Articles

Let’s talk about the common Cold (upper respiratory infection), today – Written by Dr Harold Gunatillake-Health writer

 


A cold (coryza) is considered the commonest malady that affects almost everyone, including children worldwide. It is always a virus infection and never bacterial, unless you get affected secondarily whilst suffering from a common cold.

There are many viruses that can cause a cold and the most common one is the rhinovirus. Other less common ones are- adenovirus, coronavirus, enterovirus, and so on. Rhinovirus is more potent than the others as it can cause other infections like pneumonia, otitis (ear infections), sinus and throat infections, and can trigger an asthma attack.

You could always diagnose a cold without seeing your doctor: runny nose, (sniffles), sore throat, ear ache and fever. Unlike bacterial infections, viral infections have a life span- may be a week or two and you getting better. Unfortunately, you do not acquire immunity from further future infections- meaning the same virus can inflict a recurrent infection.

The common cold can spread in a household to every member and is contagious. The incubation period is about 24 hours

Remember, there are no antibiotics that will kill any viral disease. You can only temporise to feel better by drinking plenty of fluids, home remedies, and taking over the counter cough mixtures, throat lozenges, and inhalations. You still need to go through the life cycle of the virus.
If the sinus infection and sore throat lasts longer than 10 days, you should see your doctor, and he is bound to give you antibiotics to end the secondary infection. Your doctor will invariably order x-rays to check your sinuses.
When your nose is blocked, inhale steam to soothe the nasal congestion. You may use a nasal spray, instead. Saline nasal solutions help break up nasal congestion and remove virus particles. A good at- home solution would be to mix 3 teaspoons of iodine-free salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and place the mixture in an airtight container. Use 1 teaspoon of this mixture with 8 ounces of warm distilled water. Fill a plastic syringe and squirt the solution into the nose while holding the head over the sink. The other nostril should be closed.

Post-nasal drip
In most situations when your nose is congested with nasal discharges, there is a tendency for this secretion to dribble down into your throat and most coughing in the nights is due to this dribble.

Antihistamines and decongestants may help to dry your throat and get rid of the excessive mucus. Cortisone based nasal decongestants do help to dry your nostril mucosa to prevent further post nasal drips (PND)

Viral infections are referred to as upper respiratory infection because it is limited to the nasal passages, sinuses and may be your throat.
Wash your hands as a habit daily to prevent a cold. Use an alcohol-based sanitizer product, or soap and water. Avoid going into crowded areas, and keep away from the cold weather, especially the winter season, if you can.

Zinc tablets for cold
Zinc tablets are supposed to prevent people getting colds, but studies has shown mixed results about zinc and colds. Zinc may prevent the rhinovirus from multiplying in your nasal passages and throat. It may be effective when taken in lozenges or syrup form, which allows the substance to stay in your throat and attack the virus. Zinc in lozenge form may have side effects, including nausea or bad taste in your mouth. You may lose your smell permanently when you use a zinc nasal spray.

Vitamin C
While earlier studies reported that taking vitamin C reduced how long a cold would stick around, the current consensus is that for the general population, it is ineffective.

However, there are certain groups of individuals who may benefit from vitamin C when a cold is looming. These include people who undertake severe physical exercise, those exposed to cold environments, and those with vitamin C levels below the recommended levels.
Drinking milk whilst having a cold

Drinking mild may increase the amount of phlegm, and make it thicker and irritate your throat. Milk does not cause your body to make phlegm.

Chicken soup
Warm chicken soup is soothing when you have a cold. Chicken soup thins the mucus and also supposed to be ‘anti-inflammatory’.

Rest
You need to rest when you have a cold. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water, juices like lemon containing high concentrations of vitamin C, Tea, warm apple juice, might be soothing and help ease congestion by increasing mucus flow. Sip hot lemon with honey for an irritable cough. Avoid alcohol, coffee and caffeinated sodas, which can make your dehydration worse.

