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The Swine Flu epidemic is here.  It might not be so much the actual flu that is spreading at an alarming rate, but the fear and panic about the flu seem to be running rampant.

For healthy adults and children the H1N1 virus, commonly known as the Swine Flu, is no more deadly than the flu virus that spreads through the country every year about this time.

The best way to avoid getting the virus is to stay healthy and follow just a few basic rules about staying that way and keeping your body from becoming a welcome host to the virus.

The flu shot is not the end all be all savior that is has been said to be.  If you would like to learn more about the vaccination and the problems it has, you can read my blog post – Facts about the Flu Virus and its Vaccine.

The flu virus only has a couple of entry points where it can get into your body.  Those are the nostrils and the mouth and throat.  The virus is floating around pretty much everywhere but it’s not dangerous coming in contact with the virus as long as you take the precautions to not let it proliferate throughout your body.
In order to keep the virus from proliferating (multiplying and setting up shop in your body), you need to follow some simple steps while you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of the flu, whether it be the H1N1 flu virus or any other flu virus.

Here are several steps you can do to keep yourself healthy:

1. Frequent hand-washing with soap and for more than just a quick rinse.  Sing Happy Birthday to yourself a couple of times to make sure you have done a thorough job.

2. Do your best to keep your hands off your face. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face because this is where the flu virus has the best chance of entering your body.  I know it seems kind of a goofy thing to think about, but many of us use our fingers to pick something out of our teeth, we pick our nose (be honest, most of us do it from time to time), and we rub our eyes.

3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water.  The flu virus, including the H1N1 Swine Flu, takes 2-3 days after the initial infection in the throat/ nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. By simply gargling each day you can help to prevent proliferation. This again seems like a simple thing to do, but just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s not powerful.  And an added bonus it is an inexpensive preventative step.

4. Another step you can do with the salt water is to clean your nostrils every day.  This one is a little tougher for a lot of us.  Maybe you have seen or even used a Neti Pot.  It lets you clean you sinuses with warm water.  If you aren’t into putting water up your nose, you can just blow your nose (hard) when you get up in the morning and then swab your nostrils with cotton swabs dipped in salt water.  This method has been shown to be effective in reducing the viral population that may be trying to set up shop in your body.

5. Boost your immune system naturally.  Vitamin C, whether from foods or supplements has been shown to help with your immunity.  Researchers have also come up with an all natural supplement that can boost your body’s ability to produce interferon.  Interferon has been shown to have a significant impact on helping the body’s natural immune system.

6. And finally, drink warm liquids when you can. This does pretty much the same thing as the gargling does.  It loosens up and washes off the viruses but instead of expelling them from the body, it sends them out of the throat and down into the stomach.  The acidic environment of the stomach kills the viruses and does not allow them to proliferate through your body.

So instead of getting all worked up about the Swine Flu, relax (remember stress only helps the flu take a foot hold) and take the time to keep yourself healthy.  It only takes a few extra precautions and preventative measures to avoid catching the H1N1 or any other cold and flu that might be spreading itself around in your local environment.

It’s something to think about!

The Flu, the Vaccine, and some Facts about each.

The flu is short for Influenza. It is a contagious respiratory infection caused by a virus.  Some symptoms of the flu could include the chills, fever, sore throat, cough, muscle aches and fatigue.  For most people these conditions usually get better after a few days with just some fluids and bed rest.

So why is there all this fuss about the flu virus? How dangerous is it really?

The flu can lead to some serious complications such as pneumonia but these conditions usually only affect high risk groups such as the elderly and people with preexisting medical conditions.  It is possible for severe complications from the flu to even lead to death.

Each year thousands of people catch the flu.  It is a mutating virus that changes from year to year and can be spread when people are in close contact.  But despite this fact very few actually develop any serious or fatal complications.

The Centers of Disease Control publically asserts that around 36,000 Americans die each year from the flu.  However, if you take a look that the CDC’s official records they show that the actual figures for flu deaths are in the hundreds and not the thousands.  To put this into perspective, in 2007, 457 people died because of the flu. That same year 3,355 people died of asthma (a disease that has been listed as a possible side effect of vaccines) and 2,600 died of malnutrition.  (MALNUTRITION!?! Is this possible in a country that has one of the highest standards of living ever known.) The numbers are very similar for every year you want to look at.  This is all a part of the public record and you can see it for yourself on the National Vital Statistics Report.

But even one death is really too much so having a vaccine to prevent the flu is a great thing; Isn’t it?

Well let’s take a look at the flu vaccine.

In the U.S. there are five different flu vaccines available.  Four are injections and one is a live virus that is squirted up your nose.  All 5 vaccines contain the same attenuated flu viruses.

To make the flu vaccine, scientists travel to Asia at the beginning of each year to see what strains of the flu virus are active.  They assume these same flu strains will arrive in the U.S. later in the year for our flu season.  All of the companies that make the flu vaccine are instructed to put these active flu strains into the new flu vaccines.

