The 2009 flu pandemic is a global outbreak of a new strain of an influenza 'A' virus subtype H1N1, referred to as the novel H1N1, first identified in April 2009, and commonly called swine flu. It is thought to be a reassortment of four known strains of influenza 'A' virus: one endemic in (normally infecting) humans, one endemic in birds, and two endemic in pigs (swine). Transmission of the new strain is human-to-human. Cooked pork products are safe to eat because the virus cannot be transmitted by eating food.

The virus spreads through coughing, sneezing, or touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the nose or mouth.The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that although this was a very serious virus, cases worldwide were usually mild, and most hospitalizations and deaths had been of persons that also had underlying conditions such as asthma, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, or a weakened immune system. To prevent spreading the infection, the CDC recommended that those with symptoms stay home from school, work, and crowded settings. Wearing facial masks was reported to be of "limited benefit".


The symptoms of swine flu which last up to a week, are similar to those of seasonal flu and other influenzas and may include a fever, coughing, headaches, pain in the muscles or joints, sore throat, chills, fatigue, and runny nose. Diarrhea, vomiting and neurological problems were also reported in some cases. People at higher risk of serious complications include people age 65 and older, children younger than 5 years old, pregnant women, and people of any age with underlying medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, or a weakened immune system (e.g., taking immunosuppressive medications or infected with HIV). Most hospitalizations in the U.S. were people with such underlying conditions, according to the CDC.

As with the seasonal flu, certain symptoms may have required emergency medical attention. In children signs of respiratory distress included blue lips and skin, dehydration, rapid breathing, excessive sleeping, seizures, and significant irritability that includes a lack of desire to be held. In adults, shortness of breath, pain in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness or confusion may have indicated the need for emergency care. In both children and adults, persistent vomiting or the return of flu-like symptoms that include a fever and cough may have required medical attention.

Flu infections can also cause pneumonia, a life-threatening illness. In children, a relapse with high fever may indicate a secondary infection of bacterial pneumonia. Reports emphasize children with chronic health problems. Reports of deaths among healthy young people during the first weeks of the 2009 flu pandemic were attributed to pneumonia.


To prevent spreading the infection, the CDC recommended that those with symptoms stay home from school, work, and crowded settings. Wearing facial masks was reported to be of "limited benefit".

Although most flu symptoms are mild and last only a few days without treatment, health officials worldwide were also concerned because the virus was new and could easily mutate and become more virulent. To combat the virus, WHO and the U.S. government geared up for a massive vaccination campaign in late 2009, one not seen since Jonas Salk discovered the polio vaccine in 1955. Officials also urged communities, businesses and individuals to make contingency plans for possible school closures, multiple employee absences for illness, surges of patients in hospitals and other effects of potentially widespread outbreaks.

The Mayo Clinic suggested personal measures to avoid seasonal flu infection were applicable to the 2009 pandemic: vaccination when available, thorough and frequent hand-washing, a balanced diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein, sufficient sleep, regular exercise, and avoiding crowds. The leading health agencies stressed that eating properly cooked pork or other food products derived from pigs was safe.[


WHO stated that containment was not a feasible option and that countries should focus on mitigating the effect of the virus. It did not recommend closing borders or restricting travel.

The president of the Association of Flight Attendants told members of a U.S. Congressional subcommittee that all flight attendants should be given training in how to handle a person with flu and help in communicating to passengers the importance of keeping clean hands. She also said that flight attendants need to be provided gloves and facemasks to deal with flu-stricken passengers. Other medical experts add that airlines should also ensure that passenger cabins are always properly ventilated, including during any flight delays in which passengers are kept aboard the plane. But they also add that although the aviation industry in the U.S., along with the CDC, have tried to reassure passengers that air travel is safe, they have so far done too little to try to limit infection risks.


The pandemic is expected to peak by mid-winter in the Northern hemisphere. WHO expects to have vaccine available globally by the end of 2009. In the U.S., initial quantities of vaccine will become available in mid-October and the CDC recommends that the first doses should go to priority groups such as pregnant women, people who live with or care for babies under six months old, children six months to four years old and health-care workers.

Although it was initially thought that two injections would be required, clinical trials have shown that the new vaccine protects "with only one dose instead of two," and so the limited vaccine supplies will now go twice as far as had been predicted. Costs will also be lowered by having a "more efficient vaccine." However, the other kinds of flu like seasonal flu will still require a separate vaccination.


