Monday, September 14, 2009

Natural Flu Prevention

I have already been hit this season with bronchitis so I am taking every precaution to protect myself and my family against the flu. What follows is from an e-mail from Bonnie Franz who offers a wealth of information on natural preventive care. I plan to print this information and take it to the health food store to stock up for the season!

"As you are well aware, when it comes to the flu, pandemic or not, the advice given is to get the flu shot, or since 2003, the nasal mist vaccine—“FluMist"- influenza virus vaccine, Live, Intranasal. (You might want to be careful in the pharmacies, or places such as Wal-Mart, when they do this for the droplets spread and might spread the flu to you).

However, below are some articles regarding natural and alternative choices you might want to use that you are not hearing about in the mainstream media.

Dr. James Balch’s October, 2000 newsletter “Prescriptions for Healthy Living: Alternative Choices for Health & Longevity” had an article “Boost Immune Power NOW to Prevent Winter Colds and the Flu.”

In it he stated “Why I Don’t Recommend Flu Shots”--”Believe it or not, the chemicals in flu vaccines--as a matter of fact, all vaccines--actually depress your immune system. And if your immune system is weakened by age, poor nutrition, or chronic illness, injecting a live virus into your body via a flu shot may backfire--even healthy folks report coming down with the flu after receiving the shot! If you suffer from a chronic illness, check with your doctor before deciding to forego the shot. But remember that the best and safest defense against the flu is a hale and hearty immune system.”

Dr. Balch’s suggestions were:

Vitamin C--”You can take up to 2,000 mg of vitamin C every 1-2 hours. The only side effect you may have at high doses like this is loose stools. If this happens, just decrease the dose and symptoms will quickly disappear. The minimum dose is 1,000 mg. 3-6 times a day.”

Vitamin A, Zinc and Herbal Immune-Boosters, such as garlic, Echinacea, licorice, astragalus, goldenseal, elderberry, ginger, and yarrow.

The Nassau Guardian in the Bahamas of December 31, 2001 had a feature called “Nutritionist’s Corner” written by Betty Adderley. “Anti-flu battle plan” was her topic and she recommended garlic & thyme (“Research shows that these two commodities work best when blended together”), A-beta-care…”a powerful antioxidant formula high in selenium, E and betacarotene,” absorbent C, bee propolis …”It is ideal for the flu, asthma and sinus conditions. Unlike regular prescribed antibiotics that can only be taken for limited periods, propolis can be taken daily without any side effects”…”Forever Kids” vitamins for kids and adults; and aloe liquid soap.

Of course, we are concerned with what to give our children and in “Naturally Healthy,” a newsletter from Osteomed II (www.osteomed.com), Winter, 2002, Dr. Cheryl Leuthaeuser has “…Favorites for Immune Support: Sambucol for Kids (black Elderberry Juice…Can be used for 6-8 weeks at a time in children as young as 12 months…Try mixing a little Aloe Vera Juice in your child’s breakfast drink. This product works well as an anti-inflammatory and healing agent. Echinacea is an herb that is used in acute infections…Try these kids favorites: Rhino Chewy C with Echinacea or their ice pops or lolly pops.

“Your Child Has the Flu: What’s a Mother to Do?” was the January/February, 2005 article in MOTHERING magazine by Lauren Feder, MD. This was a very comprehensive article that listed homeopathic remedies (such as Dolivaxil(Influenzinum 2004-2005) …that has been used in Europe for years during the flu season. Each year, the World Health Organization predicts which flu viruses are most likely to infect humans and cause flu symptoms. Based on this information, the homeopathic solution is reformulated each year…” The author goes on to list other homeopathic remedies, dietary guidelines, nutritional supplements, herbal treatments, Bach flower remedies from Smart Medicine for A Healthier Child, by Janet Zand, ND, et al and gemmotherapy (herbal remedies).

“Fighting avian flu: Homeopathy and alternative remedies” by Bill Strubbe in the October, 2006 issue of Alive magazine, Canada. This article starts out with a research statement that “…the breeding place for major flu viruses is in the intestines of wild ducks.” “If the breeding place for avian flu is found in the guts of wild ducks, it makes sense that the homeopathic remedies are found there too…In anticipation of a possible avian flu pandemic, in November 2005 about 150 homeopaths gathered in Paris to collaborate on strategies. Among the concrete actions to emerge from the conference were the creation of an Internet site for homeopaths to exchange breaking information about homeopathic treatments of the avian flu and the formation of a scientific committee with representatives from the various international homeopathic organizations to implement proposed studies and trials…’We also have a website for public information (see ontariohomeopath.com) stated Andrea Groff from the Ontario Homeopathic Association.”

“In addition to homeopathy, other preventive measures can be taken…echinacea and osha root…as a preventive dose, one dropper twice a day for several days; if sick, one dropper every half hour for the first 3-4 hours to saturate the system, then ease back to 4-6 droppers daily…An extract of elderberries is another supplement scientifically proven to thwart the flu.. Don’t forget the old immune-boosting standby, vitamin C. Experts such as Linus Pauling suggest that the first sign of flu, you should begin taking vitamin C orally, between 1,000 and 4,000 mg. per hour until the bowels become loose. Once “bowel tolerance” is reached, maintain or slightly decrease the dose until the bowels normalize…It has been shown that when the proper pH is maintained (slightly alkaline), the body is less susceptible to communicable diseases.”

