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January 27, 2016

About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill

What is Zika Virus disease (Zika)?

A transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of Zika virus
Zika is a disease caused by Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.

Symptoms

  • About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (i.e., develop Zika).
  • The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other common symptoms include muscle pain and headache. The incubation period (the time from exposure to symptoms) for Zika virus disease is not known, but is likely to be a few days to a week.
  • The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
  • Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for a few days but it can be found longer in some people.
  • Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
  • Deaths are rare.

Diagnosis

  • The symptoms of Zika are similar to those of dengue and chikungunya, diseases spread through the same mosquitoes that transmit Zika.
  • See your healthcare provider if you develop the symptoms described above and have visited an area where Zika is found.
  • If you have recently traveled, tell your healthcare provider when and where you traveled.
  • Your healthcare provider may order blood tests to look for Zika or other similar viruses like dengue or chikungunya.

Treatment

  • No vaccine or medications are available to prevent or treat Zika infections.
  • Treat the symptoms:
    • Get plenty of rest
    • Drink fluids to prevent dehydration
    • Take medicines, such as acetaminophen or paracetamol, to relieve fever and pain
    • Do not take aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen. Aspirin and NSAIDs should be avoided until dengue can be ruled out to reduce the risk of hemorrhage (bleeding). If you are taking medicine for another medical condition, talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional medication.
  • If you have Zika, avoid mosquito bites for the first week of your illness.
    • During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites.
    • An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.

January 22, 2016

Some thoughts about the reusable brewing cup for Keurig®

Almost one in three American homes now has a pod-based coffee machine. K-Cup® single serve users can now enjoy any ground coffee of their choice with the Ekobrew Stainless Steel Elite Reusable Cup. Easy to use and clean, it fits into any Keurig® K-Cup single serve brewer without making any adjustments to the machine. This would solve the recycling problem which the empty pods create. It is another question how convenient is for the consumer to switch from ready made pods to the reusable one but at least the alternative is out there.

January 17, 2016

Does browsing ticket sites in incognito mode and/or from different IPs result in cheaper ticket prices?

Image courtesy of samuiblue at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Holiday season is over but most of us like traveling and are planing for new adventures.
The world’s airlines are set to post a collective record net profit of $33 billion for 2015 and are forecast to post another record net profit of $36.3 billion in 2016, according to IATA.  In order to maximize our hard earned dollars we, the travelers, always try to find the best deal either online or thru travel agents. When purchasing items on the internet (especially airline tickets), use incognito mode on your browser. Here's why: your own cookies* may be used against you: raising the price on tickets the more times you check, as you shop around for better deals. That way you'll think the price is going up or that seats are being actively sold - thus increasing your urgency to buy, and punishing you for trying to get a good deal.
The point is that it's not enough to just shop around to different websites on your own computer anymore. You have to shop around with a clean browser, different browsers, different computers, change of IP, maybe try from work then remotely connect  to your home computer or somebody on the other side of the country, etc. Also, always call the airline directly and check on the price - sometimes it's much cheaper!
You can try it easily. Just open a flight website twice (with a few hours of interval), and ask a friend that never did that to do the same at his place, at the same hour the second time. You can also simulate "a friend" testing with a different browser but you will have the same IP address. Be careful not to open the website too many times. A new effect can happen. If a flight has a lot of interest, specially if you take the reservation process a few steps further, prices can also raise for that (it's the law of the market, the fewer sits, more valuable they are)
Did you try doing the same search in Incognito mode and did it return the previous, lower price? Just because the price went up coincidentally when you were about to book doesn't mean something nefarious is happening; seats on a flight are a limited resource and they do sell out. Also, the price may appear to fluctuate if someone is part way through booking a seat (placing a hold on it and making it unavailable) and then cancels

*Cookie -  also called web cookie, Internet cookie, browser cookie or simply cookie, a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user's web browser while the user is browsing that website.

January 05, 2016

You doubled the time spent on a Smartphone or Tablet in 2015

Image courtesy of patrisyu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
It is time for one of these statistics comparing this to that.
Time spent on mobile devices was up 117% in the year compared to 2014, Flurry, a Yahoo-owned analytics company, said in a report on Tuesday. The data, which looks at worldwide smartphone and tablet use, found that usage among “phablet” owners, or those who have a large-screen smartphone, was up 334% year-over-year. In comparison, usage time was up 81% for small-screen slates and 26% for larger tablets.
By 2017, Flurry said that phablets will top smaller smartphones be the most-used mobile device type.
Phablets are a category of smartphones with large screens (generally in excess of five inches). While the devices have been available for a few years, phablet usage started to explode in 2014 following to premiere of Apple’s big-screen iPhone 6 Plus. Apple has since introduced an updated (and similarly popular) phablet in the iPhone 6s Plus. Meanwhile, competitors, including Samsung, LG, and others, have also found a welcoming marketplace for their own phablets.
Phablet popularity has translated to a significant growth rate in the way people access apps on those devices. For instance, Flurry found that between 2014 and 2015, use of news and magazine apps on phablets was up 721% year-over-year, compared to 135% across all mobile devices, including phablets. Use of sports apps was up 274% on phablets during the same period.
Flurry, which bases its information by tracking app usage on 2.1 billion smart devices around the world, found that total mobile device usage was up 58% in the last year. Although the rate was up, it was down from the 76% growth rate the mobile industry tallied in 2014.

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