Only a week ago I briefly attended a professional avian flu conference and posted a blog The Berkeley Avian Influenza Conference. At that time I didn’t hear anyone speak of the Egyptian avian problem in the offing but I must confess I didn’t attend most of the lectures because I felt like an outsider, an interloper. They were very nice to me but it was my own inferiority complex which was the problem.
Then along comes the report of avian flu in Egypt which seemed to require a more current post so I wrote, The Bird flu is coming sooner or later—so prepare for it. In the past there have been a couple of other blogs A cure for the common cold using 105°F baths, and The cure for the common cold is six 102°F degree fevers. I mention these so you may click through them easily using this as an index page and to demonstrate that I have a continuing interest in this deadly subject.
Now a new flu is upon us, coming from Mexico and not Asia, and it may prove to be the disaster the authorities on this subject have been forecasting for decades and everyone who thinks about these things has been dreading. These are not newly fomented political issues as it was in the case of the artificial political twisting of the swine flu facts which created the controversy which lost President Ford’s 1976 election to Jimmy Carter. Ford was caught in a dilemma of damned if he supported immediate vaccination of the public as being unneeded and damned if he didn’t support the immediate vaccination campaign and let the public die. He was screwed if there wasn’t an epidemic in progress by election day and screwed if there was one.
One strange non-political twist is that this new flu isn’t the H5N1, which has been carefully monitored throughout the world but the H1N1. Those terms are technical nomenclature for identifying the structure of the virus molecule’s identifiable surface. The H5N1 may still strike and be deadly even if this new H1N1 proves to be a rampant killer. Having suffered from one of these flus will provide absolutely no protection from catching the other one and may in fact weaken the victim and make them more vulnerable to catching the other. It doesn’t matter which one hits first. This new Mexican virus is human to human transmissible and is potentially deadly. As mentioned in my other blogs When you are sick avoid sick birds!!! and sick people! The reason is because when you are sick with one flu or possibly other disease you provide a breeding ground for flu viruses to interbreed and form even more virulent and more contagious strains of flu. The authorities are already shutting down public events to slow the spread of the virus but in a Mexico City metropolitan area with 28 million people who have to go work and go shopping for food there will still be lots of human to human interactions.
With modern technology it is possible to create influenza vaccines—but it takes time. Because this is a new flu virus they will need to have some of the exact virus to begin that process. No doubt that creation and development process is presently in progress at a fever pitch—but it takes time. The way to create the several months necessary to brew up the vaccine is to isolate the people sick with the flu. If this new flu had started in a small village somewhere remote from population centers they could be totally isolated from the rest of the world. But in this case where the flu has started off in one of the largest cities in the world that isolation will be impossible. Furthermore, since the flu has already been spread it may already be too late to stop it.
There are some possibilities for slowing the flu down and even stopping it by the use of massive amounts of drugs such as Tamiflu to shotgun the entire area. That might work if the flu was in a relatively isolated town but not so well in a thriving metropolis. There have been large quantities of Tamiflu laid up by various governments and it seems to be effective in alleviating the severity of symptoms somewhat if given the very first day that symptoms appear. But most people don’t get the drug until the fourth day when they enter a hospital and then it isn’t very effective.
My hot bath technique, mentioned in the blogs listed above, may in fact help as much as anything because it works by stimulating the body to create more flu killing T-cells and macrophages. These natural defenses are able to hold the flu in check to some degree but they cannot cure the flu. They cannot cure the flu because the macrophages are relatively large entities and the tiny virus can go places where they can not be pursued and destroyed. Thus the viruses have these refuges where they can multiply. However, the T-cells can slow down the growth of the flu colonies and it is this extra time which the body needs to identify and manufacture the virus killing antibodies.
Stay clean, avoid people and if you have some flu symptoms see your doctor instantly.