Flu is the seventh cause of death in America. Regular flu kills about 36,000 Americans every year. But occasionally, as in 1918, it becomes a plague. Then, we, our families, or friends may very well be attacked by a killing flu virus. Flu is worth understanding, so we can prepare to prevent and fight it.
Flu Involves Pigs
Ever since Deuteronomy 14 we have known that pigs are unclean and intrinsically dirty. But when you put 1,000,000 pigs in a big Mexican factory, feed them carelessly, deprive them of good air and environment, and then drug them until they can be trucked off so that humans can be “scavengers of the scavengers“—no wonder biology rebels! New and strange viral mutations happen. This new breed of bug called swine flu is 2 parts pig, 1 part bird, and enough human to be catching, allowing the 2009 A-strain of H1-N1 swine flu to spread throughout the world. Even though this strain may not swell to epidemic proportions, it can be a timely and critical wake-up call if we will heed it.
There is direct chemical evidence that when the 1918 strain of flu is given back to pigs the virus multiplies avidly but does not kill them. But when given to monkeys, they die. So do ferrets and mice. No wonder pigs are called “mixing vessels.” Birds can transport virus for thousands of miles but they don’t live long enough to do as much damage as pigs. In pigs a reassortment of genes from humans, birds, and swine can happen and the resulting genes have not just gradually drifted—they have shifted into a new, fast, and sometimes deadly form. Case in point? More people were killed with the 1918 virus than by all of World War I carnage combined.
The Great Physician has a big answer. He said, regarding the future, “…ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars… and there shall be famines, and pestilences.”1 So, the prophetic scenario is: wars—famines—pestilences. Big wars fracture supply lines, spread famine and malnutrition, and massively stress thousands of people, setting them up for stronger virus and germs to kill them. Thus the 1918 super flu resulted. It killed 650,000 Americans—18 times more than a regular seasonal flu usually does.
What Is Flu Virus Like?
The flu virus is a tiny, brilliantly designed, biologic time bomb. It is about 100 nanometers in size. That is one two-hundred and fifty-thousandth of an inch! In fact, the virus is so small that it can pass right through unglazed porcelain, as discovered by Dr. Shope in 1930. This virus has hundreds of micro-clubs (called hemagglutinins) on it. These projections can stick to human airways. Also hundreds of spikes (neuraminadase) stick out between the clubs and join the molecular fight to break into and kill lining cells of the lungs. If the defenses are weak, the virus is soon inside and in short order having babies and grandbabies! When these offspring break loose or are spilled into the breathing tubes, the virus spreads fast and widely. Flu symptoms vary from sniffles to painful gasping for air. The very young, the elderly, pregnant mothers, diabetics, and others who have compromised hearts, lungs, or immune systems are the most vulnerable to pneumonia and death.
How Does the Flu Virus Dodge From Year to Year?
The clubs and spikes change often, so that last year’s antibodies or vaccines may not protect from this year’s newer flu virus. This makes it difficult to predict what strain will hit our communities next season, so the value of vaccines is somewhat compromised.
What About Types?
As explained, the clubs are hemagglutinins and the spikes, neuroaminidase. There are about 15 different kinds of molecular clubs and about 9 types of spikes, so the capacity for variation by mutation is daunting! The abbreviations for these two terms, H and N, are used to denote the names for the individual stains. The 2009 swine flu is H1N1.
Oops! As of spring 2009, no vaccine is effective against the new strain. It usually takes up to six to eight months to make a new vaccine.
We have heard a good bit of serious news. Now for some good news about flu.
How the Body Fights Flu
The body fights flu by a natural antibiotic called lysozyme, discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming in 1922. When one is in excellent health, lysozyme and fellow immune defense factors can kill flu viruses, cold viruses, and even polio viruses. We have evidence that under optimum conditions there is measurable synergism in the bioactive agents that fight germs.
The pH factor
But, for lysozyme to function properly, the surface acidity or pH must be right! It needs to be 6.8 or lower to zap the virus. In the following three conditions lysozyme can’t do the job:
- shortage of sleep
No wonder colds and flu are so common.
Hydro to the Rescue
The moist heat of hydrotherapy can correct this imbalance. Dr. Charles Thomas, a Stanford graduate, taught hydrotherapy to each medical student at Loma Linda University for years. He had a standing arrangement with his students: “When you feel the first symptoms of flu, come immediately to my Physical Therapy Laboratory and I will give a hydrotherapy treatment. Then I will put you to bed.” In the morning the medical students were usually well or much better!
While a student of Dr. Wayne McFarland, at Potomac University, I learned that, when in his residency in Physical Medicine at Mayo’s Clinic, he put a pH probe inside of the lung of a man. His measurements showed for the first time that when you put a hot fomentation outside of the lung the pH inside goes down where it belongs. When the pH is optimum, lysozyme and other natural immune factors can synergize to attack the virus and other unhealthy conditions in the lungs. So hydrotherapy for flu has scientific basis for front-line use.
How Do Hydrotherapy and Lifestyle Medicine Work?
W. A. Ruble, a physician and leader in a Seventh-day Adventist medical school then called the College of Medical Evangelists at Loma Linda, California, wrote a short article entitled, “Sanitarium Treatment of Influenza,” in Life & Health, May 1919.2 Dr. Ruble provides us with data on 1,123 patients treated in 10 Seventh-day Adventist Sanitariums, now referred to as lifestyle centers. He then compares the results with U.S. Army data on flu treatment for pneumonia and death. See the following page for a graphic presentation of the results, as prepared at Wildwood Lifestyle Center & Hospital.
