Monday, May 4, 2009

Economy vs Health

My dear brothers and sisters....

I read a chilling quote today from the head of the World Health Organization. The organization whose purpose is to be solely for the HEALTH of the world. This is what Margaret Chan, the head of the who, said today:

"As you may know, several efforts have been made to estimate the impact of an influenza pandemic on the global economy today. These estimates vary greatly depending on the assumed virulence of the virus. But all estimates agree on one point. The greatest disruption of the economy will come from the uncoordinated efforts of the general public to avoid infection. "

Now, we do not know if this is going to be severe, going to be mild, going to disappear never to return, or going to roar back like a global influenza tsunami in the fall/winter when the next wave would be expected if there was going to be one. She was not talking about this pandemic per se but about any pandemic.

But to say that people who are trying to protect themselves and their families are a disruption to the economy, and would be the GREATEST disruption to the economy distresses me greatly. If we have a 1918 pandemic, then the worse hit to the economy, more than the dead, more than the ill, more than the waves of suffering will be the people trying NOT to get sick???

I am not surprised by the idea that we are merely cogs. We chase the dollar at the expense of our families and health and God. We do not understand that we can live such healthy, happy lives with so much less than what we have, treasuring every item we have been given instead of being so overwhelmed with "stuff" that we only see quantity, not quality. We do not spend time with our families or doing good to others because we are playing with our toys or earning money for new toys. Our health is sacrificed, we are removed from the nature that the Lord created.

To have our existence belittled, to have us ridiculed, to BLAME US for economy disruptions during a future PANDEMIC boggles my mind. The fact that it is stated so clearly is disheartening.

It is as if the enemy can flaunt the damage done to the people of earth, to the minds of the people. I am not afraid though, the Lord is mightier than the who and the veils on the minds of the world. Perhaps this will shock some into saying "WOW--wait! I am not just a cog and my child is not just a cog and my neighbor is not just a cog. My life is not about the love of money....or is it?? What have I been doing mindlessly, without thought, that contributes to this?". Perhaps now we can learn the meaning of "godliness with contentment is great gain".

I am going to use this time to pray, to ask the Lord to reveal ways that I might be unconsciously contributing to this. Where is my contentment? What am I wasting? HONESTLY WHERE DOES MY TREASURE LIE?

I know I have a lot of dross to clean out of my life, a lot of poor thinking. God bless us all in our efforts to remove the cobwebs from our eyes and be content.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

REcommendation: Vitamin D

Hello my brethren!

I have been reading some more information regarding treatment, preventatives, etc of the flu for the booklet I am (honestly) almost done writing.

I had known for many years that vitamin D was a very necessary nutrient. I found another article regarding such that I think is very worth your time to consider reading:

This article talks about vitamin D as preventative for the flu. It is an anecdotal report of a psychiatrist who worked with the criminally insane. In his experience on spring, patients in all wards EXCEPT HIS got the flu during an outbreak. His ward was not isolated--nurses worked in all wards. After reading a study, he realized that his ward was the only one where the patients were getting vitamin D.

This article brings up many other interesting reports about the health of people in various latitudes, outbreaks of illnesses at the same latitudes, why the elderly of some countries die more often in winter, while the elderly of others do not.

Another significant fact about vitamin D is that can decrease the expression of inflammatory cytokines. The over preoduction of cytokines is what leads to a "cytokine storm"--that is what killed most of the healthy young adults who got the flu in 1918.

One interesting point in another article I read is that the latitude where one can get USABLE vitamin D during the winter is much further south than I would have expected. In our latitude, just south of the arctic circle, we are getting no vitamin D from the sun, even if we stand outside for hours in the winter.

For our family, we are drastically upping our vitamin D intake. The official "upper limit" of vitamin D is 2,000IU. However, most researchers consider that too low, and toxicity is not seen, apparently, until one reaches over 40,000IU.

I was of the mind that drinking milk would be sufficient, however, milk only has 100 IU.

With our society being afraid of sun damage, as well as kids not drinking as much milk (and some US children showing up with RICKETS!), it as assumed that much of the country has a vitamin D deficiency.

Coupling the positive effects that it seems to have on general respiratory health, the possibility that it prevents flu infection, and its ability to moderate cytokines, I would recommend considering adding vitamin D to the diet. The vitamin D you are looking for is D3...D2 requires sunlight to produce D3.

Interesting Map of H1N1

For those who prefer maps

Remember these are only laboratory confirmed cases. Because of the exponential transmission of the virus, the CDC this week has announced that it is moving towards a "test new clusters" as opposed to "test everyone with symptoms". So, if there is a school that is showing symptoms of H1N1, they will only test a few representative cases, for example, 5 students out of 80 showing symptoms. They will assume that if some or all of those five are positive, then the others have it.

This is a very important note in many respects. Many governments and health organizations, in order not to cause "panic" will say "But only 5 have tested positive". REMEMBER! THAT DOES NOT MEAN ONLY FIVE ARE SICK! That means only five have tested positive. This is a tactic that risk communicators use in order to put news in the best possible light in order to influence the behavior of people.

This is not conspiracy theory, this is fact. Risk communication firms are hired to do this sort of thing all the time, be it for health issues such as this, or the recent bank issues, etc.

It is necessary for people not to panic. It is also necessary for people to know the facts so they can make proper risk assessment for themselves and their families. Understand how information is presented, and you will be able to identify the "risk communication" vs the "facts".

Friday, May 1, 2009

To Fret or Not To Fret....

My blessed brethren,

There is a lot of varying information going out about the pandemic right now. Some quarters say it is much worse than we are being told. Some say that it is easy, the best of all possible pandemic scenarios. The VP says he would tell his family not to ride in a subway or plane, but then his managers come back later and say that he means not to do that if someone is sick.

It is easy to fall into panic or apathy, and to waver between the two from moment to moment. Do you trust the WHO when it says it will only count 5 cases from mexico, or the WHO when it says that this is a threat to us all? Do you trust the government when it says that masks DO help doctors but for some reason do not work for laypeople? Do you trust the school system when it says "we need to close" or the one that says "we dont need to close"? Do you trust the fact that Disney says they are taking care of visitors and it is fine to visit, or that several kids from SC went to disney and came back with flu symptoms?

Do we trust history that pandemics generally have three waves, or do we trust when some doctors say that "this might fizzle out"?

I think we prepare as if it was going to increase and have a second wave by fall, just like the past several pandemic have. However, we pray that it does fizzle, and do not worry in any case. Worrying does not make a pandemic appear or disappear. It does not put food in bellies, nor strengthen our immune system. Worry does not build our faith, but weakens it.

Do not worry. Do prepare. Do trust God. Do allow Him to guide your steps. Do what He has provided you to do in terms of preparing (keeping in mind that while you prepare for a pandemic, that might be because you will be in a position to help others, whether a pandemic hits or not).