Surviving an Influenza Supervirus – Introduction

An excerpt from Dr. Heather’s upcoming book,
Surviving an Influenza Supervirus

The so-called “Spanish” flu of 1918 killed 50 million people by the influenza virus, later known as a swine flu or H2N1. This virus, a mix of pig, bird and human, went around the world via ships. So what happens now if another deadly virus emerges that can hijack an airplane and be around the world in a day or two. We have been worried about Ebola, Zika and other virulent viruses. Anything seems possible yet if you ask researchers they will answer that the consensus in the scientific community points to the ol’ time winter unfavorite, the influenza virus. This is what we should be concerned about.

Yet what is offered? Flu shots. Not only do they have mercury, aluminum or another toxic metal — to make dispersion or the modes of delivery easier — that add to our already overload of toxins in the modern chemical-driven world but with they are useless in mimicking the structure of the ever-mutating influenza virus.

I never thought I’d need write a book on this subject but as I was researching historical epidemics The Sting of Absence, a novel, I came across a passage referring to the present: “Scientists are holding their breath waiting for the next epidemic.” They have coined it, “The Last Great Plague.” Yikes, I thought to myself.

This was a few summers ago when Ebola exploded the airwaves. A deadly virus that threatened African communities other worrisome pathogens also made the news (as has Zika of late). Yellow fever and Dengue Fever—both viruses harbored by mosquitoes—have been found in California—and then there’s Yersinia pestis, the bacteria known to cause plague. Harbored by rodents, voles and prairie dogs in the western United States it causes illness yearly, thankfully treated successfully with antibiotics.

But what about the influenza virus, the virus that surfaces every winter in North America, causing enormous amounts of mucus, aching muscles and bones, fever, listlessness, possibly long after the virus is viable. This virus mutates so quickly it’s hard to determine the correct genome to create an adequate flu shot. Yet this is the pathogen what those in charge of the Petri dishes believe is the likely source of massive suffering and millions of deaths sometime in the near future. It could be as lethal as the first recorded swine flu of almost one hundred years ago. The influenza virus, an RNA virus, is second in mutability only to the AIDS virus, and it is said will mutate so viciously that millions of people could find themselves on the precipice to the afterlife.

Of course, no one can say with absolute assuredness what microscopic critter may be responsible or if it will come this year or in fifteen but according to those smarties in the know, it’s not “if,” it’s “when,” we’ll be facing a cataclysmic worldwide health crisis.

Only one television show as of this writing that I know has attempted to discuss the possibility of a deadly global pandemic. The Big Picture with actor/activist Kal Penn offered great visuals, diagrams and ideas about the various possibilities of an emerging virus. He mentioned Ebola, resident of Africa; Hantavirus, from mouse feces in the Yosemites, California; and Enterovirus D-68, a virus that swooped through the Midwest in the summer of 2014—comes in through the gut, no one died, even as children with asthma were hardest hit. Penn also mentioned the 1918 influenza, highlighting the fact ye olde influenza would become a newer, glossier version, a million times more deadly. And being a resident of North America already it doesn’t have to zoom in on an airplane like Ebola; it just has to mutate, something it does at a very fast clip.

Unfortunately, the smart and hip Penn relied on allopathic or conventional medicine—the system of medicine that has gotten all the press and respect (some warranted, some not) for the last one hundred years—in which there has been very little interest in foods, plants, hydrotherapy or homeopathic medicine to help us stay, or get, well. And strangely, no one else in the media is helping to prepare for the possibility either. Yet we need to be proactive so that our immune systems can be functioning optimally to surmount what may be coming our way, what the scientific community is expecting.

Instead, as flu season approaches, we are told simply to rest in bed, wash our hands (with toxic substances), and get a flu shot. Maybe some radical MD will encourage their patients to take Vitamin C or elderberry but that’s a rarity. And no doctor I’ve encountered ever mentions this virus mutating so severely it could be a global tragedy.

Naturopathic doctors have so much to add to this, so far, rather silent conversation. We are trained in Clinical Nutrition, Botanical and Homeopathic medicine, Hydrotherapy, Counseling, all geared to boost the immune system. Exactly what is needed to optimize our chances of outwitting the RNA mutating virus of influenza.

The plant world alone has much to offer. Homeopathy has a proven track record in yellow fever in the 1800s. Hydrotherapy we all use from time to time. Healthier eating, although often a challenge, is an incredible immune booster. All of these we can learn to use, at least a little, both to prevent and to treat.

When I offered my booklet in its first draft to my college housemate, Dr. Mary Minor ND of Alaska, she let me know about the experience of the Yup’ik people, who, to this day, grapple with the consequences of a 1900 influenza outbreak in their village. Again my head was reeling, my heart hurting. Because although I have specialized in treating PTSD for almost thirty years, I had never imagined that epidemics could leave their mark for over a century. (Thank you, Mary, for sharing this story including Harold Napoleon’s book, Yuuyaraq, the Way of the Human Being, a must read, as long as you can take the suffering.)

Larry McMurtry, in his novel, Some Can Whistle, wrote “…the Incas could lay stones together so skillfully and delicately that the stones could even pass the shock of earthquakes from one to another in such a way that the building they composed wouldn’t fall down. Spanish buildings erected over Inca buildings fell down in seconds, but the Inca buildings remained.”

Surviving an Influenza Supervirus is about laying stones of knowledge, placing each in a way that has something to benefit our immune systems in order to stay healthy or recover more quickly with a potent influenza virus or another pathogen in our midst. To understand that we can find stones, alone and together, that will add to a truly holistic approach to a possible coming global tragedy is the purpose of this book.

