Friday, September 18, 2009

H1N1 thoughts

I have just heard that in my home town in Vermont they are getting ready to hand out free surgical masks as a flu control method. While I applaud low tech and prevention minded tactics, I do feel as though there is some fear mongering being generated by someone about the H1N1 flu– I am not really sure who – the press, the vaccine manufacturers? What I observe is that we have flus every winter and some are really very awful and last for what seems like longer than the typical course of the H1N1 flu. No one hands out surgical masks for these.

It is interesting to me that while some studies show that fear decreases the immune system, that there is so much fear being generated about this particular strain of flu.

One college administrator being interviewed on National Public Radio was asked what his biggest concern was with the H1N1 flu and he gave an excellent answer, which was that he thought that the H1N1 flu was an uncomfortable, but in most cases, self-limiting illness. What he was really afraid of was that due to all the hype about H1N1 that his college staff, and possibly medical teams, would miss really very serious and dangerous illnesses like meningitis.

One good thing about all the H1N1 alerts is that some of the information is very sound and what I would hope people would do whether they have H1N1, or “seasonal” flu, or any other illness.

The first is take care of your self and stay home so you can get better quickly and so you do not share whatever you have with coworkers and friends.

The second is wash your hands frequently especially if you are out in public, and using public keyboards or washrooms.

I would add to these very basic, simple, common sense recommendations, to stay well hydrated, get plenty of sleep, eat well, including plenty of vegetables and fruits, and avoid or minimize sugar. In addition the natural stand-by of vitamin C, while dismissed by conventional medicine, can be very handy in minimizing colds and other illnesses.

I would also recommend general health care maintenance. This might be a good time to have regular appointments with the health practitioners you find helpful – acupuncturist, TCM, massage therapist or bodyworker, chiropractor, naturopath, herbalist, homeopath, yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates instructor. Search the Guide web site for local Upper Valley practitioners.

The CDC web site dedicated to H1N1 - - offers some general information as well as what some of the warning signs are for more dangerous symptoms that may require more attention than just bed rest and at-home remedies. It also offers useful information about cleaning and contagion duration.

Here’s hoping for a healthy, and flu-free fall and winter!

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