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PREVENTING AND TREATING THE DREADED SWINE FLU
Many people are concerned about the H1N1 influenza strain, popularly
called the swine flu. Because this is a strain few people are immune to,
it will likely spread more than the typical flu, and might affect 1/3 or
more of the population (of interest, the elderly are more likely to be
immune and thus less likely to become ill). However, this flu strain is
not any more serious than the typical seasonal flu, and there is growing
evidence that it is generally milder than typical seasonal flu. While
some people unfortunately die from influenza each year, most fatalities
are in those with serious chronic illness. It is rare for a generally
healthy person to die from influenza. Of interest, while the CDC states
that 36,000 people die in the US from influenza each year, the data shows
that the number is actually about 1,300.
Many steps can be taken to prevent influenza. A widely-used
strategy is the flu vaccine. The H1N1 strain did not appear until
this year’s seasonal vaccine was already in production, so
there are 2 vaccines this year, the regular seasonal vaccine and
one for H1N1. Until recently, I
strongly advised against the swine flu vaccine due to plans to add
squalene to the vaccine in an attempt to make it more potent.
Squalene has the potential to trigger serious autoimmune disease.
Fortunately, significant public awareness was raised about this
Hazard (largely due to the efforts of Dr. Joseph Mercola), leading many to
plan to refuse the vaccine, leading the manufacturers to recently announce
that it would not be added in the US. While I still have some concerns
about the safety of this vaccine, they are far less if it is
squalene-free. Remaining concerns include the presence of thimerosal, a
mercury-containing preservative found in most of the injectable flu
vaccines, and the fact that a certain percentage (5-10%) of vaccines are
contaminated with viruses and bacteria such as mycoplasma. Still, I feel
it is now
reasonable for those in fragile health to consider the vaccine.
An outspoken critic of vaccines is Dr. Mercola. You can go to his
popular web site to read his latest take on the vaccine and
Also of interest, 12 of 13 Canadian provinces recently suspended giving
the seasonal flu vaccine due to research showing that people who got the
annual flu vaccine last year had twice the chance of getting the H1N1
strain this year(!):
This calls into question the safety and efficacy of flu vaccines. A review
of research by mainstream scientists with impeccable credentials suggests
that the influenza vaccine is not particularly safe and effective for
either adults or children:
http://www.jpands.org/vol11no3/geier.pdf There is evidence that elderly
people in extended care facilities have significantly less deaths from
pneumonia if they get flu vaccine, so it is reasonable for that population
to consider. I do not recommend children and adults in good general
health get influenza vaccine.
There are many other ways to prevent the flu. Research shows that
people with low blood levels of Vitamin D have a significantly
greater chance of getting influenza. Experts advise 5000 units of
Vitamin D during fall and winter to boost immunity.
Other good immune boosters include zinc (15-30 mg/day), Vitamin A
(10,000 units/day, ideally form a fish source), and Vitamin C (1,000-2,000
mg 2x/day). Andrographis, a wonderful herb, can reduce chances of getting
colds and flu by 50% (200 mg 5 days a week or 400 mg 3 days a
Avoiding contact with sick people, frequent hand washing, and
eating a healthy diet while minimizing sugar, alcohol and fried
foods are all likely to help. Reducing stress and maintaining a positive
attitude also boosts immunity.
A homeopathic preparation made from influenza virus, Influenzinum,
is claimed to act like a vaccine. Research needs to confirm this,
but many homeopaths have found it effective in their practices and
it seems reasonable to try.
If one gets influenza, homeopathy can be the best treatment. It
was documented to be remarkably effective during the 1918
pandemic. Here is a summary of how homeopathy was useful in this pandemic:
It is documented that in the 1918 pandemic
up to 30% of patients seeking conventional care died. However, it is
important to note that there is absolutely no evidence that the new H1N1
strain is anywhere nearly as virulent, and almost all of the deaths were
not directly from influenza but from secondary pneumonia. This was before
the discovery of antibiotics, and undoubtedly western medicine today is
much better able to successfully treat pneumonia.
However, during the 1918 pandemic it documented that those treated with
homeopathy had dramatically better outcomes.
The following is an extract from an article entitled "Homeopathy In
Influenza- A Chorus Of Fifty In Harmony" by W. A. Dewey, MD that appeared
in the Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy in 1920 (thanks to
Julian Winston and David Warkentin for this).
"Dean W. A. Pearson of Philadelphia collected 26,795 cases of influenza
treated by homeopathic physicians with a mortality of 1.05%, while the
average old school mortality is 30%.
Thirty physicians in Connecticut responded to my request for data. They
reported 6,602 cases with 55 deaths, which is less than 1%. In the
transport service I had 81 cases on the way over. All recovered and were
landed. Every man received homeopathic treatment. One ship lost 31 on the
way. H. A. Roberts, MD, Derby, Connecticut.
In a plant of 8,000 workers we had only one death. The patients were not
drugged to death. Gelsemium was practically the only remedy used. We used
no aspirin and no vaccines. -Frank Wieland, MD, Chicago.
I did not lose a single case of influenza; my death rate in the pneumonias
was 2.1%. The salycilates, including aspirin and quinine, were almost the
sole standbys of the old school and it was a common thing to hear them
speaking of losing 60% of their pneumonias.-Dudley A. Williams, MD,
Providence, Rhode Island.
