It looks like last year’s rather mild flu may turn more virulent this season. It already is killing large numbers of people in unusual ways, especially those of Asian or Native American descent. The most vulnerable seem to be not the aged or the young, but healthy young adults. And it has killed people during the summer, a time when influenza deaths are all but unheard of. The 1918 flu pandemic which killed millions worldwide started out mild too.
If the flu acts like the 1918 pandemic, it will cause a cytokine storm, where your immune system can overreact, rapidly killing you. In cases like this you do not want to use immune system stimulants like echinacea. You are better off with Vitamin D and immune modulators which will not hype up your system if you don’t need it.
We cannot tell whether the H1N1 Swine flu will cause cytokine storms, but it has shown some troublesome characteristics. In the summer when the flu does not show up, this flu has killed. The dead have exceedingly high virus levels in the lung tissue, a thousandfold higher than normal, and have compromised the alevoli, getting into the blood stream and causing organ failure. Many of the dead have no underlying weaknesses that should predispose them: a healthy 48 year old woman suddenly came down with the flu which killed her within 72 hours. A mother of 10 in Israel, a young woman in her mid 30s, suddenly died.
Not all epidemics or pandemics are deadly, but they are widespread. The degree of virulence determines whether or not people die. We do not know how virulent this flu will be. But even if it has the same virulence as a normal flu, it will be widespread enough to overwhelm our hospitals and primary care doctors.
People born after 1957 do not have any exposure to this virus or variations of it. They form a virgin field. When a virulent virus hits a virgin field it can have a devastating impact: 90% of the native American population was wiped out after the European contact because they lacked the antibodies to the virulent diseases carried by the explorers. If the H1N1 virus becomes virulent, it could have a serious impact on a human population that has not been exposed to it.
So what should you do to prevent the flu?
- Get your blood Vitamin D levels up to 50. Don’t look at “high”, “medium” and “low” on the reference ranges because they are based on a population that is low. There is not even close to enough in your multi or calcium pill. Take Vitamin D3 alone and well over 2000 iu. It takes time: in 6 months of 10,000 iu I only got into the mid 30s. Since the flu season is upon us I am using 50,000 iu a day to load, then will go back to 10,000 iu.
- Wash your hands all the time and keep your fingers out of your eyes or mouth, which people tend to do 47 times an hour. Use soap and water or a simple alcohol gel like Purell or one you make with essential oils. Use it after using doorknobs, telephones in public places, subway banisters. Keep it by your door, in your office and in your purse. Don’t touch doorknobs or banisters if you can avoid them. Avoid antibacterial soaps with triclosan because they kill your protective skin bacteria.
- Take Jade Wind Screen, or even just astragalus or reishi to strengthen your immune system without being a stimulant. This is akin to raising your energy with ginseng, which nourishes, instead of coffee, which will stimulate you even when you don’t need it. Jade Wind Screen is a traditional Chinese formula which was designed to prevent respiratory illness. It is not a treatment.
- Make up some Thieve’s Vinegar and take a tablespoon daily, more if you are sick.
- Get enough sleep. That means 8 hours, more if you need it.
- Exercise will strengthen your lungs and help your resistance.
- Consider the vaccine if you are in the risk group. It is true that there is higher Guillain Barre syndrome in response to the vaccine that may be due to the adjuvant squalene. It is also true that more people will be protected than hurt. There are two vaccines around, one for the seasonal flu and one that should be out shortly for the Swine flu. A third flu for viral pneumonia is also available, although only about 20% of those autopsied had pneumonia.
If you feel like you are coming down with something then do this:
- Up your Vitamin D to 50,000 iu daily. You can purchase this strength or just take lots of the 5000 iu pills.
- Mince up a clove of garlic, stick it on a spoon, coat it in honey, turn the spoon upside down and swallow, chasing it with water. Do this every four hours, especially if you get pneumonia or other lung distress.
- Keep a bottle of Pedialyte around because this flu has diarrhea and you don’t want to become dehydrated. Keep it on a low shelf so you can get it if you are crawling. Also keep oral rehydration salts on hand, but you may not be able to mix them up if you are alone and sick.
- The hospitals may be overwhelmed, so consider whether it would be better to have preparations at home. These could include antibiotics- talk to your doctor in advance.
- Do NOT take echinacea or immune stimulants. Instead have a bottle of Yin Chaio (Yin Qiao) ready. Yin Qiao is a traditional Chinese formula for epidemic heat diseases, also created when access to doctors was limited.
- You can also take astragalus or reishi, but I will be making up tinctures of: Gardenia fruit, Forsythia buds, Lomatium root, Andrographis herb, Boneset herb, Phellodendron and Astragalus.
Also see earlier posts: http://www.acupuncturebrooklyn.com/2009/04