Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Does Swine Flu Look Like This?

Does swine flu look like this?

Swine flu has spread across the world since emerging in Mexico and is now officially the first flu pandemic for 40 years. Experts fear millions of people will be infected. Twenty-nine people have now died in the UK after contracting swine flu and the number of new cases hit 55,000 last week. -BBC News

What is swine flu?

Swine flu is a respiratory disease, caused by a strain of the influenza type A virus known as H1N1.

H1N1 is the same strain which causes seasonal outbreaks of flu in humans on a regular basis.

But this latest version of H1N1 is different: it contains genetic material that is typically found in strains of the virus that affect humans, birds and swine.

Although the strain may have originated in pigs, it is now a wholly human disease.

It can be spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of swine flu in humans appear to be similar to those produced by standard, seasonal flu.

A fever - which is a temperature of 38ºC (100.4ºF) - is the key symptom, combined with other complaints which may include a cough, sore throat, body aches, chills and aching limbs. Some people with the virus have also reported nausea and diarrhoea.

As with normal flu, the severity of symptoms will depend on treatment and the individual. Many people have only suffered mildly and have begun to recover within a week.

People are most infectious soon after they develop symptoms, but they cease to be a risk once those symptoms have disappeared. The incubation period may be as little as two days.

What should I do if I think I have it?

Anyone with flu-like symptoms who suspects they might have the swine flu virus are being advised to stay at home and contact the National Flu Service on 0800 1 513 100 or via the internet at www.direct.gov.uk/pandemicflu

The service allows sufferers to get access to anti-flu drugs without the need to consult a GP.

However, those with underlying health conditions, the under ones and pregnant women are still being advised to contact a doctor.

The GP route is also open to anyone who does not want to use the service.

In the initial phase of the outbreak, lab testing was done to diagnose the flu but this is no longer happening routinely.

[All swine flue information above has been retrieved from BBC News/Health. For more information visit click here.]

So what's the real deal? Should Londoners be worried? Health officials say that if you're pregnant or have underlying health conditions, it's in your best interest to learn more about the virus so that you can take all necessary precautions.

I don't know about you, but I find myself leaning further away from the person coughing up a storm on the tube and stocking up on antibacterial products when I visit Boots!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Disposable Barbies at Work!

Summer is the perfect season for backyard barbecues...even if you live in London! Instead of investing a couple hundred quid on a top-of-the-line gas barbecue grill, we picked up disposable BBQ's at Tesco for $2.99 (2 for £5).

Hailing from San Diego, disposable barbies are quite foreign to me, but they certainly did the job! I highly recommend it for anyone planning to host a BBQ for up to twelve people.

We bought three disposable barbecues for Nick's mum's birthday today. We prepared enough food to feed eight people and were able to cook four hamburger patties, three steaks, eight pieces of chicken, and twelve sausages on the barbecue before the flames started to die down.

Celebrating Pauline's birthday with friends and family.

The instant barbies were easy-to-use and required only a lighted match to start cooking for approximately 25 minutes. I guess the only thing you'll have to worry about is the weather. Will it rain or shine? But that's pretty much a coin toss when you live in London. Luckily for us, we had a solid four hours before it started to rain heavily.

Oh, and here's a side note about shopping in the UK: Is it just me or do you feel compelled to buy more than what you intended when you see a "buy 3 for £5" deal? Sometimes I'll just need to pick up a carton of juice on my way home from work, but when I see that I can buy 3 for £5, I end up leaving the store with three cartons!!! I recognize that it is a clever marketing scheme, but fall for it every time -- I'm such a sucker for bargains!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Currently Unemployed? Looking for a Fresh Start? Here's an Opportunity You Simply Can't Pass Up!!!

So you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that traveling is what most people would opt to do if they were out of work!

Our current economic climate is icky and we are constantly bombarded with headlines about the job market worsening! A few hours ago, the Associated Press released an article titled, Jobless claims indicate economy remains weak, and just 24 minutes ago UK Yahoo! News published Job market slump continues. Day in and day out, that's all we read and hear about on the news!

While most people patiently wait for the economy to stabilize, some people are actually taking advantage of this changing job market to pursue their dream career! That's not a bad idea considering that 7 out of 10 Americans would change jobs tomorrow if wishing could make it so.

After the success from Australia's Best Job in the World campaign, there have been a couple of "copycat" campaigns such as The Next Best Job in the World (which has been suspended due to “unforeseen events,” whatever that means!!! Booooo Mason Horvath Elite Travel Experiences!) and Taiwan's Best Trip in the World contest (ended June 30, 2009).

So if you are looking for a new career involving travel, here are two hot opportunities you may want to consider:

* Lastminute.com: One lucky winner will have the opportunity to spend 60 days traveling to eight cities across three continents, collecting over 32,000 miles! All you have to do is submit a photo from a trip you took, along with a review (200 words or less) of your experience here. The deadline for the One Heck of a Summer contest is July 15, 2009.

* TheBigTrip.com: Spend 15 weeks traveling the United States as a travel correspondent! All travel expenses will be paid along with a $50,000 salary. Submit a 60 to 90 second video here explaining why you are the perfect candidate. Deadline for entries is November 1, 2009.

Good luck to everyone! BTW - each winner gets to bring a friend along with them (Ahem, clearing my throat), so uh keep me in mind yeah?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

American Expats Celebrating 4th of July in London

What is an American Expat living in London to do this Fourth of July? I don't know about you, but I can't bare to celebrate Independence Day without a barbecue, fireworks and other Americans!

Whether you're looking for a picnic at the park, boat party on the Thames River, or a late night getting your freak on at the clubs, here are some events to consider:

The London Expat American Meetup Group will be hosting their 7th annual 4th of July Picnic at Battersea Park! The event is FREE of charge all day and everyone is welcome. They will set up in the grassy area in front of the Pump House Art Gallery, which is rented for the event and will have two fully stocked bars in operation as well as clean toilet facilities. There will be softball games and impromptu frisbee playing. Guests are encouraged to bring American footballs, volleyballs, kites or just bring a blanket and a bottled water (which is all you really need)!

(Over 900 people showed up to last year's event)

Or if you're looking for some "sun-drenched" (if we're lucky) fun on a boat filled with local musical talent, you should check out the Green Man on the Boat Party. From 2pm to 7pm, the all-inclusive cruise up the Thames River promises a little debauchery and some of the finest musical happenings including newcomers 6 Day Riot and folktronica artist James Yuill. Tickets are available for £20 plus booking fee, click here to purchase.

But if you happen to be a night owl, the APT Bar is offering a £5 guest list if you RSVP here. Open until 4am, guests are encouraged to sport red, white or blue (or all three)!

Any of these events tickle your fancy? If not, check out Time Out London's comprehensive list of Yankee-themed celebrations!

Let's hope the sun decides to keep us nice and thirsty all weekend long. Have a happy Fourth of July!