“With the experience of Kelly (Williams), Ryan (Reyes) and Jayson (Castro), they were able to come back,” Garcia said.The do-or-die duel is on Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum with the Painters looking to reassert their mastery over the KaTropa, whom they blew out by 32 points in the eliminations last month. Read Next Racela keeps faith in TNT import Joshua Smith PLAY LIST 00:51Racela keeps faith in TNT import Joshua Smith02:19PBA Season 43 Preview: TNT Katropa34:34PBA Women’s 3×3 – April 01, 201601:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games LATEST STORIES Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC “We just extended the series. I told the players it’s all about who wants it more on the defensive side,” said ROS head coach Caloy Garcia after his team survived a 20-3 run by TNT in the final frame.Norwood anchored Rain or Shine’s defense against TNT’s prolific import Glen Rice Jr., who shot 8-of-28 from the field to finish with only 19 points and 10 rebounds with six turnovers.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutRice struggled but remained aggressive. His two free throws and dunk over Raymond Almazan pushed the KaTropa within three, 105-102, with 30.2 seconds left.Norwood hit a free throw after that for a four-point cushion and Rain or Shine was able to make a stop as time ran out. Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad PBA IMAGESRain or Shine blew a big fourth quarter lead before holding off TNT, 106-102, to setup a rubber match for a slot in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.J’Nathan Bullock had game-highs 31 points and 15 rebounds while Gabe Norwood made his presence felt on both ends of the floor with 15 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block for the Elasto Painters.ADVERTISEMENT BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight MOST READ Fajardo on pace for another PBA MVP award Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president View comments
About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Jones expecting imminent decision on Stoke futureby Freddie Taylor24 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveNathan Jones expects Stoke City to clarify his position imminently.The club have two points from nine games and los 3-2 to Nottingham Forest on Friday night.Jones has been at the club since January but has been unable to turn around their fortunes.He said to reporters about his position: “If results don’t improve, I fully expect a decision to be made on my future. I fully expect it and I have no argument about it, absolutely not.”If I’m honest, if this wasn’t such the club that it was, and has the owners it has, I would’ve been gone a while ago because my results haven’t been good enough and I know that.”I’m under no illusions, just as I knew in my previous job I was not untouchable, but, I was in a very secure position because my win rate was 55 per cent and we’d been promoted and we’d changed everything about it.”We’ve changed a lot here but we haven’t got results and that’s the be-all and end-all. So trust me, I fully expect if I don’t get results in the next few games that a decision will be made on my future.”
Election manifestos of political parties contesting the ongoing Lok Sabha elections seem to have one thing in common. None of them, including nationally present BJP and Congress, produced an economic manifesto, clearly specifying economic goals that will push industrial investment, create new employment and income for millions of the country’s unemployed youths in the coming five years. Domestic industrial investments witnessed a downtrend for almost seven consecutive years. Imports are galloping. The last five years saw a very week export growth compared to the previous 10 years. Imports are taking away domestic jobs. None of the major political parties seems to have plans to tackle it. New project investments have been the lowest in 12 quarters at about Rs 1 lakh crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2018, data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) showed. This number is the lowest in 14 years, since mid-2004. Economic manifestos are practically blank on such matters. Also Read – A special kind of bondBJP’s election manifesto, promising investment of Rs 100-lakh crore in infrastructure over the next five years and pension to marginal farmers seem to be over-ambitious. Experts say that the promises if implemented would have a huge impact on the country’s exchequer. The slowdown in several economic indicators adds the scepticism