More Flu Facts




Here are the categories considered to be the target groups to receive the Swine Flu Vaccine:

          1.   Emergency Medical Personnel

          2.   Pregnant Women

          3.   Children and Adults aged 6 months to 24 years

          4.   Caregivers and Cohabitants of children younger Than 6 months

          5.   Adults aged 25-64 who are immunocompromised or who have

                chronic health conditions that may increase their flu risk


           So what we know is that those who have compromised health are more at risk for getting the garden-variety flu, the Swine flu and other diseases in general. The body is, and works as, a unit—when it can. Andrew Taylor Still (the founder of Osteopathic Medicine), other visionaries, and those who know anything about anatomy and biochemistry have discussed the body’s ability to self-heal. That leads to the question: why do some people get ill while others do not? While I cannot adequately answer that in this discussion, the over-riding theme of health and support of the system, while not preventing the system from working, apply here.

            While there are many external forces that compromise and threaten health, such as pollution, chemicals, injuries and accidents; sometimes we are our own worst enemies. We don’t eat correctly to support the health of our body. We don’t exercise it so that the various parts can communicate functionally (anatomically speaking). These are possibly the two most important. Think about the phrases “you are what you eat” and “couch potato”.

             A healthy immune system can protect itself from challenges; such as “foreign proteins” introduced into the system either from ingestion or forced entry. Allergy shots and the theory behind homeopathic medicine work towards training our body’s system to recognize and fight off these challenges. When we take away all the “safe” challenges, we prevent our bodies from healing themselves. Think about all the “anti-microbial” products out there. Do you really need to wash your hands with “anti-microbial” soap, or is plain old regular soap enough? Do you need to confuse your immune system by giving it an antibiotic every time you sneeze; versus supporting the system’s ability to fight its own battles? Yes, I know, you are on a trip tomorrow and don’t want to be sick. Nobody can give you a magic pill that will make you feel better overnight. If we had a cure for the common cold, I wouldn’t be writing this piece right now. Sometimes we have to just take the time to help ourselves get better and an antibiotic is not the answer. There’s so much more to the discussion about antibiotics and their use that is beyond the scope of this piece.      

             While viruses, bacteria and allergies are different entities, they all challenge our system. How they are treated are also different. Yes, there are doctors and other providers out there who will give you an antibiotic for your “cold”, but ask yourself if they are doing you a favor, or just placating you to get you happily out of their office. Ask yourself if they have helped you or themselves. They want your business and would give you anything to make you happy so you come back. Medicine is a business as well as a service.

             Consider the very real placebo effect when you say, “yes, but I felt better 10 days after taking the antibiotic the “doctor” gave me”. You most likely would have felt better in that period of time anyway. And I’m not even elaborating on here about antibiotic-resistant bacteria now as a way of life; with MRSA (methicillan resistant staph aureus), MDR (multi-drug resistant), and general overuse of antibiotics. Yes, doctors started this by giving an antibiotic for everything, which created the atmosphere where patients demanded antibiotics for everything.         

        So general precautions are important when we are up against an epidemic. 

1.      Wash your hands a lot—and correctly. Google this and you’ll get lots of info!

2.      Avoid germs and “germy” people as much as possible.

3.    Protect your environment; whether that is home, your car, or work space at the office. Bleach wipes can help. When possible, open up the windows and ventilate. Don’t cough and sneeze on others and don’t let them do it to you.

4.      Eat healthy, real foods.

5.      Get enough rest.

6.     If you get sick, support your symptoms and body; it needs time to get better.

7.      Stay out of school, work, whatever, in order to help yourself heal and protect others from your germs.

8.      Fever is one of the body’s mechanisms to fight illness; ask your doctor when you should worry about it and how to treat it.

9.      Consider western medical treatments and alternative treatments. Western medicine does not have all the answers. Homeopathic remedies such as Oscillococcinum are very effective. I keep this at home and take it with me when I travel for business or pleasure; especially when traveling on planes and to conference centers and hotels.

10.  Saline nasal lavage (washing out your nasal passages) used with a Netti Pot (obtain at health food stores) or in commercial preparations can help wash “stuff” out of the nasal-pharyngeal area.

11.  Yoga is great. Learn how to do yoga deep abdominal breathing and then some of the bellows breathing and alternate nostril breathing. I teach classes in this. The December issue of Prevention will have a piece on this.

12.  Vitamin C and Echinacea may help, and have not been shown to be detrimental; depending upon which research literature you read.


These are just a few tips, and more are on the first part of my write-up on flu,

viruses and bacteria.

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