Consumer Info: Bird Flu, from Causes to Prevention

UPDATE (As of 2017 August 18): Bird Flu has spread from San Luis, Pampanga to Jaen and San Isidro, Nueva Ecija.

The deadly Bird Flu has become one of the most dangerous diseases in the world; yet did you know that this H5N1 strain has already killed 60% of the people who have been infected with the disease since it first appeared in 1997?

This viral infection which first appeared in HK in fact spreads from bird to bird and does not easily spread from person to person rather it does so from infected birds to humans. And as of 2011, bird flu which has been established in China, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia and Vietnam would be difficult to eradicate mainly because it has spread from birds to pigs and even donkeys.

CAUSES 

Humans could catch Bird Flu through:

  1. Close contact with infected birds or bird droppings.
  2. Cleaning or plucking infected birds.
  3. Inhalation of aerosolized materials in live bird markets.
  4. Swimming or bathing in water contaminated with droppings of infected birds.
  5. Handling of fighting cocks.
  6. Infected birds’ saliva, discharges like faeces and urine, as well as feed and secretions from the nose, mouth or eyes especially from hens, geese, turkeys and ducks.
  7. Exceptionally close contact with infected people.

NOTE: Eating meat and eggs from infected birds is not dangerous provided that it’s well-cooked as the heat kills most of its harmful agents. 

RISKS

  • Highest possibility of infection comes from poultry farm workers, animal control workers, wildlife biologists, and ornithologists who handle birds.

SYMPTOMS

  • Cough, diarrhea, respiratory difficulties, fever (over 100.4 °F), headache, muscle pain or weakness, malaise, runny nose, sore throat, colds, headache, swollen neck, dehydration, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, eye infection, lung congestion, pneumonia, could infect the brain and digestive track.

TREATMENT 

  • Antiviral drugs like Oseltamivir (Tamiflu), Zanamivir (Relenza) or Peramivir (Rapivab) can help reduce severity of the disease as it prevents the virus from growing. These should be given soon after diagnosis have been verified.

NOTE: If bird flu is not immediately treated, this could lead to complications like pneumonia, respiratory or kidney failure, and some cardiovascular problems.

BASIC HOME REMEDIES 

  1. Drink Green Tea. It helps inhibit the release of an enzyme known as neuraminidase in bird flu and so it controls the growth and reproduction of it. Take 6-7 cups daily.
  2. Strengthen your Immune System. Take vitamin C or even add lemon juice to your green tea. Citrus fruits and juices are good in boosting immunity. Eat fresh veggies and salads, too.
  3. Do Steam Inhalation. This is to ease mucous accumulation and liquidate secretions for it to easily come out of your nose. Steam inhalation plus a few drops of tea tree oil could serve as an expectorant.
  4. Stay Hydrated. Especially for those who are vomiting or has diarrhea, drink at least 10 glasses of water a day — include servings of warm soups as well.
  5. Consume Garlic. With its powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties, this is one of the best home remedies for bird flu. Eat at least 2 cloves of raw garlic 2 times a day.

PREVENTION 

Aside from having a healthy diet with lots of liquid on your part, we would say “regularly monitoring and understanding your fowls’ condition” is the best preventive measure against the spread of this disease. In short, just stop this Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) right from the roots.

Food & How To: Durian Mousse Cake (Bánh mousse sầu riêng)

Since the Philippines is actually no stranger to durian as it’s abundantly grown particularly in Davao, the challenge now is creating something delicious aside from the usual by-products we know such as candy, pie, ice cream and float.

And we found this. A durian mousse cake.

Well, though you could substitute durian with mango or strawberry as in Helen’s recipe, we better stick with durian since this is what the feature is all about. Anyway, while the ingredients are actually easy to find, the different sets of ingredients makes it look complicated — as the durian mousse itself is even like a recipe within a recipe. Still, take heart, surely this cake is worth it.

Durian mousse being mixed and prepared

BATTER. 4 fresh eggs. 2 tbsp vegetable oil. 1 tbsp water. 1 tsp vanilla extract. 1 tsp salt. 1/2 tsp cream of tartar. 100 grams of sugar. 100 grams of flour.

DURIAN MOUSSE. 400 grams durian flesh. 200 ml milk. 1-2 tbsp of sugar. Gelatin liquid (15 grams gelatin powder and 3 tbsp water). 50 ml of whipping cream.

TOPPINGS. Your choice, however, Helen suggests it be caramelized dry coconut or coconut flakes. Key is to top your cake with a flavor that would enhance or blend well with durian.

Did you know that there are several varieties of durian?

The end product or the finished cake itself looks good so, if you have not tried one, just imagine its taste — what with the egg yolks, vanilla extract and durian all mixed together??

Enjoy!

Cocktail: How to Make a Whiskey Sour

Here’s another cocktail that has an egg white — the Whiskey Sour! Not only is it one of the more bracing drinks especially in a hot summer, it is also one of the easiest to make as well! Like, the ingredients are just about anywhere. So, forget the ‘sour’ thing, we got you covered.

