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Old 10-27-2009, 01:17 PM   #1
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Default "But I did everything right!"

Speaking to & hearing from a lot of frustrated people in the last few days. These for the most part, are folks who live in as healthy a manner as possible & as they're comfortable with. This can range from complete vegan, 'avoid ALL medical interventions unless you're dying types', right to those who have done a few simple things to reduce their risk of flu & the full range in between.

And many are still coming down with flu. Some who've invested a lot of time, money & effort into 'living right' are almost devestated. They feel betrayed. How could they and/or their families have become ill with this when they were being so careful? They avoided crowds, handwashed thoroughly & took a varied diet of preventatives, ate superfoods, etc. They want to know what went wrong.

The short answer is: nothing.

They didn't do anything wrong. Most probably did a whole lot that was right & then some.

Some, I suspect, bought into the notion that certain foods, substances & preventatives, because they're natural & contain a ton of verified nutrients, were iron clad guarantees they could avoid a bout of flu, knock a bout dead in its tracks before it really got started or shorten a course of flu considerably simply by ingesting Substance A or B.

I wish it were that simple.

Yes, we're all human beings with the same basic physiology & metabolism. But when it comes to illness, prevention & cures, one size definitely doesn't fit all. We are all decidedly individual in our makeup & we have to remember that we are all going to react very differently to different pathogenic threats - either in how badly we get them, can we prevent them & how we can get rid of them.

A certain preventative or treatment may clinically test out to be "82% effective in preventing flu and 64% effective in treating it." That's valid but maybe you are one of the 18% that preventative won't work for or one of the 36% that same item doesn't work for in terms of treatment.

If you think of a stereotypical household of four people. All may share the same lifestyle, eat in similar fashion & pretty much have the same amounts or types of exposures - give or take a few minor differences. Family member #3 comes down with flu, rapidly followed by family member #2. A week later, #1 contracts it & 4 days after that the final member admits to feeling a bit off but never gets properly sick. Those who are sick may experience different symptoms, different severity of symptoms & very different durations of illness... BECAUSE THEY'RE DIFFERENT INDIVIDUALS.

It's the same with preventatives & treatments. This is why vaccines are never 100% effective & why 2 similar individuals can have very similar conditions but require entirely different medications for any given medical condition.

So don't beat up on yourself, don't wonder 'what you did wrong' if you're ill in spite of working very hard to prevent illness. If you've been paying attention to your health & living in as healthy a fashion as possible, your body is well primed to do a good job fighting off the flu anyway. You haven't failed. It's simply in this case, for who knows what reason, this bug has proven stronger than your defences were at this time.

We can be in tip top physical shape but sometimes, like it or not, we experience a massive exposure that we're not aware of. The empty elevator you just entered may just have been vacated by 4 people who were coughing out a lung. It can be damned hard for even the most healthy person to get around that!

You may also be living with stresses which, in spite of your best efforts, are leaving you vulnerable to a weaker immune system. Your husband has just been laid off & rumours are flying at YOUR place of work about job cuts. Good luck staying on an emotionally even keel! You're helping a child begin the process of college applications. You're going to be a grandparent. You're moving... ANY & all significant life events being stress & it doesn't matter if they're 'good' stress or 'bad' stress - they're still stress.

If what you do in terms of lifestyle generally keeps yoou at least as healthy as most others or healthier, you're doing fine. A bout of flu doesn't mean you have to toss out everything you've been doing, especially if it usually works for other illnesses or even appears to prevent other strains of flu.

But now if you have it, don't get frantic & try a million different things just because you're ill. MOST of us will have a miserable few days but come out on the other side weak, tired but with no complications or problems. Watch for the danger signs & treat symptoms that really lead to discomfort. And be careful about that.

Illness itself places a tremendous strain on vital body functions - you don't want your body fighting too much at once. Don't take every type of medication, be it Rx, OTC, natural or anything else. Be VERY careful with the word 'natural'. A natural substance is still... a substance, consisting of various chemicals - everything is chemicals. Those chemicals still have to be processed; handled by your body. And your body is gloriously indifferent about the source of anything you ingest. It's not for example, gonna cut you some slack because a poison you just swallowed is natural rather than something concocted in a lab! Poison is poison.

It's the same with medications or foods from any source. Most certainly, some are harder for your body to handle than others; don't get me wrong as I'm not questioning or doubting that. The point I'm getting at is anything that goes INTO your body when ill, may place a higher load on organs & organ systems already tasked with dealing with what your body is already producing.

