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Influenza commonly refereed to as the flu, is a respiratory infection caused by a virus that effects birds and mammals. Flu symptoms are usually caused by flu virus A or B and include chills, fever, nausea, runny nose, sore throat, dry cough, headaches, body aches, fatigue and loss of appetite. A person will come down with symptoms between 1 day and a week after exposure. The first 24-36 hours are usually the worse and it may take between 1-2 weeks to fully recover. These flu illnesses are considered seasonal or conventional illnesses. Every year, thousands of people show symptoms of the flu. It seems to run in a cycle starting in the fall and continuing thru ought the winter until spring. Over time, a person will build natural immunity to the strains they are exposed to thru out their life. As new strains emerge, they may not have natural immunity.
There are hundreds of viral strains that can cause influenza sickness. New strains of influenza viruses appear and replace older strains. This process occurs through a type of change is called “drift” which is why scientists cannot identify all the different strains.
The strains are broken down into three major types, A, B and C:
- Influenza Type A : Causes the flu in birds and occasionally, in some mammals. This virus is most common in wild aquatic birds and had been also seen in domestic poultry. There are many subtypes of the influenza type A that mutate into a variety of strains with different infectious agents causing different illnesses. Some are pathogenic to one species and not to another. Type A is spread through the air and in manure and is resilient to cold weather. It can also be transported in contaminated feed, machinery, clothing and tools. It cannot withstand high temperatures used in cooking meats. Influenza A also can infect many animals: chickens, turkeys, seals, pigs, horses, dogs as well as tigers, leopards and domestic cats that are fed uncooked poultry.
- Influenza Type B : Is the type of virus that is found to only effect humans and seals. This strain mutates 2 to 3 times slower that type A but faster than type B. There are many subtypes but they are not categorized the way type A is.
- Influenza Type C: This type is known to only effect humans and pigs and is rare compared to types A and B. Infection usually causes either a very mild respiratory illness or no symptoms at all; it has not been responsible for any outbreaks and is not considered a public health threat.
Years ago scientist believed that influenza was caused by Hemophilus Influenza, a bacterium. In 1933, they discovered it was not the bacterium but many different viruses. The Hemophilus influenza can cause lung infections in infants and children, ear, sinus and joint infections but does not cause the flu.
Unfortunately, Influenza viruses have been bio-engineered in laboratories for years in an effort to see how they can be used for bio warfare and bio-weapons. Scientists have also combined types A and B in use for vaccines, which many believe, is very dangerous.
Influenza has been around for centuries but historically documented in the last 300 years. It is safe to say that influenza is affecting people in a country somewhere on Earth every year. Human influenza infection is common and an annual event in many countries starting in the autumn season and going through the winter months ending in the spring
It was in 1932 when the virus was first isolated in a laboratory. Prior to that, influenza infection was blamed on bacteria. Before this identification, an infection was classified by the symptoms brought on in the body. Even though influenza shares many symptoms with other respiratory infections, it has unique symptoms unlike a respiratory infection, common cold and sore throat. Historically, hospitalizations increased from complications as well, making it easier to track outbreaks. The further we go back in history the harder it is to document. Te earliest reference in the scientific publications was in 1650.
The influenza infection was the most studies of all infections until 20 years ago when AIDS took precedence. There have been ten probable pandemics in history killing millions of people. In the United States and in several countries around the world, the most recent one was dated 1918-1919 and referred to as the Spanish Flu or the Avian flu in which many millions of people perished. There is debate as to where the pandemic originated but most agree that it was in the United States.
In the United States, it started in Haskell County Kansas when a military cook reported to work sick at Fort Riley Military Base in Kansas. Within a few days, 522 men at the camp came down with the illness. By March, 1918 the illness reached Queens, New York. As young Americans were enlisted into the army and navy training establishments, the illness continued to spread and eventually as they went off to Europe to fight the war, it was spread to Europe. Eventually the illness spread to Spain, Germany, Brittan, Africa, Bombay, Calcutta, New Zealand, China and the Philippians. It is referred to the great pandemic because so many parts of the world were involved and so many people died. It is estimated that between 40 and 50 million people perished during that pandemic.
