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Summer's coming to an end, kids back to school, swine flu mania is non-stop, yikes! Don't worry, sanity and help can be found below.
I will be in the clinic on Monday Aug. 24th and then gone for the rest of the week. as Laurie and I are taking my daughter Sarah off to Syracuse University (yes Syracuse, N.Y.) for her freshman year of college.
I will be in the clinic this Friday and will return Monday, Aug. 31st. Please call now if you want to get in before I leave, as the schedule will be very busy.
Let me say up front that I am all for my patients' doing everything they can to be prepared for the flu season. I write an article on this subject every year at this time. Of course this year it is different as the swine flu scare has taken over. We all know that with the amount of press surrounding this issue, the swine flu was most likely the number one story covered over the last 4 months, and I suspect it will be the number one story of 2009.
The latest worldwide statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) indicate there have been 183,326 confirmed cases (this means there is a multiple of this number of actual cases, as many people are NOT sick enough to even go to a doctor with their symptoms, plus they had to be tested to confirm it as swine flu).
There are only 1,148 confirmed deaths worldwide related to the swine flu so far. This total is likely to be more accurate because anyone who dies exhibiting flu-like symptoms is tested. However, this does not mean that they have died directly from the swine flu. It is often not the confirmed cause of death, as a large percentage (70-80%) of these individuals die from some other health complication, which was further compromised by the flu. This is similar to many other types of flu.
Much of the hype comes from the tremendous spreading of the flu that happens every year once the kids have gone back to school. Flu season has already hit the southern hemisphere where they don't have vaccines, and yes, there are people dieing from the swine flu. However, this is nowhere near the level that we have seen in the U.S. during a particularly bad year in the past. Actually, this reported rate is even lower than America's annual average.
Australia is a country of about 22 million people, and so far they have reported 112 deaths associated with the swine flu. This would equate to our yearly death rate of approximately 7,500, "associated with the flu". This is still a relatively small number compared to 2006 where we had had 56,326+ deaths in the U.S. associated with the seasonal flu, 849 of which were directly caused by the flu. In Mexico, where all the noise began, it looked like they were going to be wiped out. However, they have reported only 164 associated deaths so far from the swine flu from a population of 111 million.
Now let's look at some recent research released by Harvard scientists this past May, funded by the Center for Disease Control. They determined that there are 72,000-96,000 PREVENTABLE deaths each year due to omega-3 fatty acid deficiency!!
This is "EACH YEAR", and is fully preventable! How much has the media covered this story and how much government attention has this garnered? It did make news releases, without a lot of fanfare. How many of you have even heard this story?
One problem here is this is a "one time news item", meaning they can't write about it everyday and it doesn't create nearly the drama that the scare of the swine flu does. It is important to understand that "drama" sells newspapers, magazines and internet hits, which is how the media makes their money.
The swine flu appears to me to be an even greater source of media attention than the Michael Jackson tragedy. Additionally, Omega 3 deficiency related deaths are not dramatic as they don't say "he died of Omega 3 fatty acid deficiency". It's just not exciting, but is actually much more tragic when you look at the numbers.
Two more important results from the same study: they reported 63,000-97,000 preventable deaths annually from high trans fat intake, and 188,000 - 237,000 due to obesity! Now it's important to understand that trans fat is man made ingredient the government allows to be added to food that does not need to be there! The problem with trans fats is that they are protected by the food industry.
If the media and government gave a fraction of the attention and resources to Omega 3 deficiency deaths and trans fat deaths that they gave to the swine flu, just think, they could save 150,00 - 200,000 lives per year!!! 63,000 - 97,000 from just banning trans fats!!! This could be done... Tomorrow (well except for lobbyists and politics)!!
Now, I understand the CDC's response to the swine flu, their job is to make sure some great tragedy does not occur. Of course there have been great flu tragedies in the past, where millions of people have died. However, the facts of the current swine flu do not warrant such a scare and need to be watched carefully.
