Are You Afraid of the Swine Flu?May 4th, 2009
The media has created quite a stir about swine flu and has many people envisioning the possibility of millions of deaths. Before you waste precious energy and emotion fearing the swine flu, take some time to understand the situation and ground yourself with a rational perspective.
What is the Swine Flu?
Swine flu is a form of influenza that typically spreads among pigs, but can also be transmitted to humans. The specific strain of swine flu that has been on everyone’s mind lately contains a strange combination of genetic material from human, bird and pig specific strains. It also has never before been found in a human or animal, including pigs.
Similar to most strains of influenza, symptoms of swine flu include fever, coughing, congestion, sore throat, headaches, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue and a loss of appetite. It’s obviously something that you want to avoid, but does it really pose the threat of a pandemic as we’re being led to believe?
How Did This Strain of Swine Flu Originate?
It’s currently not known exactly how or where this strain of swine flu originated. The most reasonable explanation would be a sick pig from which the virus mutated, but this certainly isn’t the only possibility. In fact, the strange circumstances surrounding this strain could arguably suggest that it’s origin is not quite this simple.
One theory cites a factory farm in Mexico as the potential source. Factory farms raise livestock in unhealthy and unnatural conditions. They confine a large number of animals to small spaces, use low quality unnatural feed that is full of toxins, use antibiotics on a regular basis to compensate for the unhealthy conditions, and use hormones to accelerate growth. The unhealthy environment created by factory farms promotes the mutation and transmission of germs.
A more controversial theory suggests that the current strain of swine flu was intentionally manufactured to promote the sales of pharmaceuticals. While this may sound outlandish, it would be naive to think that there aren’t drug companies and government officials who wouldn’t hesitate to do such a thing. One possible source of motivation for such a scandal is the billions of dollars in overstock of the flu medication Tamiflu that’s left over from the bird flu scare and is due to expire this coming October.
Regardless of how the current strain of swine flu started, what’s most important is that you understand your risk and know how to protect yourself.
Evaluating Your Risk
As we’ve seen with past media frenzies concerning bird flu and the west nile virus, it’s unlikely that swine flu will become the true pandemic that the media is leading us to fear. According to the CDC, about 36,000 people die each year in the United States from flu related illnesses. That’s almost 100 people per day. In contrast, only 1 person has died from swine flu in the United States, and it was a 22 month old baby that was visiting from Mexico where the virus is most prominent. If the swine flu is at near pandemic proportions, then what can be said for the much higher incidence of influenza that routinely occurs in the United States every single year?
I’m not suggesting that you foolishly dismiss the risks of swine flu, but rather that you consider it rationally and rise above the panic that certainly won’t help your chances of avoiding it. While it’s a good idea to avoid exposure to swine flu by taking customary precautions such as frequently washing your hands, keeping your hands away from your face, and not traveling to areas with a high incidence, it’s far more important to increase your resistance. You’ll never be able to completely avoid all germs and viruses, and when you do encounter them, a strong immune system will be capable of fighting them off.
Most importantly, don’t make the mistake of assuming that you’re in excellent health and have a strong immune system just because you feel fine. Few people truly understand what optimal health feels like and even fewer actually experience it. As such, you may very well have a significantly compromised immune system without knowing it. While there are many things you can do to boost your immunity, it’s most important to build the foundation for a strong immune system by living a healthy lifestyle. Without this foundation, any additional attempts to strengthen immunity are likely to fail.
Why You Should Think Twice About Flu Shots
Flu vaccines are typically engineered months in advance and are designed specifically for just a few strains of influenza. As such, they can be completely ineffective against any other strains which includes new mutations that may occur after the shots are manufactured. In other words, the effectiveness of a flu shot is based on an educated guess.
Many people who get flu shots end up reacting with flu like symptoms. In addition, flu shots are loaded with toxins including 250 times more mercury than the EPA’s safety limit, concentrations of aluminum that have led to an association of vaccinations with Alzheimer’s disease, and several other cancer causing and unnatural chemicals. Flu shots even contain a chemical that’s commonly used as antifreeze for automobiles!
In regard to swine flu, a shot is very unlikely to be effective anyway since they take months to produce and the current strain has just recently been identified.
The media frenzy that surrounds these outbreaks ties right into the symptom chasing mentality that continues to plague modern society. You’ll hear all kinds of recommendations about washing your hands, avoiding travel, and of course, which vaccinations or medications to take. Unfortunately, what you won’t hear is the sound advice to strengthen your immune system by living a healthier lifestyle so that future outbreaks are of little threat to you. The reason you won’t hear this is because it doesn’t create a big media stir and it doesn’t have any sizable profit potential for big industry. This is why it’s so important to take responsibility for your health.
For more detailed facts, figures and theories on the current outbreak of swine flu, read Dr. Mercola’s article titled The Swine Flu Pandemic – Fact or Fiction.