Drinking tea with honey and lemon: This can ease a sore throat and researchers have found honey to be an effective cough suppressant.
Drinking hot water with fresh ginger: This can reduce feelings of nausea associated with the flu.
The onion in sock home remedy has origins in western folklore and is hundreds of years old. It also has links to the Chinese practice of reflexology.
Many people claim that the onion in sock remedy is an effective treatment for a cold or the flu. Despite these claims, there is no scientific evidence to support this. There are no proven health benefits to this remedy, but it is not known to be harmful.

What’s the difference between cold and Flu?
At the onset, both colds and Flu have similar symptoms… Both are caused by viruses, and not bacteria, and you feel miserable.

In a cold you get a runny, stuffy blocked nose and in flu only mildly occasionally. You sneeze more with colds and less with Flu. Coughing is more common with a cold with a mucus discharge, whilst in Flu you get a dry cough.

A sore throat is more common with a cold and occasionally with Flu.

Body aches and pains are mild with a cold and more severe with Flu.

It is rare to get fever, chills and sweats with a cold but always present in Flu Symptoms come about slowly in a cold and may take days while it comes fast within hours with Flu. A cold you could get any time of the year, more during winter months, but flu is more seasonal. Only influenza viruses cause the flu, while many different viruses can cause colds.

There is a vaccine to prevent the flu, while there is no vaccine to prevent the common cold.
Adults have an average of two to three colds a year, but only get the flu about twice a decade. Kids get colds and the flu more frequently.
Flu tends to give worse problems, especially among the children and the old people, and may lead to pneumonia needing hospitalization.
Men have a weaker immune response. Research has shown that men have a weaker immune response to viruses that cause flu, or the common cold, and as a result, men may have a greater risk of serious symptoms than women.

Is ‘Man Flu’ a Real Thing?
A Canadian researcher says there is some evidence that hormones and other factors may make men more susceptible to serious cases of the flu.
In a 2008 study it was found that women had a stronger immune response to the flu vaccine, meaning they produce greater levels of antibodies against the virus strains in the vaccine, compared with men.
The flu viruses in circulation change each season, and the predominant strain this year is H3N2, according to the new CDC report. Flu seasons in which H3N2 predominates tend to have higher overall flu hospitalization and death rates, according to the CDC.
However, in order to make the flu vaccine, manufacturers typically use chicken eggs to “grow” the flu virus strains. During this process, the flu strains may acquire genetic changes that make the strains slightly different from those in circulation. This appears to have happened with the H3N2 component of this year’s flu vaccine, the report said, and the changes may lower the effectiveness of the vaccine. (However, there is a “cell-based” vaccine available this year in which the H3N2 component was grown in cell culture.)
Health officials still recommend a yearly flu vaccine for everyone ages 6 months and older, because it’s still the best way to prevent flu.
(LiveScience-Dec.8th)

When would you rush to the hospital when you have Flu?
Whether you rush to see your doctor or the hospital the main symptom that people should watch for is shortness of breath, When you get to the stage of breathlessness means that you are about to progress into pneumonia.

How do you differentiate a Streptococcal sore throat from common cold and Flu?
In the common cold, there’s coughing, sneezing, or a runny nose, indicating that it is not a streptococcal sore throat. Throat infection with strep bacteria can cause a variety of symptoms associated with inflammation of the throat.
Strep sore throat starts with fever, sudden sore throat, and swollen tender lymph nodes in the neck which you can feel. Swallowing becomes painful. There may be white or yellow patches seen in the throat and tonsils. These symptoms are accompanied with headache, and even stomach ache, with nausea and vomiting.

Look at your throat in the mirror with the help of a torch; you’ll notice how the throat lining looks red and angry.
It is contagious and airborne droplets on sneezing can spread the infection.
Some people carry these bacteria without causing any symptoms and referred to as carriers.
Streptococcal sore throat will respond to antibiotics. Your doctor will prescribe penicillin or cephalosporin antibiotics to get rid of the infection. Other popular antibiotics prescribed are amoxicillin, cloxacillin and dicloxacillin, among others.

