Media coverage of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has incited fear among the American public, emptied Chinatowns all over North America and stopped much of the travel between the U.S., Toronto, Canada, China, Taiwan and southeast Asia. While SARS is an urgent concern for the World Health Organization, a larger worry on the horizon for the world health agency is the flu–the long awaited influenza pandemic.
The influenza pandemic has historically occurred at 25-30 year periods and its destruction was cataclysmic. The Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918, as an example, killed more than 40 million people globally (670,000 Americans independently ). The latest influenza pandemic struck 35 years back and killed over 4 million individuals. SARS, in contrast, has generated less than one thousand deaths and is a lot less infectious.
Regarding the probability of a significant flu pandemic striking in the not too distant future, Albert Osterhaus, a Dutch scientist involved in pandemic preparedness in Europe stated in the exact same Wall Street article,”It’s not a matter of if, but when, this will occur. I am far more scared of a flu pandemic than I am of SARS.” The influenza, SARS and other communicable diseases like malaria and tuberculosis are the twenty-first century’s important heath challenges. Overcrowding and international travel have increased the risk of diseases spreading unchecked.
However, the real threat lies in a virus’s ability to experience small changes or mutations that prevent people’s natural immunities. Similarly, the widespread use of antibiotics in meat and poultry producing industries has allowed bacteria to become stronger and more resistant.
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According to some critics, our current medical practices of over-prescribing antibiotics can promote the growth of “super-bugs”! When these “new” microbes hit, they move quickly and wipe out victims, leaving a wide path of destruction. The West Nile and Ebola viruses, by way of instance, both have at least a 90% mortality rate. Don’t panic. You can prevent or minimize your odds of contracting infectious diseases both in the home or while traveling. Sometimes you can’t help but travel on planes, meet with somebody who may seem to be sick, eat at a restaurant or even be in a crowded location.
Therefore you must be certain that your immune system is working at a peak level. This entails avoiding activities that would weaken or enhance your immune system and take part in immune strengthening and supporting activities. Many men and women who were exposed to SARS, Ebola, the West Nile virus or the flu virus never came down with the disease.
The reason is simple: Their immune systems are much more powerful and better equipped to fend off the viruses compared to those who came down with all the illnesses. Extensive studies of approaches to strengthen the individual defenses are carried out for centuries in China, producing a wealth of knowledge on Chinese herbal medicine and its influence on the immune system. While there’s presently no treatment for SARS, the Chinese Government Health Authority recently published its recommendations for preventing SARS. These recommendations include Chinese herbal medicine formulations as prophylactic agents against SARS.
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They’re herbs which have been found to contain antiviral and antibacterial properties and have immune boosting qualities. We can’t depend on the government or a world health body to shield us from communicable diseases, nor should we. In a world grown ever more connected and fast-paced, the dangers of disease transmission are larger with every passing day. However, individuals have the capacity to protect themselves and loved ones by being proactive in ensuring optimum health and immune function. As frightening as the prospects of SARS and the flu pandemic are, we’re far from being helpless. With the steps I outlined above it is possible to take minimize weakening your immune system and improve your immune functions. You don’t need to be a sitting duck waiting for the inevitable to occur.