New "killer flu" causes alarm

Week in Review

Are you ready for flu chic?

Well, “chic” might be overstating it. But suddenly the flu is a hot topic. Bestselling author Myla Goldberg has just published “Wickett’s Remedy,” a novel about a young woman coping with the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. The October 2005 issue of National Geographic features “The Next Killer Flu” on the cover. And, as usual this time of year, the word “flu” pops up with frequency on the HSI Healthier Talk community forums.

In the “General Health Topics” forum, in a thread titled, simply “Flu,” a member named Lyn has a question about the “killer flu,” which was featured on one of the news magazine TV shows. She writes, “They talked about a killer flu they’re expecting this flu season. This sounds different than the normal flu hype. From what I’ve heard, it sounds serious enough that it’s causing me to wonder if I should get a flu shot this year (and I’m normally adamantly against them). I know it won’t protect me against the ‘new’ flu, but it may help protect me from something. Any thoughts?”

In the e-Alert “Fly Away Home” (8/18/05), I told you about H5N1, the particularly deadly strain of avian influenza virus. A member named Sharon recaps the H5N1 story in a nutshell: “It has started in chickens and awhile back they were destroying these chickens at a very rapid pace. It now goes from the chickens to humans, what they are so afraid of is if it mutates and jumps from human to human.”

The National Geographic cover story on H5N1 is fascinating but very unsettling. If you feel up to it you can preview some of the article at But fears of an H5N1 pandemic aside, members on this “Flu” thread also discuss the pros and cons of getting a flu shot:

WillowS: “I don’t think the flu vaccine will help you one bit. First of all, they only guess at the strain when making it and if this flu is
‘new’ then it won’t be made for that strain. Secondly, I truly believe that vaccines will compromise your immune system – not build it up. Do things that will build up your immune system and you should be okay.”

Barbara: “One year, maybe 3 or 4 years ago the flu season was bad. Not a big killer flu but a lot of people got it. I worked in a nursing home for a short while then. All the residents got flu shots as well as almost all the employees, except me. Well, they all got the flu and I did not. Some residents died from bacterial complications in an already debilitated body. The flu shot is worthless. I have decided to keep on hand: Olive leaf extract, colloidal silver, serrapeptase.”

Ksomuerte: “My late father-in-law survived the 1918 flu epidemic to live to age 92. He did come down with the disease and his family was giving him the “starve a fever” routine. He said he was getting weaker and weaker and got up in the middle of the night and snuck into the kitchen and chowed down on leftovers. The next morning he was better.”

Ksomuerte’s father-in-law did the right thing. The human body needs plenty of high quality nutrients to fight the flu or the common cold, fever or no fever. “Starving” is counter-productive.

Other topics being discussed this week in the Healthier Talk community forums include:

  • Memory: New green tea study
  • Dental: Bruxism prevention
  • Arthritis: Gout and cod liver oil
  • Diabetes: Study – Tocotrienols and cholesterol

Humor: The colonoscopy experience General Health Topics: Mammograms vs. thermographs
You can easily reach the HSI Healthier Talk community forums on our web site at Just choose “Forum,” and join in with any of the dozens of discussions about nutrition and natural health care.