Consider the ingredients: 2 oz. of Bourbon or Rye Whiskey, 3/4 oz. simple syrup (1 part sugar, 1 part water), 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice, and an egg white. And for your garnish — orange slice and cherry.

There you go! The secret. Fresh lemon juice! Now, while substitution would be fine, obviously, trying to create your own ‘sour mix’ for this particular cocktail would only mess up its taste a bit.

Try to use freshly squeezed lemon instead of making a sour mix

Speaking of taste, with lemon, t’is sour; but when you add simple syrup, it becomes like a lemonade. Yet since there is whiskey, the drink becomes kinda potent — especially if you cut back on the lemon juice and add more whiskey. The thing then is, don’t try to really balance the whiskey and the lemon but try to preserve the whiskey’s identity — besides, you would be adding an egg white.

Whiskey Sour: Measurement variation

Okay, while an egg white is a classic part of this cocktail, it is actually optional. Like, if you use Gomme syrup (sugar, water and gum arabic) instead of the simple syrup, you could in fact do away with the egg white — of course, though it would not be quite the same then. Thus, especially for first-timers, you should give the egg white a try. It’s silky and frothy that you could very well enjoy it all the more.

Movie Review: Transformers – The Last Knight (2017)

So we’re already on the fifth of the Transformers series in The Last Knight — and have you seen it last night? Ho, kidding aside, this franchise is one of the most followed series for past the decade — and rightfully so, it’s got a good foundation way back from its first release in 2007.

The Synopsis. Humans are at war with the Transformers, and Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving the future lies buried in the secrets of the past and the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Now, it’s up to the unlikely alliance of inventor Cade Yeager, Bumblebee, an English lord and an Oxford professor to save the world.

Looking deeper and beyond movies, humans against machines could be in an inevitable war — what with the continued development of robots, yes, especially in terms of AI. See for one, there are already those who lost their jobs to automation — and later on, this number would only grow.

Yet what’s more scary is when the time comes that these robots could not be controlled anymore — and that’s gonna be the start of a real war between man and machine! Actually, these thoughts came to screen in The Terminator from long time ago — and the Transformers only made it a little ‘playful’.

Anyway, ever since Shia LaBeouf (a.k.a. Sam Witwicky) had been replaced as the franchise’s lead star, the movie has actually gone sour. Like, the interest just got affected somehow, let alone, when Megan Fox left after the movie’s second installment. Not that Mark Wahlberg did a bad job, it’s just that the ‘life cycle’ jumped way too far. Hey, can’t they just grow with the film? Like Harry Potter and many others, you know.

The box office just shows the effects. Let’s see why.

One. The Last Night have become a little messy, yeah, the story line. Like, robots having a past here on earth?? These are just robots, mind you. And trying to incorporate robots into human history is already like an overdose of brainwashing. It’s unnecessary. This is not some kind of super hero or fantasy film like Peter Pan or something — so, there’s no need to go overboard.

Two. If the foundation is shadowy then what follows is sort of questionable — like robots at sea or something like that?

Three. The movie is what, more than 2 hours long?? Wow, just way too long! Two hours could have been enough to make a diehard real satisfied, so definitely scenes should have been cut in the narrative.

In all, if all you want to see are robots that are fighting then perhaps you would be entertained here; then again, the battle scenes have just become a little monotonous — while the effects are, well, guess they just tried too hard to give viewers a good time.

Movie Review: The Mummy (2017)

Did you miss Ethan Hunt? Well, he’s back! Nope, not in Mission Impossible but in The Mummy — the impregnable Tom Cruise that is, and this time as Nick Morton. So get ready!

The Synopsis. Nick Morton is a soldier of fortune who plunders ancient sites for timeless artifacts and sells them to the highest bidder. When Nick and his partner come under attack in the Middle East, the ensuing battle accidentally unearths Ahmanet, a betrayed Egyptian princess who was entombed under the desert for thousands of years. With her powers constantly evolving, Morton must now stop the resurrected monster as she embarks on a furious rampage through the streets of London.

While Tom’s youthful looks and daring stunts still amazes many, of course, there are those who would just base things on his age — which is actually absurd! Hey, if Tom could still do it without looking awkward or something, then just roll the dice!

Still, one thing is apparent tho. The story line. It’s just so common.

The Mummy (played by Sofia Boutella)

A free spirit accidentally wakes up some mummy then chaos follows. Thus, what then would be left to watch as the film has become even more predictable? The cast? The action scenes? The effects? The setting, the makeups?

Well, that doesn’t sound so encouraging. T’is just like t’was filmed for a quick buck which incidentally made a killing — but understandably, not as much as Wonder Woman though. Guess the injecting of Dr. Jekyll with a serum to prevent himself from transforming into his evil alter-ego was kinda dreary and not so good for the film then.

Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis

The choice of actors as well as the effects were, well, okay though — but still not enough ‘mummy power’ to be a game changer.