towards the actual implementation of such decisions. The party’s Rs 100-lakh crore investment resolution by 2014 in the infrastructure sector raised eyebrows in many quarters. Also Read – Insider threat managementExpressing astonishment over the promised investment, N R Bhanumurthy, professor at National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, said that it is unrealistic as the amount is over 50 per cent of the country’s current GDP. Former chief statistician Pronab Sen said that the political parties do not actually tend to spend the money they promise in manifestos. During the budget presentation, they would come out with more pragmatic proposals. BJP reiterated its promise to double farm income by 2022, extend PM-KISAN scheme to all farmers, and give pension for small and marginal farmers. The ‘Sankalpit Bharat, Sashakt Bharat’, also pledged an investment of Rs 25-lakh crore to improve productivity in the farm sector. The Congress party’s economic manifesto is equally ambitious and unclear. The biggest takeaways from the manifesto are Congress’s flagship scheme NYAY that promises to eliminate poverty by 2030 and gives assurance to fill 22-lakh job vacancies within the government to boost employment. Few will disagree that the government is over-employed. A substantial portion of the government’s expenditure is now spent on administrative expenses, including massive salaries and perks to employees and payments towards pensions. Why does it want to further burden the government and its budget expenditure by filling up 22-lakh job vacancies? Why not expand industry and trade and minimise imports? Why talk of 2030, when the next government’s life ends in May 2024? A key focus of NYAY (Nyuntam Aay Yojana), according to Congress president Rahul Gandhi, is: “Garibi pe war, saal me 72,000 hazar (War on poverty, Rs 72,000 per year)”. The party has promised to create a new ministry of industry, services and employment in its bid to underline the link between the growth of the industry and services sectors and rapid creation of jobs. Congress has also promised to create 10 lakh jobs in gram sabhas. But, it is silent on how to pay for these jobs and the benefits they will bring to taxpayers. Few political parties had undertaken any serious background research on what ails the economy, reasons behind the slowdown in industrial investment, impact of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation (RPA), IoT, blockchain, digitisation and machine learning on India’s industry and the future job market. More importantly, there is no mention of how the next ruling political party wishes to exploit India’s attractive consumption-oriented market with the high growth of the middle-class and rising disposable income. According to NRI Consulting, an affiliate of Japanese major Nomura Holdings, only 15 per cent of what is consumed in India is made by its domestic manufacturing industry, limiting the country’s ability to create employment opportunities. It said that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), if nurtured well, can bridge the gap and create 10 million jobs in the next 4-5 years. “This could be done by following a market-oriented approach for MSMEs, wherein organised private sector participants invest in capacity building of the MSMEs against a valid for-profit business case with long term benefits,” the research firm said in a note on the Indian market, amid the political debate on jobs and joblessness. The MSME sector remained the highest job provider creating almost 36 million jobs, which was about 70 per cent in the entire manufacturing sector in 2017-18. “A deep dive into product groups manufactured in various clusters in India suggests that a dedicated focus on developing these MSMEs can create additional 7.5 to10 million employment opportunities in the next 4-5 years through partial substitution of imports,” Japan-based NRI Consulting said. However, not many in the BJP-led government seem to have any idea about the time it should take to make the so-called ‘Make-in-India’ drive successful and productive. Reckless imports of consumer goods and industrial products — from steel, automotive tyres to consumer electronics — have turned many of our MSMEs sick. For a specific instance, India’s top three homegrown mobile phone makers posted an accelerated fall in revenue in FY18, accounting for less than a quarter of the sales value generated by their Chinese rivals, Registrar of Companies filings show. India’s poll-bound political parties may not be interested in such details for preparation of their economic manifestos. Marketing unemployment ‘doles’ appears to be easier, catchier and a more favourable option than creating viable employment opportunities. Wish political parties questioned why India’s industrial growth fell to its lowest in 20 months last February. (The views expressed are strictly personal)
