U.S. Flu Season--a Pandemic or Hype?

 

This week my inbox has exploded with Google alerts on the keywords for “flu” and “influenza.” Over and over again I see dramatic headlines such as “Flu emergency declared”; “NY Reports 500% Increase in Flu Cases”; “US Grapples With Epidemic Level Flu Season”; my favorite one was this little ditty—“U.S. Scrambles for Flu Shots as Death Toll Continues to Rise.” The irony of that last one is that it didn’t even present a case for a shortage of vaccines. The article mentioned ONE state, Colorado, that had stopped giving flu shots for a week, but made no effort to connect that to any shortage of vaccines and then it proceeded to shed light on the “death toll continues to rise” angle by featuring New York, the one oddball in this season’s flu time which is experiencing 5 times the increase in the number of flu patients.

 

Before we get all up in arms about all of this hype about the flu, influenza, or even the norovirus, let’s look at some logic for a moment here.

 

First of all, the term “flu” is referring to influenza which is a viral infection of the respiratory system and is usually accompanied by congestion, coughing and a fever. Bronchitis, whooping cough, a simple “cold” or sinus infections can all be lumped into the numbers of reported flu sufferers because of how the medical reporting is set up in the U.S. The flu frequently sets in on individuals who are suffering from other underlying ailments as their immune system decreases AND they are typically being exposed to more cases of the virus as they sit in doctor’s offices, hospitals, senior care centers and other health care centers. Heck, when I had my last surgery, I ended up leaving the hospital with respiratory virus in my lungs that I had no sign of before going in.  Even the CDC says that providing an scientifically accurate conclusion on the number of flu cases which were known to result in death each year in the U.S. is difficult and thus can only be given a mathematical “range”. (in other words—a guess!) Speaking of guesses, guess what that “mathematical range” is? Somewhere between 5,000 to 52,000! Yup, that’s quite a range, eh, especially given that we’re talking about human beings and not the rat population in NYC. Furthermore,  as a result of a couple of bad years OR what could be reflective of BETTER years in terms of the reporting by the medical industry—we don’t know which—we now have a bunch of dingbats out there on the internet throwing around an “average” figure of 36,000 deaths from the flu each year in the U.S.  And of course this is the number that the producers use when doing their “research” for the news that they provide the talking heads of the mainstream media. *sigh* Can you see where there might be some misinformation being fed to the public?

 

Next, because of the flu settling into the lungs when other illnesses are present, it’s possible that that range of numbers is reflective of some very unscientific reporting that’s no more conclusive than flipping a coin. Someone may die because adding the flu to their worn out immune system was the last straw and thus the cause of death is reported as influenza instead of the heart disease.

 

We keep hearing about NY having a “flu emergency” and a drastic rise in flu patients and yet from what I can tell, no one has applied any semblance of logic or asked the right questions on this matter.  Of course we should expect the numbers of deaths from the flu and reports of the flu to be rising rapidly in NY—it’s a well-populated state and this is just the beginning of the flu season,  so of course it’s possible that the numbers of flu cases being reported are five times higher than they were during the last flu season! Have we taken into account the increasing population in the U.S. when we say that “numbers are rising?”

 

It’s also conceivable that there would be a shortage of vaccine supplies—not because there’s a cause to panic but because
A) the start of the flu season, which was early, caught the industry unawares so MAYBE they weren’t ready with sufficient supplies--maybe;
B) the media has more people freaked out about the flu and so more are opting for the vaccine;
C) the senior citizen demographic of 65 and older grew by more than 5.3 million people according to the last census. The older people get, the more susceptible their systems may be to the flu; or
D)—yes, the possibility exists that there actually is some deep, dark, flu virus that’s much more vicious this season than in seasons past;

E) Even though the news may seem irrelevant to the U.S., there have been more than 3 million vaccine doses recalled in Italy, Switzerland, and Germany.  It’s a small world when pharmaceutical manufacturers are scrambling to make up for that kind of volume in nations where the government pays for the vaccines for everyone, don’t ya think? Ahem… One more reason to not freak out about this is--

F) It’s quite possible that there isn’t one iota of a shortage of vaccines, rather it’s just hype. I mean think about it for just a moment. The vaccine manufacturers in the world have a monopoly on providing vaccines to the everyone PLUS they have what amounts to as a Pre-Presidential Pardon and thus are immune from any lawsuits for any wrongdoing, plus it’s a mega-multi-billion dollar business! Last year the government gave 6 companies contracts worth $5.7 billion and that was just for vaccines for children! So basically, they are printing money with every vaccine they put out. Do you really think they wouldn’t be hyper focused on printing enough money under these favorable circumstances?  Nah, I don’t either.