Should you take antibiotics for a streptococcal throat infection?
When you go to your doctor with a sore throat, he may write a quick prescription for penicillin or amoxicillin, and with the stroke of the pen, helps diminish public health and your own future health by helping bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics. It is better to develop a spray-on treatment with bacteriophages, or take home remedies rather than taking antibiotics on the first occurrence, Ultimately, your immune system will
subside the strepto’ throat infection. Antibiotic therapy for such conditions given may also destroy your gut microbes that helps creat immune system.
Streptococcal sore throats can lead to rheumatic heart disease, a deadly condition that is very rare in the industrial world, but it still takes a toll in other parts of the world.

What is sinus infection?
Sinuses are empty spaces with mucus lining on either side of the nostrils in relation to the cheek bones called maxillary sinuses, and also there are similar spaces above your eye brows called frontal sinuses, and behind the nose called ethmoid and sphenoid sinuses. These chambers communicate with the nasal passages and drain the mucus discharges. These sinuses could get infected with viruses or bacteria, or allergies causes are the most common.
These sinuses could get inflamed from a virus such as the common cold, and invariably lead to bacterial colonization and cause a bacterial sinus infection- we call it sinusitis.

You could get a yellowish or greenish discharge from your nostrils, sore throat, headache, fever, pain in the forehead, or between the eyes, toothache, and feeling of fullness in the mid-face, stuffy nose and congestion.

You need to consult your doctor before using any drugs to treat your sinusitis.

New findings- Gut microbial interaction
Picture three people seated side by side on an airplane. The person in the middle gets flu and starts coughing. The person on the left gets the flu whilst the person seated on the right escapes. How can you explain this?

The gut microbiota produce a molecule called “desaminotyrosine” (DAT). This molecule is formed in the microbiota from dietary polyphenols called flavonoids which has anti-oxidant properties. These flavonoids compounds are found in chocolate, tea and red wine.
DAT seems to work on the immune system, formed by microbiota. This boost prevents the flu virus affecting the lungs reducing the lung damage. The researchers found that a microbe called Clostridium orbiscindens produced DAT.

So the person on the right did not contract the flu mainly because he had this microbe in his gut to produce the flavonoid DAT, and escapes malady.
So, next time you are on the plane and your next seat passenger starts coughing, drink Tea and eat chocolate and you’ll not go wrong.
Conclusions: Stay at home and rest, hydrate yourself, enjoy chicken soup and other juices to hydrate you. Paracetamol should be okay for aches and pains. There is no cure unlike for bacterial infections, and time is the healer.

This article also helps you to differentiate between many infections having similar symptoms.
Some reference to MedicineNet.com and WebMD


About the author: Dr Gunatillake-Health editor is a member of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore. Member of the Australian Association of Cosmetic Surgery. Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (UK), Corresponding Fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, Member of the International Societies of Cosmetic surgery, Fellow of the International College of Surgery (US), Australian diplomat for the International Society of Plastic, Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery, Board member of the International Society of Aesthetic Surgery, Member of the American Academy of Aesthetic & Restorative Surgery, Life Member of the College of Surgeons, Sri Lanka, Batchelor of Medicine & Surgery (Cey). Government scholar to UK for higher studies and training.

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“Common Knowledge” – by Des Kelly

To all our special eLanka readers. Sometimes we forget important people, dates, events, etc.,so, as your Editor, I feel that it is my responsibility to keep all of you informed.

As we all know, His Royal Highness Prince Harry got married just recently, but how many of you know, that, after his “bachelor-party” he uttered what could well be the “quote of the year”. He said “It’s really weird, stuffing money into a stripper’s G-string when every note has a picture of your grandmother on it”!!

In addition, folks, here are a few” trivia” questions that I would like to throw your way. If you could answer any, obviously, your I.Q. would be envied, but, please do not worry, the answers follow, plus the “common” advice given gratis, which you must follow.

In the year 1923, who was,
1 The President of the largest steel company?
2. The President of the largest gas company?
3. President of the New York Stock Exchange?
4. The greatest “wheat” speculator, ever?
5. Pres. of the bank of International Settlement?
6. The “great-bear” of Wall Street?

These men were considered some of the most successful in the World, of their era.