Risks of Mortgage Loan Defects Dropping Share in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Origination First American Financial Corporation reported that the frequency of defects, fraud, and misrepresentation in mortgage loan applications fell 7% month-over-month in June. June’s report represents a 3.9% year-over-year decline, and the Defect Index is down 21.6% from its peak of 21.6% in October 2013.“The Defect Index for refinance transactions also fell 6.5% compared with the previous month. The overall Defect Index, which includes both purchase and refinance transactions, fell 7.0% compared with last month, but remains 3.9 percent higher than one year ago,” said First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming. “Yet, is declining loan application misrepresentation, defect and fraud risk isolated to a few markets, or is the trend more geographically broad based?” Florida markets claimed four of the top six spots among cities where fraud risk decline the most. Jacksonville led the way with a drop of 15.1%, and was followed by Tampa (-11.5%), Orlando (-11.1%), and Miami (-7.3%). Florida recorded the second highest year-over-year decline in fraud risk, seeing the number fall by 6.7%. “This is a deviation from the norm, as Florida has historically exhibited a relatively greater concentration of fraud risk due to some characteristics of the Florida housing market,” Fleming said. “Florida tends to have a higher percentage of investor-owned properties, which have a higher propensity for fraud risk. Indeed, according to the Defect Index in June 2019, applications for investment properties were 24% riskier than for owner-occupied properties, and applications for multi-unit properties, a popular purchase for investors, were 11% more likely to contain defects than applications for single-family homes.”Nebraska had the nation’s highest increase in decrease frequency at 34.8%. New York was a close second at 25.3%, followed by Pennsylvania at 19.7% and Rhode Island at 19.1%. Joining in Florida among the states with decreases are Arkansas (10.3%), Vermont (5.1%), Utah (4.8%), and Arizona (4%). Buffalo, New York, saw the highest increase in defect risk at 31.1%. Houston, Texas, saw the largest drop in defect risk at 16.7%. Defect Fraud Mortgage Loan Application 2019-07-31 Mike Albanese 2 days ago 116 Views
TeliaSonera-backed Estonian service provider Elion grew its IPTV subscriber base by about 10% in the year to March, ending the quarter with 160,000 subscribers.Elion had 216,000 broadband customers at the end of March, up 6% year-on-year.Elion CEO Arti Ots said the company would focus on network investment over the coming year. The group invested €6.5 million in upgrading its network in the first quarter. Elion this month also introduced the first in a number of digital home management services.
Danny CohenThe BBC’s director of television has warned arts channel BBC Four could go the same way as younger-skewing BBC Three if budgets continue to tighten.Yesterday morning, the British pubcaster confirmed rumours it would shutter BBC Three in autumn 2015 following a series of cost-saving measures.Hours later, Danny Cohen admitted BBC Four was also under threat of closure when asked on BBC Radio 5 Live.“The honest answer is no, I can’t [guarantee its future],” he said. “We don’t know for certain what will happen with BBC Four in the future. The reason we made this change for BBC Three is because we face a series of financial cuts the like of which the BBC has not had to cope with before.”The result for BBC Four was that if “future funding for the BBC comes under more threat then the likelihood is we would have to take more services along the same route”.Cohen pointed to the fact BBC licence fee payers had been force to pick up the £245 million (US$410 million) bill for the BBC World Service radio platform as a direct reason for cuts elsewhere.The BBC’s licence fee was frozen until 2017 four years ago as part of a government renewal settlement, which lead to a wide ranging Delivery Quality Firm cost saving initiative that has resulted in cuts across the board. BBC director general Tony Hall linked the BBC Three closure in 18 months to the agreement.Both his and Cohen’s comments come ahead of the next charter renewal at the end of 2016.