 

Now, let’s leave the traditional definition of the flu and go to other one. When a person is dealing with a high fever, chills, diarrhea, and vomiting, this is commonly referred to as “a flu bug” or “the flu” even though what this most likely is is the norovirus that’s going around globally. As a result, this confusion in the vernacular can also lead to a very skewed picture of our nation’s “flu statistics.”

 

Without me even broaching the subject of whether or not vaccines are the answer to all of this hoopla, I think it’s easy to see that there’s a whole lot of hype and misinformation going around with these story lines. Frankly, unless we have more than 40,000 deaths directly related from the flu, I’m not going to give much credence to all of the hyped headlines and I sure hope you can avoid it too.

 

Even if there ARE pandemic levels of those suffering from the flu, I still don’t think we have to have a lot of stress about handling it because there are numerous very effective alternative health and wellness choices. The medications that I still have to take, as well as the conditions which they ostensibly help to mitigate,  naturally cause my immune system to be sorely compromised. As such, it’s been easy for me in year’s past to catch anything and everything that goes around—and usually I get it coming and going.  However, this year I stuck to a very strict alternative care regimen of essential oils and dense nutrient consumption and stuck to it regardless of how “good” I felt. This is the first year out of the past decade in which I haven’t gotten sick with any viral based illness. Ironically, in years past when I’ve gotten sick I usually end up passing it on my hubby,  but this year he had to deal with both the traditional flu early into the season and just recently the norovirus and yet I STILL did not get sick—not even a sniffle. My point in sharing this is to illustrate that all of the hype of the flu accompanied by the ensuing plug for people to pay to be human guinea pigs for the pharmaceutical industry, doesn’t provide us with the ONLY choice that we have to address these concerns. In fact, even though the hubster did get knocked on his keester with the norovirus, I was still able to take care of him with the alternative methods I had on hand and shortened his experience down to less than 36 hours.

 

Ultimately I hope that we all can realize that we have choices in how we will respond to this incessant hype and melodramatic headlines and that we are certainly capable of applying a little bit of logic to all of this which can go a long ways in helping us to determine what’s factual and what may be more for the benefit of behavior manipulation and the expansion of some companies’ profit margins.

 

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Comments

I am most curious how you were able to decrease norovirus symptoms to 36 hours. That is amazing. I understand that (legal disclaimer) this is no substitute for medical advise blah blah blah. I am waiting (impatiently) for your essential oil webinars ;)

So what is this nutrient dense diet you went on that boosted your immune system so much ?

Thanks for the post. I would like to know more about the "alternative care regimen of essential oils and dense nutrient consumption" that you followed - not to reproduce it exactly, because I understand each person's needs are slightly different, but just to point me in the right direction. If you've already posted about it.....could you direct me to that post, please. Thanks, again!

Another thing that is not being taken into account in these numbers is the increase in persons who visit emergency rooms for everything from hang-nails to looking for a pregnancy test. The number of people not covered under an accessable primary care physician is increasing and will continue to increase. The only place they have to go is the emergency room. Not to mention American's intolerance to illness and propensity for drama, ergo we go to the ER. I worked in a level two trauma ER five years ago, and geesh, I WISH we saw only 5percent of our patients with the "flu". More like 50 percent.

A pinch of truth, a LOT of hype. Have to keep people wanting the crappy flu vaccine so the pharmaceutical companies can keep profits up. Most of the people I've talked to who have or have had the flu also got the shot. What's up with that??

Kellene, Agreed totally about all the hype. Lame media at work as usual.
Can you tell us what oils you use for flu and norovirus on your hubby?

Love your posts on FB! I haven't gotten a Flu Shot in nearly 25 yrs. I may have gotten sick with "Flu" symptoms maybe twice since. Back then, I worked in a nursing home and would get horribly sick every time they required us to get Flu Shots. The DNS at the time said I should not get the shot since I got sick every time. Since then I have used essential oils and natural anti bacterial/ vitals in my diet and holistic approach to keeping healthy. I do get sick on occasion, but it's symptoms are less dire, I recover faster than others, and I'm usually in the midst of others that are sick as well. Keep up the great information gathering and posting.

I have not had the vaccine in the past few years, after always being forced to have it while in the service. That being said I have only had minor sinus colds. And one bout of food posoining from zaxbys over a year ago. I too believ it is hype in order to ensure pharmaceutical companies earn what they feel entitled to. I would also be interested in what Essebtial oils you used. Thanks for the information Kellene.