To get started, the different flu viruses are grown in chick embryos for a few weeks.  The virus is then inactivated using formaldehyde and preserved with thimerosal, a derivative of mercury. (It has been shown that some flu vaccines have as much as 25mcg of mercury per dose.) The vaccine producer also adds some other ingredients such as sodium phosphate, sodium chloride, and gelatin.

So basically your flu vaccine is a chick embryo based concoction of toxins and viruses with some preservatives mixed in to keep it from spoiling and becoming ‘dangerous’.

So we looked at the possible dangers of getting the flu virus, now let’s look at some of the possible side effects of the flu vaccine.

Some possible serious reactions to the flu vaccine include life threatening allergies and GBS (Guillain-Barre Syndrome).  GBS can occur within a few weeks after getting the flu vaccine and is fatal for around 1 out of every 20 of the people that contract the disease.  Other studies done on the flu vaccine have documented cases of encephalitis (brain inflammation), various neurological disorders and thrombocytopenia, a serious blood disorder.

Looking at the statistics for kids under 5 who died from the flu a major statistic jumps out.  From 1999 through 2002 (before the CDC suggested it was a good idea to vaccinate young children) there was an average of less than 20 flu fatalities per year.  In 2003, after the CDC recommended that these kids get the flu shot, the fatalities more than quadrupled for this age group (90 kids in 2003).

Here is a quote directly from the Fluvanol flu vaccine package insert for the 2009-2010 formula:

” FLULAVAL is an influenza virus vaccine indicated for active immunization of adults 18 years of age and older against influenza disease caused by influenza virus subtypes A and type B contained in the vaccine. This indication is based on immune response elicited by FLULAVAL, and there have been no controlled trials demonstrating a decrease in influenza disease after vaccination with FLULAVAL.”

It bears repeating – “NO controlled trials demonstrating a decrease” in contracting the flu at all after vaccination!  It goes on to mention each dose contains 25 mcg of mercury.  This is 250 times the amount considered safe by the EPA.  So the company itself says the vaccine shows no decrease in your risk of getting the flu but it does have pages full of warnings and possible side effects.  It is very interesting reading if care about your health and your body… You can take a look here.

But again, most drugs and medicines have some sort of side effects, but if they are saving lives it might be worth the risk.

The problem, the flu vaccine has a disproportionate amount of problems compared to the possible benefits it could provide.

First, officials have to guess months in advance what flu virus strains will end up here in the U.S.  If they guess wrong the flu shot is totally worthless in preventing the flu.  It is only good for creating dangerous side effects.

Second, even if they guess right, the vaccine is not very efficient.  In a study done over the past 40 years researchers found that in healthy children over 2 years old the flu vaccine was only effective on 33-36% of those who received the vaccine.  And in children under 2 years old the same study found NO evidence that the flu vaccine had any effect at all at preventing the flu.

The study looked also looked at adults.  For adults under the age of 65 the research showed that getting the flu vaccine did not affect time away from work, length of hospitalization, or death from the flu virus or its possible complications.  For those adults older than age 65, the study again found that the flu vaccine was NOT effective against the influenza virus.

None of this data supports the need for a “universal immunization” of healthy adults.

So all the papers and research show that getting the flu shot really isn’t an effective way to prevent the flu.  But what do the people who are supposed to understand disease and sickness doing for themselves.

Doctors, nurses and healthcare workers are supposed to be educated in disease prevention and so you would think if the flu vaccine was helpful, they would be the first to line up for the shot.  I mean they are exposed to sick people all the time and they would want to protect themselves.  But again the data doesn’t support this…

70% of doctors and nurses do NOT get vaccinated for the flu and 62% of all healthcare workers do the same.  They DO NOT get the flu shot and are among the least likely to get vaccinated.

So if the flu shot isn’t much help (and actually could be more dangerous than the flu virus) than what can people do to help them stay healthy and avoid getting sick.

First, there has been a study done in 2006 that showed a direct link between Vitamin D deficiency and a weakened immune system.  A less than perfect immune system creates susceptibility to the flu and really any viral or bacterial infection.

Second, a different study showed that interferon plays a key role in keeping your immune system working at peak performance levels.  It has been clinically tested and proven by four published human clinical studies that a combination of immune-strengthening plant extracts can strengthen your immune response by boosting your body’s natural interferon. Researchers have shown that interferon can prevent infection and illness when taken in the right form.  There is actually a supplement available that is proven to boost your immune system and strengthen your immune response to viral infections.

Of course I am not a doctor and I am not telling you what to do, I am just writing down facts that can be found by anyone.  Don’t think that just because something is reported by the 5 o’clock news or the ‘government’ that it is necessarily true.

Do some research, talk with your doctor and decide for yourself what is best for you and your situation.  There are varying shades of truth but if you care about your health and wellness it is worth it to get down to the black and white facts…

It is definitely something to think about!