Now, 80 years later, history books inquire as to what ultimately happened to these tycoons? .
Well,
1. The President of the largest Steel Company, whose name was Charles Schwab died a pauper.
2. The President of the largest gas company whose name was Edward Hopson went insane.
3. The President of the NYSE Richard Whitney was released from prison, only to die at home.
4. The greatest wheat speculator, Arthur Cooger died abroad, penniless.
5. The President of the B of I.S. shot himself & died.
6. The “great-bear” of Wall St., Cosabee Livermore, also committed suicide.

All the above gentlemen worked their arses off to hopefully become multi-millionaires, while, back in 1923, the P.G.A. Champion & winner of the most important golf tournament, the U.S Open, whose name was Gene Sarazen, enjoyed his life, doing everything that we folks generally do, became financially secure in later life, played golf until he was 92, & died in 1999, at the ripe old age of 95.

THE MORAL OF THIS.STORY? ,
“F**K WORK. PLAY GOLF.!!


Desmond Kelly
Star of eLanka
(Editor-in-Chief).

 

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“I need nothing at all” by Des Kelly

He has “made it” into both the Texas & Houston Music Halls of fame, still not inducted into the “main” Country Music Hall of fame, and, for the life of me, I cannot understand why. The year 2005 saw him get the credit he truly deserved in Texas, 2013, in Houston, but, what has he got to do to be inducted into “THE COUNTRY HALL OF FAME”, covering the whole American Country ?.

I need nothing at all, right now, except this music that I love, the respect & admiration of my own family & just a few genuine friends that “keep in touch”, writing for eLanka, still composing the “Country Love Songs” as I have done for well over 60 years now, still reading everything interesting that I can lay my hands on, especially about ” Artistes” like Gene Watson, a vocalist who can take ANY SONG and make it his own. There are hundreds of exceptionally talented Singers & Songwriters in both Australia & America. The only difference being the fact that those in America are much luckier with the “backing” they get for their recordings.

Even having all this, to be inducted into the main Country Music Hall of Fame, over there, seems extremely difficult.

I truly believe that Gene Watson should be in this Hall of Fame & if, during the past 5 years, he has still not been inducted into it, I would suggest that those who are responsible for the induction process, have their collective “hearing- aids” cleaned or replaced with new ones.

I need nothing at all, having the necessary experience to KNOW what a good song sounds like, the melody, the lyrics & the “feeling” with which a good song is sung. I would ask my Lankan/Aussie readers everywhere to “comment” on the Gene Watson “clips” that go with this article, to try and get this superb singer into the ” Hall of Fame”, where he belongs.

desmond kelly

Desmond Kelly

   Star of eLanka

 (Editor-in-Chief).

 

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“ANOTHER “COUNTRY” LOVE STORY” by Des Kelly

Jessi Colter, Songwriter, Singer, Pianist beyond par.

The wife of still another icon of “Country Music”, Waylon Jennings who has now passed on to the “stage in the sky”, and mother of their son, Shooter, Jessi never ever took a step back, in showing her love for “Outlaw-Waylon”who, in turn, gave the impression that he could not believe his luck when he made this beautiful woman his wife.

     Watching them together, as they “did their thing” it was always easy to see the love they had for one another, and when Waylon finished his stint on Earth, Jessi wrote and performed songs dedicated to him, songs that proved beyond any doubt that she idolized “her man”. 

    ” I’m not Lisa ” was only one of many top “hits” written by Jessi Colter, and I doubt that any other female star would even come close in “covering” this song, not even “Julie” that Jessi brings into her song. Waylon Jennings was one lucky man of Country Music. He was really “2 Stars in 1”, himself & his wife, Jessi Colter. I feel privileged even to “write” about her. In my “clips” of this beautiful woman, she poses with her handsome young son, Shooter, and a sonewhat older Kris Kristofferson.  “GO, JESSI”, you are one of the BEST in my opinion.

