Critical Alert: Mexican Swine Influenza

What could be more interesting to a news agency than the threat of mass disease spreading like a wildfire over the whole world?  Our televisions are filled with images of death and destruction.  We see crowds outside of hospitals in Mexico, armed guards wearing face masks, keeping the masked crowd out of a normally crowded hospital emergency department.  The reports come back frequently, “Another suspected case of the mexican swine flu.”

A normal flu season

Now, let’s be logical and reasonable.  Why all the brouhaha over what appears to be a normal flu season? The CDC normally reports late-season flu statistics in the range of the current “swine flu epidemic.”  Most years there are epidemics of influenza which is defined by the CDC based on projections from the previous five years of statistics.  This strain of the mexican swine flu doesn’t appear to be any more dangerous than any others.  In the forty confirmed cases in the United States there were no deaths.  It’s just the flu.

What is different about the Mexican Swine Flu?

What is different about this one?  Normally, swine flu can infect humans from pigs, but isn’t transferred very well from human to human.  Thus, there are sporadic cases of swine influenza every year.  What has changed is that this particular strain is able to be spread between humans.  This is why there is so much concern.  If this one hasn’t been seen in many humans then nobody will have immunity and it can spread quickly and potentially do more damage. However, it is still the Influenza A (H1N1) virus, which is found every normal flu season.

Damage report

On April 27th when there were seven confirmed deaths south of the US border from the Mexican swine flu, but the news media was reporting 159.  Since reporters like to make things interesting, they often don’t distinguish between suspected cases and confirmed cases of the swine influenza.  As we have seen, these two numbers are wildly different.

In reality, there are thousands (2,000 to 5,000) of confirmed cases of the flu every year.  Deaths are reported in the hundreds to thousands.  In the 2007-2008 season, for example, there were 85 deaths of children from the flu.  The problem with these statistics is there is no way for them to be accurate.  The large majority of cases of the flu go unreported.  Most doctors don’t ever test for the flu, they just treat based on symptoms.  So, the CDC uses a substitute to determine deaths; P&I.  P&I is the term for “Pneumonia and Influenza.”  Since there isn’t enough testing to know how many people die of the flu, and pneumonia is very carefully diagnosed and reported, they just add the numbers together.  Of course, the effect of this is to exaggerate tremendously the actual cases of deaths from the flu since most pneumonia deaths aren’t from influenza.


The way to prevent the swine flu is the same as any other flu.  Wash your hands, especially if you come in contact with a sick person.  Keep your immune system in good order with good food, stress reduction, regular exercise, and appropriate supplements.

One supplement that shows good promise in preventing Mexican swine flu (and other viruses) is vitamin D3.  Vitamin D may be the cause of the seasonal nature of influenza, because we make more of this vitamin (which is really a hormone) during the summer when we are exposed to more sunlight. The dose that seems to work best is 5,000 IU per day.


Treatment for swine influenza is needed if a person has a suppressed immune system such as those with cancer, HIV, or other chronic illness.  If you have any difficulty breathing you should seek medical attention.  Good medical treatment for Mexican swine flu complications such as pneumonia is the best way to prevent deaths.

There are two drugs which may be of use to shorten the time you are ill, but only if you get one within a day or two.  Even then, they only diminish the symptoms on average between 1-1.5 days.  Consider using a prescription dose of vitamin D3: 50,000 IU per day for three days.  You can just take ten of your 5,000 IU capsules from the health food store each day for three days. Click Here for Vitamin D3 Spray.

All other treatments are symptomatic – flu and cold remedies abound in any drug store.

Bottom line:

Don’t worry about Mexican swine flu more than any other flu season.  Don’t buy into all the exaggeration from the media.  This is likely to be a big year for the flu just because more people will be tested, not because Mexican swine flu is an unusual virus.

Take care like you normally would.

For excellent health,

Scott Saunders, MD
Barton Publishing Inc.