A word to those who think conventional medicine has the answers through the flu shot, Tamiflu and anti-virals, let me quote Marcia Angell MD from her book, Drug companies and doctors: A story of corruption. “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”

Thankfully, even laypeople know a lot these days.

Guts are leaky, livers are overloaded; both increasing the chance of food and environmental allergies and toxins. People understand there has been an overuse of antibiotics and other drugs, there is too much sugar and refined carbohydrates eaten, that this has also compromised their immunity. We are concerned about GMOs, perhaps understand that heavy metals and pesticides in our air, water, food and/or cosmetics are sitting on receptor sites meant for minerals but our soil is depleted. Add over-stimulation from modern society to the mix and we sense our adrenals are exhausted and get why so many yoga studios are sprouting up. We seek peace wherever we can, unfortunately sometimes in something that can lead to an addiction.

Without a doubt much of the population has become better educated, grown more conscious over the last forty-five years or so. The hippies and the back-to-the-landers who read and listened to Rachel Carson have multiplied. These thoughts are now mainstream. Everything is green, green, green.

Except healthcare.

Because knowing ways to gain health when a healing crisis occurs doesn’t make it so. We may swear we want to do what is natural, what works with the body but then we may become afraid. We may make choices based on our level of fear, what we perceive we need to stay safe without understanding the basics of healing. Our decisions may be simply a reflection of how anxious we are in relation to the situation. We may not be trained to negotiate our body’s needs and may cover up that initial discomfort with a pill or an addiction (whatever that might be.) Hence the necessity: to be aware of feelings that might make good choices a distant reality.

Let’s be honest, most of the people who die from influenza yearly do so because they have compromised immune systems. They are elderly
or they are sick before the flu virus enters their nasal passages, often from years of a poor diet, no matter how much money they earn or have, and/or ingestion of toxic chemicals as well as chronic dehydration and so on.

The reality is that we all have the ability to make better choices: to get to the bottom line of what heals, what is helpful to our wellbeing.

Yet we can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. We can’t deny the many medical advances over the last hundred years. Polio and smallpox, both caused by deadly viruses, have been or were almost eradicated. Cleaner cities with better sewage have saved countless lives. Many drugs are life saving.

But we went too far. Over prescribing antibiotics in humans and the unregulated use in livestock production has resulted in antibiotic resistant organisms, not to mention possible health consequences.

Big Pharma (the pharmaceutical industry) is too concerned with profit margins to be trusted, and many medical doctors are too concerned with malpractice to give you any real alternative to the flu vaccine or anti-virals. The conventional or allopathic medical profession, whose dominant philosophy is rarely questioned, doesn’t trust nature or its medicinal value. It doesn’t believe in the healing power of nature, nor has it yet conceded that integrated medicine may have answers to our health care crisis. In California a law is passed to mandate vaccinations and no one in power is brave enough to offer a forum, to understand people’s fear of these vaccines, to create a dialogue between opposing thoughts.

Few know the Latin phrase, Vix Medicatrix Naturae—the healing power of nature—but this concept has crept into the public’s consciousness in the last twenty years. Through necessity many people have discovered natural medicines.

By making better choices based on bona fide research as well as keeping an ear out for anecdotal experience to put to the test, we build our strength, optimize our host response, making it more difficult for a pathogen to infiltrate our bodies and overwhelm our inner ecosystem.

Prevention, of course, is key. How we react to stress is clearly based on what we eat, how well we sleep, what we think and feel, what our environment offers us, even how deeply we breathe. Every day we need to think about reducing unwanted stress, create a life that pares away what doesn’t serve us. With reflection and knowledge we increase good habits.

But nothing is guaranteed. We have no idea when a virus will appear or in what form. However, the possibility looms that the annual influenza virus will throw us a curveball and be as devastating as 1918.

In the summer of 2014 when Ebola and Enterovirus D-68 warranted our attention medical personnel were scrambling to know what to do. Nothing for sure was the only constant. Anti-viral drugs weren’t having much luck, some times iso-therapy, taking a survivor’s blood to boost a sick person’s, worked, but it was in extremely short supply. It was all a long shot. Experimental every way you looked, watched.

It’s time to explore a healthcare protocol that has historical precedent, to increase our chances of keeping us safe when an unfriendly microorganism invades our system. In the end it may all come down to what information we have, what experience has taught us.

Because what do we really know about a virus that was only visualized in the 1930s through the invention of the electron microscope? Public Health tells us to wash our hands, cover our mouths and noses, and still, even with the CDC announcing last year’s flu shot missed by a mile, the message continues: get a flu shot. Perhaps there is a passing mention of pharmaceutical anti-virals, but in what quantity and accessibility are these being stockpiled?

Generations ago we didn’t know not to trust what seemed extraordinary medicine coming after World War II with the advent of antibiotics. But now the dilemma of a system that relies on drugs is coming into question. We have the right to know what we can do proactively for our best health, preventively and in a crisis.

For some, already well-versed in prevention it may be as simple as monitoring hydration and electrolytes. Others can learn about botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, hydrotherapy, beneficial foods, supplements as well as meditation, yoga, and visualization. They can do much to engage our little white bloods cells roaming through our capillaries and lymph just waiting to snap up an invading pathogen.

Cultivate your knowledge as you expand your definition of what you can do for yourself and your family. With scientists just waiting for that unseen-to-the human-eye pathogen to cause worldwide havoc, the need to boost our immune systems has never been greater. By learning the basics of natural healing to better withstand a deadly virus we up our chances of keeping our family and community well or helping them recover more quickly, physically and psychologically.

Remember the Incas; keep the stones of healing balanced!