     

 

 

 

 

 

Desmond Kelly

     Star of eLanka

    (Editor-in-Chief)

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EILEEN MARY SIBELLE DE SILVA (nee DISSANAYAKE) – 29 September 1922 – 6 April 2018 –
A Woman of Value an Appreciation written by Mohini Gunasekera

                                                                                                                  

EILEEN MARY SIBELLE DE SILVA (nee DISSANAYAKE)

29 September 1922 – 6 April 2018

A Woman of Value

Eileen Dissanayake was my English Literature teacher and later my class teacher in the HSC1 class at Holy Family Convent, Bambalapitiya, a prestigious Roman Catholic school in Sri Lanka.

Eileen had her primary and secondary schooling at Holy Family Convent and had a brilliant academic record throughout.  She won the Senior Cambridge Scholarship Exam, coming first in the Island and was the Head Girl at Holy Family Convent, Bambalapitiya from 1938 – 1941.  Eileen was one the editorial team for the school magazine, “Refreshing Breezes.”

At a time when women were not encouraged to study beyond Year 10, one would imagine there was very little support or assistance for women to enter University.  Eileen had to compete with students from prestigious boy’s schools that had far more resources and thereby some of the best teachers.  But this did not deter Eileen; she was determined and focussed.  Eileen was the first woman in her family to get a University education and so started her life-long passion for learning, education and teaching.  After graduating from the University of Colombo with a BA (English Hons), she joined her beloved Alma Mater as a teacher.

We were indeed privileged to have her as our teacher at that time.  Apart from being our teacher, Eileen was also a friend and confidante and I remember the great times we all had at Holy Family. 

In 1955, Eileen left Holy Family Bambalapitiya when she married Aloysius de Silva (Aloy), a successful lawyer from Kurunegala.  She lived in Kurunegala with Aloy and her 3 daughters:  Marie-lyse, Diane & Sandra who each excelled in their chosen professions.

Eileen later returned to teaching, this time at Holy Family Kurunegala until she retired at the age of 60!  Not content to be a ‘lady at large’ Eileen qualified as a Speech & Drama teacher obtaining a Licentiate and Fellow of the Trinity College of London whereupon she set up her own business as a teacher of Speech & Drama in Kurunegala.

Eileen moved to Australia in 1998 and quickly adapted to the Australian lifestyle.  Her deep faith and her loving family sustained her although she was so far away from the places she called home.  She got involved in the local activities in Lane Cove (U3A, Senior Citizens, teaching Scripture etc.,) and thereby made a number of friends.

Eileen loved writing, specially poetry.  In 2002, Eileen published a collection of poems called “Ripples on a Lake”.  These poems presented a broad spectrum of scenes, feelings and situations from her past as well as from the present and showed her love for the experience that is life.  All copies sold at the launch and she was absolutely thrilled with the result and could not be persuaded to publish any more.

Eileen also loved music, drama and singing (having trained choirs both at Holy Family Bambalapitiya and Holy Family Kurunegala and produced a number of plays as a teacher).  She was a proud member of a unique Sri Lankan choir (representing the various ethnic and religious groups from Sri Lanka) which sang at many venues in Sydney including at the Sydney Opera House.

Eileen was a teacher who instilled in us a thirst for knowledge and deep passion for learning.  She loved teaching with a passion; she gave it her all and encouraged and inspired her students to reach for the stars.  She has been instrumental in shaping the careers of many a young woman over the years and we were indeed very fortunate to have been under her tutelage.

At a personal and human level, Eileen touched many hearts and minds.  She was outgoing, friendly and generous.  She was a strong woman who loved teaching with a fierce passion.  She inspired, guided and moulded countless numbers of young minds to reach their full potential.  I will always remember Eileen with great fondness and as an exceptional teacher and a dear friend; as a woman of value.

May she Rest in Peace.

