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Swine Flu

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The first nervous e-mails from patients began arriving over the weekend. While there are many unknowns, this swine flu A H1N1 virus is brand new–it’s not been detected in North America before now. If you’re curious about the facts on swine flu, click here for the CDC’s rundown. A special note to bacon lovers: you cannot get swine flu by eating pork.

Severe and fatal cases of this flu have occurred in Mexico, and reports are coming in from other countries as well. As of midafternoon April 27, there were 40 confirmed cases in the US, with no severe disease and no deaths. That’s the good part. (Click here for updated information on US cases from the CDC.)

The bad part is you do feel pretty miserable with the flu, so if the numbers in your area start to increase, you’d be smart to avoid crowded places. Farmers and hermits rarely get the flu.

Remember that having a cold–even a bad cold–isn’t the same as having the flu. Flu is bodywide illness, meaning you have bad cold symptoms PLUS fever, chills, muscle aches, and brain fog. With a cold, you feel annoyed. With flu, you feel pummeled. You can read more about recognizing flu symptoms by clicking here. I talk about Tamiflu in the article, and it’s fortunate that for swine flu Tamiflu works nicely. Apparently there’s enough to go around, so you don’t have to start kickboxing people at Walgreen’s to get the ten capsules needed to kill the virus.

In order for Tamiflu to work, though, you need to start taking it when symptoms begin to appear. The only time you should take Tamiflu without flu symptoms is when another family member has the flu. Using Tamiflu in advance like this will lessen your chances of becoming infected, and will lessen the severity of the flu if it’s already been transmitted to you.

After you’ve read the link on flu symptoms, I’m confident you’ll be smart enough to recognize whether or not you have it. You don’t need to come staggering into WholeHealth Chicago (or any other doctor’s office) with your fever, cough, and aching muscles waiting for me to officially anoint you a flu victim. If an epidemic hits (and it certainly may not) and you feel yourself becoming ill, call our office or send an e-mail with a pharmacy number and we’ll authorize Tamiflu. Don’t bother to get Tamiflu in advance as the odds are you’re not going to get the flu. You’ll be wasting your money and my time.

Now let’s briefly review the CDC’s prevention recommendations:
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread that way.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
• If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

As far as nutritional supplements go, in addition to those mentioned in the link I recommend boosting your immune system with a product like Host Defense. Also, elderberry has been shown to have definite anti-flu properties, so at the first signs of flu you can enhance Tamiflu by using a product called Acute Immunity, which is available in our Chicago apothecary.

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