What's worse than the flu? Superflu.
And that's what flu drugs are now creating. Xofluza, which is the world's leading flu pill because it can supposedly knock out the flu in one day with one pill, is now coming under scrutiny by Japanese doctors due to developing mutant viral strains.
Its main competitor, Tamiflu, dominates the U.S. market, but this new super pill tops Japan's market by a long shot. Often marketed as a silver bullet, its side effects are bronchitis and diarrhea in some patients. Cool. Interestingly, numerous flu strains are already resistant to Tamiflu as well.
Every year people ask me: "Have you gotten your flu shot?" No. Never have and never will. And I haven't had the flu in 20 years. Doctors in Japan reported that by Feb. 6, six flu strains are now resistant to Zofluza. What's interesting, according to The Wall Street Journal, is that Tokyo's National Institute of Infectious Diseases observed these virulent mutant strains before the drug was even approved. And no small number: 25 percent of children who took it. Good gracious.
Japan apparently leads the world in flu cases and during Jan. 21-27 it was the highest reported in two decades. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. is breaking flu outbreak records as well and that "flu-related deaths in 2017-18 were the highest seen in four decades," according to the report.
I'm a strong believer in the "hygiene hypothesis" and the whole notion that our immune system is like a big muscle. It needs to be built up first, but then it needs to be exercised. You can't have a good functional muscle if you haven't eaten properly and if you don't exercise the muscle.
When you eat non-sterile food and get outside to work, your immune system enjoys many small assaults. Whether it's bacteria in raw milk or pieces of dirt on a freshly-picked carrot, these small assaults keep our immune systems aware and awake. Splinters and scraps from yard work, gardening, cutting firewood, feeding chickens or whatever actually guarantee an active internal immune system. Walking through a field of cow pies is a great thing. So come out for a visit.
As a culture, we don't eat right and we don't get bumps and bruises and stickers. Fortunately today we have plenty of soap, running hot water in our houses, and all the wonderful hygiene systems that our ancestors didn't. Life spans went up not because our immune systems increased, but because we could bathe more frequently, had better trauma care (the number two cause of death among women until 1920 was burning--hoop skirts weren't a good fit for hearth cooking), and didn't walk around in our own sewage.
Get enough rest, enough water, nutrient dense food, and move around--that's a prescription for health. Most Americans, sadly, are not getting any of these four things, let alone all four. We're always looking for a drug solution instead of a holistic solution. And if you get the flu, let it exercise the body's immune system. There's nothing wrong with that, either. I wonder if anyone has done research on the likelihood of sickness in the next 12 months after a person has had the flu and just let it run its course.
The bummer is that as soon as I head down this path, the cultural orthodoxy brands me an anti-science Typhoid Mary pariah bioterrorist, infecting everyone with the flu. Whatever happened to tolerance?
How many people do you know who got the flu shot and then got the flu?