 

Mohini Gunasekera AM

Australia

 

 

 

 

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SRI LANKA NEWS IN BRIEF (MAY 2018) – Compiled by Victor Melder

Victor Meldor - eLanka

Colombo CPI continued to ease, settling below 4%, thanks to the continued moderation in food prices, which grew at its slowest in the past two years. Food prices eased on a sequential basis as well, led by vegetables, sea fish, onions and coconut. Non-food prices on the other hand, showed mild signs of pick up after easing for six continuous months. ‘Alcohol and beverage’, health, transport and recreation index picked up both on an annual and sequential basis, while that of ‘clothing and footwear’ eased. Core inflation mirrored this mild pick-up. Recent trends of moderation in food prices along with the statistical impact of last year’s high base is expected to keep inflation within the central bank’s target range of 4-6%. We forecast inflation to average 4.3% in 2018. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka in its April meeting reduced the upper bound of the policy rate corridor, i.e. cut the Standard Lending Facility Rate (SLFR) by 25bps to 8.5%. Easing inflation, stabilizing inflation expectations, cooling credit growth, and weak economic growth in 2017 warranted a reduction in the policy rate, according to the CBSL. (Daily Island 1.5.2018)

The funeral of world renowned film producer Dr. Lester James Peries will be held at 3 pm today at Independence Square with full State patronage. The remains will be kept at Independence Square from 12 noon to 3 p.m. for the public to pay their last respects. Internationally acclaimed cinematic genius Dr. Lester James Peries passed away on Sunday night, while receiving treatment at a private hospital in Colombo. He was 99. Large crowds, including artistes and politicians are expected to participate in the funeral today. Lester James Peiris was born to a reputed Roman Catholic family in Dehiwala on April 5, 1919. He was eleven years old when he was gifted a 8 mm Kodasco projector by his father. He started writing to the blue pages of the Ceylon Daily News at the age of 17. Rekhawa,” his debut film production showed his extraordinary knowledge in the technique of film industry in December 1956 earned him a commendable reputation as the best production of Sri Lankan Cinema. (Daily News 2.5.2018)

Plantations Minister Naveen Dissanayake said yesterday that the ban on glyphosate had been lifted for tea and rubber plantations from yesterday. However, the ban would be in force as regards paddy and other cultivations, the minister told a press conference in Colombo. Glyphosate was banned in 2015. Independent MP Ven Athuraliye Ratana has stated that he would take to the streets against the government if the ban on glyphosate is lifted. The tea and rubber planters continued to plead with the government to lift the ban as their cultivations suffered severely because of the ban as traditional use of labour to remove weeds was expensive. (Daily Island, 3.5.2018)

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The Catalina Story

 

https://www.elanka.com.au/slider_csc/catalina-images/

 

 

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5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE NBN


As the nbn™ network rolls out across the country, here’s what you need to know before getting connected.

  1. What is the nbn?

The nbn network is a Federal Government initiative to replace the existing network that delivers home phone and internet services.  In areas where nbn’s fibre network is being introduced, you will need to move your home phone and internet services over to the nbn network if you want them to keep working.  As a wholesaler, nbn does not sell directly to the public, so you need to contact a phone or internet provider such as Telstra to move your services over to the nbn network.

  1. How do I connect to the nbn network?

Once the nbn network is available in your area, a service provider like Telstra can help you get set up with the broadband and home phone services to suit your needs. Visit your local Telstra Store or contact Telstra on 1800 834 273 to discuss your transition to the nbn network and Telstra’s range of bundle options. You can check whether the nbn network is available in your area using the roll-out map here.

  1. What type of modem do I need to connect to the nbn network?

Your service provider will be able to recommend the correct modem, as it will depend on the type of nbn connection available to your premises. All new customers signing up to a Telstra home internet bundle, or existing Telstra customers moving to the nbn network who don’t already have an nbn-compatible modem, will receive a Telstra Smart Modem™ to help keep you connected throughout your transition. Once plugged in, the modem will connect a home to the internet via the mobile network, without having to wait for the fixed service to be connected. If there’s an interruption to your broadband service, the gateway will automatically switch over to a mobile connection within minutes.

  1. What Telstra services are available to me over the nbn network?

Telstra offers a range of services and products including a home phone and internet that works via an nbn connection. An International calling pack from Telstra provides unlimited calls to fixed line and mobiles in selected overseas destinations including India, Bangladesh, UK, Canada and US among others. Telstra also offers unique products to create your connected home including Telstra Smart Home that allows you to automate lighting, appliances and monitor your home when you’re not there by connecting a range of smart devices through a central hub and app. A world of on-demand entertainment content is also available through Telstra TV (which has premium South Asian content on Yupp TV) as well as Foxtel Now.

