Swine Flu - Is the Fear All Hogwash?

2 New Things Everyone Should Know
© Dr. John Zielonka 2009

Unless you've been living in Antarctica for the past few months, it would be impossible not to be aware of all the newspaper and TV reports regarding the Swine flu. Are we prepared, will it kill thousands or is it all just fear mongering? I'll get to answer that question in just a minute but first I would really like people to know 2 very key elements that are missing from all the discussion.

1. Why should we wash our hands?
Every newspaper report, health report and TV commercial has stressed the importance of hand washing and quite frankly, they are right. However, the point that is missing is asking the question of why should we wash our hands? Now again, that may seem obvious to you but understanding the answer is of key importance. Obviously we should wash our hands to prevent the spread of this disease. However, we need to understand how this disease is actually spread. It is only when the virus enters our body that it has the potential to manifest itself and result in the disease. This does not occur through the skin of your hands; rather this occurs when our hands touch any opening on our face. This can be as simple as you biting your fingernail, scratching your ear, rubbing your eyes or touching an apple and then eating the apple. When it comes to children this of course becomes much worse because they have a habit of sticking their fingers in numerous different places. Hence, what we really should be told is that we should wash our hands prior to touching our face or more importantly that we should quite simply stop touching our face as much. This is also why we should be taught to sneeze into our elbow and not our hands.

To illustrate its importance you could have one person who washes their hands 30 times a day yet fails to do so after shaking someone's hand and then scratching their eye. They would be at greater risk for contracting the disease than someone who only washes their hands three times a day but always does so immediately prior to meals and never touches their face. While this may seem like a simple point, understanding it can make a major difference in the fight against Swine Flu.

2. The most important factor
The second important component that is not being discussed is actually the most important factor. While health officials are talking of preventing the spread of the flu and who should be vaccinated, the most important factor in not getting the flu is not who is spreading it to you, but rather how strong your system is to deal with it. Please appreciate that the spread of the flu is based on something called the germ theory which was originally developed by Louis Pasteur. What many doctors and health officials don't realize is that on his deathbed Pasteur recanted the germ theory as the sole most important factor in catching a disease. If the most important factor was that someone spread it to you then every doctor, every nurse and every hospital worker would always be sick because they are always exposed to germs. In fact, we are all exposed to germs on a regular basis.

Now you may say “Isn't strengthening the immune system done best with the new vaccine”? In a word, no. There are many other ways to strengthen your immune system on a daily basis that do not require the latest, untested vaccine. Good nutrition, adequate sleep, stress reduction, exercise and specific vitamin supplementation are all excellent ways to boost your immune system. In fact, there are many vitamin supplements specific to boosting your immunity.

Chiropractic care
What many doctors don't realize is that the largest form of natural health care in the world is also one of the best ways to boost your immune system. At last count there were well over 100 scientific studies that confirmed the role of chiropractic in boosting your immune system. One of the best-known studies involved Dr. Ronald Pero, Ph.D., chief of cancer prevention and professor of medicine at New York University. He found that patients who received regular chiropractic care had a 200% stronger immune system than those patients who didn't and a 400% stronger immune system than his cancer patients. He also found that this increased immunity did not decline with age provided that the patient maintained their chiropractic care. This is easy for any chiropractor to understand as we realize that the nervous system controls the components of the immune system and by maximizing their function we increase our own immune competence.

Should you get vaccinated?
Quite simply this is a personal decision on your part. However, before you decide, you should be well informed and not solely from fear mongering or scare tactics. Rather, make a reasonable decision based on your health choices. There is no denying that some people have died from the Swine Flu but to put it into perspective, far more die on a regular basis from the everyday flu. If the vaccine was proven effective and could guarantee our safety without any risk the answer would be easy. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the vaccine has not been proven and there is simply no time for any long term safety studies to be completed (this is true of most vaccines). In fact, to illustrate how much vaccination is based on faith rather than science, the Centre for Disease Control in Canada just released findings that show anyone who received the “regular” flu shot last year is twice as likely to catch the Swine Flu as those who were not vaccinated. Based on the latest reports over 50% of healthcare workers and other health professionals have chosen not to receive the vaccine even prior to this finding. What does this say about its effectiveness or safety?

Could it also be that they are concerned that the new vaccine contains thimerosol, an aluminum based component that has been removed from most vaccines in Canada due to its association with autism and other conditions? While proponents of the vaccine may suggest that any link to autism has not been proven, neither has the effectiveness of the vaccine been proven. You can't have it both ways.

Is it cold and flu season? No, it’s autumn
In the end, we all want the same goal-what’s best for our health. Shouldn't that include both proof that the vaccine is 100% effective and 100% safe, especially when there are so many other safer and more natural ways to ensure our health?

Dr. John Zielonka, well known health and wellness expert and author, has treated many Olympic and professional athletes including the world’s fastest man. He is the director of Health & Wellness Canada and owner of the Ottawa Chiropractic & Natural Health Centre in Ottawa. He has made numerous television appearances and is the founder of National Health Day in Canada. His latest book, “Healthy Beliefs – Deadly Choices” is now available. He can be reached through Core Science or Excellence in Health