Get the facts about Swine Flu

Tuesday, May 05, 2009
By Abbey Khan


Worried about the swine flu? Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, Medical Director of the
national Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers and best-selling author answers our questions about the seriousness of swine flu and what precautions we can take to stay healthy.

What is the difference between the swine flu and the regular flu?
The main difference is that genetically it’s a different strain. It’s a strain that our immune system hasn’t had that much contact with. The regular flu that we are all familiar with is called influenza. This is the swine flu (H1N1) and it’s just a different virus. The swine flu is most commonly found in pigs, but basically it’s a bug like any other bug.

How worried should we be about the swine flu?
We have a flu bug every year and tens of thousands of people die. It’s especially those who are the sickest and weakest– it’s just a natural part of life. The swine flu isn’t any more dangerous than any other virus and this pandemic just means that it is not in a certain geographical area. We have malaria which kills thousands of people every day, yet it’s not considered a pandemic.

Why are we hearing about the swine flu now? Is this new?
Just like human beings evolve to fight infections, the bug world also evolves. Different viruses trade information and that’s how they evolve and that’s normal. When we have a normal flu, cats aren’t going to catch it because it’s a human flu. The ones for pigs affect pigs but when they mutate sometimes they can jump and affect people and that’s all that’s going on.

What symptoms should we be looking out for?
We shouldn’t be looking for anything. It’s just the flu. If you get a cold, running nose, cough, aches, fever, things like that, then you probably have a bit of a bug.

What can we do to keep from catching the swine flu?
Use common sense. If you’re out and about in public regardless of which flu it is, come home and wash your hands for about 15-20 seconds. The key thing to look at is when the virus is really out there, you’re going to come in contact with it, just like when cold season is coming around. So why do some people catch a nasty cold or flu and other people don’t? It has to do with our immune system.

How can you keep your immune system strong?
Get a good night’s sleep every night, which means eight hours of sleep.
Get good nutrition. Take a good multi-vitamin that is high in Vitamin C and D.
Avoid sodas and sugar. A can of Coca-Cola or any soda will suppress your immune function by 30% for 3 hours.

What about Tamiflu? Should the public go to the doctor to get this shot?
I would take all of this (above) over Tamiflu or even a flu vaccine, both of which are not all that safe. From the last swine flu fiasco, no-one died from the flu itself, but a lot of people died from the vaccine. The lawsuit from people who were injured from the vaccine totaled over a billion dollars. Some people were injured with a paralyzing neurological disease due to the vaccine.

Tamiflu is also not all that safe. First of all, it’s not that effective and it decreases your immune system by about a day. It costs around $100 and may or may not be covered by your health insurance provider. You’re better off just staying in bed and watching tv or reading a book. It’s dangerous especially for children and is more likely to kill the kid than the flu itself.

But the flu vaccine is a good thing when used as directed. It should be given to people who are older or frail and have immune problems.

How long will someone have the swine flu?
Most flu bugs will last 3-7 days. And it depends on their immune system. During flu season, every person will have contact with the virus, but most people will never even know it because their immune system is strong and they’ll simply kill it before it gets worse.

What should you do if you do get the flu?
Take several thousand milligrams of Vitamin C every day, such as 1000-2000 mg 3-4 times a day. This will really decrease the symptoms of the bug. When you get to a certain level of Vitamin C, you can get diarrhea, which is not dangerous, but it just means that you will have to cut back on your dosage. When you have a cold, your body will tolerate a much higher level of Vitamin C until you can get rid of that cold. When you’re feeling healthy, your body won’t want as much. When you have a bug, you’re going to find that it’s more effective than Tylenol, which you can take for the achiness if you want. I don’t recommend aspirin especially in children. Aspirin medications kill over 16,000 people a year, but that’s not news anymore.

Take a good multi-vitamin. I like the powders, especially one called Energy Revitalization System powder. You just take one scoop a day and it helps keep your immune system strong.

Drink warm tea or warm non-sugar liquids and put some honey in it if you want. Do not have milk and drink caffeine free tea so you will not feel hyper and can rest better.

Can we continue to eat pork products?
Yes. Eating pork products has absolutely nothing to do with getting the virus. This has to do with keeping your immune system strong and washing your hands. You don’t have to keep washing it throughout the day otherwise you’ll get dry hands and flaky skin. When you’re out and about and come home, just wash your hands.

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11 years ago

considering treatment was very limited in 1918 compared to now in which in most cases the only method of treatment was a warm cloth placed on the patient’s forehead, communication links could not compare to current methods, immune systems were not as able as they are now and the Spanish flu version was far more lethal as that flu attacked the victim’s lungs. So by attempting to compare the current h1 influenza virus with that of 1918 I think is rather naive.