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A “Killer” Flu – Really?

Written by Wellness Club on January 22, 2018 – 12:25 pm -

Deaths attributed to this year’s “flu epidemic” are being reported with great drama and alarum by the press, as they are every year.

10 year-old hockey players. Marathon-running moms. 21 year-old fitness buffs. Infants. Children. Seniors.

The popular press would have us believe that influenza has people dying in record numbers. Be Afraid, Very Afraid is the message, Hurry, Hurry, Hurry, get your flu shot now!

But is it really the influenza virus that is killing people?

A closer look at the reports of deaths that are being attributed to “the Flu” shows that most of these people are really dying of pneumonia – and more specifically, usually streptococcal pneumonia which can result in sepsis and organ failure.

Now, to be sure, a death from strep pneumonia is no less tragic than a death from anything else, flu included.

Also to be sure, pneumonia is not always caused by a bacteria like streptococcus – it can also be caused by fungal infections and yes, viral infections. Approximately 30 percent of pneumonia in the US is caused by a variety of viruses from Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), to coronaviruses, rhinoviruses, parainfluenza viruses, and adenoviruses, and, yes, even Influenza (flu) A and B viruses.

But flu vaccines do not prevent bacterial or fungal pneumonia or viral pneumonia caused by anything except the very specific strains of influenza A and B viruses that were included in this year’s flu vaccine.

Reports from Australia, which experiences it’s “flu season” 6 months earlier than we do in the US, indicate that flu vaccines there were only 10 percent effective, despite strong efforts to promote vaccination. When confronted with this, the CDC claims that our flu vaccine will be as effective as last year’s – that is, around 32 to 39 percent effective.

Wow – that’s a lot of vaccination for not much effectiveness…

So, how many people actually do die from influenza each year?

It is difficult to say, and getting more difficult as the CDC muddies it’s reporting by talking about flu deaths and pneumonia deaths combined – assuming that pneumonia is a complication of the flu and so flu and pneumonia are the same. Using this bit of creative reporting, they are able to tell us that some 36,000 people die each year from “the flu.” Fortunately, anyone with any medical knowledge whatsoever is well aware that the flu is not pneumonia, and pneumonia is not the flu. The influenza virus causes influenza, and pneumonia has many causes – both bacterial and viral – that frequently have nothing to do with the influenza virus.

In fact, a paper published in The British Medical Journal in 2005 “Are US flu death figures more PR than science?” (BMJ 2005; 331:1412) stated:

“[According to CDC statistics], ‘influenza and pneumonia’ took 62,034 lives in 2001 — 61, 777 of which were attributable to pneumonia and 257 to flu, and in only 18 cases was the flu virus positively identified.”

Well then. Perhaps we should be directing our efforts at preventing pneumonia? Maybe a vaccine against streptococcus?

Are we telling you to not get a flu shot? No. The decision to receive a flu shot is yours to make. We cannot, and will not try to dissuade you from getting a flu shot if you believe that it is in your best interest to do so.

We are simply pointing out that the much-hyped “flu deaths” are not actually caused by the influenza virus, but by other things like pneumonia.

Further, despite the assurances of the vaccine makers and the CDC, flu vaccines are not without their own risks. Everything from mild side effect such as fatigue, headache, fever, nausea, and muscle aches to potentially life-threatening allergic reactions, and even Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) a disorder in which a person’s own immune system damages their nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and even paralysis. Most people recover from GBS, but some people suffer long-term nerve damage. In some cases, people have died of GBS, usually from difficulty breathing.

Finally, is it a flu, or is it just a really nasty cold? Both are caused by viruses, both can make a sufferer feel miserable, and in susceptible individuals, both have the potential to cause life-threatening complications like pneumonia.

How to know the difference between a “flu” and a “cold”? Here’s a chart that will help.

 Symptoms  Cold  Flu
Fever Rare Characteristic high fever
(100-102 degrees F); lasts three to four days
Headache Rare Prominent
General Aches, Pains Slight Usual; often severe
Fatigue, Weakness Quite mild Can last up to two or even three weeks
Extreme Exhaustion Never Early and prominent
Stuffy Nose Common Sometimes
Sneezing Usual Sometimes
Sore Throat Common Sometimes
Chest Discomfort,
Mild to moderate;
hacking cough
Common; can become severe
Complications Sinus congestion or earache Bronchitis, pneumonia

Now for those of you who just want to know “What can I do about it?” here’s the short course:

1.) Eat an Immune-Boosting Diet. The two major dietary causes of immune suppression are sugar intake and food allergies.

2.) Practice simple home and hygiene techniques.

  • Wash your hands frequently. You don’t need expensive "hand sanitizers"  (and triclosan has now been banned): simple soap and water is fine and silver gel like ASAP 365 – 24 ppm Silver Gel is a highly effective, safe, everyday, natural alternative to chemical-laced hand sanitizers.
  • Cover your mouth and nose — preferably with a tissue — when you sneeze or cough. And keep your hands away from your eyes and nose.
  • If you are sick take the day off!
  • Keep your house humidified. Viruses and bacteria are less able to travel in humidified air.
  • Get regular exercise – it stimulates the immune system.

3.) Strengthen your immune system with supplemental nutrition.

  • Take an optimal potency vitamin/mineral supplement every day.
    Here are the nutrients of particular immune-enhancing importance, and they should all be found in a good multiple nutrient formula:
    * vitamin C
    * vitamin E
    * beta carotene
    * vitamin A
    * vitamin D
    * zinc
    * selenium
    (Please Note: These nutrients and more are found in optimal amounts in Dr. Myatt’s Maxi Multi vitamins)
  • Since many Americans are deficient you may wish to consider increasing your Vitamin D intake, especially during the winter months. Please learn more and find a full list of references for the benefits of vitamin D in this  Vitamin D Special Report
  • Supplement with additional immune-boosting herbs including Echinacea, astragalus, medicinal mushrooms (Maitake, Shiitake, Reishi), Ligustrum, Goldenseal and Garlic. Learn more about Dr. Myatt’s Immune Support formula .

If you do catch something, (cold or flu) these supplements may help reduce the severity and even shorten the duration of your symptoms.

What about an antibiotic – “Just in case”?

Here’s another look at colds and flu, and at whether or not an antibiotic is something that you really need: Hurry – Get An Antibiotic Before You Don’t Need It!

References and further reading:

CDC (Centers for Disease Control) Influenza information:

BMJ (British Medical Journal) article questioning CDC flu death reporting methods:

“Are US flu death figures more PR than science?” (BMJ 2005; 331:1412)

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Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. No information on this website is intended as personal medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor's care.