Infection Risk

The Anthrax Scares

In this time of hysteria about the possibility of a bio-terrorist attack, I would like to point out some reasons not to panic.

 BBC News | UK | War View: 'Anthrax is mostly in the mind' | Anthrax: Extracting Fact From Fear 

Most of the people in the media talk as though the germ theory of disease were a fact. It is still a theory. The injection of a single bacterium of pneumonia would almost certainly fail to cause pneumonia in a healthy person. The injection of 10 cc of purified bacteria would almost certainly cause the disease in even the healthiest. Germs alone do not CAUSE disease. The dose response part of the equation has not been mentioned by the media.

During the Dark Ages, the Black Plague killed 10% of the population in each of it's waves. But 90% did not die. In 1918-1919, the Spanish Flu swept the world, infecting maybe 85% of the people of the world. But only one percent died. Each year, the very young and the infirm and elderly die from the "flu" where those with stronger immune systems don't, and many don't even get sick. Clearly there is variability in individuals' response to an infection. This has not been mentioned by the media.

In every story about famine, there is a mention that the incidence of disease has increased, frequently resulting in increased deaths. This points directly to fact that nutrition influences the effectiveness of the immune system. It is not simply the number of calories; it is also the micro-nutrient content of the food. A good diet supports good health.

There is a great deal of information available on the relationship of anti-oxidant vitamin levels in the bloodstream and an individual's susceptibility to disease. A quick summary would be, use vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, and maybe iodine supplementation to enhance the immune system.

There is also a great deal of information available on the impact of emotions on the response of the immune system. Prolonged fear, helplessness, or depression suppress the immune system. People who lose a loved one often suffer a serious illness. The drumbeat of warning of impending doom in the form of terrorist attacks serves to have people feel helpless to impact their future. And feeling the fear may lead to sleeplessness, further weakening the immune system.

Just the practice of eating better and taking vitamins puts a person in action to take care of themselves in the face of a potential threat. And that counters the feeling of helplessness and strengthens the immune system. 

With respect to anthrax, our grandfathers and great grandfathers who were ranchers must have faced the infection successfully. They didnít have Cipro, but they did have tincture of iodine to paint on a skin rash, or infection. If it worked for them, could it work today?

The individual can do much to improve their chances in the face of a biological attack. One, notice that you are not helpless, there are things that the individual can do for themselves. The feeling of being in action strengthens the immune system itself. Taking vitamins can greatly improve health whether there is an attack or not. You may miss the "flu" this year because your immune system is better prepared. And remember the old household remedies of soap, bleach, rubbing alcohol, and tincture of iodine give you the opportunity to knock out a problem before it gets started.

Copyright 2001
The Voice of Reason