Posts filed under ‘Avian Flu’

Surviving a Flu Pandemic

I was surprised in discussing my last newsletter with various clients. I suddenly realized that I was the repository of almost forgotten knowledge – valuable knowledge that could be life saving. This letter is the result of that cognition.

As you may be aware, I had a chiropractic mentor – Dr. Ralph J. Martin. He was a leader in our profession, serving as both President and Regent of a large chiropractic institution, co-founding the American Chiropractic Association and the process of certifying chiropractic nationally for continuing education approval. He did much to establish the profession in the U.S. And, what I learned from him remains invaluable.

In 1918, he was a lad of 16, living in the Dakotas. He vividly remembered the Spanish flu pandemic, when people all over town were ill, and many of them were dying. His family’s doctor was the only lady chiropractor in town. When the epidemic hit, she made house calls on every family in her practice, adjusting every member of the family almost daily. I gather it was a pretty small town. The upshot of this story is that she was the only doctor in town that didn’t lose a single patient. Every other doctor was helpless in the face of the spread of the contagion.

Young Ralph was so impressed that he decided he wanted to be a chiropractor when he grew up. It took him until his mid-30s to be able to afford school, but he graduated and became a force within the profession.

You may ask, “Why did adjusting work?” Good question; and, an important question. What most of us are unaware of is that, even today, the healing process is dependent upon the body’s immune system.  It is the immune system’s ability to adapt and respond that allows you to heal – no matter what the affliction or procedure. I’ve said this before, but it bears iteration: No doctor would make the first incision if he or she wasn’t sure the body would heal up the wound. In fact, there was a chiropractic hospital in Denver (I believe) years ago where patients with T.B., as well as other infectious diseases were treated only with adjustments. The advent of antibiotics eliminated the hospital – writing a prescription is always easier and less time-consuming than physically adjusting someone.

At this point in time, it has become illegal in the State of California to advocate a chiropractic adjustment as an alternative to vaccines; therefore, I am not doing so. I am simply presenting the evidence so that you can decide what will work best for you and your family.

The effect of a chiropractic adjustment on the immune system is unassailable. Even medical professionals acknowledge its value. The following is a partial list of references:

1.    “People who receive regular chiropractic adjustments have immune system competency that is 200% greater than those who don’t.” (Dr. Ron Pero. New York Preventative Medicine Institute and Environmental Health at NYU)
2.    A group of HIV positive patients received chiropractic adjustments.  Thereafter, blood tests were performed by the patients’ independent medical center where they were under medical supervision. A 48% increase in CD4 cells was demonstrated over the six month duration of the study for the adjusted group. (The Effects of Specific Upper Cervical Adjustments on the CD4 Counts of HIV Positive Patients, Chiropractic Research J 1994; 3 (1):32-39)

3.    Studies attempting to measure the effect of chiropractic manipulation on the immune system are reviewed. Their results suggest that chiropractic or manipulative treatment may influence T and B lymphocyte numbers, NK cell numbers, antibody levels, phagocytic activity and plasma beta-endorphin levels. (James M. Allen, Chiro J Aust 1993; 23 (4) Dec:132-135)

My recommendation is that, at the first sign of illness, you call and schedule an appointment for an adjustment. Be sure to mention the reason you want a treatment, so that I can incorporate the Spears’ adjustment to the thoracic spine, which directly stimulates the lymph nodes in that area. Other modalities we offer – including diathermy – are for after an infection has become well established. Getting adjusted is a way to avoid becoming ill.

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May 8, 2009 at 8:27 pm Leave a comment

Combatting the Swine Flu Hysteria

After several days of media hysteria, you are probably concerned about this latest “outbreak” of swine flu. If you listen to the media, we are all in danger of dying. However, that is far from the case, and in this letter, I want to set the facts straight and give you a strategy to protect both yourself and your loved ones.

First of all, let’s put matters into perspective. This viral strain is H1N1, not the dreadful H5N1 bird strain that we’ve been hearing so much about over the last several years. Why is that important? Because – media hype to the contrary – swine flu is generally much less pathogenic than bird flu. People will get sick; people get the flu every year. But, so far, there is no reason to believe that this flu will be any worse than the other flu outbreaks that circle the globe annually.

The latest information is also that the strain is not highly transmissible. The outbreaks have so far been contained in “clusters” – groups of mutually infected people – without spreading to the larger population.