Connie, I'll soon be announcing the webinars, two of which will be a very comprehensive guide to alternative health care--specifically for pandemic and epidemic scenarios. Also, please be mindful of any possible SPAM marketing in your comments. I can't do anything that would A) give the impression that I'm condoning a particular product, B)allow anything to post that might be in conflict with our paid advertisers, and C) allow for one person but not the hundreds of other readers we have on here that would love to even pay for advertising, but since there are so many of them for the same product I've opted not to have any such advertisers of one particular company.

I haqvent figured out if someones pulling the strings or if they are just plain lazy. Seems they beat a subject to death to take up air time. But somehow they never seem to do any actual digging into a particular subject, its just hours of endless droning of variuos talking heads. Farnkly I cant even watch most of it anymore

Yep, yep! And I believe those flu shots are downright dangerous! My friend worked at a hospital and was required to get flu shots every year--and every time she got sick with something. The straw that broke the camel's back was when she got meningitis about 8 or 9 years ago and almost died--twice. She still has not recuperated! Had to quit her job and barely functions.

We MUST keep our immune systems in top-notch shape so the "flu bugs" can't find a home. I used to get bad colds regularly, but when I started taking [nutritional supplement product--edit by Preparedness Pro] about ten years ago that stopped. I don't miss all the hacking and coughing and barely being able to get a breath! My daughter has asthma and she struggles every winter, including this year--but she's finally taking responsibility for her health and is presently doing a cleanse to get the junk out. We have both embarked on a "gluten-free" diet (to get the wheat out) and she is SOOOO much better already in just a week or so. They've adulterated the wheat so badly that it seems to be the cause of a whole lot of sickness. (Google "wheat belly" for information. What an eye opener!)

I'm eagerly awaiting more on the essential oils, too, because I want to buy a kit and need to know which will be the best one overall.

Thanks Kellene for all the info you provide!

Just yesterday I read a study that a active love life in a committed relationship is "the best cure" for a low immune system. Of course I'm cleaning up the descrption a little bit. hee hee

Sounds very rational to me; definitely another possibility to consider.
The CDC site that I linked to in the article specifically says that the medical field is NOT required to report their cases which in part explains the diverse "average."
For the most part I agree with you. It's not the CDC pushing the hype, but you can bet that someone is pulling the puppets strings in the lame stream media.

Oh My recomndations are Vit D Sambucol get plenty of sleep and stay hydrated. Ive had numerous patients coughing in my face over the last few weeks and so for Im still healthy, knock on wood! Stress plays havoc on your immune system. A nursing instructor once told me if you got money in the bank a good love life you can roll around in germs and not get sick. But have money problems and a bad relationship and any germ within a mile will get you. Of course this was hyperbole but thier is a lot of truth in what she said. Lack of sleep will cause great stress on your whole body Ive found if I short myself on sleep Im more likely to get sick. I work night shift and Ive learned the hard way to guard my sleeptime during the cold and flu season

I agree with the vitamin D. It helps the immune system and part of the reason cold & flu season is in cold weather is because we aren't getting enough vitamin D from the sun because we aren't out in it, we are jammed into homes and building with people who don't know how to cover their mouth and forget to wash hands. My kids and I drink tea with lots of honey and lemon made fresh everyday and I use coconut oil for cooking and we take an extra vitamin D& C supplement this time of year. I refuse to get my family flu shots the last time we did my entire family ended up being sick, in and out of hospitals, Drs and ERs for six months straight! From October til April!!! It took warm weather and being able to open up and fully disinfect everything we owned to get the sickness out. The reason we got it that year was because I had just given birth mid Oct. the baby ended up in the Nicu at 3 days old because of the sicknesses!

