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Is Tamiflu Safe?

25 Mar

Throughout my life whenever I was sick and a doctor prescribed me medicine, I took it exactly as directed and never asked any questions. There were only two kinds of medications that doctors could prescribe in my mind: 1) the z-pack, and 2) everything else. If I got handed a z-pack, I did a little victory dance, knowing that whatever was making me feel ill would indubitably be squashed in a matter of two days. If it was anything else, I felt gypped, didn’t even read the piece of paper I was handed, but filled the prescription none the less and took the meds (all the while wondering why the doc wouldn’t give me the good stuff).

This past Thursday, I was diagnosed with the flu. At the doctor’s office I was handed a prescription and told to take it twice a for five days. Was it a z-pack? No. So I didn’t bother reading the paper and I brought it to be filled at CVS. $100 later, I had Tamiflu in my purse, and I popped the first pill at 4:30 before taking a nap. Something this expensive must be really, really good, right? That’s what I told myself.

I woke up at 6pm unable to breathe, not because of the Tamiflu, but because of the flu in general. Before I was given this medicine, I was taking Nyquil to help me sleep, but I wasn’t sure if I could take both of these meds at the same time without getting a stomach ache. I googled it, and trusting in Wiki and Yahoo answers (which is never smart, but just goes to show you how influential aggregated information can be), found that the general public said it was cool. Believing in the internet, I popped some Nyquil.

I stayed in front of my computer for another little while, and followed different links that people provided about both Tamiflu and Nyquil. I came across an article called Tamiflu’s Effects On Your Brain.

is tamiflu safe

I read the title and thought, “This can’t be good.” According to the article, Tamiflu has caused dementia and other brain related issues in little kids, and also caused five deaths in Japan. YIKES. What is that about? The article said that at best, it will relieve the flue symptoms up to 1-2 days earlier.

Still believing in the power of the internet (and lacking the power of having a doctor on speed dial after office hours), I turned to Facebook and posted this question to my friends.

is tamiflu worth the risk?

Within minutes, people chimed in to share their opinion. One friend said, “ I wouldn’t, thats crazy. most medicine is poison for us in some way anyways.. But I understand wanting to feel some relief from the miserableness.. . hope you get better soon.” Another said, “Take it so I can come over and watch really, really mediocre comedies with you, SAncho, and Dave this weekend” heh… Finally, a friend who I went to college with who’s now a doctor posted, “Hey Mel. Tamiflu/Ostelmavir is used mostly for prophylatic reasons. Lets say some of your housemates got the flu and you want to protect yourself. It can also be used within the first 1-2 days of symptoms to try and reduce the duration of the symptoms. Under those circumstances it wont prevent the infection it will simply reduce the duration by 1-2 days MAX.
If you are past the 2nd day of symptoms it serves very little purpose.”

Done and done. I decided to stop taking it.

Now, I’m smart enough to know that you can’t believe everything you read online (so I say to myself, but after trusting in WikiAnswers, I don’t know if you should believe me), and one article on a somewhat questionable site is not enough proof to make any decisions. But it wasn’t really only the article that swayed me. It was the comments on the article that actually had even more of an impact. Kind of like when you’re shopping on Amazon and you want to read people’s reviews before you even read the manufacturer’s description of the product itself. One commenter said, ” Tamiflu supposedly interrupts the virus, and is not an antibiotic, but is classified as an anti-viral.  But stay away from it,  and do not give it to your children.  My daughter had 1 dose of it and was literally running into walls and could not stop.  Needless to say she has not had another dose, and I called the Doctor who prescribed it and told him what happened.  He has never even offered to prescribe it to anybody in our family since then.” and then another guy wrote, ”Convulsions, Delusions, Delerium and 5 deaths in Japan: If this was a disease, instead of a side affect, there would be warnings and mandatory vaccinations against it.  Alas, since it is an effect of medication, it’s seen as a small matter.” That rang so true to me. One person gets sick from a batch of contaminated spinach, the whole country stops eating spinach for almost a year. People’s kids go literally crazy from taking this medication, and it’s a dismissable percentage that’s best not to worry about.

So, what do you think? Would you take it?


Introducing Austin Personal Trainer King Kohn

20 Feb

The Short Story

personal trainer austin king kohn

Who: King Kohn

Quote: “What else in this life is there to do if not to follow your screaming heart?”

Why he’s awesome: A body builder in his past life, King manages to instill all the expertise of a true muscle making expert, but with the grace of a holistic healer.

Specialties: Motivating & educating clients for lifelong health & fitness; Free Weights (any application); Aerobic Conditioning; Competitive Athletes (any sport); Actors, Models and Laypeople alike. All ages.

Background: 25 years experience with free weights: Power Lifting, Bodybuilding and Strength Training. Other endeavors include: fencing, cycling, backpacking/hiking, mountain climbing, soccer, baseball, golf and swimming. Competed for 8 years in bodybuilding as a nationally ranked amateur winning a national championship, and competed for 4 years in national Martial Arts tournaments.

