Fact or Faux

Fact or Faux

What is the difference between the truth and a fact? If I said carrots are orange and vanilla is cream to white in color, you would probably agree that’s true. When in fact carrots come in a range of colors and vanilla comes from a black bean. If you’ve only ever experienced orange carrots and vanilla ice cream this becomes your truth, albeit far from factual.

It seems that it’s becoming increasingly harder to distinguish truth from non-truth these days, I think most people would agree. which makes it even more important than ever to do your homework before making decisions that could impact your health and that of your family.

Every year we go through the same hype and hoopla regarding the flu. It only takes a look back in time to say haven’t we done this before? I remember back in 2009 when the H1N1 was such a big deal, or so it seemed. It was supposed to be a deadly pandemic reaching across the World. As it turned out, it wasn’t so bad after all. The swine flu pandemic is considered to have been a fairly mild one in retrospect. However at the time the hype was full on and fear spread over us like the plague.

Given the media coverage leading up to this year’s flu epidemic, you would think death was knocking at your door when in fact, the flu is just a really bad cold and the fever that accompanies it is your immune response to an invading pathogen.

If you listen to the news organizations in southern California, this is the worst flu season EVER! In their words, emergency rooms are slammed, wait times at hospitals are through the roof, hospitals are struggling to keep up with patients and some are having to turn away ambulances. Tents are being set up for the emergency room overflow.

The Los Angeles Times headline reads “California hospitals face a ‘war zone’ of flu patients and are setting up tents to deal with them.” “Hospitals across the state are sending away ambulances, flying in nurses from out of state and not letting children visit their loved ones from fear of spreading the flu. Others are cancelling surgeries and erecting tents in their parking lots to triage the hoardes of flu patients.” Using critical thinking for a moment, one may wonder why nurses would leave another state to go to California if it’s spread across the entire country.

One way to find out the truth is to do your own research. Catharine Layton AKA mom on the street and producer for Highwire talk radio decided to find out for herself just how bad the epidemic was in California. Camera in hand she hit the streets the day after the LA Times article to capture the chaos. She visited 5 hospitals in the Los Angeles area and the results of her investigation revealed something quite different than the media coverage. The tents were devoid of people, one was closed and not in use and there were anywhere from 4-6 people in the waiting rooms with plenty of empty seats.

Per CNN, one of the deadliest flu outbreaks in recent memory is raging with over 100 people dead in one California county alone. I’m not sure who’s doing the fact check for them but Per Dr. Tom Jefferson (epidemiologist, Cochrane Collaboration) states that fears of influenza are exaggerated and that there are no real figures on death from influenza because no one collects the data.

Even the Center for Disease Control states on their website: “Seasonal influenza-related deaths are deaths that occur in people for whom seasonal influenza infection was likely a contributor to the cause of death, but not necessarily the primary cause of death.” It goes on to say the CDC does not know exactly how many people die from seasonal flu each year. One reason for this is the CDC uses estimates when determining death by influenza based on different factors, not factual numbers. For more information check out the CDC website page: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/us_flu-related_deaths.htm

According to an article published by the Huffington Post: “to say those estimates are controversial is an understatement. U.S. data on influenza deaths are a mess,” states a 2005 article in the British Medical Journal entitled Are U.S. flu death figures more PR than science?

The article further declares that “most pneumonia deaths are unrelated to influenza. Stomach acid suppressing drugs are associated with a higher risk of community acquired pneumonia, but such drugs and pneumonia are not compiled as a single statistic,” explained Dr. David Rosenthal, director of Harvard University Health Services.


Is the flu deadly?

If not treated properly the flu can lead to secondary bacterial pneumonia. However, according to the American Lung Association, pneumonia has more than 30 different causes and the CDC itself acknowledges there is a slim relationship between flu and death by pneumonia, saying “only a small proportion of deaths, only 8.5 % of all pneumonia and influenza deaths are influenza-related.”

Just how deadly is the flu? Your unique immune system and overall health status will determine how you fare through it. If the flu is nothing more than a really bad cold, why all the hoopla? As with all fear campaigns I guess you’d have to follow the money on that and I don’t think you’ll be surprised at the end of that trail.

