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H1N1 (Swine) FLU CONCERNS;
WHAT TO DO AND HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
again the news is scary. Two years ago it was concerns about avian flu and
now we are suddenly confronted with the H1N1 (swine) flu outbreak. This concern
is real though, unlike the speculative reports two years ago. But DON’T
PANIC! This is manageable, just like any other influenza. So even if
this becomes a source of a lot of illness in your community, the vast
majority of people who get sick will just be miserable for a while.
One note to clear up some
confusion: eating pork or being around a pig will not give you
this swine flu that is in the news. The only way to get infected with
this swine flu virus is to be exposed to people sick with it. There is
no other way. And it is also worth noting that not everyone who is
exposed will get sick, just those who are susceptible.
this article is a recap of previous articles, given the current
headlines it is a useful and timely review. To start, it is important to
remember one of the best ways to prevent colds and flu is to take care
of yourself and to keep your immune system functioning optimally so you
are less susceptible. This involves avoiding activities that would
weaken or deplete your immune system and engage in immune strengthening
and supporting actions (see below). If you are healthy to start with you
have a better chance of not suffering the worst consequences if you do
get sick. So take care of your health!
addition, remember homeopaths have been successfully treating influenza
for over 200 years. In fact, during the swine flu epidemic of 1918
homeopaths had an excellent success rate with their patients who came to
get help at the start. There is a great book on this called The
Homeopathic Treatment of Influenza by Sandra Perko, PhD.
Cold And The Flu - What’s The Difference?
It is important to first to know if you have real influenza or just a
cold or stomach virus (“stomach flu”). Your physician can test for
influenza but it is nice to know the difference between these diseases.
Viruses are the initial causes of all these infections so antibiotics
have no benefit except perhaps to prevent a secondary bacterial
infection. And it is worth noting that antibiotics sometimes suppress
the immune system, so if there is no clear benefit it is best to not use
antibiotics on viral infections. There are now some pharmaceutical antivirals
that can help with these viruses but they are not very reliable. A
recent report from Europe said that they only relieve the symptoms of
flu and do not affect the mortality. But remember, your body has many
built-in tools to fight infections; you just have to use them.
Real influenza is a severe respiratory infection. It is very common
during winter months and is the illness that the “flu shot” is
intended to be prevent. It usually presents with a headache, aches and
pains in the muscles, sore throat, fever, chills, and general malaise
(weakness, sleepiness and/or exhaustion). Occasionally there can be
diarrhea, nausea or vomiting but usually not. The symptoms are usually much more
severe then the common cold, especially the aches and pains and fever.
The common cold:
The common cold is an inflammation of the nose and throat lining. Colds
are more common during spring and fall and less frequent in winter.
Typical signs and symptoms are a watery runny nose and congestion,
sneezing, a sore throat and feelings of chills without a fever.
Intestinal or stomach flu (viral
People often mistakenly think that the “stomach flu” is the same as
the “flu.” This isn’t true. They are completely different viruses.
So don’t expect the flu shot to protect you from the stomach flu. This
is an infection of the digestive tract. It usually produces a
combination of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea sometimes with abdominal
pain or fever. Occasionally there are some upper respiratory symptoms
but usually not.
Get plenty of rest. Heed the urge to nap or go to bed earlier than
usual, and give your immune system the rest it needs to stay strong.
Drink plenty of water. Dehydration lowers immunity. Have an extra glass
of water before you feel thirsty. If you start to feel like you may be
coming down with something drink 4 to 6 glasses of water over the next
Eat a diet low in sugar, caffeine and refined products. Sugar in all of
its forms (including fruit juice) depresses the immune system and
increases your vulnerability to infective agents like viruses and
bacteria. Also once alcoholic beverages enter your bloodstream they can
act similarly to sugar. Instead of having candy, sweets and alcohol,
have nuts or precut veggies such as carrots and celery and stick as much
as possible to teas and water for beverages.
Wash you hands often and avoid touching your face. A consistent method
of flu transmission is hand to mouth contact. We are generally not even
aware of how often we touch our faces, especially if we might have a
runny nose. Think of every doorknob or other object we touch daily that
any number of people may have also touched. To be most effective with
hand washing, scrub with hot water and soap for a minimum of 20 seconds.
Some studies have shown that antibacterial soap is no more effective
than regular soap. Using portable hand sanitizers are helpful too.
away from poorly ventilated places. This increases the likelihood that
you will be exposed to an infectious agent. Also, keep a safe distance
from people who may be ill, if appropriate. Of course, when you are sick
cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
It is suggested that you use something other than your hand to cover
your month with coughing and sneezing such as sneezing into your elbow.
above all, if you or a family member, or a co-worker are sick STAY HOME!
If you are in charge of employees, support them to stay home when sick.