With Influenza, there are ongoing outbreaks across the world in many countries because the virus is always changing when new strains appear to replace older strains. This process is referred to as virus “drift” which is both unpredictable and hard to identify.
H1N1 Influenza: The most recent influenza outbreak occurred in the autumn of 2009 to spring of 2010. This outbreak was predicted to cause untold suffering and death much like the 1918-1919 Avian or Spanish Flu. It was named the Swine Flu because of the viral make-up. The World Health Organization was predicting that it would circle the globe and kill millions so they literally called it a “Pandemic Flu” and encouraged all countries to purchase and give all citizens the new “H1N1 Influenza Vaccine”. As it turns out, the 2009-2010 flu seasons were milder than the normal flu season and there were few deaths documented to be by the H1N1 flu virus.
The bottom line, influenza will always be with us in many forms. We cannot out-smart it as it is ever changing. We should focus on keeping ourselves healthy so that our immune system is strong and will deal with whatever it comes into contact with.
Influenza, also known as the flu, is a viral infection. Years ago scientist believed that influenza was caused by Hemophilus Influenzae, a bacterium. If that were the case then antibiotics would be affective in the treatment of influenza but in 1933, they discovered it was not the bacterium but many different viruses. This makes treatment a little more complicated.
The most common recommendation given to healthy people for treatment of the flu is to let the illness run the normal course with the focus on keeping hydrated, get plenty of rest and taking acetaminophen for body aches and pains. Most people run a fever which is the body’s immune system attempt to regain balance or homeostasis back in the body. In severe cases an antiviral medication may be recommended but many strains of influenza show resistance to the standard antiviral drugs. If someone is having complications along with the influenza such as pneumonia, an antibiotic may be prescribed but will have no effect on the influenza infection.
Medical Treatment for Influenza:
Antiviral drugs are part of a larger group of drugs called antimicrobial drugs which also include antiparasistic, antibacterial and anti-fungal drugs. There are basically 2 different classes of antiviral drugs prescribed for treatment of influenza. The first class is called a neuraminidase inhibitors and this is the most commonly prescribed antiviral medication recommended because they are less toxic to the body. They are designed to halt the spread of the virus buy inhibiting their development in the body but do not destroy the target pathogen. Two common neuraminidase inhibitor medications are called Tamiflu and Relenza. These drugs are thought to reduce the symptoms and complications of both A and B strains if influenza. The second class is called M2 protein inhibitors. They are more toxic, less effective and not often recommended.
High Risk Population Treatment for Influenza:
The elderly, the very young and the pregnant women are considered high risk for influenza because they are often considered immune compromised by medical professionals and the World Health Organization (WHO). People who are chronically ill with autoimmune illnesses, HIV and transplant patients may have difficulty with influenza because it can worsen chronic health problems. In 2009, the WHO recommended that people in these groups should start to take antiviral medication as soon as influenza symptoms appeared.
Natural Treatment for Influenza:
Nature has provided us with many natural antivirals found in leaves, plants, essential oils and foods. If you already have an influenza infection, these natural antivirals may lessen the symptoms and speed up the recovery process.
Here is a list of common, effective antivirals found in health food stores that come in many forms:
- Ginger : Ginger contains a dozen antiviral compounds and it tastes good. To make a tea, add 1 heaping teaspoon of grated fresh ginger root to 1 cup of boiled water. Allow to steep for 10 minutes. If you use dried ginger powder use 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger per cup.
- Echinacea Tea : This appears to stimulate the immune system and support recovery from flu.
- Olive Leaf Extract : A powerful natural infection fighter, has the ability to interfere with critical amino acid production essential for viruses to replicate, the ability to contain viral infection and/or spread by inactivating viruses or by preventing virus shedding, budding or assembly at the cell membrane and has the ability to directly penetrate infected cells and stop viral replication. Also in retroviruses, it is able to neutralize the production of reverse transcriptase and protease (enzymes). These enzymes are essential for viruses like HIV to alter the RNA of a healthy cell.
- Garlic clove : Raw or in tablet form, garlic supports natural killer cells developed in the immune system to fight infections.
- Oregano oil : Contains carvacrol, a known antibacterial and may reduce viruses.
- Eucalyptus Oil : Antibacterial, anti-fungal, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti inflammatory and decongestant made by nature.
