicians worldwide have prescribed Viagra to 16 million men, and statistics show that this translates to 9 of this anti-impotent pill being dispensed every second (32,400 tablets every hour) around the globe. Two new competitor pills, both claiming to be better, are around the corner, seeking approval of the Food and Drug Administration in the United States.

An apple (or more) a day does keep the doctor away. Eating apples provides a good level of quercetin, which reduces the risk of colon cancer, asthma and diabetes. The skin of the apples contains a lot of quercetin, so enjoy the skin too. Other sources of this wonderful substance are the berries (cranberry, raspberry, black berries). Eating a low fat diet that includes four servings of fruits a day can make a person 4 years younger in real-age benefit.

A good warm-up before exercises, like walking or swimming, burns more calories and produces less lactic acid build-up in the blood and muscles (the substance that causes burning sensation and pain in the muscles during exercise). Be sure to warm-up first before plunging in. Daily exercises improves longevity by 9 years.

Organic food contains a lot of cancer-fighting antioxidants. Corn that has been grown without the use of pesticides, for instance, has almost 60% more antioxidants called flavonoids than corn grown with pesticides.

Eating green leafy vegetables like romaine lettuce, spinach and collard greens, and corn, confers upon the individual protection from an eye disease called macular degeneration (MD), which causes blindness. These food items contain zeaxanthin, which reduces the rsik of MD and also protect the rods and cones of the eyes from the damaging effects of the sun.

Mushroom is a good source of copper (a cup has a milligram of copper), the trace mineral that protects people against osteoporosis. Of course, drinking milk and taking calcium supplement, by female or male adults, especially by those women past menopause, is most helpful in warding off osteoporosis.

To minimize the chance of getting diabetes among those prone to develop it, eating whole-grain based bread (buckwheat pancakes or whole-wheat bread) with sunflower seeds might help. Sunflower seeds are also rich in vitamin E, and eating both nutrients has been associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

Taking antibiotics frequently will eventually reduce its efficacy against the target bacteria, which will "get used to the drug" and then build resistance to them. Antibiotics, in general, are bactericidal (bacteria-killer), but when used unnecessarily and too frequently, the germs could develop "immunity" to them and render said drugs useless. If this "misuse and abuse" of antibiotics goes on, there will come a time when physicians will no longer have any effective drugs to fight infection. And the world will retrogress back to square one, that age before antibiotics (penicillin) was discovered, when people died left and right, even from "simple" infections.

Smoking is a preventable cause of cancer of the lungs, accounting for about 80% to 90% of cases. It is the number one cause of cancer deaths, affecting about 80,000 women and 100,000 men in the USA each year. Overall five-year survival rate from lung cancer is 10-12%. At the time of diagnosis, over 50% of patients already have evidence of spread of the cancer, precluding surgery as an option. If one thinks about it, smoking cigarettes is really nothing but an act of slow suicide.

Providing a patient informed consent (a full disclosure) prior to the performance of a medical or surgical procedure is not only a professional or moral obligation of the attending physician, but his/her legal duty. The patient, and his family, if any, has the right under our laws to be properly and adequately informed of the ramifications of the planned procedure, the medical reason and justification for it, the details of the actual procedure to be performed, the advantages, limitations, potential risk, and possible complications of the procedure, the expected hospital course, and, the alternative therapeutic options the patient has, if any. Because physicians and surgeons are only humans and not God and, therefore, cannot make any guarantees, they can provide the patient a good idea as to the percentage of risk and mortality of a given procedure based on their own experience and based on the accepted national, if not international, medical statistics.

©2003Raoul R. Diez, M.A.O.D.