Let’s get real

Let’s take a look at some facts.

Fact: Unlike bacteria, virus is not alive, it is a packet of DNA that has the capacity to cause your cells to reproduce it. It must attach to a cell in order to do this. Like a pirate that takes over your dna that makes you do things you wouldn’t want to do. Eventually the immune system will come along and knock out the invader and this is how you build immunity to the virus.

There are several respiratory viruses that have many of the same symptoms as the flu that may infect us during the winter. RSV, rhino virus, parainfluenza virus, metapneumo virus, and adenovirus to name a few. In fact, there are over 200 per Dr. Rima Laibow, Medical Director of the Natural Solutions Foundation. There are no vaccinations for any of these viruses with the flu being the exception.


The Center for Disease Control states that the only way to prevent the flu is to receive the vaccine.

Fact: According to the vaccine insert the most common side effect of the vaccine is the flu.

Knowing the mechanics of a virus I ask myself, why would I want to inject dead flu virus into my body in the form of a vaccine? I never have, but to each his own. My own mother got a flu shot every year and like clockwork, soon afterward she got sick with flu like symptoms. It’s as important to do your homework before injecting anything into your bloodstream. You’re bypassing one of the most effective immune barriers you have, your skin. When you catch something, you develop immunity, when it is injected in you the antibodies are not the same and therefore don’t work the same.

I don’t agree with the CDC’s assessment on prevention. Vitamin D3 and vitamin C are important for fending off any kind of winter virus that may come your way. Winter robs us of our vitamin D so supplementation during the dark months is a must. As for vitamin C, got any lemons in the house? Squeeze some into your drinking water in the morning or freeze them and use the whole lemon, rind included, to grate into your favorite recipes. Make sure you use organic when utilizing the rind.

Science is now confirming what folk medicine has known for a very long time. Black elderberry can prevent cold and flu, is a potent anti-viral and will enhance the immune without nasty side effects. The flower of the elder plant are just as valuable for helping ease the symptoms of a fever. In addition, the plant contains a flavonoid that acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Elderberry products can be found in most health food stores and is simple enough to prepare as tea or syrup for those who like to make their own.

Scientists Verify Folk Medicine: Elderberry Beats The Flu, Prevents Colds & Strengthens Your Immunity

What if you suspect you are infected?

Steam up your respiratory system with an anti-microbial herb like thyme first and foremost. Infected cells cannot survive above 99 degrees. The volatile oils from the herb will coat the mucous membrane of the entire respiratory system making it hard for an invader to set up shop. It will open the sinuses which facilitates clearer thought process and assists in decongesting the lungs allowing for more energy overall. Afterward enjoy a cup of thyme tea or use the liquid to gargle with.

A spoonful of honey and cinnamon is a great way to introduce an antimicrobial to children.

One of the single most important dangers of respiratory infection is dehydration. It’s important to stay hydrated with small sips during the day. If dehydration does occur, you will need to go to the hospital or doctor to get rehydrated.

Avoid solid food while fever is present, bone broth is acceptable.

Wash your hands often using regular soap, avoid the anti-bacterial soaps as they contribute to antibiotic resistance.

Keep that mucous moving. A bit of horseradish was my grandfathers immediate remedy for nasal congestion and an onion poultice applied to the chest will effectively move congestion from the lungs.

Rest, rest and rest some more! If you don’t, you will only manage to extend what could have been a 7-10 day illness into a weeks long ailment and nobody wants to be around you when you’re sick anyway. Stay home and rest! That doesn’t mean scrubbing the floors on day 3.

Fact: Nsaids like ibuprofen and acetaminophen suppress the immune system’s ability to burn out a virus and so does sugar.

Fact: Dairy products create copious amounts of mucous and are to be avoided when afflicted with respiratory virus. That’s right, no vanilla ice cream until it’s over.

Mari Marques-Worden is a Certified Herbalist and owner of The Thymekeeper. For questions or more information contact: Mari at mugsyspad@aol.com or 719-439-7303 or 719-748-3388. Mari is available for private consultation.


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