Keep sick kids home from daycare and school. Sick people who stay home
and take care of themselves will recover faster, get less sick and not
spread it to others.
is now apparent that the H1N1 flu remains infective as much as two days
longer than the regular influenza. So even after the symptoms have begun
to improve and you may feel like you are your child can go back to work
or school, it may still be communicable.
is our belief that each family should research the pros and cons of
vaccinations for themselves. Although we are vigorously against mandatory
vaccinations, if people are not able to do this research for themselves,
then following the conventional advice is probably the best option.
However, there are reasons to get the flu vaccination as well as reasons
to avoid it. There are very strong opinions on each side of the debate
but we do not see it as a black and white decision. Thus, we encourage
people to study this question for themselves and make their own decision
about which set of risks they are most comfortable with. There is no
single answer that is "right" for everyone, it is just a question of weighing
the risks and filtering that through your own situation and values.
and Naturopathic Prophylaxis
homeopathic remedy Influenzinum 30c is used by some homeopaths to
"inoculate" people against influenza. This should not
be considered an reliable substitute for conventional vaccinations - we
don't have the studies to support such a statement. But if a person
already has personal or medical reasons to not get the H1N1 or regular
influenza vaccination, this is something that may give some
protection. For homeopathic prophylaxis one option is to take one dose
of Influenzinum 30c once a day for 10 days.
naturopathic prophylaxis take high doses of Vitamins C and D along with
a good high potency multi-vitamin/mineral is recommended throughout the
flu season . Doses of 4000 mgs of vitamin C in divided doses and at
least 2000 IUs of vitamin D per day is commonly recommended. Taking the
herbal anitvirals oil of oregano, olive leaf extract, and black
elderberry preventatively may also be helpful. Adjust the doses proportionally
by weight for children.
you notice symptoms developing immediately start the following treatment
Viruses are the initial cause of influenza so antibiotics
have no benefit and may suppress
the immune system. Tamiflu
(oseltamirvir) is the pharmaceutical antiviral
that is prescribed for influenza. It may help some but is not very
recent report from Europe said that it only relieves the symptoms of
flu and does not affect the mortality. But remember, your body has many
built-in tools to fight infections; you just have to use them.
We recommend beginning the “infection
protocol” (echinacea/golden seal compound, vitamin C,
hydrotherapy, etc.) as soon as you notice the
beginning of any symptoms, regardless of whether the symptoms are of the
cold, flu or stomach flu. Even if you don’t know which virus it is the
sooner you start stimulating the immune system the more likely you are
to shorten the duration of the illness. Many people will start high
doses of vitamin C with the first hint of anything.
common mistake people make when treating themselves or family members is
to suppress symptoms with over-the-counter medications like aspirin, Tylenol
(acetaminophen), decongestants, antihistamines, etc. Unless a fever is
up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (some alternative doctors say 102), or has
been ongoing for several days, it is usually better to leave it alone
and let it do nature's work of fighting the infection. Fever is part of
your body's defense
mechanism and it will lengthen the time of recovery if suppressed
unnecessarily. (NOTE: persistent high fevers can be a sign of
pneumonia so use good judgment - contact your health care practitioner
if in doubt.) The same can be said for decongestants and the like.
On the other hand, expectorants can be helpful.
It is possible to get dramatic relief from the
influenza, bronchitis and other infections by taking the correct
individually prescribed acute homeopathic remedy. In such a situation
the patient’s symptoms are evaluated to find the most accurately
matched remedy for that person’s particular symptoms and reactions to
the illness. When the remedy is correctly prescribed for the individual
instead of the disease, relief can be dramatic, often within hours.
It is also possible to get relief using the more
generic “flu” and “cold” combination homeopathic remedies that
are available in the health food stories and some pharmacies. Look for a
combination remedy called "flu"/"influenza," Influenzinum,
or Oscillococcinum. These are
well worth the investment. You may even want to pick up one of these
combination homeopathic remedies just to have in your medicine cabinet.
They have a long shelf life.
For acute conditions like these infections,
combination remedies are perfectly safe and they are worth a try.
However, they are not individually prescribed and so are not as accurate
as an individually prescribed
homeopathic remedy. Consider calling the office for an appointment if
you or a family member needs homeopathic treatment. If you live an area
away from us see a homeopath in your area. Visit our links
webpage for referral lists.
In previous epidemics, including influenza
epidemics, homeopathic practitioners have noticed trends in that
particular epidemic. It is typical for a cluster of homeopathic remedies
to fit the most common presentation of the infection. There is no way to
know which homeopathic remedies these will be before the epidemic has
been encountered by the homeopathic community but as these occur, the
profession reports it, and the rest of us are more prepared to prescribe
for that particular epidemic. We are currently waiting for such a report
from Mexico where homeopathy is common. Our intention is to post this on
our website when this information becomes available.