“’To ward off illness it’s crucial to eliminate acidic foods such as sugars, coffee, greasy foods, hydrogenated fats, dairy, and carbonated drinks,’” says Nathalie Babazadeh, licensed acupuncturist. “’Boost the immune system by exercising, getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and eating properly, which means lots of greens, whole grains, and enough easily- digested protein to help build antibodies.’” Because antiviral vaccines may not be effective against resistant strains of the avian flu virus, your best medicine is, as always, preventive medicine.”

“Treating Seasonal or Pandemic Flu at Home” the Individual and Family Handbook published in 2007 by Channing Bete Company (www.channing-bete.com and ask for item number PS91517) is a very helpful compilation of basics, infection control and patient care steps to take for yourself and your family.

“Blood could be key to defeating bird flu: Useful antibodies isolated in survivors” is the article of USA Today, May 30, 2007 by Lauran Neergaard of the Associated Press.

“Scientists have long suspected that culling immune-system molecules from survivors could provide a new therapy for the hard-to-treat H5N1 flu strain…This approach is called “passive immunotherapy,” and more crude forms of the approach have long been used to protect against certain viruses. Before hepatitis A vaccines, for example, anti-body-containing shots were common for tourists heading to developing countries (also hepatitis B)…And during the 1918 flu pandemic, the worst in history, doctors sometimes transfused blood directly from survivors to the newly sick, sometimes with good results…More work is needed before trying these purified antibodies in people. It’s standard to test flu vaccines and treatments in ferrets, which respond to influenza more like people do…Then the antibodies would need testing in healthy people, to see if they are safe.”

Tone magazine from Ottawa, Canada of December, 2007 had an article “Acupuncture fights colds and flu.”

“It is advisable to come for acupuncture once or twice a month during cold and flu season to help strengthen your immune system and keep you healthy.”

April, 2009 “Swine Flu Travel Health Alert Notice” from the CDC tells how to prevent the spread of swine flu: “ …when you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve (if you do not have a tissue). Throw used tissues in a trash can. After you cough or sneeze, wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand gel. Do not go to work, school, or travel while ill.

“Get Ready for H1N1” is an article by A.W. Martin, DC, Ph.D from Healthy Directions, August/Sept., 2009, Canada (www.HealthyDirections.ca)

Suggestions are: “Do a broad spectrum probiotic treatment for 30 days…Maintain an alkaline Ph…The best alkaline foods are fruits and vegetables…Increasing the fiber intake really helps one to become alkaline…Oil of oregano is anti-fungal, anti-viral, natural antibiotic…Take several drops a day, or spray your tooth brush two times a day and brush your gums vigorously for maximum absorption…Vitamin D3…in the fall, one should take 2000I.U. a day…”

The July, 2009 issue of Alive magazine, Canada, had an article by Stuart Harris “SARS, bird flu, swine flu…: What should you do?” “Along with eating right, drinking plenty of water, and exercising daily, we can prepare for the next contagious bug by taking proven immune-boosting supplements. Check with your natural health practitioner…”

The following is a list of recommendations:

“Multivitamin & mineral, esp. B vitamins… Echinacea…it should be taken at the first sign of illness but for no longer than 3 weeks…Vitamin E… supplement with up to 200 IU daily…Vitamin C…Since the body does not manufacture this vitamin on its own, take up to 2,000 mg a day…Zinc…take up to 50 mg daily… Oregano oil…is taken orally for up to 21 days at a time…Coenzyme Q10…take up to 200mg daily…L-glutathione…take up to 50 mg per day…Selenium…take up to 200 mcg daily…Probiotics…choose a daily supplement with up to 10 billion active cultures.”

Of course, we are concerned with what to give our children and in “Naturally Healthy,” a newsletter from Osteomed II (www.osteomed.com), Winter, 2002, Dr. Cheryl Leuthaeuser has “…Favorites for Immune Support: Sambucol for Kids (black Elderberry Juice…Can be used for 6-8 weeks at a time in children as young as 12 months…Try mixing a little Aloe Vera Juice in your child’s breakfast drink. This product works well as an anti-inflammatory and healing agent. Echinacea is an herb that is used in acute infections…Try these kids favorites: Rhino Chewy C with Echinacea or their ice pops or lolly pops.

COMMENTARY FROM BONNIE FRANZ:

I urge you to check out health food stores for alternatives and alternative health practitioners for more specific guidelines, especially for use in children for some caution is needed. Even if you or your children get the flu vaccines, remember what Dr. Balch stated above. I think it is a good account of why some people still get the flu or get sick after getting vaccinated—namely, vaccines depress your immune system and ironically, make you vulnerable to whatever may be going around. However, I think the editorial of the July 10, 2009 issue of Ottawa South EMC Community Newspaper says it best: “Panicking is not the best solution…Panicking is no way to deal with the matter, but rather common sense and good hygiene will help the most in the long run.” Perhaps, some of the above suggestions will help you to be confident and not panic.

--Bonnie Plumeri Franz

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