Could Vitamin D Be The Answer To These Flu Outbreaks?

vitamin_d

An outbreak of swine flu occurred at the Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey in 1976. This outbreak took the life of a young private and the virus wound up infecting hundreds of his fellow soldiers. Worried that an epidemic was about to spread across the country President Gerald Ford ordered an immediate mandatory vaccination program. In short order reports began to surface of people developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralyzing nerve disease that was believed to be brought about by the vaccine. Within a month or so of the outbreak dozens of people had died and many more were suffering from the terrible side effects of the vaccines that were being administered. By the end of the year and with the public up in arms over the deaths and injuries the government put an end to the program. The expected epidemic never developed as the government expected and the only death due to this particular swine flu outbreak was the one Fort Dix soldier.

As I was looking around for information about this latest influenza strain I came across this interesting 2006 article that presents the case for vitamin D to help strengthen the immune system, the fact that most of us don’t get anywhere near enough of this vitamin and why vitamin D may be a large part of the answer to fighting the flu bug and many other health maladies.

In early April of 2005, after a particularly rainy spring, an influenza epidemic (epi: upon, demic: people) exploded through the maximum-security hospital for the criminally insane where I have worked for the last ten years. It was not the pandemic (pan: all, demic: people) we all fear, just an epidemic. The world is waiting and governments are preparing for the next pandemic. A severe influenza pandemic will kill many more Americans than died in the World Trade Centers, the Iraq war, the Vietnam War, and Hurricane Katrina combined, perhaps a million people in the USA alone. Such a disaster would tear the fabric of American society. Our entire country might resemble the Superdome or Bourbon Street after Hurricane Katrina.

It’s only a question of when a pandemic will come, not if it will come. Influenza A pandemics come every 30 years or so, severe ones every hundred years or so. The last pandemic, the Hong Kong flu, occurred in 1968 – killing 34,000 Americans. In 1918, the Great Flu Epidemic killed more than 500,000 Americans. So many millions died in other countries, they couldn’t bury the bodies. Young healthy adults, in the prime of their lives in the morning, drowning in their own inflammation by noon, grossly discolored by sunset, were dead at midnight. Their body’s own broad-spectrum natural antibiotics, called antimicrobial peptides, seemed nowhere to be found. An overwhelming immune response to the influenza virus – white blood cells releasing large amounts of inflammatory agents called cytokines and chemokines into the lungs of the doomed – resulted in millions of deaths in 1918.

As I am now a psychiatrist, and no longer a general practitioner, I was not directly involved in fighting the influenza epidemic in our hospital. However, our internal medicine specialists worked overtime as they diagnosed and treated a rapidly increasing number of stricken patients. Our Chief Medical Officer quarantined one ward after another as more and more patients were gripped with the chills, fever, cough, and severe body aches that typifies the clinical presentation of influenza A.

Epidemic influenza kills a million people in the world every year by causing pneumonia, “the captain of the men of death.” These epidemics are often explosive; the word influenza comes from Italian (Medieval Latin ?nfluentia) or influence, because of the belief that the sudden and abrupt epidemics were due to the influence of some extraterrestrial force. One seventeenth century observer described it well when he wrote, “suddenly a Distemper arose, as if sent by some blast from the stars, which laid hold on very many together: that in some towns, in the space of a week, above a thousand people fell sick together.”

Please read the rest of this lengthy but informative article here>>>

This entry was posted in Healthcare Issues.

Leave a Reply