Can’t cool off this summer? Heat waves can slow us down in ways we may not realize.New research suggests heat stress can muddle our thinking, making simple math a little harder to do.”There’s evidence that our brains are susceptible to temperature abnormalities,” says Joe Allen, co-director of the Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment at Harvard University. And as the climate changes, temperatures spike and heat waves are more frequent.To learn more about how the heat influences young, healthy adults, Allen and his colleagues studied college students living in dorms during a summer heat wave in Boston.Half of the students lived in buildings with central AC, where the indoor air temperature averaged 71 degrees. The other half lived in dorms with no AC, where air temperatures averaged almost 80 degrees.”In the morning, when they woke up, we pushed tests out to their cellphones,” explains Allen. The students took two tests a day for 12 consecutive days.One test, which included basic addition and subtraction, measured cognitive speed and memory. A second test assessed attention and processing speed.”We found that the students who were in the non-air-conditioned buildings actually had slower reaction times: 13 percent lower performance on basic arithmetic tests, and nearly a 10 percent reduction in the number of correct responses per minute,” Allen explains.The results, published in PLOS Medicine, may come as a surprise. “I think it’s a little bit akin to the frog in the boiling water,” Allen says. There’s a “slow, steady — largely imperceptible — rise in temperature, and you don’t realize it’s having an impact on you.”The findings add to a growing body of evidence that documents the effect of heat on mental performance, both in schools and workplaces.For instance, a 2006 study from researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab found that when office temperatures rise above the mid-70s, workers’ performance begins to drop off. Researchers reviewed multiple studies that evaluated performance on common office tasks. The study found that worker productivity is highest at about 72 degrees. When temperatures exceeded the mid-80s, worker productivity decreased by about 9 percent.Another, more recent study compared worker performance in green-certified buildings and typical office buildings. They found a dip in cognitive function linked to conditions in the indoor environment, including higher indoor temperatures and poor lighting.And, when it comes to performance in the classroom, a study funded by the Harvard Environmental Economics Program finds that taking a standardized test on a very hot day is linked to poorer performance. The study includes an analysis of test scores from students in New York City who take a series of high-school exams called the Regents Exams.The author, R. Jisung Park, assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, writes that compared with a 72-degree day, “taking an exam on a 90◦F day leads to a 10.9 percent lower likelihood of passing a particular subject (e.g. Algebra), which in turn affects probability of graduation.”There’s still a lot to learn about how our brains and bodies respond to heat. “We all tend to think we can compensate, we can do just fine” during heat waves says Allen. But he says the “evidence shows that the indoor temperature can have a dramatic impact on our ability to be productive and learn.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
At the beginning of 2018, we made predictions about what the year in global health and development might look like in the countries we cover.The pundits we interviewed forecast that 2018 would bring a decline in the number of health workers around the world, inspire more humanitarians to share their #MeToo stories and see more conflict that would drive the world’s humanitarian crises.Our predictors didn’t do too badly. The Lancet’s latest Global Burden of Disease study noted: “The global shortage and unequal distribution of health workers requires urgent attention.” In October, international charities gathered in London to try to tackle sexual harassment in the aid sector. And a 2018 report from UNOCHA found that “conflict remains the main driver of humanitarian needs.”So what should we expect in 2019? We reached out to pundits in global health and development and they came up with nine bold predictions.1. Positive social change will be contagious in Africa.Over the past year, Ethiopia has gone through a historic transformation at breakneck speed, reports NPR correspondent Eyder Peralta. The country welcomed a new reformist prime minister, who forged peace with former enemy Eritrea and freed thousands of political prisoners.Tobias Denskus, a professor of international development communications at Malmo University and the founder of Aidnography, a global health and development blog, thinks that could inspire other African countries. “Eritrea is one of the most isolated, autocratic and dictatorial nations,” he says. “I’m hoping that positive social change in neighboring countries