Article #3: Influenza
The San Antonio Express, December 30, 1959, carried the story that the number of cases of influenza in the city had reached near-epidemic proportions. “The old flu bug, and kindred respiratory and intestinal diseases, have reached near epidemic proportions in San Antonio,” are the words of the news item. It adds that a check showed that “patients seeking treatment for virus influenza, pneumonia and similar disorders are crowding hospitals to capacity and swelling the emergency load to record highs.”
There is nothing unusual about the great increase in colds, so-called “flu,” which is a severe cold, pneumonia and intestinal diseases following upon the heels of the gluttony and the indigestible combinations of the holiday season. What is unusual is the public admission that the standby of the medical profession as a preventive of such suffering is a flop. The news account says that William Foster, administrator of the Bexar County Hospital District, said: “13 of the hospital’s 259 employees, including the supervisor of the emergency room and the supervisor of surgery, were downed by the flu despite the fact immunization shots were given against the disease.”
The city’s largest hospital reported a “high incidence of respiratory and intestinal flu cases from Christmas day on.” The hospital physicians stated “flatly,” that the situation is “abnormal” and is “approaching an epidemic.” From fifty to eighty percent of the patients admitted to this hospital were “flu sufferers.” More youngsters than adults were ill. Foster reported that of 182 patients with upper respiratory affections 117 were children.
Physicians offered some free advice through the press about how to prevent the “flu” and how to care for yourself, should their preventive advice come too late. It is the usual hackneyed and ineffective advice, such as avoiding contact with “flu” cases, avoiding overexposure to cold, drink plenty of water and guzzle fruit juice—they did not even bother to advise fresh rather than canned fruit juice. Of course, they agreed that while “immunization shots” are not 100 percent preventive, they “are effective.”
There was but one sane statement in all that they said, so far as this appeared in the press. “Intestinal flu, the doctors say, comes from overeating and overcelebrating, with a subsequent loss of rest. It is especially prevalent during the holidays.” This is old stuff to Hygienists. For lo! These many years we have been telling people that epidemics follow feasting and revelry.
Reread this statement by the San Antonio physicians and then read again, the following paragraph from the December 1959 issue of the Hygienic Review where I say: “It is unfortunate that our seasons of good will and festivities are always seasons of overeating (commonly also of drinking), so that they are followed almost inevitably by colds, coughs, ‘flu,’ and more severe illness. Beginning with the orgy of Thanksgiving, extending through the revelry of Christmas and ending with the bacchanalia of New Year’s, our periods of festivity not only result in hundreds of deaths and much mayhem on the highways, but in more suffering and death from indulgence and excess. More bronchitis follows such indulgences than ever follows exposure. Those who are more moderate in indulgence, those who are least enervated and least toxemic escape the evolution of crises at these times, but often, they escape by the ‘skin of their teeth.’ “
More children than adults are suffering with “flu” in this near epidemic, not because the adults behave themselves very well, but because they have built less toleration. Candies and cookies and soft drinks make up a great part of the burden they impose upon their digestive tracts and their eliminating organs. With the adults, they go to the dining table and gorge themselves on turkey and dressing, on cranberry sauce and plum pudding or mince meat pie. The amount of putrescence thus generated in the digestive tracts of these youngsters would kill a jungle tiger. It is ridiculous to talk of germs and viruses in the presence of so much poisoning.
No digestive tract known to man is capable of efficiently digesting the food mixtures eaten by children and adults alike in our periods of celebration. It is just possible, as was suggested by Tilden, that the adults save themselves to some extent by their drinking habits. Alcohol inhibits bacterial activity, hence their wine, beer and whiskey prevents more or less decomposition of the indigestible mixtures they swallow at these times.
Late hours, revelry, noise-making, excitement, visits away from home, lack of sleep—these enervating influences inhibit secretion and check excretion. Add the resulting toxemia to the putrescent poisoning from the overloaded digestive tract and you have enough poisoning to produce any so-called disease to which the individual may be diathetically disposed. A people who celebrate the birth of their Savior by getting drunk, making a lot of noise and eating like hogs must expect to pay for their folly, even though they do their celebrating “in a good cause.”
To inundate the intestinal putrescence evolved out of such gross eating and out of so much added enervation with large quantities of water and to swill great quantities of fruit juice, these commonly canned and sweetened, is but to add insult to injury.
The physicians advise: “Stay in bed until the disease has run its course. In cases of upper respiratory flu, the sufferer tends to become tired but apparently recovers after a short rest. Arising too soon, he is subject to a serious relapse which makes it easy to go into pneumonia.” Rest in bed is vitally important in these cases, but if this is coupled with the water drinking and fruit juice guzzling that is advised, there will be more likelihood of pneumonia evolving out of the putrescence than if a rational plan of care is adopted. Indeed, one may be practically certain that no pneumonia will evolve if he forgets the advice to “drink plenty of water and fruit juice” and will take no food of any kind and will drink only according to the dictates of thirst.
One does not have to come in contact with other cases of “flu” in order to evolve the symptom complex that is labeled influenza when the intestinal tract is a seething mass of putrescence. Nor will avoiding such contact prevent “flu” when the subdiaphragmatic cesspool is filled to overflowing. Colds, pneumonia, intestinal “diseases” and other symptom-complexes are as inevitable under these conditions of acute and chronic poisoning as the explosion of a boiler when the safety valve is stopped down.
How absurd to talk of preventing the evolution of these and similar symptom-complexes in the face of so much poisoning, by the irrational process of shooting more rubbish into the body! Vaccines and serums are efforts to prevent causes from producing their natural effects. They mean that you can be poisoned and not be poisoned. “Immunization” is like trying to prevent drunkenness in the man who drinks. I am reminded, at this point, of the famous serum I invented thirty years ago that I called blisterine. After three inoculations with this serum, a man could sit upon a red hot stove or pass through a firey furnace and not even get hot. He would not burn for he was immunized. I was unable to find a manufacturer for my serum, as it was thought that such a serum would put the firefighters out of business.
When we have learned that we are builders of our own miseries, are architects of our own pathologies and makers of our own “diseases,” we will be prepared to live sensibly, even during periods of celebration. I enjoyed my oranges on Christmas day and developed no cold or “flu” being out in the cold with only enough clothes on to keep out of jail. More than forty years of going with so little clothes that all of my friends have predicted that I will die of pneumonia (several of them have) and developing no trouble as a consequence has convinced me that “over-exposure to cold” is a minor factor in the evolution of any symptom-complex, unless it is frostbite. I have seen as many as four generations of the same family who suffered with frostbite and am sure that any good geneticist will agree that this was due to a mutation.