Is the Swine Flu Scare For Real?

by Dr. Joseph McCaffrey on July 17, 2009 · 1 comment

By Dr. Joseph McCaffrey


“200 people get Swine Flu and everyone wants to wear masks. Millions have AIDS and no one wants to wear a condom.”


 – Anonymous


The news media continues to report on the swine flu situation in their usual sensationalist style. It amounts to fear mongering at its worst.


I don’t want to dismiss any concern whatsoever, but most reports seemed designed to maximize fear while providing no useful information.


Right now I want to give you some facts about the flu and swine flu, let you know how concerned you really should be and most importantly tell you what you can do to protect yourself.


To begin, “swine flu” is simply a newly recognized a strain of influenza virus. It more accurately is referred to as the H1N1 virus. Although it originally appeared to be a mutation of a virus common in pigs, that currently appears to be less likely. In any case it looks like the term swine flu is here to stay.


News reporters like to compare the potential of the current situation to the devastating influenza epidemic of 1918 . Let me give some immediate reassurance. It is extremely unlikely the situation will ever reach that extreme.


For one thing, we have much better public health and medical systems worldwide than existed 90 years ago.


For another, the current virus lacks a protein that was present in the 1918 virus and seems to be a hallmark of viruses capable of causing virulent epidemics.


Also, much of the population has been exposed to other strains of a H1N1 virus in the past and likely has some degree of partial immunity.


This virus is spread like any other influenza virus: from person to person.


In the usual method of transmission the virus spreads to environmental surfaces through respiratory droplets when someone coughs or sneezes. Someone else then picks up the virus on their hands when they touch that surface and data contaminate their own respiratory system when they touch their face.


There were two very simple yet very effective things you can do to protect yourself. One is to practice good hygiene. The other is to strengthen your immune system.


Why don’t you become an obsessive-compulsive, frequent hand washing is the single best thing you can do to protect yourself. Don’t bother with antibacterial soap. It’s no more effective than plain soap there may be some downsides to spreading the chemicals in the antibacterial soaps around.


It’s also good idea to carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you when you’re out in public because soap and water aren’t always available. To be effective, the sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol.


Not everyone who is exposed any virus becomes ill. Our immune systems’ generally do a very good job of protecting us. The stronger your immune system, the less likely you are to become ill and if you should become infected the milder your symptoms are likely to be.


About the Author:  Joseph F. McCaffrey, MD, FACS is a board-certified surgeon and HeartMath Trainer with extensive experience in both alternative and complementary medical practices. His areas of expertise include mind-body interaction and cognitive restructuring.  Dr. McCaffrey strives to help people attain their optimum level of vitality by stressing wellness rather than disease. To learn more, click HERE. 


[Editor’s Comments:  I agree with Dr. McCaffrey…there does seem to be some “sensationalist” reporting from the news media when it comes to the Swine Flu.


If you believed everything you read about it, you’d probably be locked in your house living in a plastic clean room like the “Boy in the Bubble .”


Frequent hand-washing is an easy solution. Enough said about that!


It’s also important to keep your immune system strong. The way to do this is the same things we preach in almost every article we publish:

  1. An effective exercise program
  2. Plenty of sleep (at least 8 hours per night)
  3. Reduce your stress levels
  4. Targeted supplementation (like Krill Oil and Probiotics)

I try to focus on these 5 basic elements (reducing stress is hardest for me), and I rarely get sick.


Dr. McCaffrey has a page on his website that outlines effective, proven measures you can take to optimize your immune system, including the supplements you should take right away. Check it out at: Keep Your Immune System Strong]


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Iris July 26, 2009 at 12:06 am

Ireally appreciate this article on the H1N1 Virus. I was worried about it because I am a senior citizen and have upper respiratory problems. I usually get a flu shot every year. Will this surfice or will I need to get the regular shot and also the swine flu shot also? Please reply ASAP.

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