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COLD and FLU SEASON 2005 : Updates & Natural Treatment & Prevention Information

by Dr. Stephen Gangemi on December 5, 2005

Last year the shortage of the flu vaccine stressed out everyone’s immune systems enough to lower their resistance to all viruses. This year we have the Avian Flu scare to take its place. Although two completely different viruses, the fact that there is such a “killer virus” out there like the Bird Flu makes people more afraid of coming down with the common flu that is present every year from early Fall to late Spring.

Each year, federal health agency officials try to guess which three flu strains are most likely to be prevalent in the U.S. the following year to determine which strains will be included in that following year’s flu vaccine. When the match between the vaccine and circulating viruses is close, the flu vaccine is thought to provide a 70-90% chance of temporary immunity to selected strains in healthy persons less than 65 years old. For those over 65 years old, which is usually one of the target groups, the efficacy rate drops to a mere 30-40%. Although it is considered to be 50-60% effective in preventing hospitalization or pneumonia and 80% effective in preventing death from flu caused by the covered strains.

  • Like all vaccines, the flu vaccine only gives temporary immunity to the virus strains or closely related virus strains contained in the vaccine. The only way to get natural and permanent immunity to a strain of flu is to recover naturally from the flu.
  • For information on the flu shot, Fluvirin, and FluMist, see my 2004 newsletter in the Archives.
  • Tamiflu is the drug available that blocks the enzyme neuraminidase. Neuraminidase inhibitor medications will prevent new virus particles from being released, thus slowing or stopping the spread of the virus. On average, a person recovers 30% faster on Tamiflu. It is currently thought that using Tamiflu for the Bird Flu will cause the virus to mutate into a more potent and dangerous form.

** See how to naturally block the neuraminidase enzyme below **

  • Flu vaccines weaken the immune system and many times make a person actually more predisposed to illnesses.
  • Vaccines can cause illnesses including autoimmune diseases, allergies, ear infections, and other diseases. Their link to Autism and developmental learning and behavioral disorders is strong.  Many ingredients and contaminants in vaccines have been proven to be detrimental to your health. For more information on vaccines, click here.

Realize this – the flu vaccine is not the answer in avoiding the flu – staying in good health is.

Some tips for staying health and preventing viral infections:

  • Avoid refined foods such as white sugars and flours which suppress the immune system
  • Avoid “bad” fats – partially hydrogenated oils, these are proven to dampen the immune system
  • Eat organic fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Drink plenty of  pure filtered water
  • Limit caffeine intake (coffee, tea, soda, chocolate)
  • Check your VITAMIN D level. Vitamin D is extremely important in maintaining a healthy immune system. Many people are deficient in the nutrient, especially in the winter months as vitamin D is best derived from the UV-B rays of the sun. Optimal 25(OH)D levels are 50-80 ng/ml. The minimum level for good health is 32 ng/ml even though many labs and physicians have a normal as low as the single digits.
  • Exercise daily, at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise (see information under Fitness)
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after visiting public places
  • Get plenty of sleep (check out my “Power of Sleep” article)

And if you get the flu, or ANY VIRUS: Follow the information above and:

  • Take elderberry extract. The Israeli extract commonly referred to as Sambucal is proven to block the neuraminidase enzyme responsible for viral replication. This can be used for support during the cold season, by taking 2 teaspoons,(1 teaspoon for children), 4 times a day, can significantly reduce infection time. Some studies show that this can resolve flu symptoms in as fast as 2-3 days, compared to a typical 6-7 day infection period.
  • Vitamin C? >> I rarely find vitamin C in its common ascorbic acid form to be of any benefit to a person, other than acidify their tissues which can have its own advantages (and disadvantages). More important is to eat plenty of organic, nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables to get all the natural phytonutrients found in the whole food. I also like Camu powder for its natural vitamin C content. I like the products Camu Supreme and Thera Supreme, available in my office or here.
  • Rub your thymus reflex point. Your thymus is the master gland of your immune system and rubbing over this typically tender spot will help to support the organ’s function. The area to rub is on the right side of your body midline to your armpit at the level of your nipple. The area can be tender in a small place or as large as 3 inches vertical to 2 inches lengthwise. Rub out the tender areas in a firm, circular motion for 1-2 minutes, 4-5 times a day – or better yet, get someone to do it for you! It will feel more tender than what you can do yourself!

I'm a board certified chiropractic physician and clinical nutritionist with a passion for true natural health care. I implement dietary & nutritional therapies, exercise & movement practices, and lifestyle changes along with manual therapy techniques to help the body heal and prevent illness and injuries.

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