H1N1 Swine Flu – Prevention and Treatment Options
Flu vaccinations do not protect you from getting the flu. When you catch the flu vaccinations should, and in most cases do, reduce the severity of the flu. When you are injected with the virus, your body builds its own immunity to that virus. H1N1 Swine Flu vaccine is no different.
Virus strains can become resistant to antiviral drugs – similar to other diseases. The H1N1 Swine flu virus strain is resistant to older antiviral drugs, such as amantadine and rimantadine. Health officials tell us that Tamiflu (oseltrmivir) works well against the H1N1 Swine flu virus. Tamiflu and Relenza (zanamivir) are two effective vaccines for the H1N1 Swine flu. But, you have to take the vaccine before you contract the flu. The big unknown is how long these antiviral vaccines will remain effective in your system.
There are some actions that you can take on your own without your doctor’s advice. The H1N1 Swine flu is spread through the air and on contact. The most obvious preventive actions are to wash your hands often and wear a mask. Those two actions are very effective. However, our culture doesn’t wear face masks as other cultures do, to keep from spreading a disease, or to keep from catching a disease. Washing our hands works well when in contact with others, but often we forget to do that after answering a phone or opening a door. It still amazes me the number of people using the restroom who don’t wash their hands – but, that’s another story.
So, what else can you do besides washing your hands? Build up your immune system and keep it strong and robust. Several articles that I’ve read recently indicate that N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) might be helpful in maintaining your health during this or any flu season. NAC is an amino acid coupled with a protein component. It is a precursor to glutathione. Every cell in you body can synthesize glutathione from three different amino acids, with L-cysteine being one of them.
Glutathione is a major weapon in your body’s arsenal for better health. It is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals. It builds your immune system. It is also a mucolytic agent, meaning it breaks down or thins out lung-clogging mucous resulting from various respiratory diseases. Your liver is critical for glutathione synthesis. NAC has been shown to help in the detoxification process for liver and lung disorders.
Some Italian studies have shown that there is statistical evidence that NAC has been effective in reducing the severity of flu-like symptoms. In some cases it appears that NAC was able to reduce the likelihood of even catching the flu.
Other herbs and supplements that are believed to be effective in the treatment or prevention of flu-like symptoms are: Vitamin D, elderberry, licorice root, ginseng, whey protein and possibly vitamin C, Echinacea and zinc. There is a concern that many of these herbs and supplements work by improving your immune system. There is some speculation that any kind of immune-stimulants might make flu symptoms worse, or even worse, result in death. Why? Because it is believed that the H1N1 Swine flu virus has been more deadly to those with healthy immune systems. My personal belief is that I would rather have healthy a robust immune system to ward off any flu virus, or any other contagion that I might encounter.