Movie Review: Wonder Woman (2017)

Looking for a super hero movie to watch? Well, sure you must have seen Wonder Woman! The world has — in fact, it has raked in more than $200M at the box office so far.

Still, how did you find the film? Us, we found it cute especially when Diana kept asking where the war was, or where Ares was. Okay, then let’s have some refresher with this trailer before we move on.

The Synopsis. Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, Diana meets an American pilot (Chris Pine) who tells her about the massive conflict that’s raging in the outside world. Convinced that she can stop the threat, Diana leaves her home for the first time. Fighting alongside men in a war to end all wars, she finally discovers her full powers and true destiny.

Steve Trevor and Diana

Hmm.. This is just one of those few films where both the patrons and the critics have appreciated it. We say, it’s clean. Even their costume is. It’s got a good plot — as it’s good to start a ‘possible’ series on how everything really began. And it’s got some real cool action scenes, too! Not to mention the perfect choice in Gal Gadot to play the role of Wonder Woman. See, being an Israeli, Gal’s features was just right for someone who is from a fictional island like Themyscira — more so, her accent was more believable to the audience since the Amazons lived in isolation.

And yes, this was dramatic indeed! That’s right from the first battle when Robin Wright (General Antiope, Diana’s aunt) got up in the air and struck 3 arrows on the intruders. Then another Amazon flying and this time throwing out two daggers. Cool, right?! Even Wonder Woman’s using of the lasso in her fights was awesome! Especially when she trampolined to destroy the bell tower with her shield!

Still, we got some questions, too. Like, one, aren’t Wonder Woman’s magic cuffs too long (not to mention, it emits power too when all it really is is for shielding bullets or things like that)? Well, more than Lynda Carter (TV’s Wonder Woman) having a shorter cuff, a longer one can’t just be for style — ‘cause didn’t you notice when Diana accompanied Steve back to London? It’s like she was uneasy with them, you know, it sort of limits her movements. So, they could’ve made the cuffs like malleable when not in use. Magic, after all!

General Antiope leading her warriors

Two. It may not be a focus in the story but wouldn’t the Amazonian women grow old while some would also die in battle? So what would happen to their population? There should be some explanation to it somehow as it would then give us an idea on what could happen to Diana. Three. How about her sword, was that it? Like, it just melted when Diana struck it to Ares? What happened to Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) saying that it was something that could kill a god? Oh, guess she was kinda tricked as only a god could kill another god, huh. Four. Did Steve just die, that’s it? ‘Cause after the war, there was nothing but a picture of him on the bulletin board. There should have been some flashbacks. Five. Having the ability to jump so high along with possessing unusual strength is more believable based on what we know of Wonder Woman — but floating in the air or flying, how could that be? It’s like changing the story all together.

Queen Hippolyta and Diana

Anyway, the negatives. While Ares’ power was magnificent, we did not really like how he transformed. Like, more than robot-like, Ares looked like a too simple and ugly scrap metal walking gingerly in his battle with Wonder Woman. Also, instead of making movie goers feel the loss of Diana’s dying aunt, we actually found the scene ‘funny’. ‘Cause Diana just kept asking ‘what’ to her gasping aunt.

In the end, the moral lessons were something movie-goers should have especially paid attention to. It’s not just as simple as ‘only love can save the world’ — for it’s like a cliche then. But those lines Diana uttered before the love thing. That within man is darkness and light, and that it’s our choices that’s what we make of life..

Fulfilling her destiny

As standing up for what we believe in regardless of outside opinions is what really sets the foundation towards our true destiny.

Food & How To: Fried Tofu Stuffed with Rice (Yubuchobap: 유부초밥)

It’s just about the weekend, and what a long one we would have considering there would be no classes come Monday, as the country would celebrate its Independence Day. So, time for the last of summer outings with a tasty dish to bring along. Yey!

And what do we have? Yubuchobap. A Korean recipe of fried and marinated tofu stuffed with rice. Check this out.

So. So, so simple, right? This is why this recipe is ideal for picnics and even for your kids’ lunch packs. Easy to handle, carry, and generally cheap to make. Just make sure you know where the nearest Korean grocery store is for your Yubuchobap kit.

Yubuchobap kit

However, if there’s no such store in your area, do not worry about the exact ingredients. Instead, just try to use the closest substitutes; otherwise, try to experiment and make them yourselves. Like, the flattening and molding of the tofu wrap for one. Or using chia seeds instead of sesame seeds (this is everywhere, we’re just looking to experiment) to dip your Yubuchobap.

Experimenting is good since you could come up with a tastier dish to your liking instead of continuing with a food monotony. See?!

Consider the benefits of Chia seeds and try experimenting

And speaking of something tastier, remember also that you could still add some spices and vegetables like broccoli, carrot and onion for a more flavorful and healthy Yubuchobap. Just light fry those veggies before mixing them with your rice.

The dipping of the Yubuchobap on the seeds

Still, if you just want to save preparation time, the kit’s ingredients will do without any need to add anything anymore. Just try to use high quality rice not just for its taste but for fluffiness.

Enjoy!

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