Swine Flu Update

As the fall and winter weather approaches, it is the signal that various viral illnesses will be more prevalent.  The most common viral illnesses we see are the typical flu, upper respiratory illnesses (better known as colds), and this year, there is an additional virus called H1N1.  Usually older, debilitated people are at the greatest risk for the flu, however the swine flu seems to target younger people (under age 24).


This brings up the tricky question of vaccination.  My training as a homeopath leads me to be less in favor of vaccines than more traditionally trained MD’s.  My observations are that vaccines tend to weaken the body’s own immune system so that folks are more susceptible to serious illnesses in the future.  I do believe though that getting vaccinated is a very personal decision and that you should read as much as you can about it and discuss the pros and cons with your primary care provider.

From a natural, non-toxic perspective, there are some excellent suggestions for prevention.  The information below was sent to me by Dr. Richard Moskowitz, a revered homeopath in Cambridge Massachusetts.  Dr. Moskowitz has written quite a bit about the vaccination issue.  Read his article, “Vaccination:  A Sacrament of Modern Medicine” http://www.healthy.net/scr/article.asp?ID=1121

Dr. Vinay Goyal is an MBBS,DRM,DNB (Intensivist and Thyroid specialist) having clinical experience of over 20 years. He has worked in institutions like Hinduja Hospital , Bombay Hospital , Saifee Hospital , Tata Memorial etc. Presently, he is heading our Nuclear Medicine Department and Thyroid clinic at Riddhivinayak Cardiac and Critical Centre, Malad (W).

The following message given by him, I feel makes a lot of sense and is important for all to know:

The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it’s almost impossible to avoid coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as proliferation is.

While you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of H1N1 infection, in order to prevent proliferation, aggravation of symptoms and development of secondary infections, some very simple steps, not fully highlighted in most official communications, can be practiced (instead of focusing on how to stock N95 or Tamiflu):

1. Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications).

2. “Hands-off-the-face” approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face (unless you want to eat, bathe or slap).

3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don’t trust salt). H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/ nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don’t underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.

4. Similar to 3 above, clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (very good Yoga asanas to clean nasal cavities), but blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population. (Neti pots and sinus rinse kits are available at the drug store and relatively inexpensive … under $15. )

5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (Amla and other citrus fruits). If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.

6. Drink as much of warm liquids (tea, coffee, etc) as you can. Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm.


At the first signs of the flu (headache, feverish, aches and pains, sensitive skin), it is always a good idea to take a homeopathic remedy made from duck liver called Oscillococcinum (available at the health food store, Emerson Ecologics, or from me directly).  Placebo controlled studies have shown that is can reduce or eliminate flu symptoms when taken at the first sign of symptoms or within 48 hours (2-3 doses, taken 4-8 hours apart).

The below information is also from Dr. Moskowitz:

If the H1N1 is in your immediate vicinity (neighborhood, school, office, church, synagogue, etc.), take Gelsemium (the genus epidemicus so far, at least in my series), first the 30C, 3 times in 24 hours, i. e., morning, night, morning, and repeat once a week until it passes.  Switch to the 12C or 30X if you or the people you look out for become ill, use it up to 4 times a day as needed for acute symptoms, i. e., when they’re most bothersome, and less often as they improve.

More information

A good place to get up to date information about the homeopathic treatment of the flu is the National Center of Homeopathy’s Flu Forum at www.NationalCenterForHomeopathy.org

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