In Canada, the flu generates 20,000 hospital admissions and 4000 deaths each year. Senior citizens, children, infants and people with particular health conditions are at greater risk. Our neighbour, the United States doesn’t fare any better. Every year, an average of 5-20% of its population contracts the flu, with approximately 36,000 flu related deaths each year.
As a result of superbugs like the norovirus being antibiotic resistant, there is a renewed interest in plants for their powerful antimicrobial properties. Nature offers a broad spectrum of effective antibacterial and antiviral alternative preparations to assist the public in remedying all types of flu bugs.
The norovirus cannot be prevented with medicine or a vaccine. Herbs, homeopathy and other supplements work in a more sophisticated manner. Rather than simply wiping out everything in its path, nature encourages the activity of immune system cells such as interferon and white blood cells. Natural antimicrobial remedies only attack the microbes responsible for the infection while preserving the body’s friendly flora, “Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifida”.
What is the Norovirus?
Caliciviridae is a family of viruses, subdivided into 5 groups, the norovirus (GI) being the most common and mainly responsible for infecting people. What makes this virus particularly hard to combat are the new variant strains produced from these 5 genogroups, which now number 22 other distinct genotypes. Scientists have been identifying new strains of norovirus since 2002.
The norovirus originally called “Norwalk” is also known as the winter vomiting disease. This viral gastroenteritis should not be confused with influenza. The norovirus primarily affects the digestive system, displaying symptoms within 24-48 hours upon exposure and generally lasting 24-36 hours. A patient experiences a sudden onset of nausea, fever, chills, cramping, vomiting and diarrhea. A major concern is dehydration, a serious complication for the very young or elderly. While typical flu symptoms, involve a cough, sore throat, fever, muscle aches, fatigue and headache.
How is the norovirus transmitted?
This virus is comprised of different strains, which means there is only temporary immunity. People who have been previously ill can become infected once again. The main cause of spreading the virus is through contact with vomit and fecal matter. Even with good hygiene habits, it is difficult to avoid this bug.
To help prevent spreading, anyone who has been ill should not return to work for a least 48 hours after symptoms have ceased. Even though you may feel well, the virus can be present in your stool for a few days. The norovirus is easily spread by person to person contact.
To further prevent and contain this virus, special attention must be paid to hygiene.
- Wash your hands and clean under your nails often.
- Isolate the ill person as much as possible.
- Be aware of commonly touched areas and bathrooms.
- Wear disposable gloves if available.
- Clean up bodily fluids and waste with paper towels and discard in plastic bags.
- Clean all surfaces with a diluted bleach solution. Other household cleaners are not effective.
- Wear a surgical mask, gloves and garments that can withstand hot water.
- Wash bedding, towels and clothing in hot water and detergent.
- Discard any food that may have been handled by a sick person or may have been near any vomit.
Infants, young children, the elderly and people with weak immune systems are more prone to develop dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea. Infants and young children require oral rehydration solutions to replace lost fluids, minerals and salts. Treatment in this area focuses on reducing the symptoms and preventing dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration are excessive thirst, dry mouth, dark yellow urine or little to no urine, decreased tears, severe weaknesses or lethargy and light headedness.
Individuals are at risk anywhere food is handled in an unsanitary way or by drinking contaminated water. High risk items are salads and readily prepared foods. Another frequent source of infection is raw shellfish, in particular oysters. People living in close proximity to each other as in a cruise ship or hotels, are far more susceptible to infection.
Super Charge your Immune System
Antibiotics are not effective against viruses. New strategies and alternative approaches have become necessary to destroy and prevent recurring infections. A core prerequisite to good health lies in supporting and enhancing our immune system response. Boost your natural killer cells with an immune boosting diet – vibrant in colour. For extra support, look to supplements like astragalus, glutathione, colostrum, zinc, vitamins C, A, beta-carotene, antioxidants, beta glucans and pine tree extracts. Acidophilus and bifida have the unique ability to increase our body’s built in defense mechanisms.
Homeopathy is non toxic and well suited by people and children of all ages. Professional advice may be needed to choose an appropriate remedy, however, here are a few that cover many flu symptoms: Nux vomica, Phosphorus, Arsenicum, Gelsemium and Ipecac.
Colloidal silver boasts a stellar record where not a single case of antibiotic resistant bacteria has resurfaced once cleared.
Turmeric contains antibacterial properties and other medicinal elements. By simply observing a country known for its unsanitary living conditions such as India and yet superbugs are not running rampant.
Oil of Oregano has proven antibacterial and antifungal properties with extensive medicinal applications including wiping out superbugs.
Garlic contains allicin, a compound extracted from garlic that has become a staple among health conscious people.
- Widdowson MA, Glass R, Monroe S. Portable transmission of norovirus, JAMA, 2005:293:1859-60.
- Vinje J. Widdowson MA, Food borne viruses, Cliver DO.Bosch A, WashingtonDC. ASM Press 29-64.
- Queen Mary Hit with Norovirus, 29th Dec. 2010.
- Ten Riskiest Foods Regulated by U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Oct. 6, 2009
Michelle Honda PhD is a holistic doctor in private practice at Renew You Holistic Health located in Hamilton/Ancaster Ontario Canada. In addition to her doctorate, she holds an advanced degree in nutrition (RNCP), is a Master Herbalist and an IIPA Certified Iridologist. Visit her website at: http://www.renewyou.ca and http://www.michellehonda.com or Call: (905) 304-0111.
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