- Vitamin C : Boost the immune system, around 3,000mg – 4,000mg to start with for several days, reducing as the symptoms go away (or if causes diarrhea).
- Vitamin D3 : To support healthy immune system, 5000 mg daily until well.
- Green Tea : High in antioxidants which helps support the immune system..
The illness can last from 24 hours to several days depending on the viral strain and the health of the host. The best treatment is prevention: Washing hands frequently, keeping the body immune system pumped up practicing smart living habits. Eventually, we all will be exposed to a new virus that will cause us to be symptomatic; it is part of the process of living on this earth!
Regardless of what we do, we are all going to get exposed to the influenza virus on a yearly basis. Infectious illnesses are here to stay and are cyclic in nature. As with all highly contagious illnesses, there are specific things that we can do to reduce our chances of getting the illness. The goal is to understand how to promote health and support your immune system so that so you can fight influenza effectively.
The information here has not been approved by the CDC, the American Medical Association or by your average family physician. No, they would encourage you to take the various influenza vaccines claiming that they will protect you from influenza. They say that at worse, you will get a weakened form of influenza. Well, I know the other side of that story and many of you who have fallen very ill after the influenza vaccine know it as well! There is so much controversy surrounding the influenza vaccinations that I have dedicated a whole section on this website dealing with the vaccine. Here, I am going to discuss some well known ways to promote health from a “holistic, whole body approach” to avoid influenza.
Promote Personal Hygiene:
Washing hands, covering your mouth when you cough and keeping your environment clean are the three main ways we are told to stop the spread of the influenza virus. Perhaps these measures will help, but influenza virus can be everywhere. Most of the Infectious illnesses in the past that ended with high mortality rates (death) were prevalent before sanitation, clean water and good nutrition. This meant that people’s immune system was not supported with healthy foods and clean water and at the same time, they were bombarded with filth and waste from humans and animals. Death rates from all infectious illnesses have declined dramatically since improvement in all the stated areas above.
There is still much we do not understand about the contagiousness of influenza so we cannot assume that the way it is transmitted is by “touching” something that has the virus on it! The “anti-bacterial and anti-viral” product companies on the market want you to think that it is the way to protect yourself, but I believe that these types of products add to the chemical soup we are exposing our families to. To be on the safe side, it is a good idea to promote washing hands, covering your mouth when you cough and keeping a clean environment but, that is a small part of the answer.
Boosting the Immune System:
Influenza is a seasonal viral infection that travels the globe. There are hundreds of viral strains of influenza and it is not possible to avoid exposure. The best way to prevent getting ill from influenza is by doing things that will boost immunity during the Flu season, November through April. The first thing that comes to mind is supporting strong immunity through nutrition.
- Proper Nutrition: The human body is constantly making new cells in every organ and tissue of the body and must get the proper support nutrition to do this effectively. Eating lots of raw vegetables, fresh produce that is in season in the fall like squashes, fall fruits and getting a variety of green leafy vegetables is a great place to start. These foods are high in antioxidants and will support strong immunity.
- Get Sufficient Vitamin D & C: Due to the lack of sunshine during the fall season, it is highly recommended that you also supplement with Vitamin D3 on a daily basis. If you are feeling run down, add Vitamin C.
- Support with Herbs: Herbs can be used proactively to avoid illnesses and support immunity and also used during the illness to help boost immunity and reduce the symptoms. Garlic, Oil of Oregano, Echinacea, Elderberry, Olive leaf extract and Goldenseal are readily available and are known to help promote a strong immune system.
- Support with Vitamins: Some well-known immune boosting vitamins and minerals that may help avoid influenza infection are Vitamin A, Vitamin E.
- Trace Minerals: An imbalance in essential minerals (on the cellular level) is one of the basic contributing factors leading to diseases and immune system weakness. I recommend Eniva liquid minerals because they are in a pre-digested state and absorbed into the cell upon contact! Eniva minerals are in their elemental state, uncontaminated and of optimum molecular size for complete cellular assimilation. They are monatomic, submicron and in most cases angstrom (1/10,000th of a micron) in size allowing for not only total body absorption but for efficient ceil assimilation. They are angstrom in size and made with quantum physics for maximum absorption.
- Aloe Vera: Aloe is also antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory and it stimulates the immune system.
