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2018 Flu: What You Need To Know

February 19, 2018

 

The Damage:

  • 7.7% of all Americans seeking medical care have flu-like symptoms (previous record was 7.6% in 2003-2004 flu season)

  • 10.1% of all recent deaths are from flu/pneumonia

  • More than 710,000 hospitalizations (63 per 100,000 people ages 53-64)

  • 63 children have died from the flu so far

 

The Consequences:

  • More than $87 billion in total economic burden

  • $16.3 billion in lost earnings due to employees taking sick days

  • At least $10.4 billion in direct medical costs

  • Complications include pneumonia, myocarditis, bronchitis, encephalitis, sinus infections, ear infections, and even organ failure

 

The Solution:

 

                Did you know that there are more than 10,000 strains of bacteria in each one of us? As a matter of fact, there are more bacteria in our gut than there are cells that make up our body. In a healthy person these bacteria produce byproducts that the body uses to combat inflammation, produce hormones, resist disease, and even build immunity.

                Let’s imagine we have two pastures. There is a wooden picket fence going right between these two pastures dividing them evenly. The pasture on the left is paradise-like. There is plenty of greenery, fresh flowing water, a lot of natural sunlight, and a general vibrancy. The pasture on the right, however, is the exact opposite. There is trash everywhere. The water is stagnant and polluted. There is very little sunlight and even less plant life.

                Which one of these two pastures is most likely to attract rodents, fleas, ticks, and mosquitos? If you guessed the pasture on the right, then you are correct. History proves this with one of the deadliest diseases to ever hit humanity. Between 1340 and 1400 the Bubonic Plague, also known as Black Death, nearly wiped out one-third of humans in Europe and millions in Asia. The plague seemed to target large cities and towns. Why is that? During this time in history garbage disposal was primitive, bathing was occasional, and water and food sanitation was non-existent. This led to a perfect breeding ground for fleas and rodents which have been blamed for spreading the plague.

                In our modern-day society, we are obsessed with killing germs and bacteria. To be clear, I think avoiding excess germs and bacteria is a good thing but there’s another piece to this puzzle. In our two pastures example, would putting out rat poison and flea killer get rid of the problem in the pasture on the right? Only temporarily. Until the trash is cleaned they will just continue to come back. Our bodies are the same way. We should focus more on creating a healthy environment where these bacteria cannot wreak havoc than we should on the latest antibiotic or anti-microbial soap. All these products are killing the good bacteria with the bad bacteria which weakens overall immunity. Once the environment of our body is addressed and corrected we don’t have to rely so heavily on these things. It also gives us peace of mind that we won’t catch every cold or flu that comes our way.  

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