Colds and Influenza

Combatting the Swine Flu Hysteria

After several days of media hysteria, you are probably concerned about this latest "outbreak" of swine flu. If you listen to the media, we are all in danger of dying. However, that is far from the case, and in this letter, I want to set the facts straight and give you a strategy to protect both yourself and your loved ones.

First of all, let's put matters into perspective. This viral strain is H1N1, not the dreadful H5N1 bird strain that we've been hearing so much about over the last several years. Why is that important? Because - media hype to the contrary - swine flu is generally much less pathogenic than bird flu. People will get sick; people get the flu every year. But, so far, there is no reason to believe that this flu will be any worse than the other flu outbreaks that circle the globe annually.

The latest information is also that the strain is not highly transmissible. The outbreaks have so far been contained in "clusters" - groups of mutually infected people - without spreading to the larger population.

For one thing, the death rate (deaths/100,000 population) is most likely greatly inflated due to the dearth of health care in many of the more rural areas of Mexico. There are undoubtedly many more than the 1600 reported cases of this influenza, almost all of which have been reported in the cities. Many laborers in Mexico actually live in the rural areas and only commute in to the cities to work, returning home each evening to the farm. So, the statistics are not reliable.

The next important fact is that of the cases that have been reported in the U.S., the symptoms have been relatively mild and consistent with influenza in general. In fact, the symptoms are so similar that the CDC and epidemiologists are hard put to determine whether an infection is actually the H1N1 strain they are so concerned about. As of this writing, I do not believe anyone in the U.S. has died from this virus.

So, what can you do personally? The first, and to me most important, fact about this virus is that it is encapsulated, as are all influenza viruses. Why is that important? Because encapsulated viruses are susceptible to St. John's Wort (SJW). (See my article, "The Flu and St. John's Wort" on my web site, which contains all the references to the medical literature. The best thing you and your family can do is to begin taking SJW now as a prophylactic. For adults, the dose would be 2 per day. For young children, I recommend ½ tablet per day.

At the first sign of symptoms, begin taking Thymunose (another product we have in stock), 2 twice a day; and increase your dosage of SJW to 4 to 6 per day, depending upon body weight. You can call the office if you are unsure of how much to take.

If you develop a deep cough and/or chest congestion, call the office and make an appointment for diathermy to the lungs to help your body ward off the virus.

Since every news program I have seen underscores the idea that Tamiflu is somewhat effective against this virus, I have my suspicions about all the hyperbole that is going on. But, remember, Tamiflu is effective only within the first 48 hours of infection, and most patients don't exhibit symptoms until the 3rd or 4th day. Furthermore, it has some pretty serious side effects as well.

So, the take-away message here is that there is no cause for alarm. And, even if you or a member of your family becomes ill, we are here to help you recover.

Does this apply to you? If so, see our information on Consultations.