Friday, November 21, 2008

Common Cold, Influenza and Aloeride

It’s that time of year again when doctors all over the world advise the elderly, the vulnerable and children populations to come to their surgeries to receive an influenza vaccination (flu jab). It is very important to get this in proportion because what have these three groups in common?

The elderly and the vulnerable have an immune system that is on the decline and thus they fail a robust defence against a virus (not just a flu virus). Children may not have fully developed an adequate immune system and they have the ‘endearing’ quality of sneezing into everybody’s faces without holding their hand in front of their mouth (common hygiene often can be a distant province) which helps to spread a virus.

Many people catch a cold and many call that flu, males reportedly make this error more readily than females. In a common cold you don’t get fever or a headache, but you do get a stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat and possibly mild chest discomfort. Any (mostly mild) aches, fatigue and weakness reflect no more than that there is a temporary drain on your immune resources.

When you get flu there is no room for negotiation, there is no confusion. You will be pole axed with a high fever for several days that often is accompanied by a headache (watch out for dehydration), significant aches and pains, and fatigue and weakness. For those without a robust immune system, influenza can indeed be critical. Lest you forget, between 1918 and 1919 a flu pandemic killed 70 million people, thus it claimed more lives than four gruesome years of the First World War did.

Many scientists postulate that years of deprivation due to a world war drained many people’s immune system, add to this the physical spreading of a virus by homecoming troops and you have a recipe for disaster. That particular viral strain overwhelmed the body's natural defences so quickly that the usual cause of death in influenza patients - a secondary infection of lethal pneumonia - was often not present. Instead, that particular virus caused an uncontrollable haemorrhaging that filled the lungs, and patients would drown in their own body fluids. Upon that terrifying episode much of the present drive for vaccination is based. But, as vaccinations do have their side effects and complications, would it not be wiser to consider an effective natural approach first?

What makes the difference between you getting influenza or not in the first place is how robust your immune system is. What makes the difference between you getting over influenza or not is how (rapidly) your immune response develops. This was the issue in 1918 and will be the issue always when it comes to viral exposure. So how robust are you?

And herein lies the problem, unless you are challenged you do not know on which rung of the ladder you stand. Many of my patients do not realise their true level of fitness until my clinic ergonometer bike challenges them: bottom rungs. From the above you will realise that bottom rungs in respect of viral exposure can result in disastrous clinical outcomes. What simple steps can you take to improve the robustness of your immune system?

First of all get reasonably fit, you will achieve this effortlessly by brisk walking in the open air for 30 minutes 3x a week. Go to bed shortly after 10pm and clock up some quality sleep. Next let good daily nutrition fuel the stoves of your immune system: freshly made raw vegetables + fruits + berries + grapes juices or smoothies, 2 immune system modulating Aloeride® capsules and 2,000mg of good quality vitamin C (made from rosehips for instance) to raise the antioxidant (redox) potential of your first line of defence - your bloodstream. You will be amazed how much a little can do. Sure enough Nature’s pharmacy has much more to offer but nine out of ten these 3 basic steps will suffice.

All viruses cause opportunistic infections. Fortunately you have the choice to slam that door shut on becoming their next opportunity.

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