Once they reproduce, viral particles die. They most often end up killing host cells. Immune responses, including inflammation, kills cells as well. Added to that, white blood cells & all other specialized cells brought to battle by your immune system end up dead & have to be dealt with. You'll sweat some of the byproducts out & may breathe ut a bit. The majority will be dealt with by your kidneys. The kidneys are now dealing with eliminating the casualties of infection as well as normal body functions, so try not to overload them by adding too much to your body that's not strictly necessary. Don't forget the kidneys are also trying to do their work while you might have fever, may not be getting enough oxygen because of congested lungs...

Think of it this way. For a janitor, cleaning up a spill is a pain but a routine part of the workload. Contaminating that spill in any way adds to the time & effort. Ask her to do it while under an artillery bombardment is really asking a lot! Be kind to your kidneys & other organs. They're working hard to get you better.

Keep everything as uncomplicated as possible. Simple foods & fluids, no more medication than strictly necessary. Did I mention fluids? LOTS of water helps the kidneys do their work. The most important thing to do is try & physically rest & rest emotionally as well. The physical rest is obvious. The less you ask your body to do, the more quickly & better it can deal with the illness.

Emotional...? I swear 'toxic thoughts' of worry & fear can be as harmful as physically overdoing it or downing a 40 ounce bottle of booze while sick.

Best to lie there, ALLOW yourself to be cared for if you're lucky enough to have someone to do that for you. For heaven's sakes - TRY not to feel guilty about that if you are normally the caregiver. It is not at all inappropriate to be on the recieving end & if that's not enough, try looking at it this way. By accepting help now, you're on your feet faster to help the next one in the family who goes down.

Don't refuse help from children, even very young ones. They're anxious about you. They WANT Mommy or Daddy to feel better - it's scary for the Very Smalls to see you lying there looking & feeling like crap. And there are things they can do. They can bring you a new box of tissues, grab that magazine over there on the bureau or go ask daddy to come in. Older children can be even more useful & it's good for kids to be of help - families are about sharing the load as well as the joys. Unless a family member is particularly vulnerable, don't try to keep them completely away from you in hopes of preventing them from falling ill. If you're sick believe me, they've had enough exposure to get it if their bodies are inclined. So you might as well put the little buggers to work!

Do your utmost to REST & don't rush to get up the minute you THINK you're getting better. You're not - not just yet. Best to take an extra 24 hours of doing not much at all if you can manage it at all. Saves relapses - believe me.

And yes, this is very much a 'do as I say & not as I did'. I'm one of these idiots who learns almost everything the hard way!
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:45 PM   #2
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this is very much a 'do as I say & not as I did'. I'm one of these idiots who learns almost everything the hard way!
Well thank you for sharing your hard earned advice! lol!
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Old 10-27-2009, 02:37 PM   #3
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Thanks Sue.

On top of running around trying to comfort the ill, do homework etc with those who are not, I stressing myself for "allowing" my family to become sick. I toy with the idea that all of this reading and monitoring of the flu have been a waste of time.

But then I realize the things i have learned may make the inevitable infection easier to handle, or keep it from becoming something worse. Unless I was willing to SIP starting in spring, it really was only a matter of time with 3 out of 4 of us in an elementary school every day.
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Old 10-27-2009, 08:09 PM   #4
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Most of my medicines aren't chemicals at all, they're energy-based and can't adversely affect liver or kidney or any other organs. I ride public transportation and work at a large company. I never expected to avoid H1N1, and I didn't. My plan was to have a flexible arsenal to deal with it, and I did. Taking any time off from work wasn't in the cards, so I'm glad I had treatment options. Quite a few.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:44 PM   #5
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Brooks, can you explain a little more about the medicines you are talking about? I don't understand what you mean.
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Old 10-27-2009, 10:46 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Exodia View Post
But then I realize the things i have learned may make the inevitable infection easier to handle, or keep it from becoming something worse.
Bingo! Give the man a prize. My experience with elderberry, and my knowledge from following all of this since SARS began, was done with an attitude towards making the illness easier for the body to deal with, not avoidance. Avoidance is impossible in our society, and overall, not healthy in the long run. Lifestyle, like getting up and cooking a balanced breakfast for my kids for the last 4 years, handwashing, etc., was all an effort to keep the body at peak performance for when they DID come down with something nasty.

Good and timely post, Sue.
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Old 10-27-2009, 11:12 PM   #7
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Thanks, Sue, for your thoughtful post!! So far, knock on wood, I feel that the choices I have made for my family have been OK. It seems the elderberry has worked for us... hope it continues to do so.

And to support your point...I was a vegan (now vegetarian) and I got the flu almost yearly due to constant exposure to sick college students... DH is a carnivore and has not had the flu since he was a kid. Go figure!
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Old 10-28-2009, 08:08 PM   #8
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Brooks, can you explain a little more about the medicines you are talking about? I don't understand what you mean.
Homeopathy, flower essences, reiki.
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