Dr. Weil on Larry King: What to Do about the Swine Flu
[9/11/09 Update: Just found this Q&A with Dr. Weil that gets into worthwhile details about how to avoid the flu, supplements for kids, how to evaluate if you should inoculate and more.]
ONE OF my favorite health advisors was on Larry King last night. As usual, Dr. Andrew Weil, was spot on with his comments about health care, and offered some specific advice about protecting yourself and your children from H1NI, aka, “Swine Flu”.
Since I’ve been old enough to place my health care into my own hands, I’ve never been to a doctor for anything other than check-ups, or the repair of injuries caused by overzealously (or carelessly) performed sports. I rarely get sick (it’s been years) and when I do the episode is uneventful. This is because I keep my immune system strong by cleansing my body, eating nourishing foods that don’t unduly tax the digestive system, liver or kidneys, and supplement with a host of antioxidants and other stuff.
Don’t mean to brag. It’s not a particularly great achievement. But it does depart from what too many of us do, which is run to the doctor for every sniffle and dose ourselves with drugs, like antibiotics.
We are programmed pill poppers.
And that’s what Dr. Weil was getting at when he said that nothing now contemplated by health care reform proposals will get at the core of the problem. The core of the problem, unsurprisingly, is human behavior.
We’ve been conditioned to outsource the responsibility for our health to someone else. The doctors too. They’ve outsourced making you well to the pharmaceutical companies, which are happy to charge you hundreds or thousands percent mark-ups — the most of any product you can buy — for the drugs that they tell you in TV commercials you must demand from their drug-pushers, the doctors.
But people are OK with this scheme, by in large, because most people (still) have insurance and the insurance pays for most of the drugs. Imagine if such drugs had to be paid without the insurance subsidies! That would get people’s attention. Perhaps, that would provide motivation to learn to do something else. People would be more likely to take care of themselves.
Which brings me to the H1NI Swine Flu topic. What to do about the pending pandemic that some say will sicken millions in the USA this winter?
On his web site, Dr. Weil has a post advising about how to deal with Swine Flu. Most of it is pretty basic, like don’t hug a sneezing Swine Flu-infected person; wash your hands, etc. Today’s New York Times reports that one shot of the almost-ready Swine Flue inoculation should be sufficient, rather than two. So, projected quantities of the stuff will go twice as far, should you wish to take it.
This is really confusing. I’m not going to get inoculated because I believe I’m in the low risk category — over 20, under 80, healthy — and figure I have no more chance getting this flu than any other. However, what if you are flu-inclined, or are in a risk category?
With winter on the way, you hardly have time to develop a robust immune system. Weil says he’s going to wait to see how others are effected, if at all, by inoculations before he gets a shot. He will also take supplements to boost his immune system, some of the same ones I take, such as:
A Chinese herb in either capsule or tincture form. I take the tincture, meaning I put a few drops of the concentrated Astragalus in water. This makes me drink more water and the stuff is more easily absorbed.
This propriety and potent mushroom-based formula from the excellent company, New Chapter, works great! When I become concerned that I may be vulnerable to catching a cold or flu, I load up on Host Defense.
Not mentioned by Dr, Weil, but a good performer in my arsenal is:
Like many of the supplements presented on this site, this one has multiple benefits. Among them is a compound called oleuropein which can help the body battle viruses, bacteria, and fungi, supporting healthy cell replacement. Like with Host Defense, I take this when I may need it, not on a regular basis.
To be sure, what to do is a head-scratcher for us all. There are passionate pleas by those who support immunization as your personal and social responsibility, and from the opposite position that the shots could be harmful for a host of reasons: chemicals in the formula, compromising your immune system for an anticipated more virulent strain, etc.
I’ve been reading and collecting information about this and intend to post more about it in the future. Stay tuned, and from time to time search in the sidebar section on the right hand side of your screen under “Topics” in the “Flu/Virus” catagorey for H1N1 Swine Flu updates.