For one thing, the death rate (deaths/100,000 population) is most likely greatly inflated due to the dearth of health care in many of the more rural areas of Mexico. There are undoubtedly many more than the 1600 reported cases of this influenza, almost all of which have been reported in the cities. Many laborers in Mexico actually live in the rural areas and only commute in to the cities to work, returning home each evening to the farm. So, the statistics are not reliable.

The next important fact is that of the cases that have been reported in the U.S., the symptoms have been relatively mild and consistent with influenza in general. In fact, the symptoms are so similar that the CDC and epidemiologists are hard put to determine whether an infection is actually the H1N1 strain they are so concerned about. As of this writing, I do not believe anyone in the U.S. has died from this virus.

So, what can you do personally? The first, and to me most important, fact about this virus is that it is encapsulated, as are all influenza viruses. Why is that important? Because encapsulated viruses are susceptible to St. John’s Wort (SJW). (See my article, “The Flu and St. John’s Wort” on my web site, which contains all the references to the medical literature. The best thing you and your family can do is to begin taking SJW now as a prophylactic. For adults, the dose would be 2 per day. For young children, I recommend ½ tablet per day.

At the first sign of symptoms, begin taking Thymunose (another product we have in stock), 2 twice a day; and increase your dosage of SJW to 4 to 6 per day, depending upon body weight.  You can call the office if you are unsure of how much to take.

If you develop a deep cough and/or chest congestion, call the office and make an appointment for diathermy to the lungs to help your body ward off the virus.

Since every news program I have seen underscores the idea that Tamiflu is somewhat effective against this virus, I have my suspicions about all the hyperbole that is going on. But, remember, Tamiflu is effective only within the first 48 hours of infection, and most patients don’t exhibit symptoms until the 3rd or 4th day. Furthermore, it has some pretty serious side effects as well.

So, the take-away message here is that there is no cause for alarm. And, even if you or a member of your family becomes ill, we are here to help you recover.

May 8, 2009 at 8:20 pm Leave a comment

The Truth About Bird Flu

Are you as tired as I am of the media hysteria concerning bird flu? Or, are you worried about the consequences for yourself and your family? In this letter I will present the facts regarding this “epidemic” and provide you with strategies to use for any strain of influenza.

First the facts, based upon information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The current situation (www.cdc.gov, updated October 12, 2005) is that from January 2004 to October 10, 2005, a total of 117 human cases of avian influenza A (H5N1) were reported in Asia. Of these cases, 60 were fatal (51%) and these were mostly poor poultry farmers (FoxNews.com, WHO press release, October 14, 2005). These cases were a result of contact with infected poultry. The virus can also be transmitted by uncooked poultry products or surfaces contaminated with feces. Basically, the virus is passed by contact with contaminated feces. And, in many countries in Asia, people live with their fowl in their homes.

Let’s put those numbers in perspective: 100 cases of the disease and 60 deaths world wide (out of a population of approximately 6 billion) does not an epidemic make. In fact, you have a much greater risk of getting hit by a car while crossing the street than you have of contracting this flu virus. That’s particularly true if you do not keep chickens, ducks or turkeys! WHO spokesman Dick Thompson pointed out that “People confuse it [the bird flu] with pandemic influenza, but they’re very different diseases. If people just paid attention to the human risk” from bird flu, they’d understand that “the possibility of infection is very low.”

This virus was first identified in 1961 in wild birds (terns) in South Africa (CDC). The virus circulates among birds world wide, and while very contagious between birds, causes minimal disease in wild birds. Recently, however, the H5N1 viruses have begun to cause severe and fatal disease among domesticated birds, such as chickens and turkeys. However, the evidence to date indicates that this virus does not spread easily from birds to infect humans (WHO).

There has been a great deal of emphasis on the possibility that the virus may mutate to be transmissable from human to human and result in another pandemic like the 1918 influenza. The result has been a great deal of anxiety and fear, with little or no basis in fact. Yes, the 1918 influenza pandemic was caused by a bird flu; but, most of the strains of flu that circulate every year originate in birds. Do you remember the “Hong Kong Flu” in the ’70s? That was an avian virus and it caused a pandemic. However, the number of deaths in no way approached the 1918 epidemic. In 1918 conditions were unique, because of the movement of troops in World War I.

If you want to read a fascinating tale about the origin and spread of the virus in 1918, I highly recommend the book Flu, The 1918 Pandemic and the Search For The Virus That Caused It, by Gina Kolata. I read it last summer and couldn’t put it down. The key points about the 1918 pandemic that are germane to the current situation is that young men from rural settings, many of whom were already sick when they reported for training, were packed together in extremely crowded conditions. Some of these boys were shipped out to other military facilities (and even to Europe) while they were incubating the virus. These factors were a recipe for disaster, spreading the virus world wide in just a matter of months.