Fun fact: While working with King I broke my all time push-up record.

The Long Story

To start our session off right, King sent me a questionnaire ahead of time to fill out via email so that he understood exactly what type of shape I was in, and what my goals were. I appreciated the detail in his questions—not just how often I work out, but how often in the last three weeks specifically. Made me do a reality check that my “five times a week” hadn’t really been true lately… so I was glad that he kept me honest. We also spoke on the phone, and he told me that his goal is to get people in shape, and then send them off into the world after six months to learn how to maintain their own health. He used the “teach a man to fish…” saying to describe it. I like that. It’s not all about making money with him—it’s truly about getting people set on a healthy life path.

A week later, when the morning of our session rolled around, I found myself scrambling to get out the apartment on time. I threw my hair in a ponytail, barely looked at the clothes I put on, and jumped in the car to drive my boyfriend to work before hitting the gym. I checked myself in the rearview mirror while stopped at a red light and said to him, “Wow, I look horrendous. I cannot look horrendous when I’m working out with a body builder.” Dave told me that was a ridiculous statement, but none the less, after I dropped him off, I found myself speeding to a CVS to buy some mascara and eye liner. I know, I know—why do girls wear makeup to the gym? Because we want to look somewhat decent when we’re sweating our asses off, people! Eyeliner went on in a stealth CVS parking lot and I sped to the gym.

I digress…

I pulled up to the Hyde Park Gym in Austin just in time for our session. Upon walking in, I was totally taken aback. The gym looked like a scene from “The Fighter” sans the boxing ring, or like it was a straight out of being the best gym in town in the 70’s when body building was huge. In other words—no shiny 24 Hour Fitness here. This gym was real deal. And King was going to show me how to handle it. I was pretty excited. I immediately wished I was wearing my Rocky sweats and bandana.

personal trainer austin king kohn



When King walked in he was not nearly as intimidating as I expected. In fact, he was super inviting! And he was wearing a peace sign necklace around his neck. Ahh, let the good times roll. He immediately started off by handing me a copy of his book, along with two tank tops to wear. The book, he told me, would be a tool to guide me through how to train and maintain my health when we weren’t training together. Bonus! Turns out everyone who trains with King gets a copy of his book “The King’s Kode. A Holistic Approach to Healthy Living”—this could be YOU my friends.

Unlike most trainers who typically start their clients off on a treadmill or elliptical to warm up, King had me start with abs first. His philosophy is that staring with abs warms the body up from the core out. ‘You’re from New York, right?” he said, “So you know that when your core is warm, your arms and legs take care of themselves.” Hmm.. good point.. I thought. This is also great for a whole different reason—I always save abs for last, and therefore end up skipping them because I’m just too beat from my workout. I might adopt King’s philosophy :) . Before each exercise, King did the exercises himself and talked me through it. He treated me as if I knew nothing about fitness or form, which was great. It really showed me that if he was training a Mel Runs reader, they would learn a ton.

After five minutes of (burning) core work on the mat, moved on to lower body. I happened to be sore in my legs due to doing a ton of squats two days prior, so I told King we might want to take it easy there. Then he shared a pretty interesting fact with me. Apparently, men have about  40% more upper body muscle mass than women on average, but pound for pound in lower body, men and women are basically the same. So when training women, the real game changers come from building upper body strength—it balances out the body, and gives women both the shape and metabolic effects their looking for. SWEET DEAL. After dropping that knowledge on me, he had me do three different types of squats.

After lower body, we went over to the bench press. Now, I’ve only done bench press once in my life, and that was back in college when I took a strength training class just to get my physical education requirement done–and I had no idea what I was doing. This time around, King showed me exactly how to position my body in order to maximize the chest workout and minimize any chance for shoulder strain. With my back arched, and my heels off the ground a bit at first, I pulled the bar out. Then King told me to plant my heels down, and bring the bar slowly down in an arc to the middle of my chest—then explode up. Coming down slowly in an arc allowed me to work both the upper and lower portion of my chest effectively. We did three sets, and the last set I was up to 50 pounds. For all you big men out there, that might sound light, but for this chick, that. Is. Amazing. I felt SO COOL pumping iron like that. And this is where King’s experience as a body builder really began to shine. In between each set, he had me get up and stretch out my chest. “Do you do this yourself in between every exercise set also?” I asked him. “Every time,” he said. He explained that when you work out a muscle, lactic acid tends to build up in concentrated pockets. By stretching out that muscle, it allows your muscle to recover faster by thinning out the lactic acid build up, and in turn allows you to work the muscle harder and feel stronger during the next set. It also helps prevent injury. All you muscle makers out there—take note. This is a good one!

The end of the hour was comprised of assisted pull-ups—another awesome new exercise for me that focused on my back—and then rounded out with some hardcore time on the elliptical. King says he likes to keep it efficient and intense throughout. A philosophy I can live by, my friends.

And just when I thought our session was over, we walked past a board up in Hyde Park Gym that held “best of” records. There was one slot empty–max amt of push ups that could be done in one minute by someone under 123 pounds. King looked at me. I looked at King. The men around us looked at us.

