Thanks to a commenter who alerted me to this sad story: A teenager in Austin died of a combination of H1N1 flu and MRSA pneumonia. Constant readers will know that we have been watching for this for a while; MRSA pneumonia is a known and dangerous complication of any flu infection.
For stories for CIDRAP and the Annals of Emergency Medicine, I've been talking to ER physicians about their expectations for the fall, when the regular flu season begins and H1N1 is expected to intensify. (A friend's school already has cases circulating.) It's fair to say that emergency departments are unsettled about the possibility of severe complications from this flu.
I'd like to know if you will include herbal/holistic alternatives to antibiotics in your book, SUPERBUG? Research has shown antibiotic use has increased the rate of evolution in bacteria, therefore causing antibiotic resistant superbugs, like MRSA. Western medicine seeks to isolate and destroy bacterium; whereas a more holistic, natural approach may keep "superbugs" out of commission.
It's a complicated question, but the short version of the answer is: Not much on the book, but I hope more on this blog. Not in the book, because there is not yet that much reliable research; there are a ton of people trying to sell things that they claim will work, but there is not much independent evaluation to back up their claims. However, research into botanicals is ramping up rapidly, fast enough that anything in hard copy would probably be out of date by the time it was published. Conversely, the rapid publication and two-way conversation on a blog allows for much faster initial posting and debate. If you drill down into the archives (label column on the right), you'll find entries where we have talked about botanical research, and I welcome more such conversation, so have at it. I am very strict though about weeding out unsubstantiated product claims. I will not allow them to be made in the comments; if anyone wants to flog a botanical product, they must email me and offer research results to back up their claims.
I am just now learning about all of this and am very concerned about my 12 year old daughter. We were only 10 days into the school year, and she came down with the flu about a week ago. The rate at which it spread within her school as well as to me (her mother) and 2younger siblings was astonishing! We were all running high fevers within 24 hours of the onset of her first noticeable symptoms. Her junior high (which has approximately 500 students) had between 130 and 140 students absent last week due to flu like symptoms. However, the school is saying this is not H1N1 because it is too early in the season to be the actual flu. (This is absurd in my opinion.) Now, on our oldest daughter's 5th day into the illness she has developed an MRSA infection from a small boil on her tummy. Within a day, it has swollen from a golf ball size to larger than a baseball in size. She now has 2 places of infection and is running a fever of about 101.7 on her 6th, almost 7th day of illness. Her doctor has placed her on a high powered antibiotic, but she is feeling so ill that I am scared to death for her, especially reading about the complications from having both the flu and MRSA. Do you think the oral antibiotics should take care of it, or do you think we need to have her admitted for IV antibiotics. I've just been surprised at how long this illness has lasted and how ill she still seems to be. No one seems to want to talk about the flu, much less any other possible complications in order to keep everyone else from panicking. I just want to get my daughter well and keep her safe. Any advice? Thanks so much for your time.
Valorie in Jonesboro, AR
Holistic alternatives have no proven success against H1N1...so antibiotics are still the best alternative...so far...
Actually GCP, antibiotics would not be effective against H1N1 as it is a virus. Antibiotics combat bacterial infections, not viruses. Holistic medicine can be very effective, especially if it is used preventively.
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