Here is what I am personally aware of. I work in long term care. The predominate flu virus this season kicks your butt. You probably wont die but you may want to for a few days. Its is much much nastier than the usual flu we get every year. That being said it does not have a high mortality rate. That has remained within the norms. What is odd is that the flu came early this year. We dont usually peak this early. The CDC does not know for sure what this means. Will the cases drop off like they do in other years or will we keep high levels into Febuary? Right now it looks as though the flu has peaked in many states and is trending down. Which is good news. What has happened is that because the predominate strain makes you feel so very bad more people are seeking medical care instead of just toughing it out. Which is causing big problem in hospitals, Our local hospital had to close to admissions not because all th beds were full but because the nuring staff has been hit hard and they cant staff the beds. This will probably correct itself in a week or so. I talk to my fellow nurses over at teh hospital frequently, and towards the latter half of the week they have seen a decrease in the ER of flu cases.
A couple of things Id like to respectfully correct. One is that the numbers the CDC use are from confirmed cases - confirmed as the influenza virus per lab tests. All hospitals and many MD offices particapate in the reporting program. They dont count every case of flu as most people dont get a rapids flu swab done - most stay home and dont go to the doctors or ER. You can go to the CDC site and see the case tracking week by week. You will notice that the numbers are in the ten of thousands for entire states even when that state is rated as high. Again itshow the cases are tracked - only cases confirmed by lab tests are counted. Oh the flu swab has a 50% false negaitve rate so its possible [50%] that even having a negative test is no garentee you dont have the flu. For most people not getting a flu vaccine is no big deal - your just going to be miserable for a few days if you get it., and you need to stay away from the at risk population -ie dont go see grandma when you are sick!. There is a shortage of vaccine. The vaccine was made last summer, and since the media jumped on the hype bandwagon more people decided to get the vaccine than antisapated. Its not the CDC hyping the flu. Go read their website - its the media who hype everything - think storms - 2 inches of snow is treated like snowmaggedon. They apparently cant take the time and resources to do actual news reporting. So it is what it is. Sorry its such a long post

I have never had a flu shot and my husband had one about four years ago and still has problems with his arm in the area of the shot (?) Flu shots benefit Big Pharma. I don't worry about it - it's like measles, mumps and chicken pox when I was a kid. We all got them - and we all had a stronger immune system because of them. Some years I get it, some I don't. I would, however, be VERY concerned if a bird-flu outbreak occured (H5N1) as it has a 50% fatality rate. Nothing to worry about now, but with the way poultry is raised these days, it's something I believe is coming down the pike. (Read Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching by Dr Michael Greger - it's available free on-line at birdflubook.com. It's impeccably researched and a real eye-opener).

Great...another book on my read list. :-)

Absolute media hype (just as it is every year). I spent just a few minutes checking out the CDC's data...nothing alarming whatsoever when compared to past seasons. In fact, the data even shows we've likely peaked already and are on the decline. Many states are already showing lower ILI levels, and the number of outpatients with ILI symptoms is down 2% in 1 week (peaked at 6%...on par with the 2007 season).

Just more media hype!

I live in San Jose, Ca -- I don't know anyone with the flu at this time, a couple of colds, but no flu. I work in an office of approximately 250-300 people, no one that I know of here has the flu...

Not to say that your sister isn't sick, just that it's not as prevalent here as some might think.

Safe travels!

Yeah, it seems to me that for those who still have a choice of NOT getting one, they purposefully put peer pressure on them, practically making them wear a scarlet letter or declaring "I'm a Leper and Unclean". Good grief. Drives me crazy.

I work in the medical field and they do require you to get a flu shot or wear a mask during flu season in patient area's. I do no get the flu shot and I wear a mask everyday. I don't mind the mask. I watch everyone else around me that do get the flu shot and at some point they will get very ill. It maybe just after the shot or a few weeks later, but they always get sick. People that do get sick need to go home to stop the spread of their germs. Why don't the sick ones have to wear a mask to, patients and staff? Love all the comments. :o)

Glad you've discovered alternative health options.
I will however, have to respectfully disagree with some of your statements herein though. SOME essential oils most definitely CAN be ingested if they are of a medicinal quality. Think about what you've said for a moment. Do you have any idea how many ingestible supplements in the world consist of essential oils? Are you also unfamiliar with the use of essential oils in some of the best kitchens in the world as a result of their ability to enhance a dish with less than a drop of the oil? There are at least 20 oils that I use for culinary purposes. Lastly, the rule of thumb is that if an essential oil comes from a culinary botanical, then you most certainly CAN ingest it--although one DOES need to be mindful of the strength that comes with it. Oregano for example, if you get in a medicinal quality, should not be applied directly to sensitive skin or consumed internally without some sort of carrier oil to subdue it's rapid absorption, as medicinal quality oregano oil can cuase skin irritations equivalent to 3rd degree burns.

I'd suggest that you read the two part article series I wrote entitled "What you NEED to know about essential oils." You'll discover what is legally permitted to be a part of the statement of "pure" and "unadulterated." Unfortunately, in the U.S. those statements don't mean what we would assume they mean.

Furthermore, to state that persons shouldn't purchase essential oils from MLM's is a pretty broad brush. You'd have to have the scientific information as to the quality of their essential oils to make such a judgment, which I'm certain you do not as I've ONLY been able find ONE medicinal quality of essential oils and that line is sold via a MLM co. MLM doesn't change the constituent make up of an essential oil as your claim supposes. That being said though, the essential oils that I use I offer at COST and free from all of the MLM mumbo jumbo, because frankly, I'm far too busy to run in an MLM race.