  1. Where can I find out more information in my local area?

Visit your local Telstra store to speak to one of our friendly staff about getting connected to the nbn with Australia’s best network. Head to Telstra.com.au/Telstra-store to look up your nearest store and book an appointment for personalised technical guidance from an advisor.

 

Once the nbn network is available in your area, a service provider like Telstra can help you get set up with the broadband and home phone services to suit your needs.

 

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Is this Virgin Coconut oil? – Good advice by Dr Harold

During the second pre-war days, we used to buy a sweet-smelling gold colored viscous coconut oil from the grocery and spice boutiques in Sri Lanka (Ceylon), measured and poured into a bottle with a long handle, stored and from some rectangular shape aluminum containers holding gallons of oil. The smell of the oil was appetizing, just the same smell you got from poonac pieces a biproduct fed to the cattle.
This oil was obtained from stone crushing appliances found in most kitchens in coconut plantation districts along the sea coast. That was a cottage industry at that time. The coconut kernel was shelled out and burnt in the hot sun for many days- called copra and used to extract the oil.

Then, came the bottled coconut oil started by the BCC company in Hultsdorf in Colombo. They processed the oil into a colorless watery liquid oil, became popular and easy to buy from the boutiques and grocery shops.
Presently, there are a variety of brands of coconut oil bottled up and sold as coconut oil.

A few years ago, a virgin coconut oil was discovered that came to the market. Virgin coconut oil has been the subject of extensive studies by many respected doctors, among them Dr. Bruce Fife, whose 15-year research and surveys can be found in Pub Med, the largest database of medical science in the US National Library of Medicine (http://www.pubmed.gov).

Instead of extracting the oil from dried brownish color coconut copra, fresh coconut was scraped, dried under a temperature below 60degC to avoid discoloration and to reduce moisture level of the coconut to an 8%. This product was further dried under right temperature and cooled down to room temperature and is fed to a pressing cylinder for cold -pressing to produce a colorless
and odorless virgin coconut oil. No chemicals were used to process the oil.

This virgin coconut oil product is more solid at room temperature and freezes into creamy ointment -like texture during winter-months and needs to be scooped out with strength, like ice cream being scooped out. Though it is creamy you still could feel the tiny fragments of coconut which gives it an appetizing appearance.

Virgin coconut oil is sold in most countries in wide open jars for easy scooping out. Recently, on our visit to Sri Lanka, we did our marketing in a super-market in Peradeniya Road, Kandy. My wife purchased a bottle of virgin coconut oil which surprised me when used as a cooking oil. It did not have much of a smell of coconut and very watery in consistency, and the label declared it was virgin coconut oil.

Most people in Sri Lanka wouldn’t bother to know the difference between virgin or other processed coconut oils. They wouldn’t know the health benefits of the virgin oil in preference to the processed oil and the manufacturers can cheat by labelling processed oil and label as virgin coconut oils. The picture above depicts the bottle of ‘so called ‘virgin coconut oil purchased from the supermarket.

When you purchase virgin coconut oil, check the consistency of the oil by looking through and shaking the bottle. At room temperature, especially in air-conditioned supermarkets the oil will demonstrate a degree of snowy appearance and should not look like a processed watery oil.


People living in cold climatic conditions should purchase the oil in wide mouth jars for easy scoop. The coconut research Institute in Lunuwila, Sri Lanka did produce high quality virgin coconut oil in the nineties and I remember, I was sent two bottles from the first
production. Subsequently, due to demand of the product virgin coconut oil manufactured in Kerala appeared on our supermarket shelves.

Today, the genuine virgin coconut oil bottles and jars seem to be lacking in our supermarkets and what’s sold is what’s described above and depicted in the picture. The health benefits of virgin coconut oil are not discussed here, in preference to the processed adulterated oils in the market.

Hope this article will enlighten the topic for those interested in purchasing the genuine unprocessed oil.

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