At one time my inbox was inundated with panicky emails on how to prevent Swine Flu. This email is in response to those concerns as you are my highest priority. Let’s discuss what swine flu is, swine flu symptoms, tips for prevention, natural and allopathic treatment recommendations, what to do if you’re traveling via airplane and whether or not you should be vaccinated for Swine Flu as a preventative.
First, let’s put things into perspective: Each day the Center for Disease Control is posting the number of confirmed cases on their websites. There have been many deaths in Mexico of course but so far only one death in the United States. To check the latest statistics, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu
Now think about this: Each and every day over 500 people die from taking properly prescribed, properly taken prescription drugs. Who’s doing anything about that? Is this scare just another Spotted Owl in the financial basket vying for taxpayer funds?
People react to fear. It gets the gears moving, but fear also suppresses our immune system so if you can’t keep fear from knocking at your door, then take a news break! Turn off that TV and stop reading the newspaper. Spend the time doing something you love. Laugh and enjoy life. These activities support and nourish the immune system. With that said, let’s attend to the swine flu thing. . .
What is Swine Flu? Swine flu, also called Swine Influenza A, SIV or the H1N1 Virus is an orthomyxovirus that is endemic in pigs (meaning the virus is present in small levels within the population all the time.) Swine influenza virus can be passed from pig to pig, pig to human and from human to human. This latest outbreak is being passed from human to human. The SIV H1N1 virus is not yet been diagnosed in pig within the United States. Influenza virus affects the nose, throat and lungs of mammals.
Symptoms of swine flu include runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough with or without a fever, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy and lack of appetite. Gee, sounds like a lot of other diseases doesn’t it?
It is not spread by eating pork products.
Here’s a scanning electron microscopic picture of the orthomyxovirus:
Picture Reference: From Linda Stannard, of the Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Cape Town
Another influenza virus, Bird Flu (H5N1), is in the same group of myoviruses and was responsible for an outbreak of human influenza a few years back. Influenza virus affects the intestinal tract of birds so if you see lots of birds dead around your feeders, you should be contacting your local health department to figure out why the birds have died since the Bird flu virus can also be transmitted to humans.
Are you contagious? People with swine flu are contagious for one day prior to breaking with symptoms and up to 10 days after symptoms are showing.
- Stay home if you’re sick so you don’t transmit the disease to others.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue (then throw the tissue away) or into your elbow. If you cough or sneeze into your hand, wash your hands immediately with an antibacterial soap or lotion containing isopropyl alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
Naturopathic recommendations for treating Swine Flu:
- Eat foods high in natural zinc, selenium and vitamin A, especially during the winter months as these nutrients support a healthy immune system. Lots of clients are really low in zinc right now—probably due to everyday stress and increased amounts of sugar eaten. Here is a link to foods high in zinc but you may also want to check into foods high in Selenium and Vitamin A as well. Zinc: http://naturalhealthtechniques.com/Diet_Nutrition/zinc.htm
- Eliminate or minimize your consumption of refined sugar. Every time you eat refined sugar your immune function takes a dip for up to eight hours. Back in the polio days a doctor discovered the connection between sugar and the immune system. He promoted this idea and was able to talk one town into not eating sugar at a time when the polio virus was in epidemic proportion. Without sugar the number of polio cases went down in that town by 96%. Sugar robs the body of zinc, copper, chromium, calcium and magnesium. It also inflames the intestinal wall.
- Pay attention to what you touch. Wipe down computer keyboards, door handles, shopping cart handles and telephones with an alcohol-based disinfectant regularly. How many people have touched that pen before you? Wash your hands often!
- Replace your toothbrushes every 6 weeks.
- Many of my clients have homeopathics to treat this virus already in the form of homeopathic Viral Immune System Stimulator Drops by Professional Complementary Health Formulations. But what if your symptoms are just a common cold and bacterial in origin? No problem. You should also have the Bacterial System Immune Stimulator drops.
- Some of you also have Thymus PMG from Standard Process which is a glandular that will help perk up the immune system in general. Great product but it does contain animal by-products so my vegetarian and vegan clients don’t like them. That’s OK. . .but for you meat eaters, this is also a good product to have on hand should you feel you are coming down with something.
- Parasites, viruses, bacteria and nitrates can also be spread through water and these types of infections are increased in the winter time because municipal water systems often can’t accommodate the winter run-off. Having a reverse osmosis system in your house is important or drinking reverse osmosis water is the safest thing you can do. Your Brita filters need to be changed monthly which many of you are not currently doing, and this type of carbon filter does not filter out nitrates, viruses, many bacteria and protozoal parasites because it doesn’t contain the kidney dialysis type of filter a reverse osmosis system has.
My clients know that they can email me at any time and ask me to test what they have and to give them a recommendation for which drops to take and for how long.
And if you catch anything, attend to it right away. Don’t wait.
We’re also coming into allergy season so if you do not need the viral or bacterial drops it may be allergy related. We, as natural practitioners can work on those issues and most of us have homeopathic drops for almost all of the allergies you can get in addition to supplements for symptom relief.
If you’re traveling on an airplane: The air on airplanes is constantly being re-circulated. Therefore, you’re breathing in everyone else’s germs. So, wear an N95 Respirator mask, drink bottled water and take your bacterial and viral drops with you. Take the drops a couple days before boarding the plane and for 3 days after you get to where you’re going.
Getting the virus treated with Allopathic medicine (“real drugs”): If you’d rather be treated by a medical doctor wear a mask to their office or hospital so you don’t catch what other’s have or spread what you have. Drugs of choice for this particular outbreak are oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or Zanamivir (Relenza) but they need to be given early on in the disease process. Two other antiviral drugs, Amantidine and Rimantadine are not working for this particular outbreak.
Note: Don’t give aspirin or aspirin products (like Pepto Bismol) to humans under the age of 18 as it may cause Reye’s syndrome.
Should you be vaccinated for influenza? This is a hot topic and one that you’ll have to make your own choices on but let me just give you a couple of things to think about.
In 1976 we had a similar issue with Swine Flu. The U.S. population was in a panic so the government instigated a vaccine program. Over 24% of the population was vaccinated before the scare subsided. Of that vaccinated population, 500 people came down with Guillian-Barre Syndrome—a paralyzing disease! I visited a friend in the hospital at that time. A week earlier he had been in top physical shape but was very quickly losing all ability to function. He was diagnosed with Guillian-Barre. Day by day he slowly became paralyzed until he had to go on an iron lung machine. He was on that machine for two weeks before his body responded enough so that he could breathe on his own again. It took several months for him to recover.
And they’re still preserving vaccines with thimerosal which is still quite controversial as one cause of autism.
If you decide to be vaccinated though, and have an allergic or negative reactions to the vaccine, most naturopaths do have homeopathic drops to take the bad stuff out of your system. And we do have drops for Guillian-Barre disease as well.
The Universe is conspiring for your good so, be well and stay healthy—and think positive thoughts!