The Graedon's (People's Pharmacy) on the flu : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

The Graedon's "People's Pharmacy" column had a good article on the flu in today's papers. The full article should be on their website shortly at

In the meantime, some highlights:

"Frequent handwashing helps. . ."

"Two new medicines. . . can prevent or cure the flu. Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir) have joined Flumadine (rimantidine) and Symmetrel (amantidine). All these antivirals require fast action and a doctor's prescription. They work best when taken within a day or two of the first symptoms."

OTCs--"At best they may lower a fever or ease congestion for a while. At worst, the analgesics they contain. . . could prolong nasal symptoms and weaken the immune response to a cold. . . Researchers have found that in people taking aspirin, cold viruses multiply more easily. . ."

"Grandmothers. . . rely on chicken soup. . . Medical research confirms it is effective against nasal congestion. In China, astralagus root in the soup increases the ability of the immune system to fend off viruses."

"Although Vitamin C does not prevent colds, it has been shown to boost the immune system and reduce symptoms. Echinacea and goldenseal. . . appear to affect the immune system in a positive way."

"Ginger tea [recipe at url above] and hot toddies are also popular for fighting congestion and coughs."

-- Old Git (, January 09, 2000


Puddintame's Pharmacy = flu shot

-- Puddintame (, January 09, 2000.


Don't flout the flu. The shot may have been for the wrong strain!

-- Gypsy (, January 09, 2000.

Thanks, Old Git! What are hot toddies?

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (, January 09, 2000.

Good stuff Git. When it comes to viruses, all the things that your mother told you were true. Rest, fluids and humidity (like eating soup). As for aspirin, still the favorite (for adults) for me for fever and aches but not routine use when those symptoms fade. Relenza has proven so far to be a winner if used early.

-- Carlos (, January 09, 2000.

A recent article in Discover mag says that research shows using an alcohol hand rinse like Purel does cut bacteria on hands. We keep it in our car and use alot when out in public. It is the friction in hand washing that gets rid of germs and studies have shown that the prevalence of anit-bacterial soaps is not beneficial and may be harmful as those pesky bugs are extremely clever at mutating. Best bet when flu is epedemic as it is here in MO. is to stay out of crowds, get enough rest to keep your immunity up and wash your hands...and keep them away from your face as flu enters via nose,mouth and rubbing your eyes.

-- MUTTI (, January 09, 2000.

I found this info on Jeff Rense's website:

(WebMD) -- bInfluenza -- the flu, for short -- can knock you out with its aches, pains, chills and fever. People want fast relief when it hits, and many reach for alternative treatments. Two popular ones are oscillococcinum, a homeopathic flu remedy, and Sambucol, an herbal treatment made from elderberry extract. While neither of these alternative remedies meets U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards, studies on oscillococcinum have been encouraging. Sambucol has also looked promising in preliminary investigations. Oscillococcinum Oscillococcinum is the number one over-the-counter flu medication in France, where it has been used for over 60 years. The medication, a dilute extract of duck liver and heart, comes in granule form. It's believed to indirectly stimulate the body's immune system and other defenses, according to pharmacist Christophe Merville, west coast branch manager of Boiron, a French manufacturer of homeopathic remedies. A study in the April 1998 issue of the British Homeopathic Journal reported that 17.4 percent of those taking oscillococcinum were symptom-free the day after treatment began, compared to 6.6 percent of those taking placebos. In a similar study published in the March 1989 issue of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 24.6 percent of those with mild to moderate symptoms had recovered by the second day, compared to 11.9 percent of those taking placebos. No significant side effects were found in either study. Homeopathic remedies work quickly, says Merville, and you should see an improvement in your symptoms within 48 hours. If not, you're taking the wrong extract for your condition. Merville also says you can take oscillococcinum with over-the-counter preparations, prescription medications or other natural remedies without worrying about drug interactions. Elderberry extract Elderberry extract contains a high percentage of three flavonoids -- naturally occurring plant substances -- that have been shown to possess antiviral properties. A study published in the winter 1995 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine examined the flu-fighting abilities of Sambucol, a commercial elderberry extract preparation. In the study, scientists found that Sambucol interfered with the growth of multiple strains of both influenza A and B viruses in cell cultures. In human tests, 35 healthy subjects were given four tablespoons of Sambucol daily for three days, and researchers recorded no side effects. Twenty-seven subjects were then given either Sambucol or a placebo for three days during a flu outbreak at an Israeli kibbutz. Children took two tablespoons daily and adults took four. None of the study participants had received a flu shot. Fully 90 percent of those taking Sambucol were completely cured within three days, while most of those who took the placebo needed six days to recover. There haven't been enough studies to confirm Sambucol's effectiveness, though. And it's still a good idea to check with your doctor about possible drug interactions. New conventional treatments Until recently, the flu vaccine was the only drug approved by the FDA for use against the influenza A and B viruses. But two new treatments have recently been approved, the first ones in 30 years. When taken within 48 hours of the first symptoms, these two new antivirals -- zanamivir (sold under the brand name Relenza) and oseltamivir (Tamiflu) -- have been shown to reduce the length of illness caused by both type A and type B viruses. Zanamivir also appears to cause no significant side effects. But many people aren't ready to toss out their alternative remedies yet. Unlike zanamivir and oseltamivir, you can get oscillococcinum and Sambucol at your local health food stores without a prescription. "I have no problem at all with people taking these things, provided that they are not materials with significant side effect risks," says Robert B. Couch, M.D., professor of medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Couch strongly recommends the flu vaccine, however, especially for the elderly and those with heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes or a compromised immune system. With these advances on both the alternative and conventional fronts, it's clear the flu now has some strong competition.

-- Jo Ann (, January 09, 2000.

A hot toddy, at least where I come from, is hot tea with lemon, honey, and a shot of whiskey. (Pretty yummy even when you're not sick!)

-- yerfdog (, January 10, 2000.

Oddly enough, yerfdog, where I come from a hot toddy is the same as yours--but without the tea! I think we traditionally prefer rum, too, but any good stuff will do. Here's a snip from the on-line version of the UK Reader's Digest:

Doctors recommend that you drink plenty of fluids when you have a cold - at least six to eight drinks a day - in order to combat dehydration and keep mucus on the move. Include plenty of water, and hot drinks made with the juice of a lemon and a teaspoon of honey in a glass of hot water. The lemon juice is rich in vitamin C and the honey helps to soothe a sore throat.

A traditional hot toddy, made with lemon or orange juice, honey, a single measure of alcohol (such as whisky) and boiling water is a time-honoured cold remedy. It may not be borne out by scientific research, but it is comforting and soothing and may help you to sleep.

7 Inhale steam to relieve a stuffed-up nose. Half-fill a bowl with hot water, put a towel over your head to trap the steam and inhale for a few minutes at a time. Add some eucalyptus oil to the water for an effective decongestant.

7 Aromatherapy oils can be used to keep the nasal passages clear. Mix five drops of eucalyptus with grapeseed or wheatgerm oil and rub it on your chest, or add five drops to some water in a vaporiser.

7 Allow your body to rest and recover when suffering from a bout of cold or flu. If you insist on carrying on as normal, you will hinder the body's cold-fighting efforts and spread the infection to other people. Taking time off at the onset of a cold will help to shorten its duration.

7 When you feel well enough, take a gentle walk and get some fresh air.

From Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal.

-- Old Git (, January 10, 2000.

My vote goes to Oscillococcinum. Amazingly effective and, as w/ other homeopathic remedies, no side effects at all.

Glad to see you all posting away!

-- silver ion (, January 12, 2000.

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