A Little Perspective On The Flu
Wednesday, 29 April 2009
Alright, I just can’t resist responding to the hysteria that is going around regarding the swine flu. This post doesn’t have much to do with being gluten-free or dairy-free but rather health and wellness in general, and peace of mind. The media is acting like the world is about to end, and people are going along with it. Other countries are discouraging travel to North America and banning imports of pork from the United States and Mexico (even though it is a fact that you cannot get the swine flu from eating pork). Here are a few statistics to put this all in perspective.
1. As of today, there were 159 swine flu-related deaths in Mexico since the outbreak began.
2. There are at least 800 deaths related to the regular seasonal flu every week in the United States.¹
3. 13,000 people have died in the United States from the regular flu since January.¹
4. Every year 36,000 people die from influenza in the United States.¹
5. Worldwide, the anual death toll from influenza is estimated to be 250,000-500,000.¹
6. No one has yet died from the swine flu in the United States.
7. The death toll from diabetes in the United States in 2005 was over 75,000.³
8. There are an estimated 300,000 premature deaths related to obesity in the United States every year.²
9. Cancer deaths in the United States in 2005 totalled more than 550,000.³
10. More than 650,000 Americans died of heart disease in 2005.³
Yes, it is a terrible thing that people are falling ill from the swine flu. And in an age of globalism the threat of pandemic is very serious. But the government has been extremely proactive in taking steps to contain the virus, which as of yet has not proved to be much more severe than the regular flu. So you can rest assured that the chances of it affecting you are extremely small. There are many other health problems more likely to affect you, if you want to have something to worry about.
The most important thing you can do if you are worried about getting sick is to take care of yourself and eat well. The focus of illness so often surrounds the germ and not the immune system, which is the real reason why some people get sick while others don’t. We live in an age of antibiotics and brand-name antiviral pharmaceutical drugs that often do more harm than good. The truth is, our bodies are designed to fight off viruses, carcinogens, and maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria. But after years of poor nutrition and bombardment from toxins in our environment and food supply, our natural defenses are gradually worn down. We need 7-10 servings of fresh, not canned, fruits and vegetables daily in order to replenish our antioxidants and vitamins, which allow our tissues to function normally.
Also, we need to reduce inflammation and infection within our bodies to maximize our immune reserves. That means dealing with our food allergies – avoiding those foods that cause our bodies to react negatively. Not only does eating something we are allergic to make us feel like crap, but it strains our immune system and makes it harder for us to fight invading viruses and bacterial infections. At first I said this wasn’t going to have anything to do with gluten or dairy, but guess what, gluten and dairy are two of the most inflammatory natural foods you can eat – gluten because it is difficult to digest and, in the case of celiac, wipes out the cilia in your intestinal lining; and dairy, because it stimulates mucus production and inflammatory immune response. Even if you are not intolerant, you will benefit from avoiding these two foods.
So there you have it, my influenza mannifesto, just a little alternative perspective so you can make up your own mind about the severity of the swine flu threat. Hopefully you will see that there’s no need to barricade yourself in your home, get out the face masks, or stop eating pork (unless you are going vegetarian). Just take good care of yourself, eat well, and be in good health.