like Ethiopia will lead Eritrea to do the same.” – Malaka Gharib2. Urban slums will grow.The majority of Africa’s population is young — and that so-called youth bulge will mean “more and more people will make the shift from rural to urban centers in search of jobs and opportunity and driven by changing climate,” says Kennedy Odede, co-founder and CEO of the nonprofit SHOFCO, which provides education, grassroots organizing and services like health care and water in the slums of Kenya.The changing urban landscape will be a challenge for governments. They “will have to be responsive to rapid change or risk humanitarian crises and destabilization,” Odede says. If governments do not provide better services for this new urban population, Odede says there could be an “urban spring” — protests and chaos from angry, uneducated, marginalized youth. But he is an optimist: “There is opportunity in this to harness the energy and intellect of young people.” – Marc Silver3. More countries will follow the U.S. example of pulling out of U.N. funding. On January 1, the U.S. formally left UNESCO, the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization. At the end of World War II, the United States helped found UNESCO to preserve the world’s heritage sites and promote the flow of ideas to prevent future conflicts. But then, UNESCO granted full membership to the Palestinians, and the U.S. stopped funding it, NPR reported.This is not the first time that the U.S. has left the U.N. heritage agency. It withdrew once before, in 1984, citing corruption and an ideological tilt toward the Soviet Union against the West, according to Foreign Policy. Tobias Denskus of Malmo University predicts that the U.S. will make further cuts: “I’m worried that as we move closer to U.S. elections, U.N. funding will suffer even more and ultimately weaken [the U.N.].” And he worries the U.S. precedent will cause other countries to reduce their contributions based on their political agenda. – Malaka Gharib4. There will be more significant infectious disease outbreaks — maybe even a pandemic … “We’re seeing a global increase in the spread of infectious diseases,” says Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security who leads the Outbreak Observatory, a group that collects information about outbreaks. And she doesn’t expect a change in that pattern.”In fact,” she says, “there are worrying signs that the conditions favoring the emergence of a pandemic — and the impact it would have — are ever more present and possibly getting worse.”These conditions include increased migration that’s exposing people to diseases they’ve never encountered before, densely populated megacities and resettlement camps, vaccine refusals, compromised infrastructures as a result of humanitarian crises like conflict, natural disasters and instability as well as climate change that’s exacerbating disasters and pushing disease-bearing wildlife into new habitats. – Joanne Lu5. … but the odds are good we can beat back a bad outbreak.The ability to respond quickly to pandemics is also increasing, says Nuzzo. For example, the DRC was able to control the first phase of its Ebola outbreak in a couple of months, and there’s now an Ebola vaccine that didn’t exist four years ago when the virus swept West Africa.Still, the second phase of the outbreak – which is now the second largest and second deadliest in history – shows that political instability can stand in the way of such advances.”The case for optimism is that the emergence and spread of diseases may be inevitable, but the impacts that they have on society aren’t,” she says. “We should count on there being very significant outbreaks. Whether they become pandemics is up to us.” – Joanne Lu 6. People who need mental health help will find it on their phone.The fields of mental health and substance abuse treatments are about to take a great leap forward into the digital world, predicts psychiatrist Vikram Patel, professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard University. The solution to fighting stigma and the lack of trained counselors could be right in your pocket – a smartphone or even a plain old flip phone. Counselors with a web connection could learn about effective diagnosis and treatment online. They could ping their patients with online tips. People with depression or schizophrenia or substance abuse in rich and poor countries could use their phones to check in with a counselor, receive guidance or touch base with others facing the same issues. Researchers around the world are also testing a variety of apps. The University of Washington is working on a variety of cellphone-based training and treatment programs in Ghana, where cellphones are common and there’s a broad 3G network. The FDA is working on ways to approve digital programs for cognitive behavioral therapy. And the National Institute of Mental Health in the U.S., which is also predicting greater use of digital technology in the future, already provides a guide for finding effective mental health apps. – Joanne Silberner7. Nonprofit