I know many of you are probably reading about the dangerous Swine Flu that is terrorizing the United States and Mexico. You're probably thinking to yourselves, "I need to buy some medicine to prevent this flu. It will kill me if I get it and there's no vaccine!"
Well, don't even get me started on vaccines...and as for medicine, there are plenty of vitamin supplements you can buy to keep you healthy.
I do, however, want to share with you a letter I just received from Dr. Jay Gordon, a pediatrician in California who I met at the Green Our Vaccines rally in Washington D.C. last summer. I think he offers some excellent advice and rationalization.
Without further ado...Dr. Jay Gordon:
Just wash your hands.
Every year, hundreds of viruses pass through the pediatric and adult community. Many of the bugs are disruptive and keep kids out of school and adults away from work. Some of the viruses have unique signs and symptoms, but most just cause amorphous aches, sneezing, coughing or intestinal upset.
Influenza viruses, especially new ones, trigger more news stories and can be made to seem much more frightening and dangerous than they really are. Government agencies and media don't supply statistical context and make it sound like you've got a "fifty-fifty" chance of contracting this new virus. They then make it sound like a lot of people who get this influenza end up in the hospital and may die. Statistically, nothing could be further from the truth: The chance that the new virus is really dangerous is small. The chance that you'll get it is much, much smaller, and the possibility that you or a family member will be harmed by the virus is so slim that the news should be on page twenty, not page one.
Swine Flu is a virus for which there is no vaccine, no threat to your family and there are undoubtedly tens of thousands of harmless undiagnosed cases throughout the world. The news stories are probably taking a hundred questionable respiratory deaths in Mexico and guessing.
There actually is a very, very small chance that this virus could cause severe illness and whenever this occurs hospitalization and even fatalities are reported. The likelihood of a pandemic is minuscule, but newspapers, governments agencies and the manufacturers of pharmaceuticals do their best work and make their biggest sales when people are scared.
Tamiflu is recommended for treatment and prevention of this influenza virus. The company which gets the drug's royalties (Gilead) has as a major stockholder--previously Chairman--one Donald Rumsfeld.
Local pharmacies are already running low on Tamiflu.
Connect these dots.
The usual boring admonitions apply: wash your hands, stay well-rested and well-hydrated. You do not need to buy Tamiflu. It is an effective antiviral drug but has possible side effects.
As far as our office prescribing Tamiflu, we would rather not, but we will if you insist. I promise you that I personally am purchasing none for my family and would recommend the same to you.
JNG, MD FAAP
So there you have it...the most valuable information you'll receive during this trying time of doubt--get plenty of rest; eat nutritious meals; practice excellent hand washing techniques; keep hydrated, especially on these hot, muggy days; and lastly, find a great multi-vitamin to help give your body the vitamins and minerals it's lacking.
The CDC just announced on live TV they're considering a vaccine. Give me a break! Do they not understand viruses mutate and a vaccine developed today will be completely useless tomorrow? Looks like pharmaceutical companies are in it to make money, once again.
In other news, I was recently asked to do an entry regarding artificial sweeteners and their dangers, as well as healthy alternatives. I'm going to try to further research and write that information later this week.
In the meantime, stay healthy!