INFONEWS: THE 2009 H1N1 FLU PANDEMIC
& NATURAL PROTECTION VS H1N1
SOURCES: WORLD HEALTH ORG; WIKIPEDIA, SEPTEMBER 18, 2009 (PHNO) WHAT
IS H1N1 FLU? Swine what?
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
Mayo Clinic and
Medline listed a number of ways to help ease symptoms, including adequate
liquid intake and rest, soup to ease
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.
FROM 'VITALITY' Magazine
(TORONTO'S MONTHLY WELLNESS JOURNAL)
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
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:
- Poor diet - especially if it overemphasizes heavily processed,
chemically laden foods and insufficient consumption of fresh fruits
- Exposure to chemical pollutants in the environment, workplace and home,
such as heavy metals, chemical solvents, air pollution, agricultural
chemicals and household cleaning products.
- Regular use of social and pharmacological drugs - which include
caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana and all hard drugs and
- Lack of exercise. Most people should get at least one hour of mild to
moderate exercise per day (such as walking) and a minimum 20 to 30 minutes
of aerobic workout 3 times a week.
- Insufficient sleep. Most adults require 8 to 9 hours per day, teenagers
and children need more.
- Too much stress. Exercise and sleep can help reduce stress but most
people in our society are so overstressed that some kind of stress
management program is necessary. disciplines such as tai chi, yoga or
meditation are helpful, as spending time in nature. We also need to stop
buying into the mindset that we have to be accessible 24/7. People in our
society need to learn how to create boundaries and allow themselves some
quality time to nurture themselves.
- Negative emotions, These days anger, fear, frustration, envy and hatred
are more common than happiness, contentment, compassion and love.
- Vaccinations. This is a very controversial subject. Although childhood
vaccinations may provide some protection from viruses they are intended to
treat, many are not as effective as the medical establishment would have us
believe and there is growing evidence that vaccinations may lead to depleted
immune function. This can increase the likelihood of infection from
illnesses or the development of chronic and autoimmune conditions later in
life. Part of the problem is that the immune system of infants and young
children isn't developed enough to handle large amounts of viral antigen or
the many chemicals included in vaccines injected directly into the blood. It
is important to weight the many pros and cons before making a decision. Let
the facts guide your decision, not the hysteria that is propagated by
extreme factions on either side of the argument. Iwould recommends that for
those who do decide to vaccinate, put it off until your children are 4 or 5
years old. By that time their immune system will have developed a bit more.
IMMUNE STRENGTHENING HERBS AND NUTRIENTS
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
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,
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
416-925-7622 for full details.