Fifteen hundred cases were reported at the Homeopathic Medical Society of
the District of Columbia with but fifteen deaths. Recoveries in the
National Homeopathic Hospital were 100%.-E. F. Sappington, M. D.,
I have treated 1,000 cases of influenza. I have the records to show my
work. I have no losses. Please give all credit to homeopathy and none to
the Scotch-Irish-American! -T. A. McCann, MD, Dayton, Ohio.
We treated over 300 cases of influenza among the members of the Student
army Training Corps with no deaths.Gelsemium, Bryonia and Ferrum
phosporicum were the leading remedies. Only in those cases having had
aspirin was convalescence delayed and pneumonia produced.
One physician in a Pittsburgh hospital asked a nurse if she knew any
better than what he was doing, because he was losing so many cases. "Yes,
Doctor, stop Aspirin and go down to a homeopathic pharmacy, and get
homeopathic remedies." The Doctor replied; "But that is homeopathy." "I
know it, but the homeopathic doctors for whom I have nursed have not lost
a single case."
Three hundred and fifty cases were treated and I only lost one.
Cora Smith King, M.D
Eleven men reported 3,600 cases with 6 deaths. My records show 750 cases
with one death.Gelsemium, Bryonia and Eupatorium were the remedies
In the Public Health service in New Mexico among the Mexican population
chiefly Veratrum viride, Gelsemium and Bryonia were introduced and
excellent results followed their use in influenza. No cases died under
Epidemics tend to have a single remedy that helps most
patients. Homeopaths have found several remedies helpful thus
far for swine flu and there is not yet a consensus if one is the
best for most cases. Homeopaths seem to be having the greatest success
with Arsenicum album, Belladonna and Eupatorium perfoliatum. It might be
a good idea to get all 3 to have on hand. A good summary of how to choose
an appropriate remedy is here: http://www.homeopathic.com/articles/view,93
If a consensus on a remedy good for most cases develops, I will post it here.
At the first sign of the flu I would take Oscillococcinum (a
homeopathic remedy proven effective for flu) or a more specific
remedy based on symptoms. I advise Vit. C 2,000 mg every 1-2
hours until loose stools (then lesser amounts). I advise
elderberry extract (Sambucol, or Immunity Take Care by New Chapter, also
called DART Immune by NewMark), Lomatium and Andrographis (400 mg 3x/day).
Boneset tea can also be helpful.
John Cannell MD has found that taking 900 units of Vit. D per
pound of weight for 3 days to be a highly effective treatment.
This means a 200 pound person would take 180,000 units a day for
3 days, truly a megadose. Such doses are toxic if taken
long-term, but appear safe if limited to 3 days:
Vitamin A can also help, up to 250,000 units of a fish-based source, for
up to 5 days. This dose can be toxic taken for prolonged periods, but is
safe to take for a few days.
Even if one takes nothing, they will likely fully recover from the flu
within a week or 2. Taking appropriate homeopathics, vitamins and herbs
can dramatically reduce the severity of symptoms and duration of illness
while preventing complications such as secondary infections.
If we do get the flu, it forces us to slow down and can be a good
work-out for the immune system, giving us natural immunity to the
flu for years to come. Having the flu helps our bodies to
detoxify, and helps us to appreciate what a blessing it is to enjoy
good health, something best not taken for granted.
Check back here periodically for updates as this situation develops.
THANK-YOU READERS OF THE SANTA CRUZ METRO FOR VOTING RANDY S. BAKER MD "BEST HOLISTIC PRACTITIONER" IN THE 2006 & 2007 & 2008 GOLDIES and "BEST DOCTOR" in the 2009 GOLDIES.
This year I received the Santa Cruz Metro Gold award (for those who are out of town, this is a local weekly news and entertainment publication that has readers vote annually for the "Best Of" ranging from best pizza to best auto mechanic), for Best Doctor. I am deeply honored to be so acknowledged, especially knowing that our area is blessed with so many superb health practitioners. I thank everyone who voted for me.
However, receiving these awards leads me to muse on the question of whether it is possible for anyone to know who the best doctor/healer in our area is. I have no way of knowing if I am the best doctor/healer in our county. My best guess is that I am the best for some of those who find their way to me, and that there are other practitioners more suited to the needs of others.
It is impossible for anyone to be all things to all people. While I have many skills and talents, I am not a bodyworker, and that is one of the best ways to help some people. And if a patient needs surgery, trust me, you would not want me to be your surgeon. Even in the things I do fairly well, like homeopathy, I will be great for the people whose remedy I am able to find, and not so good for those whose remedy I am not able to find. But part of my job is to recognize when one of my patients may be well-served by seeing another practitioner, and referring them to that practitioner.
When people vote for me in these awards, I think what they are acknowledging is the time and energy I take getting to know each individual as a whole person and educating them about the causes of their problems and how they can actively participate in their healing. I think people also appreciate the breadth of my knowledge and how I recognize that there are many ways to help someone to heal. I believe that people also sense that I truly care about them and give my very best effort in helping them.
If this was an awards ceremony, I would thank my excellent associate practitioners, Cynthia Quattro PA, DAOM, L.Ac. and Joshua Donaldson ND, our great nurse Julia Johnson RN, and my wonderful staff, Jeanne, Nancy, Mindy, Kelsey and Marlene, as well as my sweet family for their love and support. And I would dedicate these awards to all the other superb healers in Santa Cruz county who also deserve acknowledgement...