Yes, the virus may mutate to be transmissable between humans; however, any such mutation may also reduce its virulence. Then again, it may not mutate. The point is — No one knows! And, epidemics in birds have been occurring for many years.

What’s different now? Do you remember last year’s hysteria about the SARS “epidemic”? There were approximately 8,000 cases in 29 countries (www.cdc.gov). And about 300 people died. In the U.S., 8 people had laboratory evidence of SARS, and no one died. As of October 6, 2004, there were no reported cases of SARS anywhere in the world. (www.cdc.gov) How is that an epidemic? What is going on?

On FoxNews.com dated October 13, 2005, I found an interesting article from WebMD. Were you aware that in 1999 the drug manufacturer Roche Holding AG brought out the first patented drug that can treat viral diseases? Perhaps you’ve heard of Tamiflu. As reported by WebMD, until recently, in most markets, sales of Tamiflu “were well below the company’s expectations. But that changed last year, when WHO recommended governments stockpile antiviral durgs, such as Tamiflu. . . . Consequently, sales of Tamiflu from January to June 2005, were nearly double the number in 2004.” It is also interesting that Roche is the sole manufacturer of Tamiflu and has stated that there was no question of relinquishing its patent, which is protected until 2016. This was in response to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Anan’s suggestion that the usual patent rules may have to be suspended if there is an outbreak of avian flu. His suggestion was that other companies could also make the medicine, increasing the supply.

It seems to me the media coverage of viral diseases has increased dramatically with the advent of Tamiflu. Unfortunately, no one knows whether Tamiflu will be effective should this bird flu mutate to be transmissable between humans. Additionally, Tamiflu has some limitations. It has only been proven effective against influenza strains A and B. Furthermore, a partial list of side effects includes: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bronchitis, stomach pain, dizziness and headache. And the latest information, published in Forbes on October 14, 2005 (FoxNews.com) is that the bird flu is showing resistance to Tamiflu.

So, now what?? What’s a person to do? I believe that the best defense against viral diseases in general, and influenza in particular, is a healthy immune system. How to achieve that? It’s simple, really. Get enough rest, limit stress and be sure you get adjusted regularly. Adjustments increase your immune function. Recent studies have shown that children who are adjusted regularly are sick less often and miss fewer school days, as compared to children who do not receive chiropractic care. I still remember what Dr. Ralph Martin told me about the 1918 epidemic. He was 15 at the time and living in the Dakotas. His hometown was hit with the epidemic and all the doctors were working over time. There was one chiropractor in town, a woman, and she was the only doctor who didn’t lose a single patient. What she did was visit every family on her patient list and adjust every member of the family every single day – until the epidemic ended. That was the impetus for Dr. Martin studying chiropractic and becoming a doctor.

In addition to adjustments, two other measures are helpful against influenza: Echinacea root and St. John’s Wort (specifically, the Medi-Herb product which is anti-viral). Echinacea Premium (the Medi-Herb brand) enhances your immune response in general. I recommend a dose of 2 tablets per day for prevention during cold and flu season every year. If you start to feel “flu-y”, i.e., achey joints and muscles, high fever, immediately begin taking Med-Herb St. John’s Wort at a dose of 2 tablets, 3 times per day for adults. (If you have children, call with their body weight and I can give you the appropriate dosage over the phone). Unfortunately, St. John’s Wort is NOT effective against approximately 50% of the viruses that cause the common cold, since they are unencapsulated. A great deal of research has been done on St. John’s Wort’s effectiveness with viral disease. (See the article on this site regarding St. John’s Wort and all of the studies that have been done.) Finally, there is a homeopathic on the market Oscillococcinum by Boiron that is based upon bird flu virus. It is a general remedy which strengthens the immune response to avian viruses. It can be obtained at health food stores and some drug stores. It is best used when you are first exposed to the virus and shou ld be taken daily for 3 to 4 days. If symptoms develop, the dosage is even higher. We don’t stock this product at the RFHC because it is very expensive, and I believe that Echinacea Premium and St. John’s Wort are more effective options.

So, in conclusion, don’t panic. Take care of your overall health. Take Echinacea Premium through the winter months (flu season) and keep a bottle of St. John’s Wort on hand so that you can take it immediately should you become ill. And, get regular adjustments to maintain optimum immune function.

October 26, 2005 at 5:25 pm Leave a comment


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