Thinking about how events have shaped up since the swine flu – now officially called H1N1, influenza A (its scientific name) by the World Health Organization – outbreak was first reported, we can find a few reasons for concern. At last count, more than 100 people have died after contracting it. Thousands more are sick or at risk.* And perhaps millions have had already elevated levels of stress and anxiety raised even higher from the intense media coverage, declarations of states of emergency, threats of closures, travel restrictions, quarantines and so on.
Yes, people have been suffering from this outbreak – but not necessarily from the virus directly. There appears to be a kind of psychological virus, as well. We need to keep perspective, and Congressman Ron Paul does as good of a job as any of providing it:
Here’s the thing: if you are healthy, with a strong immune system and clean and efficient biological terrain (your body’s internal environment), there’s no reason to worry. Your body will be able to fight off infection as it evolved to do. At worst, you’re laid low a few days with flu-like symptoms.
Those who are at some risk are the very young, whose immune systems are not yet fully developed or robust, and those who are sick already, with compromised immune systems and polluted terrains. But even then, you don’t want to just go dosing up on Tamilflu or other drug that serves only to suppress symptoms, as this symptom “relief” comes at the cost of further weakening your body against future attacks from viruses, bacteria and other toxins. Nor is vaccination the answer. Not only are there plenty of concerns about the health risks of vaccination, but current flu vaccines don’t yet target the swine flu virus anyway.
So what to do?
First, keep perspective. Even the number of reported cases in the US is minuscule compared to, say, the number of reported cases of tuberculosis – as Rep. Paul points out – or let alone the number who die from “regular flu” each year. Your risk is low.
Second, do the common sense things that public health officials remind us to do: wash your hands, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and so on. Not only are these sensible things to do to keep from spreading “germs,” but they’re just polite things to do!
Third, maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eat nutrient dense whole foods and not a lot of refined sugars and starches. Get enough sleep. Exercise regularly. Make time for yourself to relax and do things you love. Avoid smoking, drugs and excess alcohol. These are the things that keep your body strong and resilient.
Last, if you want to further strengthen your body against illness, consider supplements: nutritional, herbal, homeopathic – all of which can be helpful in combating flu, as well, should you come down with it. Rather than rehash what’s already been written, we’ll point you to a few sources:
- The Swine Flu Pandemic – Fact or Fiction? (Comment by Dr. Mercola, via the Nutrition Research Center)
- What’s Keeping You Healthy and Protected from the Flu
- When the Flu Strikes: Think Homeopathy
And if you’re already seeing a naturopathic physician, homeopath or integrative health care provider, do consult with him or her about your concerns, questions and possible actions you can take to maintain optimum health.
* 5/07/09 Update: Since this post originally ran, reporting has given adjusted statistics. A PhysOrg article now reports 46 confirmed deaths (44 in Mexico, 2 in the US) and 2300 confirmed cases of this flu worldwide.