- Zink: This essential mineral is needed to produce white blood cells which fight infection and help facilitate the healing process.
Chiropractic…A Body Tune-Up:
Just like your vehicle, the human body has a frame and moving parts and requires occasional tune-ups! This is one very important part of health promotion that so many people do not understand and neglect. All the function for every organ, tissue and cell in the body comes from the master-electrical system called the nervous system. The nervous system is housed and protected in the bones of the scull and spine. From the birth process forward (traumatic births, C-sections, forceps and suction) the delicate boned of the spine can be misaligned and put pressure on the tiny nerves that exit through the spinal bones and connect the body to the nervous system. It takes very little pressure (the weight of a dime on your palm) on those nerves to “reduce the function by 60%”! Babies and children need to be checked for these misalignments (subluxations) on a bi-weekly basis so that they are given the greatest opportunity to maintain and grow a healthy body and immune system!
Constipation sets the body up for infection and makes it a breeding ground for problems. Waste that is trapped in the bowel will cause internal toxification and stress on the immune system. This waste will back-up into the body and can result in a body that is working hard daily to just maintain balance. To improve colon function and to keep it flowing, find a product that has the herb Cascara Sagrada in it and use it when necessary. (Check with your physician or health coach for recommendations for children).
Health Promotion = Prevention:
Everyone can benefit from doing a few natural immune boosting things leading up to the flu season and ultimately, how well your body is functioning will determine how well you handle exposure to influenza illness. A life style that is focused on prevention and health promotion is the key to avoiding illnesses.
Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is a contagious illness that for most people is not life threatening. Flu symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough, and fatigue, loss of appetite and body pain although these symptoms are not fun, they are not usually dangerous. Most people will get some strain of the flu throughout life as it is highly contagious and very prevalent in the fall and winter seasons.
In epidemics of the past, a certain percent of the population died. Much of this was because of improper nutrition, lack of sanitation and new virulent strains of the influenza virus.
There are three segments of the population that the flu may be considerably more dangerous: Infants, the elderly, or people with serious chronic disease and illnesses. They are all at an increased risk for the same reason, a compromised immune system.
- For Infants : The flu can be more dangerous because of the possibility of dehydration, ear infections and complications with respiratory illness. Because infants have immature immune systems, they may have difficulty fighting the infection effectively. It has not been proven that the influenza virus is responsible for all infant hospitalizations. Respiratory syncytial virus often circulates with influenza viruses and is the most frequent cause of hospitalization for lower respiratory tract infections in infants and young children.
- Serious Chronic Diseases & Illnesses : All age groups including children can have diseases and illnesses, show the warning signs of a compromised immune system. Children who suffer with food allergies, asthma, diabetes, eczema or dermatitis, learning problems and autism may be part of this group. Adults with diabetes, crones disease, chronic fatigue, have been treated for cancer and other chronic illnesses are also part of this group.
- Senior Citizens : Seniors are considered an “at risk” group because many have lifestyles that suppress the immune system. Most are on multiple medications (which kill good bacteria) among other things resulting in a sluggish and their immunity is waning. Most seniors who end up in the hospital are usually suffering with pneumonia or other health issues. It is usually the other illness that is the cause of death in these seniors.
Influenza has been around since the beginning of time. The health of the host will determine how fast and how well a person recovers. The stronger the immune system, the better resistance a person will have.
Every year several strains of influenza travels circulate the globe. A sub-set group of people with low or suppressed immunity or pre-existing medical problems will fall its victim. For most people, the flu is a minor inconvenience. Very few people die from the flu alone, but when they do, it’s usually because they are already fighting an illness, such as pneumonia and have complications. Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine the number of people who actually die from influenza because death rates from Influenza are combined with pneumonia. I believe the method of reporting by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is very misleading because pneumonia and influenza share many of the same symptoms and present similarly in a hospital setting.
This opinion is shared by many including Mr. Curtis Allen who was quoted in the Insight Magazine in 2008. Mr. Allen is a spokesperson for the CDC and said the following, “There are a couple problems with determining the number of deaths related to the flu because most people don’t die from influenza – they die from complications of influenza – so the numbers [of deaths] are based on mathematical formulas. We don’t know exactly how many people get the flu each year because it’s not a reportable disease and most physicians don’t do the proper testing (a nasal swab) to indicate whether, the symptoms are actually caused by influenza.”