Curious enough, something I wasn't aware of is this same scenario was first seen in 1976. At that time, there was one reported case of a death due to the swine flu, combined with the soldier's boot camp training routine. The government responded with a swine flu vaccine, which approximately 40 million Americans received. No other deaths were associated with the flu, however, between 300 -500 cases of Gillian Barre Syndrome (a fatal or significantly life changing neurological disease) were reported by people who had received the vaccine within days of their first symptom.
As it turns out, the government experts warned the CDC that this was a risk prior to the release of the vaccine and the information was not made public. 60 minutes ran a segment on the outcome of this and that edition was banned from further release. It is now available online. Additionally, it is reported that the government paid out large settlements in lawsuits for their part in this tragedy.
Our government has consistently denied that vaccines play any part in any conditions caused by the vaccine. However, I have seen enough cases, some of which are quite tragic, that were undoubtedly related to vaccinations.
I am not saying that no one should receive this vaccine. However, as in all other years, I would only recommend it to patients of mine who have significant cases of asthma, or whose health is already significantly compromised.
The true key to preventing significant health consequences from this infection, and all infections, is staying as healthy as possible, and being prepared if we begin to come down with any infection by following the preventative protocols designed to boost our immune system.
By the way, in my 25 years of practice (knock on wood), I have never had a patient end up in the hospital due to the flu. I'm proud to say, I have a very well educated group of patients who are quite good at following my recommendations of what to do at the onset of any infection. Which of course is my following article.
Final word: This flu is apt to spread faster than our regular seasonal flu, as most of us do not have any significant similar immunity. However, it is likely to be no more dangerous, and quite possibly less dangerous. Vaccines have risks, and I guess the best way to put it is that out of my entire family, the only one I would recommend get the flu is one in-law who is quite weak and unhealthy to begin with. My kids, my self, even my step-mom who is over 70, but still strong, I would not recommend the vaccine to.
I hope this is helpful, please send me any further questions you have on this topic.
About 8 years ago I created a Travel Protocol to reduce the risk of picking up a bad infection when flying. It works remarkably well. Many people are aware that flying in an airplane with circulating germs can be the beginning of a trip with an infection, no longer. This can also be used if you get a cold or flu while at your point of destination.
Flight Prevention Protocol: Begin Im-Encap at 4 per meal (3x's/day), the day before your flight. Keep the dose at this amount for 1 -2 days after you arrive at your destination. Then if you are feeling fine, with no signs of an infection, you can stop your Im-Encap. If you feel like you picked something up on the flight, keep taking your Im-Encap at that dose, until you feel fine for 5 days in a row.
Re-start the Flight Prevention Protocol the day before your returning flight, or any additional flights during your trip.
Hurray, it's that time of the year again! The UCSB Men's soccer season begins this Sat., Aug. 22, with the traditional Westmont exhibition game at 7:30 p.m.
All those involved expect a better season than last year. Lots of excitement surrounds the team as our newest recruiting class was just ranked 4th in the nation, and we are deep in talent. That combined with the nations best coaching staff (and the return of the notorious, excitable, motivating Leo Chappel), and the best fans, should result in a top ten finish by my prediction. Also, we are confidant that with the most supportive fans we will once again be number one in attendance in the nation.
This Saturday afternoon, there is the yearly "Meet the Team Booster Event". If any of my patients are interested in possibly becoming a booster, and would like to attend this event, please contact me right away.
See you at Harder Stadium Gaucho Fans!
HE PRAYED -------- it wasn't my religion.
HE ATE --------- it wasn't what I ate.
HE SPOKE --------- it wasn't my language.
HE DRESSED --------- it wasn't what I wore.
HE TOOK MY HAND --------- it wasn't the color of mine.
BUT WHEN HE LAUGHED --------- IT WAS HOW I LAUGHED,
AND WHEN HE CRIED---- IT WAS HOW I CRIED.
"Underneath We're All the Same" by, Amy Maddox, 16, Franklin Community High School Bargersville, Ind.
Our summer is coming to a close, the kids will be back in school very soon, this is a time of year when stress levels can be quite high. Be sure to take the time to appreciate the simple things we have in life, focus on staying balanced, healthy, and caring for others. This will bring some calm amid the dust storm.
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