SWINE FLU UPDATE
news media and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) continue to whip the
public into a frenzy about H1N1 influenza. Unfortunately we have precious
little data available to help us make rational decisions about what we should
do. Meanwhile on the news we see lines of people, blocks long, queuing up at
clinics for many hours to get the H1N1 vaccine. Most of them are turned away
when the supply runs out. Why don’t we just calm down and ponder some facts.
- The flu season has ended in
the southern hemisphere and we know that the cases of H1N1 there have
been relatively mild.
- Here in Lake County, only
hospitalized patients are being tested for the H1N1 virus. There is no
readily available test to specifically diagnose H1N1. Therefore people
with influenza like symptoms are assumed to have H1N1, not confirmed by
laboratory testing. We can test for influenza A and B in the office, but
this test doesn’t specifically identify H1N1. Therefore we don’t really
know how many cases there are. The number of cases quoted in the media
is probably being greatly overestimated. Running sensational news about
H1N1 generates more viewers and readers. This news also satisfies the
pharmaceutical industry that is among the media’s largest advertisers.
Think about all those “Ask Your Doctor About [DRUG NAME]” ads that run
during the news programs.
- The deaths that are being
reported are mostly a result of bacterial pneumonia, not directly a
result of influenza. As always, cases of bacterial pneumonia should be
treated swiftly and aggressively.
- We in the medical community
do not have access to the medical histories of the patients who have
become very ill or have died after contracting H1N1. Therefore we are
currently unable to identify those individuals who are at the highest
risk. We are told that pregnant women and young children are more
susceptible to complications, but we know that most pregnant women and
children who catch the flu recover without incident.
- The H1N1 vaccine was rushed
into production and released without the usual clinical testing required
of most drugs. Presently the vaccine has been in use for only two weeks.
Since it is being administered in schools, public health clinics, and
drug stores, there is no vaccine adverse event reporting system to which
doctors who administer vaccines are required to report. If adverse
events occur, it will take longer for us to hear about them.
- Because the government has
declared a “public health emergency”, the pharmaceutical companies that
manufacture the vaccines have been granted immunity from product
liability lawsuits resulting from this vaccine. Then what pressure do
they now face to produce a safe product? We know the sales of the H1N1
vaccine alone are expected to top $1.5 billion, in addition to the $1
billion already booked for the seasonal flu vaccine. These vaccines are
part of a wider and rapidly growing $20 billion global vaccine market.
When that much money is involved there can be political meddling
involved in creating medical mandates for the vaccine.
- There are two versions of
the H1N1 vaccine. The nasal spray contains live viruses that a person
will harbor in their nasal passages for weeks after inoculation. These
viruses can be passed on to others they contact. The injectable form of
the vaccine comes in multiple dose vials and is preserved with
thimerosal, which contains mercury, a known neurotoxin.
- Some doctors are
recommending Tamiflu, an anti-viral drug to be given within 40 hours of
the onset of influenza symptoms to lessen the severity or duration of
symptoms. Since 99.9% of flu sufferers make an uneventful recovery
anyway, the wisdom of using Tamiflu is questionable. A few years after
its approval by the FDA, 25 people under the age of 21 were reported to
have died while using Tamiflu. Around 600 reports came in about abnormal
behavior, hallucinations, and convulsions in people between the ages of
10 and 19 who were taking this oral neuraminidase inhibitor. (Most of
these took place in Japan, where these medicines are much more widely
used.) In two separate instances, a 12-year-old and a 13-year-old jumped
out of a second-floor window after taking Tamiflu; others fell from
windows or balconies or ran into traffic.
not opposed to all vaccines. During my lifetime I have witnessed vaccines
conquer deadly and debilitating diseases such as smallpox, polio, tetanus,
and HIB infant meningitis. Just because some is good, doesn’t mean that a lot
is better. I question whether immunizations should be promoted for all
illnesses regardless of their severity. We do not have adequate information
about the long-term effects of mass immunizing against the less serious
diseases such as chicken pox, HPV virus, and influenza.
natural way that healthy people achieve immunity is by being exposed to
viruses or bacteria in their environment. The pathogen enters the nose or the
mouth. The body then fights the infection by mounting an antibody response.
The antibody response is memorized and upon future exposure to that that
pathogen, the antibodies respond quickly to prevent a repeat infection.
Injecting viral proteins with a needle into the body for the purpose of
creating an antibody response is not nature’s original method of creating
immunity. We know that vaccine induced antibodies tend to “wear off”; whereas
community acquired infections can create lifelong immunity. I predict that
those individuals, who get an annual flu shot, have much poorer immunity to
new strains of influenza such as H1N1, than those who opt out of annual
present time I am planning not to carry influenza vaccines in my
office. They will be widely available in our community at local drug stores,
schools, and county clinics. Those with chronic health problems or suppressed
immunity are more at risk for suffering complications from influenza. For
these people immunizing may offer a measure of protection. For healthy
people, remember the following immunity boosting advice:
- Use the neti pot with warm
salt-water solution regularly after all public contacts. The neti pot
irrigates the nasal passages and removes some of the bacteria and
viruses breathed in during the day. This will reduce the viral load with
which your immune system has to cope.
- Maintain adequate vitamin D
levels. Most of us are deficient in vitamin D during the winter due to
the lack of sunlight exposure on our skin.
- Eat a diet adequate in
protein. Avoid sugar, starchy carbohydrates, and omega-6 polyunsaturated
vegetable oils from soybeans, corn, and safflower. Eat plenty of fruits
- Supplement with a high
quality ultra-refined fish oil.
- Get adequate sleep. We
require more sleep in the winter when the nights are longer.
- Get some moderate regular
- Take a probiotic to help
maintain a favorable internal microbial balance.
- Wash your hands before
should you do if despite of your excellent health habits, you still feel
yourself becoming ill? Here are some suggestions for natural remedies:
- Before the discovery of
antibiotics, doctors used colloidal silver extensively as an
antimicrobial agent. It is still useful, and unlike antibiotics it
treats viruses too, without encouraging the growth of resistant
microorganisms. Try 1 teaspoon of a 10 ppm solution, three times daily
at onset of symptoms.
- Echinacea, an herbal
- Oscillococcinum, a
homeopathic remedy - take every 4 hours at onset of symptoms.
- High doses of vitamin C,
starting at 3 grams daily.
- Suck on zinc lozenges
- Go to bed earlier and get
some extra sleep.
- You can use your neti pot
up to 4 times daily if you feel yourself becoming ill.
- Oil of oregano 4 drops,
held under the tongue for a few minutes, followed by a glass of water.
Repeat several times throughout the day.
further information about this subject, visit these links:
http://www.virginiahopkinstestkits.com/virusfighters.html a nice list of flu remedies from Virginia Hopkins, the assistant to the late John
http://elvovemd.com/december-2004-newsletter.htm#news2 a newsletter
article I wrote about strengthening the immune system.
in-depth analysis of swine flu by Dr. Joseph Mercola, a well-known local
natural health physician.
opinions expressed in this newsletter are based upon information available at
the time of publication. These opinions are designed to stimulate discussion
and thought regarding current health topics. They are not designed to
substitute for a personal consultation with a physician who is familiar with
your unique medical history.
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