Swine Flu – Enough's Enough

Are you one of the scared or one of the tired of hearing about it? It seems most people now fall into one of these categories when the topic of the swine flu comes up.

I am not one of the scared.

It was after reading a newsletter from Dr. Julian Whitaker, MD, that I decided to follow his footsteps and put in my two cents (and common sense) as well by writing this article.

As the global pandemic alert levels continue to climb, media jumps to find the most shocking pieces to report and government protect itself by taking strong action. Despite the fact that there has only been one reported death in the United States, a toddler brought in from Mexico, Governments around the world are declaring states of public emergency. Countries are cutting flights to Mexico. President Obama is requesting billions of dollars to be spent on monitoring the disease, stocking up on medicines, and to help other countries. Countries are baking pork products. Stores are running out of surgical masks. The World Health Organization is warning countries not to lower their guard.

Some perspective:

  • "Nearly all infections outside of Mexico have been mild and only a handful of patients have needed hospital treatment."
  • According to research conducted at the World Influenza Center in the UK, "Preliminary analysis of the swine flu virus suggests it is a fairly mild strain, scientists say."
  • "Common seasonal flu kills 250,000 to 500,000 people every year worldwide, far more than the current outbreak of swine flu."

Some Traditional Chinese Medicine solutions:

I can not predict the future. I do know, however, that the best way to not get the swine flu is to not get sick. 🙂 So, how do you avoid getting sick? Or, at least, how do you not get too sick? You support your whole body, including your immune system.

Written 2000 years ago, the book Su Wen ("Plain Questions"), a TCM classic, states that "If 'zheng Qi' [the functioning of the body] remains strong, 'xie Qi' [viruses, bacteria, parasites, etc .] can not invade the body. 'Zheng Qi' must be weak for the invasion of 'xie Qi' to take place.

Part of that is certainly to strengthen your immune system, which TCM referes to as 'wei Qi' or defensive Qi. Herbs such as huang qi (astralagus), ling zhi (reishi mushroom), and dong chong xia cao (cordyceps) are powerful immune stimulants. Herbs that help kill a virus or bacteria include ban lan gen (isatis root), lian qiao (forsythia fruit), and jie geng (balloon flower rhizome). One challenge is that because each virus and bacteria can have very different properties, and because each herb affects the body differently, you are best to talk with a qualified TCM herbalist or TCM doctor to determine what will work for you if you come down with a flu.

In addition, because all your body's systems are interconnected, you will want to make sure that your digestive system, cardiovascular system, reproductive system, respiratory system, and nervous system are also addressed. Injured? Take care of that so that your body can focus on other health issues. And, I did not even mention your emotional wellness-feeling down can make you more susceptible to illness.

Acupuncture can also be used to build your defenses and balance to your whole body, not to mention the major reason why people come to see me-to relieve stress.

Stuff You Can Do:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Wash your hands (just use regular soap; let's not keep creating more superbugs with all the chemical antibacterial products out there; wash your hands while singing "Happy Birthday" in your head so that you know that you've washed long enough)
  • De-stress (meditate, breathe, find a hobby)
  • Eat healthy (more veggies, less sugar; more whole foods, less processed foods)
  • Listen to your body. If you feel the beginning of a cold or flu, slow down, take some immune boosting supplements listed below, get more sleep, and try to avoid infecting others (stay home and maybe do as the Japanese do and wear a mask when you're sick so that all others do not have to)
  • Take vitamin C, essential fatty acids (fish oils, flax oil, hemp oil, etc.), probiotics (good bacteria have been shown to stimulate the immune system)
  • If you start to succumb, find a good herbal immune product. I have my favorites-FluStop, manuka honey, oregano oil, and customized TCM herbal formulas.
  • And, above all, do not panic. Panic and stress stimulate your adrenal glands to pump out adrenaline which will send you into a state of fight or flight. That brings blood away from "non-vital" systems for your immediate survival-immune system included-and to your heart to pump more blood and your muscles to get ready to move! Continued stress causes your body to release cortisol which further weakens your immune system.