leadership will become more diverse.Bullying, sexual harassment and sex scandals in the humanitarian industry made headlines in 2018, from big aid agencies like UNAIDS to small nonprofits like More Than Me.One solution to this, critics have said, is to hire more diverse and qualified candidates. “Many organizations are realizing that they should diversify to represent views that have been traditionally sidelined,” says Tobias Denskus of Malmo University. “The pressure is increasing to hire more female leaders and hire capable managers from the global south, from the LGBT community who haven’t been included before.””More qualified, diverse candidates from Africa and beyond are knocking at the door,” adds Denskus — now it’s up to the aid organizations to let them in. – Malaka Gharib8. There will be fewer food crises.Dry season has begun in sub-Saharan Africa — the period from roughly November through April or May when the rains stop. As climate change has affected weather patterns, droughts have become increasingly severe.By February, “you see the faces of hungry people from Ethiopia to Kenya to South Sudan,” says Esther Ngumbi, a researcher at the University of Illinois and an Aspen Institute New Voices food security fellow.But in 2019, she is hopeful that the impact of the dry season will not be as dramatic. The reason, she says, is that countries are doing a better job equipping their farmers with water storage systems and encouraging them to plant drought-resistant crops like millet and sorghum, both highly nutritional grains, and cowpeas (aka black-eyed peas), whose seeds are high in protein.Famine and food insecurity will still be part of the 2019 landscape, especially in conflict-torn areas. But Ngumbi is predicts fewer hunger emergencies: “It’s already January, and we haven’t seen new calls for emergency relief.” – Marc Silver9. Wealthy countries will turn away more people seeking asylum. Paul Spiegel, director of the Center for Humanitarian Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, worries that there will be “an increase in denial for people seeking asylum in high-income countries.”As a result of increasing anti-immigration and anti-refugee sentiment, some countries in Europe have begun to “pay off” lower-income countries to shoulder the burden of taking in refugees, he says. In 2016, for example, Germany struck a deal with Turkey to quell the flow of refugees from Syria. In exchange for $6.8 billion, Turkey created facilities to detain refugees in camps while their asylum claims in Germany were being processed. In 2017, Italy followed suit, establishing a similar deal with Libya.Spiegel worries that programs like these will ramp up in 2019 in the U.S. and beyond. “In the U.S., we’re already having trouble with the Mexican border. What’s going to happen when Venezuelans start making their way over here?” he says. For U.S. government officials to stay in power, he predicts they too will take a tougher stance on immigration policy — adopting the idea that the U.S. must “be strong at the borders.” – Malaka GharibYour TurnGot a big, bold prediction for global health and development in 2019? Reply to this Twitter thread with your thoughts, and we’ll share a few in Goats and Soda’s newsletter next week. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
It’s that time of year again. You wake up with a scratchy throat, stuffy nose, a little achy — maybe a fever. Is it a classic head cold, or do you need to be more concerned? Could it be the flu?”There’s lots of confusion out there, because both are viral respiratory illnesses,” says Dr. Yul Ejnes, an internal medicine specialist in private practice in Rhode Island and spokesperson for the American College of Physicians. “No one likes to get a cold, but people are more fearful of the flu.”And rightly so.Last year’s influenza season was particularly severe, resulting in an unusually high number of hospitalizations and deaths from flu complications.So, if you do have the flu, it’s important to consult with your health care provider about treatment. And distinguishing between a cold and flu may be easier than you think, Ejnes says. There are some clear distinctions between the two similar types of viral illness in terms of symptoms — how quickly they appear and how severe they become.Suddenly flattened? Think fluFlu symptoms, Ejnes says, usually start abruptly — though you can spread the virus before symptoms surface.”Patients can pretty much tell you when the symptoms hit them — after lunch, for example, or yesterday afternoon,” says Ejnes.A cold, on the other hand, takes a couple of days to build up. You may have a scratchy throat one day and then the nose starts to get stuffy the next day.You may also develop a fever with a cold. But typically, it’s a “low-grade” rise in temperature, hovering around 99 or 100 degrees Farenheit.With flu, that fever is usually significantly higher — at least 101 degrees. Chills and body aches are another flu hallmark or, as Ejnes says, “feeling like a truck ran you over — where you can’t even move a