Bird Flu

by Sam Malone


One Way

Clifford Adams woke at 7 AM with a sore throat. The previous year he wouldn't have thought anything about it and probably would have gone off to his hospital job as an orderly. But this year was special. It was November 1918 and at the hospital he had seen the bodies piling up in the morgue faster than they could be buried. He was worried. Within two hours he felt feverish, his head and whole body ached, and he could barely move off his bed with fatigue. He thought he needed to see his friend Dr. Ashley at the hospital. When he entered the hospital, he saw that all his colleagues were now wearing masks; he wished that he had worn a mask, but he had seen hospital colleagues that had worn masks still fall sick and died. And they died fast, often within two days

At the hospital he was ushered into a large expansive room that probably once held great dinners, but today it held 100 cots with men and women writhing in searing pain, and some with pools of blood by their cots. That surprised him, all the blood. He had heard that the sickness caused people to cough blood, vomit blood, bleed from their noses. Any place that it could come out, it did on some people. He saw Dr. Ashley at 11 AM and he never felt worse in his life as he began to cough globs of mucous almost incessantly

Dr. Ashley was a caring man but he never felt so impotent in his life as the last two months. Sometimes the medicines worked, sometimes they didn't, but you couldn't predict. He gave Clifford the medicine that he was instructed to give, aspirin, but as the hours passed, each time he checked on Clifford he saw his face looking more and more blue and when he went home at 11PM, Clifford looked almost black. Clifford died at 3 AM, he was 29 years old.

Another Way

Jonathan Welch woke at 7AM with a sore throat. The previous year he wouldn't have thought anything about it and probably would have gone off to his hospital job as an orderly. But this year was special. It was November 1918 and at the hospital he had seen the bodies piling up in the morgue faster than they could be buried. He was worried. Earlier in the week he was talking with his mother about the carnage happening at the hospital and she mentioned a homeopathic doctor at the other side of town that was claiming to have good success with this sickness. By 11 AM he felt feverish, his head and whole body ached, and he could barely move off his bed with fatigue but his mother was encouraging him to see the homeopath. It was a struggle but he made it

When he turned down the street where the doctor lived, he was surprised to see so many people outside of the house. In the surrounding gardens, some people were lying in the sun, and others were receiving hot and cold baths. Even though they looked sick, there wasn't the feeling of disease in the air that could be smelled at the hospital

When he entered he was greeted by an assistant, then saw the doctor soon afterwards. He was given Gelsemium, a homeopathic remedy and was told to take it every hour that day and the next until he was better. And if he wasn't feeling better within two days, he should try another remedy. Unfortunately he couldn't afford the other recommendations of sun baths and hydrotherapy so he went home

As the day progressed his cough became worse and he wondered if he should go to the hospital. His mother tended to him, and did her best to implement the hydrotherapy treatment. He slept from 8 PM until 8 AM and when he woke his mother still sat in the chair next to him, crying with joy that he was still alive. He took his remedy throughout the day, she gave him his hydrotherapy, and he improved enough to return to work the following week to see the pain and death still piling up

1918, A Medical Failure

I find it strange that only recently, with the hype about the avian flu, we are seeing glimpses into the horror of the fall and winter of 1918. The US death toll for what became known as the Spanish Flu was 675,000 people. 675,000! And worldwide the estimate is 20 - 40 million deaths. The statistics are staggering: On the worse day in Philadelphia's history, October 10, 1918, 759 perished. In one month 11,000 died in Philadelphia alone. Philadelphia suffered perhaps worse than any city because the leadership dithered in warning its people and didn't cancel all public assemblies as was done in Boston and New York. The unusual thing about this flu was that it struck down dead not only the elderly and the young, as happens with most flus, but also the robust population in their 20's and 30's

The medical system was, not surprising, overwhelmed, as the staff and doctors became sick and died just as readily as the rest of the population. The books are filled with hero tales of doctors and nurses doing their best, researchers studying frantically trying to figure out how to ebb the flow of death. These people were heroes, the cowards are those that downplayed the pandemic the following years to cover their mistakes in the government and the medical establishment

One of the most comprehensive tales of the Spanish Flu is The Great Influenza, by John Barry. His descriptions are real, his storytelling riveting, but is aggrandizing of the medical establishment is disappointing. His heroes are the researchers from the nations great universities as they persuaded big money to fund their research for decades to come ensuring allopathic medicine's hegemony over the health care of the nation (Rockefeller was one such source and Barry repeatedly mentions that he had a personal homeopathic doctor to take care of his health). This was a job started by the AMA 60 years before: There were dozens of homeopathic schools in the US in 1850, by 1918 only one was still open

My discussion is not to say allopathic medicine is an inferior medicine. Obviously not. Over the last century it has succeeded in maintaining the health of the population as we have seen the life expectancy continue to rise. It has also succeeded in creating multi million dollar businesses, calling them hospitals, and repeated that by the thousands throughout the country. In these hospitals, only those that have the credentials outlined by the same people that run the hospitals are allowed to work and practice medicine.