Pneumonia: Notice that the patients who were treated as outpatients had about one-half as much pneumonia as those in the U.S. Army (see figure 1). But those given faithful 24/7 sanitarium care with hydrotherapy, vegetarian diet, regular sleep, and excellent nursing care fared more than 5 times better.
The hydrotherapy included such treatments as fomentations applied to the lungs every few hours, and even at night if necessary. Hot footbaths usually accompanied the fomentations. The temperature of these foot baths were wisely tuned to the state of the blood vessels and nerves of the patient. For example, in diabetes, no hot water. Meanwhile all chilling of the patient was avoided. Russian steam baths were also used.
Pneumonia is a most serious complication of the flu because millions of cells lining the lungs are attacked and killed and the resulting inflammation, congestion, and secondary invasion of bacteria can overmaster the body and kill the patient. Remember that germs are becoming resistant faster than newer antibiotics are becoming available. Part of this debacle is due to unwise and unwarranted use of antibiotics in animal factories, (such as that of pig, chicken, and cow) to keep these unfortunate creatures alive in their unbiologic toxic environments.
One conclusion is obvious: lifestyle medicine can help prevent pneumonia.
Deaths: Lifestyle Medicine and hydrotherapy resulted in about five times fewer deaths than did U.S. Army care (see figure 2). The actual comparison was even better because of the differing age of the groups involved. The army patients were a younger group, whereas the sanitarium patients included the elderly. Of the patients who did get pneumonia, only 1.3 percent of those who were inpatients in a sanitarium died. This is three times better than the results of those outpatients who came to the sanitarium for treatment when they felt worse and stayed home when they felt better! (As if feelings were scientific.)
Ruble’s comparisons do not represent observational tokenism. More than 1,000 patients were involved. Here before our needy eyes is evidence that natural methods can fight flu very well. We must take this current, milder swine flu as a wake-up call. We must get ready for a big one. All rational methods and means must be followed to get in shape and stay that way.
Similar therapies have been used in the past. Native American Indians used steam treatments produced by hot rocks and water pours followed by applications of brisk, brief cold. Scandinavian saunas and other diverse approaches worldwide have also helped nature fight disease. Even Hippocrates used natural means to facilitate healing.
Why was inpatient sanitarium therapy superior?
- More hydrotherapy. Oftener. Better therapeutic context, leading to better results.
- Better diet. Steady vegetarian diet reduces inflammation.
- Better sleep and rest. Real flu is a serious sickness.
- Less stress. Flu patients need quiet, undisturbed surroundings.
- Less chilling. Cars, traveling, waiting rooms, hallways, and drafts predispose one to chilling. And chilling promotes pneumonia.
- Better overall environment.
- Closer medical monitoring and a full spectrum of lifestyle medicine combined with steady skillful nursing care add up to more lives saved and fewer lost.
What Hydro Should Be Given?
One of the best treatments for flu is fomentation therapy. A step-by-step description of how to do it is included on pages 33 to 36 of this issue. The treatment can be repeated every five to six hours, and once during the night if the patient is seriously ill. If your patient is improving, keep up the program until he is fully recovered. If his condition is worsening, get help soon. Serious flu can lead to additional problems, including pleurisy or complications of heart or brain. Hospitalized care may be necessary. Don’t forget to pray to the Great Physician who loves to help us heal in His way.
Hydrotherapy for Children
Babies can be given hot and cold contrast showers while held in their mother’s arms. As she showers with her little one, she should focus the spray on his back and lungs. Babies can also be given contrast baths in tubs of hot and cold water. Modify the water temperatures to suit the child’s tolerance. Make the treatment as pleasant as possible.
Older children can also be given hot and cold showers or baths, as well as gentle fomentation therapy. Three exchanges of hot and cold, then off to bed.
Utilizing hydrotherapy and lifestyle medicine in the treatment of flu:
- prevents most pneumonia
- prevents most deaths
We must stay informed, avoid the flu virus, wash our hands, and not rub our eyes, pick our noses, or lick our fingers. We should keep up our daily exercise, especially during the early morning hours. Remember moderate sunshine. Get and stay on a decent diet. Go to bed at night early and regularly. Two hours of sleep before twelve a.m. are worth four after midnight. And last but assuredly not least, trust in Divine Power. This is not a pious luxury—it is a modern necessity since stress is becoming cosmic!
If you do get sick, practice the Golden Rule and stay home until completely recovered.
Hydrotherapy is a winner. Get a deep plastic bucket for a foot bath and keep a full set of dry fomentations in it. Be ready. The skillful use of oral and external charcoal can also reduce inflammation and thereby lessen the dire effects of the “cytokine storm.”
The Four Angels of Revelation are loosening their restraining grip on the forces of evil. Soon pestilences will sweep the world more and more frequently and seriously. Because the cities are at greater risk for epidemics as well as many other undesirable conditions, country living is advantageous. And if you get a chance, eliminate pig, chicken, and other dangerous animal factories. Even keeping a good upwind distance from them can be helpful to your health and wellbeing.
A Big Promise
God says, “If, thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee….”3 A great promise with big, broad conditions. We must cooperate totally. Then the results will be excellent!
Soon we all will enjoy the peaceful glories of a world without any flu, virus, disease or trouble. Praise God!