I had a kidney transplant in June 07 and have not had a cold or flu virus . I have to take immuno- suppressants drugs and I have a suppressed immune system .I have never had a cold or flu in well over 10 years. Knowledge is power(keep up the good work people I enjoy the info!!!!!

I am getting ready to fly and see my Mom and Sister, and was asking them about the flu in their area. My Sister lives in San Jose, CA and she has the flu. She has been really sick for almost 3 weeks. I told her about the Flu warnings, and since her's is really bad respitory - I told her that she should go to the Dr. And she told me that I should get the Shot. So I am going to get the shot.

I've only had 3 flu shots in my entire life and those were because my job "required?" it.Then I retired. I don't get flu shots, I rarely get sick with anything more than a very mild cold other than my regular allergies. I do cook with lots of spices and take very little medication of any kind. I'm a "medicate only when I really need it" type of person. And, I'm not germophobic (do not run around disinfecting with alcohol based hand wash), and don't run to the doctor for every little thing; Therefore, my immune system is very giood. I'm in the habit of bulk shopping once a month, which keeps my store visits to a minimum (I have better things to do with my time) and I don't care for going to the movies, so avoid all that unecessary close proximity with the sneezers and coughers. That being said, I haven't had more than a scratchy throat in years. Just lucky, I guess. Wishing good health to everyone. :)

While I agree that media can spin incredible hype on "flu" pandemics and such, and I don't personally advocate getting a vaccine for it as of right now, I DO believe that this does not mean that we act irresponsibly about illness...even just the common cold. It is true that many people that die from these seasonal pandemics are elderly, infantile, or have compromised immune systems, but this does not mean that we should not worry about these diseases. One of the best ways to kill a pandemic would be, of course, to prevent it...but something that never gets discussed is what should happen after you get sick. It would be wise for us to act more responsibly when we get sick by quarantining ourselves for a few days until we get better. Imagine the lives we could save if we just called off of work for a few days to get better. We would heal faster, and slow the progression and even the adaptation of viruses...imagine if we were all practicing this before a serious pandemic was ever even created. Oh, and if you have the nifty employer I once had that believed you should work through everything...do what my friend did. He told her to work through it, so she put on a mask to cover her mouth to lessen the spread of germs...after a few concerned comments from some customers, he sent her home... :)

thank you for being able to say so elliquently what i want to say!! (people don't believe me so when I see someone else who agrees it is great!) your graphics are spot on. the American people are just sheep and do not care of their loss of freedoms. I was forced to get the flu shot or lose my job. I have to have a job I have a kid to raise. i have posted a comment on another site trying to say what you did. thanks for being the voice that many hear!

Thank you Kellene! I heard a major radio personality talk about how the current flu hysteria may be hyped up to take the public's attention away from other issues. Our local small town newspaper quoted the hospital as saying they aren't seeing any out of the ordinary numbers of flu patients. I had bought into the pandemic hype until I started to think about it. I realized there could be another reason for all the flu scare and the reported statistics may not entirely be accurate.
I too would love to know more about your natural methods for treating these illnesses. In my family winter is always a time of extra hand washing, using wipes and avoiding restaurants. Wiping the cart handle in the grocery store and wiping your hands when you get back to the car. Take extra caution during these months and you can avoid a lot of the bad bugs.
Thank you for all the priceless information you send our way!

Thanks for the logical look at the flu mess.

I'm in total agreement with you about alternative "medicines". I first started figuring things out with the outbreak of the Swine Flu back in 2009. I had all the stuff I needed IF we got it but then a little voice said, "Maybe you don't ever need to get it." That's when I found essential oils. Best thing ever. I rub them on all my children and myself and we stay pretty darn healthy. My 13 yo son recently came down with what seemed to be the flu. I rubbed oils on him, made some elderberry syrup and gave him Vit D3 and Oregano in capsules bought from the store. (NEVER ingest essential oils). His flu only lasted about 36 hours. No one else in the family got it either.

Don't buy into the essential oil MLMs. They waste your money and provide potentially harmful advice. Many wonderful places on the web to buy pure, unadulterated oils. I don't have anything to gain from this post.

I don't get the flu vaccine

I don't get the flu vaccine either, but I have to admit, not because of a natural approach (I can beat it with home remedies), but because I read the vaccine is laced with mercury or egg. I don't like the idea or putting mercury into my body, since it gets stored in !y liver forever. The body does NOT get rid of it.

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