None the less, the reported deaths from influenza/pneumonia in the United States in 2007 were approximately 52,717. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2007).
Due to the fact that those death rates are combined with the pneumonia death rates, the CDC and the media often report that the average flu season results in approximately 36,000 people dying each year. I tried to find the source of that number and I was not able to find a study! It is a magic number used by the CDC when getting ramped up for the coming flu season. There are some hard statistics available on the actual numbers of people who die each year from influenza and it is much less than reported by main stream media.
Actual Death Rates:
These are the reported death rates documented in the National Vital Statistic Reports, CDC.
Death Rates for all age Groups:
- Influenza season 2001- 257 deaths
- Influenza season 2002- 727 deaths
- Influenza season 2003 -1,792 deaths
- Influenza season 2004 – 152 deaths
- Influenza season 2005 – 1,812 deaths
Pediatric and Adolescence Deaths Rates:
- Influenza season 1999 – 29 deaths
- Influenza season 2000 – 19 deaths
- Influenza season 2001 – 13 deaths
- Influenza season 2002 – 12 deaths
- Influenza season 2003 – 90 deaths (year of mass vaccinations of children under age 5 years)
- Influenza season 2004 – 152 deaths
- Influenza season 2005 – 44 deaths
- Influenza season 2006 – 78 deaths
- Influenza season 2007 – 88 deaths
- Influenza season 2008 – 116 deaths (40.9% vaccinated at age 6 months to 23 months)
Influenza Fears and Panic:
Does the national death rate from influenza warrant a huge influenza campaign every flu season? Does it also warrant the mandating of a national influenza vaccine for every man, woman and child? When we compare the number of people who actually die from influenza infection to other statistics, the numbers are much lower.
Here is a comparison of the top causes for mortality in the United States as reported by the CDC:
- Heart Disease: – 616,067
- Cancer: – 562,875
- Stroke (Cerebrovascular Diseases) – 135,952
- Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases – 127,924
- Accidents (unintentional injuries) – 123,706
- Alzheimer’s Disease – 74,632
- Diabetes – 71,382
- Influenza and Pneumonia – 52,717
(Note: Unlike influenza, other diseases are reported from information off of the death certificates not combined with other diseases)
Error in Medicine Mortality:
This does not even consider the number of people who die each year from “properly prescribed medications and medical errors” which back in 2003 totaled approximately 783,936 deaths per year! This statistic comes from a seven (7) year study by the Nutritional Institute of America called, Deadly Medical Mistakes Exposed, Davis Slater (President of NIA), who validated an earlier report in the Journal of American Medical Association in 1994 by Dr. Lucian L. Leepe called, Error in American Medicine. That article stated that the number of people who die from “Iatrogenic” (doctor caused) medicine is equivalent to over 10 jumbo jets crashing every day. If those were the number back in 1994, thirteen years later, what could the new statistics be? I don’t think anyone is looking close enough to report!
Influenza is Here to Stay:
To think we are going to rid the earth of the influenza viruses is completely arrogant and scientifically impossible. Man’s obsession with chasing and killing bacteria, bugs, funguses and viruses is causing some real problems. As we attenuate, genetically change and bio-engineer these super bugs in laboratories across the world, we are playing with nature in a way that we have never done before in history. It is true that our armed forces are trying to use these earthly inhabitants who have been here since the beginning of time for bio-warfare. This researcher’s fear is those super bugs and viruses, they are creating in the private laboratories across this world, will be the cause of major pandemics, resulting in the death of millions across the world.
It seems so much wiser to focus on what makes our bodies and immune system (our natural defense system) healthy and strong, as well as improve our environment so that all humans will have the best chance for not only survival, but the ability to live and express optimum health and create healthy offspring. My concern is for the coming generation of children who will be genetically altered as a consequence of what this generation is doing.
- Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- The book, “Make an Informed Vaccine Decision” by Mayer Eisenstien, MD, JD MPH and Neil Z. Miller. (Dr. Mayer is a MD, attorney and also holds a masters degree in public health. Neil Z. Miller is an independent researcher and has authored many books.)