Sisters and It s long past time when weshould understand and do something about our health care system and the abuse of our bodies. The hospital system, although filled with real human beings, is an inhumane one. Patients are not dealt with the love and respect they deserve, and medical people are put on a pedastal too far to see, to high to relate to. The pedastal needs to be chopped down and we need to get higher. As long as the bourgeoise capitalist society is running our institutions, the exploitation will continue. We must become a community in relation to our hospitals and private doctors and let them know that our needs are to be met along with theirs. Right now they just aren't responsive. Impress upon your doctors when you see them that you want them to explain to you what they're doing when they're examining you, what the trouble is, and what you can do to prevent your problem. They need pressure to edúcate. Ask questions! Our own knowledge is vital ly important to our life exislence. If we are moving toward the socialization of medicine, we must be able to take care of ourselves, and then we can stop the monopoly that we now rely on for health care. If you make all medicine free and don't change the people's knowledge -the system will be abused. When people seek help for every minor problem that they should know how to take care of, the free system will be overstressed and fail. Everyone must know some basics of medicine. It is up to the masses to make sure that changes work. First we must unite, then we can criticize, edúcate and transform. In this column I want to talk about problems that everyone should know how to recognize and treat- by a doctor or by yourself. Being the cold season, t is vital the t people understand what a cold is, know differences between viruses and bacteria, when to seek medical help, and how to facilítate recovery. Firstly, clods and respiratory infections are caused by many different viruses that can be present in many different ways, such as the "common cold" with head congestión, runny nose, itchy eyes or as a sore throat and cough, or even as a deep ccugh in bronchitis. Viruses are often accompanied by fatigue, mild fevers up to 102 degrees and generalized muscle aches and pains. You may get swollen glands in your neck- these are lymph nodes which are composed of cells whose function is to help fight infections. The swelling and soreness is the inflamation- the response to enemy organisms. Asprin is good in decreasing fever, muscle aches and the soreness due to inflamation. Viruses usually run their course and go away. Infectious mono and hepatitis are also viruses (I hope to discuss these illnesses in the future). There is no specific medicine or treatment that kills viruses. Antibiotics such as penicillin or tetracycline do nothing to viruses and should not be taken because each drug has its side effects and complications as well as allergie reactions and selections for other infections that are resistant to that antibiotic. These drugs, however, are helpful n killing acfe7a and allowing your body to take over the fight. It is very important for you to know situations and signs to look for when your llness may be more serious than a self resolvable one- most likely a bacterial infection. Bacteria are larger more advanced organisms that often, f they get the best of your body defenses can lead to more serious problems. Some things to look for that increase the likelihood of being bacterial and that means that you should seek help at facilities where there are doctors who can check out your condition, and do tests such as cultures are: (1 ) extremely sorethroats that make t difficult to swallow, (2) very red throat with white patches called exudates or little clear white blisters that are especially attracted to tonsils, (3) very tender swollen glands in your neck, (4) a fever higher than 102 degrees, although viruses may cause fevers this high, (5) a history of,or exposure to strep throats or rheumatic fever (all of these people should be checked and cultured for all their sore throats because of the dangers of not being treated for strep throats), (6) coughing up a lot of yellow or green junk, or (7) developing a severe headache, stiff neck or change of mental status- (all associated with menningitis). All of these are clues to possible developrhent ot more serious problems and you should go to a doctor to be looked at and given antibiotics if thought to be necessary. You are constantly surrounded by viruses and bacteria with which your body lives in a peaceful co-existence, atso which are potential infections. When your body defenses decrease, when your resistance is lowered- you tend to get more infections. If you stay strong and active, eat a good diet, and get enough rest, t is likely you will stay healthier. The preventive aspects of infections are a very important concept. If you feel a cold coming on, it is important to start taking care of yourself right away, hopefully to decrease its duration. This means plenty of rest, stopping physical exertion, and keeping warm. Running yourself down and exposing your body to wetness and cold tend to lower your body's resistance and allow your illness to get much worse. It is important to drink plenty of fluids, water and fruit juices especially. This will keep you well hydrated and help wash out your cold. You should decrease your intake of milk, cheese, rice and other foods that increase mucous production and thicken your secretions. It is probably helpful to take vitamin pills and especially vitamin C. The scientifc data is questionable about the effects of vitamin C, but feedback have gotten from people who use it and my own personal experience-makes me think it is beneficial. Brothers and Sisters who take vitamin C regularly in doses of 54-1 gram (1,000 milligrams) daily claim very few colds- many who take one gram or more a day at the onset of their colds claim a shorter duration than they used to without vitamins. Rose hips and red raspberry herbs are high in vitamin C. All of this may be coincidence - if it's in our heads, well, that's cool - it's really far out to let your head cure your body- sweet old Linus Pauling sounds good, really. Herbs have been used for medicinal purposes for centunes. The western doctors never heard of 'em. Sisters and Brothers who use herbs regularly and for illnesses really find them beneficial. Herbs have definite effects on your body just as pi lis doctors give you do. Different herbs have different predominant effects. Making herb teas is probably the most practical and nutritious way to use herbs. Don't boil herbs - boil the water, and brew the tea. Ginseng has a major effect in decreasing secretions and clearing up congestión and also soothes sore throats. A good cold remedy that sisters and brothers in the Rain,bow house use is hot date milk (high vitamin D content) with ginseng. (See sister Jeanie Walsh's column, "Eat to Get High" in SUN Issue 23 for date milk and other herb instructions). Another herb that is helpful in congestión, decreasing fever plus a good source of vitamin C is red raspberry- it makes dynamite tea. Lots of hot herb teas with honey, especially ginger and sassafras help to soothe sore throats. Garlic is another cold remedy that has been used for centuries by many groups in both Eastern and Western cultures and also in Transylvania. Chewing parsley is a useful deodorizer. Everyone knows they shouldn't smoke- cigarettes, of course- and this applies especially to periods of sore throats and coughs. Many smokers think nicotine has good effects on colds- bullshit- at first it opens up your breathing passages, but in reality it irritates your throat and makes colds, sore throats and coughs worse. Peopie who smoke tend to get more colds, and their colds and coughs tend to be worse and last longer. This is also true for people who drink a lot of alcohol, for the drunk state lowers your body's defenses. A lot of people think they should take a bunch of pi i Is and shit when they get colds. Most decongestants and antihistamines tend to work minimally and usually make things worse when they wear off- especailly nose sprays. If the congestión really drags you down, you can get some decongestants in any drug store. These are probably as good as prescription drugs. You don't need to waste time and money at a doctor's to get his favorite cold pil Is. If you really need any pills, use them sparingly as their effects were off fast. Also, as I stated before, you don't need and should not use antibiotics for colds. They don't help and may hurt. In reality, the best way to take care of colds is to prevent them. Preventive medicine seems to be the most difficult problem for people to work at,but yet is the most important. If you keep your body strong, eat a good diet, and get plenty of rest, you will stay healthier. Avoid getting cold and wet or overfatigued as these states tend to lower your body's resistance. Most of the skonk foods heaped on the paople by the capitalist society are bad for your body and much contains harmful chemicals. EAT WELL. FREE YOUR BODIES FROM THE DESOLATE REFUGE OF THE SYN THETIC SOCIETY! You don't need no doctor.