Colds and the flu are the most frequent illness infections that we as Americans ‘catch’ and they affect all age groups. Every year these illnesses occur and spread through our society.  While the Cold and the Flu are both caused by viruses, they are not relegated to a certain time of year but can attack at any time.  The reason they show up more during the winter and the so called ‘cold season’ is because people are forced to stay indoors more due to the weather and therefore increase the chance of spreading the infections from one person to another.

Pretty much everyone has had at least some form of cold or flu during their life.  It’s never fun and for some people the flu can actually be deadly.

So what do we really know about the causes and extent of colds and flu in this country and what can be done to keep from getting sick with these viruses? The following statistics provide an up-to-date look at this common public health problem.

• During a typical year, Americans suffer 1 billion colds. (SOURCE: the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

• Children typically have more colds because they are often in close contact with each other at school and daycares.  They can have about 6 to 10 colds a year.  (SOURCE: NIAID).

• Adults, on the other hand, average about 2 to 4 colds a year.  This number can vary widely depending on work situations and overall health. Women, especially those aged 20 to 30 years, have more colds than men.  This could be due to the fact that they have closer contact with children. (SOURCE: NIAID).

• It is estimated 10 to 20 percent of all Americans come down with the flu each year during flu season.  Children are two to three times more likely than adults to get sick with the flu, and children frequently spread the virus to others.  This is most likely caused by the same closeness factor previously mentioned. (SOURCE: NIAID).

• Even though the flu is just another “not so fun” illness for most people, for some it can become deadly.  Every year more than 100,000 people are hospitalized and about 36,000 people die from the flu and its complications every year. UPDATE: I have done some more research and found that the actual flu only has several hundred deaths linked to it each year, the CDC just assumes the deaths from pneumonia where caused as a complication due to the flu. (SOURCE: Center for Disease Control and Prevention).

• The cold and flu season creates an enormous impact on the economy. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) estimates that, in 1996, 62 million cases of the common cold in the United States required medical attention or resulted in restricted activity. In 1996, colds caused 45 million days of restricted activity and 22 million days lost from school. UPDATE: After more research I found that a 40 year study showed getting a flu shot did NOT decrease the number of days missed from work. (SOURCE: NCHS).

• Statistics for the United States show that most colds occur during the winter months of September through March or April. (SOURCE: NIAID).

• One reason for the increase is due to the fact that most cold and flu viruses survive better when humidity is low in the colder months of the year. Cold weather may also make the inside lining of the nose drier and more vulnerable to viral infection. (SOURCE: NIAID).

• More than 200 different viruses are known to cause the symptoms of the common cold and approximately 10 to 15 percent of adult colds are caused by viruses also responsible for other, more severe illnesses. (SOURCE: NIAID).

• Sometimes it is difficult to determine if you have a cold or the flu at the onset of the illness because some of the symptoms of the cold and flu are similar. Colds typically begin slowly and usually have symptoms of a scratchy, sore throat followed by sneezing, a runny nose and possibly, a cough several days later. The flu on the other hand is often associated with sudden onset combined with a headache, dry cough and the chills and these symptoms quickly become more severe than those of a cold. Fever of up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit is also common. (SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration).

Stress is factor that can increase the susceptibility to the common cold and the flu because stress can reduce the ability for you immune system to function to it full capacity. This fact was demonstrated in a study conducted at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh where test subjects injected with influenza A virus that reported greater psychological stress before inoculation experienced more severe symptoms. (SOURCE: NIAID)

• People with a compromised immune system are the most likely to contract a cold or the flu. Some of the factors that weaken the immune system are stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, lack of physical exercise, exposure to environmental toxins, and allergies. Health problems, such as raised blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels and diabetes, also play a role in lowering the body’s defenses. (SOURCE: Complementary Medicine Magazine)

• Studies have shown a link between interferon and your body’s ability to kill many common cold and flu viruses.  (Interferon is a protein that is a component of the immune system.) One therapy involves the one-time injection of the drug interferon alpha but this treatment may cause side effects, such as flu-like symptoms and nosebleeds. (SOURCE: FDA)

A better way to boost your body’s natural interferon levels is to maintain a balanced diet containing fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  These nutrients are very important in keeping the immune system functioning effectively. The problem is that many Americans have nutritionally deficient diets.  This makes the fact that there is now a supplement containing herbs that have immunoactive properties that much more important.  Immunoactive is a fancy way of saying the supplement has the right herbs in the right amounts to work together in combination to naturally increase the body’s production of interferon.  Remember that Interferon is the protein that triggers the body’s immune system to mount an immune response.  Basically interferon will boost your immune system.

Simply put:

Herbal Supplement + Your Body = More  Natural Interferon

More Natural Interferon = More Immune System Response = Less Cold and Flu

Its definitely something to think about!

The “happy” vitamin, as the B
vitamins are rightfully called, are perfect for bringing balance to
many systems of the body. But what constitutes a good B Complex
supplement? Here are some things to look for to make sure you get all
the benefits of B vitamins.