Flu Pandemic, When Will One Occur and How to Avoid Getting Sick?

It’s not a matter of if, but when a pandemic will occur.  Flu and other type of pandemics have happened throughout history.

Three flu pandemics happened in the 1900s. Near the end of World War I, the 1918 Flu Pandemic was the most severe flu pandemic of the century.  It killed about 675,000 people in the United States and between 20 to 50 million people around the world.  I know that several people in my own family died during this pandemic.

This year the H1N1 swine flu is back.  This has already resulted in deaths in some states.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recently reported that the flu is in full swing nationally. The latest CDC figures from the final week of 2013 show widespread flu activity in 25 states, including the Pacific Northwest and Nevada, and most of the country’s biggest states, including Texas, New York and Illinois.

How to avoid the flu

The government advises you to get a flu shot, I will not advise you one way or the other, but I did not get one.  Instead, I work to strengthen my immune system.

Know the signs and avoid people who are sick. Symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue.  Sometimes there can be vomiting and diarrhea.

Take all possible preventive actions.  Wash your hands frequently.  Avoid contact with sick people.  If you have flu symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.  Keep sick kids home from school if they have the flu.  Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.  Avoid spreading germs by not touching your eyes, nose or mouth.  Drink plenty of fluids and get bed rest.

What to do if a  flu pandemic occurs

The following are some guidelines put out by the LDS Church several years ago.  They mention the avian flu which was the big concern at the time.  However, the suggestions on how to handle a pandemic still apply.flu

One additional thing that I would add is to have enough food and water readily available in your home to feed your family for at least three weeks in addition to the supplies that they suggested.  You may have to bug in and avoid contact with others.

Howard

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4 Responses to Flu Pandemic, When Will One Occur and How to Avoid Getting Sick?

  1. GoneWithTheWind says:

    The problem is that the very attributes that make a disease “pandemic” make it almost impossible to avoid being exposed to. Washing your hands will only work if your exposure is through touching something that has the virus on it. But most people catch this disease from breathing in droplets that infected people “expire” when they breath, cough and sneeze. In a “real” pandemic it would be pretty much impossible to avoid catching it.
    As for strengthing your immune system the number one way to do that probably 10,000 times more effective then anything you can do on your own is to get the flu shot. 99.99% of what you read from the alternative health advocates about “strengthing” your immune system is pure superstition and poppycock. Things like mega doses of vitamins C and D for example. The biggest factor is beyond your control and that is your genetics, i.e. how healthy is your family. Other then that it is your age and personal health. Certainly not eating organic or taking supplements.
    Another example of the misinformation the alternative health advocates put out is the oft used example of people who take some supplement and never get colds. Well in fact we all get colds but because of basic variations in huans some people express symptoms far more then others. Some suffer a week of stuffy nose, sneezing, temperatures and sinus pressure and others do not. They both still have the cold but some people are genetically “lucky” and simply don’t have severe symptoms. So with or without the supplements or megadoses of vitamins you get colds and other illnesses. There is no magic in health care. And superstitions no matter how often repeated or by who are still superstitions based in blind faith and not science. You might as well be wearing a chicken leg around your neck or eating garlic.

    • Common Sense says:

      Vitamins are important- as a part of whole health. Meaning that you need to have a balanced diet and by physically fit. You mentioned that briefly, but I don’t think it was stressed enough.

      I disagree that people being “genetically lucky” is important. While that could have some effect, generally physical fitness and FATIGUE are the major issues. If you don’t sleep/rest well, you will become ill more often and more severely. The biggest causes of people being entirely asymptomatic are not proven to be genetic either.

      I agree that specific things like vitamin D or C, or oregano etc. DO NOT have the effect everyone expects (or else we could just take it all the time and nobody would ever be ill).

      Also the thread is referencing the flu- or “influenza”, not a cold. They are different. Rarely will a cold cause severe illness or death- it is usually due to related illnesses, whereas influenza alone can cause death.

  2. GoneWithTheWind says:

    Absolutely a “balanced diet” is important. But in the 1st world we all or most all eat balanced diets and get the MDR of vitamins and minerals. The only reason vitamins and diet are in this discussion is because so often someone will claim that megadoses of some vitamin will prevent illness. So too the only reason that a common cold entered into the discussion is that often the pro-vitamin, pro-alternative medicine arguement is quickly followed by the statement that “they have been taking vitamins or supplements for 10 years and haven’t had a cold all that time”. This all goes back to the belief that somehow you can take a pill or eat only organic and no worries. This is pure superstition and all too often causes people to ignore good medical advice to their detriment. The best advice regarding the flu is to get the shot.

  3. rob says:

    Elderberry – juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.
    Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. Phytochemistry found that the flavonoids in elderberry bind to and prevent the H1N1 swine flu, H7N9 Avian Influenza A virus in test tubes. Researchers note that the H1N1 inhibition activity of elberberry is comparative to the known anti-influenza activity of the drug Tamiflu and amantadine, an organic compound often used in flu medications. Elderberry has been used in folk medicine for centuries to treat influenza, colds and sinusitis, and has been reported to have antiviral activity against influenza.

    The supplements of elderberry are highly potent when it comes to treating infections in the upper respiratory tract. It controls the secretion of mucus, as seen during cold and flu, due to antiviral properties. It also helps clear chest congestion, sore throat and coughs.

    In a 1995 Israeli study, elderberry extract was found to reduce both the severity of symptoms and the duration of flu (two to three days in the treated group versus six days in the placebo group). Choose an extract standardized to contain 5 percent total flavonoids and take 500 milligrams twice daily.

    Star Anise – (Illicium verum) is the eight-pointed star-shaped fruit of a Chinese evergreen tree with a strong licorice smell. Very fragrant. Don’t confuse it with Japanese star anise, which is poisonous and should not be taken. The seeds are similar to “anise seeds” both in appearance and in flavor, which is actually determined by the anethole compound present in both of them.

    If you have a cold with bad cough and runny nose, anise extract is the answer. It can relieve throat inflammation and lung congestion, respiratory tract infections, lung swelling (inflammation), cough, bronchitis, the flu (influenza), swine flu, and bird flu. Tamiflu the new flu wonder drug sold by Big Pharmaceuticals is made from the Chinese Star Anise. This remedy is not just for bird flu but all viruses.

    The therapeutic powers of anise’s phytochemicals, including creosol and alpapinene, are commonly used in herbal remedies to break up congestion and ease coughing. Anise is an expectorant that is also antiseptic to the mucous membranes. This means that anise does double duty: it kill germs while clearing the lungs of congestion.

    Anise extract is obtained through a process called absorption, in which anise or star anise essential oils are extracted by steeping the seeds in 100 proof grain alcohol.

    You can buy anise extract in its pure form, usually sold as a tincture, or as a liquid extract which uses alcohol as a solvent.

    Anise Side Effects: If you happen to be under estrogen medication, it would be better for you to avoid anise extract in medicinal quantities because it contains high amounts of estrogen that could interfere with your treatment.

    Similarly, if you are taking birth control pills, anise extract could decrease their effectiveness because of the estrogen component.

    Narcotic in large doses. Anise seeds contain anethole, a plant hormone similar to human estrogen, that promotes menstruation, and lactation in nursing mothers. Anise should not be used while pregnant and in young babies. The essential oil is for topical use only.

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