Okay, you probably have to be living in a cave not to have heard about swine flu over the last few days. Here at the Foundation, we've received over 300 requests for information in just the last 48 hours (an additional 30 in the time it took me to write this blog entry). And I've been informed by the people at Baseline Nutritionals that sales of Super ViraGon and Immunify have gone through the roof over the last few days. So I've decided to get a blog entry on swine flu posted that covers the basics and then, if necessary, deal with it in more detail in the May 11th newsletter.
First, let me make clear that although the swine flu that is making the headlines does indeed contain bird flu DNA (actually it contains DNA from bird flu, human flu, and two different strains of swine flu), it is not bird flu -- which is both good and bad. The good news is that its mortality rate is a fraction of that seen with bird flu, which has a mortality rate of over 90%. At its worst, in Mexico, the swine flu seems to be holding at about 6% (81 deaths out of 1300 cases). That's outrageously high for a flu and could be devastating in a worldwide pandemic, but it's a million miles from the scenario that's possible with bird flu. But 6% is the outside marker. In the United States, we have seen less than 100 cases of swine flu so far, with no deaths and, for the most part, only mild symptoms. Given that scenario, this strain of swine flu is no different than regular flu in terms of mortality rates.
Is it a pandemic?
The word that's being tossed around with gay abandon in the news, and that seems to be causing so much concern among everyone writing into the Foundation, is PANDEMIC. So let's get to it; are we in a swine flu pandemic?
And the answer is definitely not, at least not at the moment! Yes, because it is a brand new strain of flu that appears to be easily transmitted between people, it certainly has the potential to become a pandemic, but it is not one yet. But, more importantly, pandemic doesn't mean what most people seem to think it means. A pandemic does not necessarily mean black-plague carts being hauled through the streets piled high with dead bodies. Nor does it mean flesh eating zombies wandering the streets feeding on the living. All a pandemic means is that a new infectious disease is spreading throughout the world. That's it. Symptoms associated with a given pandemic can be mild or deadly severe, but that has nothing to do with the word pandemic. It's quite possible to have a pandemic that kills very few people. So where does the swine flu fall on the symptom scale? It would appear that it falls somewhere between Mexico and the US! And that's what we're all waiting to see with baited breath. An epidemic/pandemic based on the numbers we've seen so far in the US, would certainly produce a substantial number of deaths, but no more than during any flu season (about 36,000 Americans die on average each year from the flu).
One of the problems with swine flu is that since it's been so long since we've seen a major swine flu outbreak in the world, virtually no one alive today has any resistance -- thus one of the major concerns that it could spread rapidly throughout the world and kill large numbers of people. On the other hand, because this particular variation contains DNA from several different strains of flu, including human flu that people have already been exposed to, there are some indications that large numbers of people may have SOME built in resistance, which would keep the symptoms far milder as the body fights the flu. That, potentially, could dramatically lower the mortality rates throughout the world if it should actually become a pandemic.
Another thing working in our favor is that the flu season is officially over. Aha, you might ask. Why should that matter? It matters because it makes it much easier for health officials to identify and isolate cases of swine flu since any flus that people get now are very likely to be swine flu. This is a huge advantage in helping to control the spread of the flu and preventing it from becoming a pandemic. If this outbreak had happened 60 days ago, it would have been far worse.
What to do?
That's the big question, isn't it -- what everyone writing in wants to know? What should I do?
- First. Don't panic. There is no pandemic...yet. And, at least outside of Mexico, symptoms appear to be mild. Four years ago, when everyone was in an uproar about avian flu, I advised everyone not to panic, that a massive bird flu outbreak was not imminent. And I'm telling you now, that although the risk of a pandemic is certainly greater than with avian flu, your personal danger is much less -- and there are things you can do to make your risk of dying virtually non-existent.
- Should you wear a surgical mask? If you want, but it probably isn't going to help much. Surprisingly, flu primarily transfers through direct contact with the virus. Shaking hands or kissing on the cheek are major points of transmission. But that's not the scary part. Viruses can survive for up to 3 days on many surfaces -- doorknobs for example -- making everything you touch a potential infector. Washing hands regularly during the day with regular soap and water can dramatically reduce your chances of infection.
- If you come down with the flu, stay home and take care of yourself. Don't go to work; don't go to school; don't spread the flu to all of your friends and co-workers. And if you come down with the flu don't rush to the hospital. Only go to the hospital if you feel that you are starting to have problems breathing or any other symptoms are becoming severe. If everyone rushes to the hospital, it will overwhelm your local health care system's ability to minister to the truly sick.
- Speaking of which, can your hospital actually do anything to help? And the answer is yes! Although the swine flu is totally resistant to one class of anti-flu drugs known as adamantanes, it is still sensitive -- barely -- to Tamiflu and Relenza. In this case, barely seems to be enough to prevent people from dying.
And now the big question, the one everyone writing in wants to know the answer to: is there anything you can do at home to protect yourself from the swine flu and speed recovery if you get it? And the answer is a resounding yes. But first, let me cover an important point. Many people on the net are advocating taking immune enhancing supplements in great abundance for protection against the swine flu. This may not be such a great idea. Here is where the avian DNA in the swine flu becomes important. So far, the vast majority of those who have died from swine flu in Mexico are not the very old, the very young, and those with compromised immune systems (the typical victims of the flu). The people who have died have been young adults with strong immune systems. That means that like with avian flu, this strain of swine flu seems to have the ability to turn a person's immune system against itself so that it eats up the victim's lungs in what is known as a cytokine storm.
Does that mean that using immune builders is a mistake? No! But it does mean that using immune builders without using pathogen destroyers to take down the viral load very well might be. So with that in mind.
- Keep a supply of AHCC, olive leaf extract capsules, and grapefruit seed extract on hand. Use them whenever you travel or enter an environment such as a large office as a prophylactic measure.
- Keep a supply of a garlic based antipathogen formula and an immune building formula on hand -- or something like them. At the first sign of feeling unwell -- that scratch in the throat, a slightly feverish feeling, a dull body ache, an unexplained headache, etc. -- slam down a full bottle of Super ViraGon and a half bottle of Immunify. Stopping the flu in the incubation phase is much, much, much easier than getting rid of it once it has established itself. If you hit it hard during incubation, you should be almost 100% effective in stopping it cold. If you allow it to incubate and fully manifest, it will take you several days to beat it back. It's true that you can significantly cut the time of your sickness, but it will still be several days, and you will need to keep taking the formulas for four to five days after you feel better to make sure you clear the virus from your body and it doesn't reassert itself.If you prefer something else to Super ViraGon or Immunify, go for it. Other options include Sambucol and a good blood cleansing formula. Blood cleansing formulations are very unfriendly to viruses and bacteria.
Bottom line: we are not at panic time. There are things you can do. And if the situation changes, I will keep you up-to-date on anything that might affect your health.