The Mayo Clinic and Medline listed a number of ways to help ease symptoms, including adequate liquid intake and rest, soup to ease congestion, and over-the-counter drugs to relieve pain. Aspirin was a very effective way to treat fever in adults, although in children and adolescents, aspirin is advised against due to the risk of Reye's syndrome. While over-the-counter drugs relieve symptoms, they do not kill the virus. Most patients were expected to recover without medical attention, although those with pre-existing or underlying medical conditions were more prone to complications.


NATURAL PROTECTION VS. H1N1 by Michael Vertolli, Director of Living Earth School of Herbalism.

In reality, the majority of people who are exposed to the virus will not get sick. Most of those who do will only experience mild to moderate 'flu-like' symptoms. Only in an extremely small minority of population is likely to develop serious complications.

The main reason for the variability in response to infection among the general population has to do with immune function. Individuals most likely to develop more severe symptoms are those underdeveloped or compromised immune function such as infants, seniors and the chronically ill. People who live in poverty are also at risk because they tend to be malnourished.

The major factors that lead to compromised immune function primarily result from poor lifestyle choices and the kinds of environmental and psychological stress factors that are common in our society today. Some of them include:


Here are some of the protocols you can use to boost your immune  response and increase your resistance to viral and other infectious diseases.  The first thing to consider is that herbs and other natural health products are valuable health-promoting aids, but they are no substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle. If we don't practice preventive medicine and instead wait until the symptoms of illness have arrived then the impact of these supplements will be limited and eventually they will become less effective.

There are many essential nutrients that are directly or indirectly important for proper immune function. The B vitamins are especially important for helping us deal with stress. For maximum effectiveness they should be taken alongside a good mineral supplement. In the mineral department, of particular important for the immune system are calcium, magnesium and zinc. Vitamins A, C, D and E an the mineral selenium and manganese are the very useful antioxidants. There are also many other important antioxidant nutrients that support immune functioning. These include the carotenes, flavanoids and other polyphenols such as those found in green tea, grape seed, pine bark and various berry extracts. And the best food sources of immune-enhancing nutrients are fresh fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms. Immune stimulant herbs can boost immune functioning in the short term. Some of these versatile immune stimulants include the various species of purple coneflower root and herb (Echinacea spp.), plantain herb (Plantago spp), elecampane root (Inula helenium), pot marigold flowers (Calendula officinalis), and more. Deep acting Immune tonics are North American Ginseng root and Siberian Ginseng root. Taken 3 or 4 times a day for 2 to 3 months will help optimize immune function in your body. Michael Virtolli, RH
For more info contact Living Earth, 10971 jane Street, Maple, On L6A 1S1 Tel (905) 303-8723,

A Lifestyle to Maintain Wellness

The good news about H1N1 is, yes, it is 'pandemic' today but the pandemic category does not reflect the severity of the illness, only the fact that it is contagious among humans within communities and according to the WHO, on the scale from mild to severe, the rates are moderate. It is easily spread between people but the overwhelming majority of people recover spontaneously from it without any treatment. As with flus, the best way to prevent it is to wash your hands frequently and stay away from sneezes and other rooms and places where people are coughing and sneezing respiratory droplets. If you get sick, handle it the same way as you would treat any cold or flu; stay home from work or school, drink soups and other hot liquids, increase rest and cut back on mucus-forming foods such as milk, sugar and stimulants. If you get quite ill with fever and coughs, go to your doctor.

THE ESSENTIAL OILS: If you are a believer of the power of pure, organic essential oils which are not synthetic perfumes but concentrated plant oils extracted through an artisanal, steam-distillation process (many cheaper brands often use chemical solvents for extraction), add essential oils in your meals and in your environment. The essential oils have limitless antibacterial, antiviral, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, antioxidant, anti-infectious qualities.

Supplemental to eating well and taking supplements, consider aromatherapy to keep hale and healthy. With the idea of using scent to stay healthy can create sense of well-being after exposure to high-quality oils. Use essential oils for breakfast, lunch and dinner; in steam inhalations as well as in your daily skin care and housecleaning, like adding oils like tea-tree and rosemary to vinegar makes a great toxin-free surface disinfectant instead of bleaches sprays. Simmering drops of tea-tree, eucalyptus or rosemary in water on the stove in a pot for a couple of hours provides essential oil scents that will kill pathogens and wipe out pollutants in the air. Also keeping your mid-section of the body covered will protect your kidneys from chill, wearing scarves, eating hot soup and drinking adaptogen herbal teas (like nettle, rhodiola and the CHinese herb jiaogulan). For further info go to or 416-925-7622 for full details.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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