I was scared.

It was on.

The count began, and I managed to get to 18, with King coaching me through it–”One more!”. That would be my own personal record. Excellent :) .

hyde park gym austin

An awesome ending to an awesome workout. Overall, I was impressed by King’s pleasant demeanor, and wise outlook on health and fitness. After he stopped competing in body building competitions 4 years ago, he has been focusing on living a healthy life—not even protein shakes are included in his diet. Right on.

Did I mention that when I got home, I had an email from him detailing what I should eat post workout? Talk about a holistic trainer.

King is offering Mel Runs readers a training session for only $25. Wahoo!
You can actually purchase your session right now

Also, if you have any particular questions you’d like him to answer, feel free to leave a comment!

A Coconut Water Addiction and 20 Minute Treadmill Workout

9 Feb

I happen to love all things coconut, so naturally when coconut water first blew up on the market two years ago I was extremely excited. Coconut water is the kind of thing I only expected to get when on vacation in the Bahamas from a street vendor (which I always do, except I add a little rum in there, heh).

If you’ve never had coconut water, I’ll try to describe it to you: it has the consistency of water, with a coconuty taste–but not at all like the super sweet artificial coconut flavor that you might expect. It’s a much more delicate, subtle taste, almost as if you were smelling it instead of tasting it, if that makes sense. Because it’s not overwhelming, it’s actually quite refreshing, and as it turns out–BONUS!–an awesome post-workout drink.

coconut water

Let’s look at the factors of awesome:

  • The juice is packed with simple sugar, electrolytes, and minerals to replenish hydration levels in the body. Could that mix be any more ideal? It’s like a natural gatorade.
  • The electrolyte content is more than double that of traditional sports drinks with about ½ the carbohydrates. Bam.
  • Research studies suggest that cytokinins (e.g., kinetin and trans-zeatin) in coconut water showed significant anti-ageing, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-thrombotic effects. So if I drink a serving a day I’ll turn back time? Sweet, no big deal.
  • Coconut water has been generally offered to patients with diarrhea in many tropic regions to replace fluid loss from the gastrointestinal tract and reduce the need for intravenous therapy. Upset stomach, diarrhea? Move over pepto. Actually… you can stay.
  • If the coconut is ripe the nutrient composition changes and becomes less desirable therefore most commercially available coconut water is extracted from young coconuts to retain the most advantageous nutrient content. Aw, so we’re eating coconut babies?
  • Source, and source, and source

After my workouts, I’ve become addicted to drinking coconut water. Back when I first started doing high intensity interval training workouts, I used to be a slug around work all day after the gym. Coconut water used to really help me pull myself up over that body exhaustion somehow and help me recover into mid-morning aliveness. True story. And in case you’re wondering, no this is not a sponsored blog post, though I wish it was. Coconut water companies, if you’re out there, get at me :) .

20 Minute Cardio Workout

Here’s a great workout to do when you’re short on time, and want to focus on a solid cardio sweat. If I have days when I’m too sore to do anything else, or I just don’t feel like doing any push ups, this is my go-to. I gave it to Dave to do once too, and he said it was a solid workout. So, male and female approved.

This workout was inspired by Fitness Sista. The basic idea is to spend the first half at a steady pace will raising the incline for an uphill, lower body & cardio workout, while the second half focuses on a faster pace–working your legs in a different way while still getting in good cardio. You can use any type of cardio equipment you want–treadmill, elliptical, stairmaster, bike–you name it. You can also go walking or running outside with this in mind as long as you have a little watch to keep time (and if you don’t have a hill to run on an incline, just focus on raising your pace a little every minute).

Here’s a treadmill version:

  • minute 1-2: run at 4.5
  • minute 2-3: bring it up to a speed of 5 (you’ll be steady there for a while), and up to an incline of 1
  • minute 3-4: Raise the incline to 2
  • minute 4-5: incline of 3
  • minute 5-6: incline of 4
  • minute 6-7: inlcine of 5
  • minute 7-8: incline of 6
  • minute 8-9: incline of 7
  • minute 9-10: incline of 8
  • minute 10-11: incline of 7
  • minute 11-12: incline of 6
  • minute 12:13: incline of 2–TIME FOR SPEED NEXT!
  • minute 13-14: raise the speed to 5.5 and lower to an incline of 1
  • minute 14-15: speed of 5.7
  • minute 15-16: speed of 5.9
  • minute 16-17: speed of 6.1
  • minute 17-19: hold at a speed of 6.3
  • minute 19-20: speed of 5.7

Annnnnd done. After burning out your legs on the incline, the speedwork for the last half of the workout will feel really nice (I swear). You’ll feel like a rockstar, and all it took was 20 minutes. No need for 40 on the treadmill–you hear me? Spend that time reading an awesome book or getting a drink with a friend :) .

How do you get your cardio in at the gym? I’m not opposed to long workouts, just prefer to get in and get out.

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