Fortunately Tamilflu helps as long as the virus has not developed any
resistance to it and administered 48 hours after the onset of flu
Sunday May 17, 2009 (foodconsumer.org) -- At this point, there are
over 4000 cases of the swine flu in the United States. In just two
weeks, the virus has spread into 47 states; we are certainly in the
midst of a pandemic.
What is unsettling about the swine flu we are now seeing is that
relatively young, able-bodied adults with healthy immune systems seem
to be particularly vulnerable. In this regard, this particular flu
mimics the Spanish flu of 1918, which covered the entire globe and
left at least 20 million people dead in its wake.
Researchers believe that this phenomenon is occurring because of a
fierce, biological reaction that occurs when the body is subjected to
a virulent illness that it has no immunity to: a cytokine storm.
The viciousness of the illness causes the human immune system to
"overreact," releasing too many antibodies to fight off the illness at
once. According to the website cytokinestorm.com, 150 inflammatory
"mediators" are simultaneously released; the violent "dance" of these
go-betweens causes a super infection of sorts. Normally, a person's
body will control the cytokine loop; in the case of the Spanish flu,
such a reigning in did not take place.
In 1918, young, healthy adults typically died a mere 24 hours after
coming down with the first symptoms of the illness; many of them
drowned in their own body fluids. Some hemorrhaged to death as the
cytokine storm destroyed the lining of the intestines.
The pandemic of 1918 caused panic among the masses, as well it should
have. Even young children were aware of the seriousness of the
illness, as is obvious by the following nursery rhyme: "I had a little
bird, its name was Enza; I opened up my window and 'in-flew-Enza'".
During the throes of the epidemic, doctors tried everything, including
some unorthodox regimens, to reign in the deadly strain (and at that
time, it was unknown that influenza was a viral borne illness), even
resorting to "bleeding" out those afflicted with it. Some tried using
hydrogen peroxide IVs, which not only did nothing to diminish the
illness, it actually caused fatalities. According to the New York
Times, one doctor injected a concoction of blister fluid, morphine,
caffeine, and strychnine into patients, while some injected the
typhoid vaccine (which stimulates immune reactions) into their dying
While much has been learned since 1918, cytokine storms remain
somewhat of an enigma to medical professionals. Unfortunately,
however, they remain the chief concern of the current pandemic.
(By Rachel Stockton, and edited by Heather Kelley)