muscle.”Dragging yourself out of bed can seem impossible when you have the flu. “You’re just wiped out with total body fatigue,” he says, whereas with a cold, people often “soldier on” and get out of bed for work or social activities.Heading to work isn’t a good idea, of course, even with a mild cold, because it exposes others to the virus — but lots of people do it. (Colds tend to be most contagious in the first several days of illness.)There can be congestion and cough from the postnasal drip of a head cold, but it’s not nearly as severe as with flu. Influenza can trigger long bouts of coughing and even trouble breathing.So, when patients tell Ejnes that their symptoms developed suddenly, their fever is high and their body aches severe, he assumes flu, he says.But should those symptoms send you to the doctor? That depends, Ejnes says. If you’re a healthy adult without any chronic health problems, you may instead do fine with merely phoning your doctor, who can quickly prescribe any of several antiviral medications. That medicine is most effective when given within two days of symptoms.”It’s not a miracle drug by any stretch,” cautions Ejnes, but it can offer some relief by reducing the severity of symptoms and the duration of the illness by a day or so.Ejnes says he prefers a phone chat to a visit in such cases — partly to limit the number of people in his waiting room who have the flu.”I’ve had the most ironic scenarios, where somebody’s coming into the office to get a flu shot and — while they’re waiting to be called in — they’re sitting next to someone who’s coming in with symptoms that might be the flu.”So call first.’Red flags’ that escalate riskHowever, doctors do want people who are at high risk of developing complications to be seen by the health team when flu is suspected, says infectious disease physician Dr. Matthew Zahn. He’s the medical director of the Division of Epidemiology and Assessment for the Orange County Health Care Agency, in Southern California, and spokesperson for the Infectious Disease Society of America.This at-risk group includes children under age 5, whose immune systems are still developing; adults 65 and older, whose immune systems are waning; pregnant women; and individuals who have certain underlying medical conditions. These pre-existing conditions include asthma, chronic lung disease, heart disease, kidney disorders and liver disorders — all are known to diminish the strength of the immune system and the ability to fight off influenza.Antiviral medicine can be helpful for this group, he says, even if it is given more than two days after flu symptoms appear.And whether you get treatment or not, there are some important “red flags” to be aware of with the flu, says Zahn.Watch for “any sort of breathing problems,” he says. Coughing occasionally is one thing, but if you’re having trouble catching your breath, go see your doctor “really quickly.”Breathing problems can be symptomatic of pneumonia, a common and serious complication of the flu, in which the air sacs of one or both lungs become clogged.A sudden and significant change in mental health status with the respiratory symptoms is also a red flag, Zahn says. If you or a loved one have trouble focusing or are not as alert as normal, make your way to a doctor right away.Flu shots aren’t just for the kids and grandpaWhile antiviral medication can reduce symptoms, infectious disease specialists agree that the best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu vaccine.”Each year we have tens of thousands of people die of flu,” Zahn says, and the vaccine can help prevent that. While flu seasons are unpredictable and strains of the virus mutate from year to year, vaccines can still be anywhere from 40 percent to 60 percent effective in preventing severe complications and hospitalization.Vaccination rates against flu are highest among Americans 65 and older and among children 4 and younger, he says, but most others could benefit from a flu shot, too. And that’s not happening — among American adults aged 18 to 64, typically less than half get immunized.Of course, it’s best to get your flu vaccine at the beginning of flu season — in the fall — but it’s not too late. The influenza season runs throughout winter.As for treating a cold, well, you’re pretty much out of luck.”The reality is nothing is available to shorten the duration of a head cold,” says internist Ejnes.Over-the-counter medication can ease symptoms, he says. Decongestants can help reduce cough, nasal sprays can help reduce stuffiness, and lozenges can help relieve a sore throat.”Some folks have more luck with these OTC remedies than others,” Ejnes says.Then there is the ever-popular chicken soup, which can help you feel better — especially if there’s lots of steam, which can help clear up nasal congestion.But, bottom line, Ejnes says patients just have to do whatever they can to ease symptoms until the cold runs its course — usually in seven to 10 days. “There’s nothing we can do to speed that process up.” Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.