|The flu follies|
I nearly fell out of my chair with disbelief the other day after catching some sound bites from Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Anderson Cooper's "AC 360." Given some of their half-witted commentary, I wonder if they should actually call it "AC 180."At least it had me doing a "180" turn-about.
Dr. Gupta is CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent. He was once nominated by the Obama administration to serve as U.S. Surgeon General in 2009 before uproar from the serious medical community caused him to withdraw his name--and preserve his compensation as a medical journalist. His reports for CNN illustrate the epitome of logical lapses in the government-industrial medical system...
He was talking about the flu, of course. After all, it's that time of year when all the news outlets make it sound like this flu season will turn into Armageddon and that you're foolish not to protect yourself by getting a flu shot.
It's true, 2013 is the earliest, and may yet turn into the worst flu season we've seen in 10 years. However--as I've pointed out before in the Daily Dispatch and my monthly Insiders' Cures--except for once in the last 100 years, the annual flu typically does not turn out to be the killer it's made out to be.
Of course, you'd never know that if you listen to the reportage of Dr. Gupta and his fellow mainstream media mouthpieces. Though much to my astonishment, he did accurately describe that the flu vaccine doesn't work at all for 40 percent of people. And there are large groups of people for whom the vaccine does not appear to work at all--like the young and old.
This year's vaccine appears to be particularly ineffective, according to studies released by the University of Minnesota that we reported in the Daily Dispatch.
So--has anyone put two and two together? Maybe the reason why this year's flu season will hit so hard is that the vaccine doesn't really work!
But here's the kicker...Sanjay is still wrapping up his reports with ritual recommendations that there is still time to run out and get a flu shot! It might seem absurd if you consider that there is nearly a 50:50 chance that it won't work for you; and if you are over 60 it probably won't work at all.
These are the mixed messages that plague the system and leave real science and logical health recommendations by the wayside in an effort to support the marginally effective vaccine enterprise.
But there is plenty you can do to protect yourself from the flu, without subjecting yourself to the lottery of the flu shot. I've written about it several times before in the Daily Dispatch. You can search past issues on the flu online at DrMicozzi.com. And it's also detailed in the February issue of my monthly newsletter, Insiders' Cures. Including common-sense solutions that have been in the Boy Scout handbook since the flu epidemic of 1918! If you haven't subscribed yet, get started today!
And of course, you can't go wrong with vitamin C. Take 2,000 mg a day during the winter (and year-round). This amount will help your body fight off any viruses you do meet. And if you do happen to get the flu, taking vitamin C, together with a proven herbal remedy (see below) can help decrease the severity and duration of your symptoms.
At this point in the season, it won't hurt to take echinacea every day until the flu subsides again. Go for 300 mg three times a day as a supplement, or as an herbal infusion taken as a pleasant and warming hot beverage. But don't take echinacea year-round. It's a proven immune-modulator (which is why it is effective at preventing and limiting colds and flus). Although you definitely don't want to keep your immune system ramped up all year long, now would be a good time to do so.
In the meantime, won't you join me in a warm cup of echinacea tea to start the winter day?
Here's what else I covered this week in the Daily Dispatch...
Put down that celery stick and relax
A new study from the CDC National Center for Health Statistics should make you think twice about your New Year's resolution to lose that extra 10 pounds. Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the new study shows that being slightly overweight is healthier for you. It actually increases longevity.
The trouble with Jane's chimps
Nearly two-thirds of emerging infectious diseases--often lethal to humans--derive from animals. And two-thirds of those diseases come directly from animals that live in the wild, such as chimpanzees. Many believe that despite their shrinking numbers, chimps and other primates act as sources for deadly new infectious diseases.
Dangerous viruses in the wild
Fifty years ago, infectious disease experts paid little attention to animals in the wild. Today, however, most of the danger comes from the wild, especially from disrupted environments. And in today's global biosphere, just living in the U.S. doesn't protect you from lethal emerging infections from animals in the wild. Learn about infectious diseases that now endanger the U.S..
Always on the side of science,
Marc S. Micozzi, M.D., Ph.D.
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