Know the facts of Bird Flu, not the hype

There are alternatives. Over the past few decades, people are deciding for themselves that the mainstream health care system is slipping; they are choosing to visit alternative medicine practitioners for some of their health care needs. Doctors succeed in keeping the symptoms of disease dormant but do not produce a thriving population and on an individual level, have difficulty with the aches and pains of modern life: stress induced disorders, fatigue, headaches, chronic infections, allergies etc. And now with the danger of another bird flu looming, the efficacy of allopathic medicine needs to be considered. It failed in 1918, is it really better positioned nearly 100 years later?

The current Avian flu, H5N1, is a virus that currently affects mostly birds and occasionally infects people living in close quarters with the infected birds. The amount of deaths to date is minimal; probably more people have died at your local hospital from pharmaceutical drug-induced causes in the past year. If the flu mutates then we could have a pandemic bolder than 1918 because of the increased urbanization in today's world

Unlike 1918, money is pouring into research before the pandemic. Money to "find a vaccine" which may be as elusive as "find a cure for cancer" since nobody knows what the virus will look like when it mutates (even the yearly flu vaccine is of questionable benefit for that virus). Also governments and populations are stockpiling anti-virals like Tamiflu. But the question is, will they work? There is no question that we will be more prepared than 1918 and hopefully the emergency procedures will flow smoother than the Katrina disaster. Also with our global communications we will be able to detect its spread early on. But will it work?

Not Everyone dies of bird flu

Researchers speculate that by 1920 half the population of the world had been infected by the Spanish Flu. And it is important to note that for most people, it was just another case of the flu - aches, fever, a few uncomfortable days, and then feeling better. It is important to know that not everyone dies if they are infected. That fact is important to repeat. If the Avian Flu were to ravage our world, in only a certain percentage of the population the disease progresses into the depths of the respiratory tract. For these unlucky people, the lungs are attacked and produce such profuse amounts of phlegm in reaction, it is as if they drown in their own mucous. But for the rest of the population the virus does not reach the depths of the lungs, this immune reaction does not occur, and they recover

As mentioned above, in the Spanish Flu, the healthy vibrant people in their 20's and 30's suffered the brunt of the casualties. These people have the strongest immune system of the population. So the alternative medicine idea of "improving the immune system" probably won't protect you, I believe that idea is mistaken in this case. With the respiratory reaction, and the immune response causing the bleeding and searing pain, there appeared to be an acute autoimmune type of reaction. In my opinion, if this occurs, we may find that the most effective allopathic medicine would be to prevent and stop this autoimmune reaction. Which would be the ole standby, prednisone.

Alternative approach to cure bird flu

I keep falling back on the experience of 1918 since that is the last time a devastating pandemic swept the world. It is being repeated that allopathic MD's had a mortality rate of 20 - 30 % while homeopaths, using homeopathy and hydrotherapy had a mortality rate of 1 %, chiefly with Gelsemium. This was reported in the Journal of the American Institute for Homeopathy following the pandemic. The results were self-reporting, and the homeopaths were bitter that allopaths had pushed them out of the health care system, yet homeopathy and hydrotherapy must be considered as a viable option

When people become sick with the flu, any flu, most people often progress with the same symptoms. It may start with a sore throat, proceed to body aches with fever, then to a cough etc. This symptom presentation decides which homeopathic remedy to use; hence in a pandemic when the symptom progression follows only a few routes, only a few homeopathic remedies are needed. In 1918 the main remedies used were gelsemium, bryonia, and eupatorium. Instead of looking for a substance, be it a synthetic anti-viral or a more natural anti-viral, I think the better choice is to follow the natural healing process of the body using homeopathic remedies and hydrotherapy and keep the disease from settling in to deeper levels

Don't fear the avian flu, be informed, be prepared, and be healthy


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