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      Swine Flu Outbreak
      By Rob Santich, B.HSc., N.D., Dip. Herb

Recently the media has headlined a major health concern; namely a global outbreak of a particularly virulent form of influenza commonly known as swine flu. According the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the human swine flu outbreak originated out of Mexico, and continues to grow in the United States and internationally. The CDC reports numerous cases of confirmed swine influenza and a number of hospitalizations of swine flu patients. Internationally, the situation is also considered serious, with a number of countries reporting confirmed cases of swine flu, and a greater number of suspected cases throughout the world.

Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. Swine flu viruses cause high levels of illness and low death rates in pigs. The classical swine flu virus (an influenza type A H1N1virus) was first isolated from a pig in 1930.

The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

An unusual feature of the current outbreak according to Anne Schuchat from the CDC is that the current strain appears to contain elements from four different flu viruses, including swine flu from the US, swine flu typically found in Asia and Europe, US bird flu and lastly, human flu. This current strain of the swine virus appears to adapt readily to humans and spread amongst the community quickly. The origins of this new strain are unknown at this time. One theory is that Asian and European strains travelled to Mexico in migratory birds or in people, then combined with North American strains in Mexican pig factory farms before crossing over to farm workers and from there out into the community.

The CDC recommends the use of Tamiflu (oseltamivir) or Relenza (zanamivir) for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with swine influenza viruses. This is based on evidence that suggests that both of these drugs are effective antivirals in the treatment of the classical swine flu virus. The current strain of the swine flu virus has not been confirmed according to Anne Schuchat from the CDC.

Standard prevention strategies for influenza are relevant at this time. Listed below are general strategies you can use with your patients.

General prevention tips for your patients

  • Be careful when touching public access surfaces such as door knobs, shopping carts, taxis, elevator buttons, remote controls, telephones etc
  • Alcohol wipes and gels are easy to carry and use as a disinfectant after touching public access areas
  • Wash hands often and try to reduce touching face, eyes and nose with unclean hands
  • Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, exercise often, manage your stress levels, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick

Naturopathic Medicine

  • Naturopathic medicine can help improve resistance to the Flu including H1N1
  • Naturopathic medicine can help to reduce susceptibility to the Flu including H1N1
  • Naturopathic Approach Is all natural with out the risks associated with a flu shot