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Delbert

Is flu an elixir? [Answered: NO!]

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Having recovered from a dose of flu some two weeks ago, I can only say I feel refreshed. Refreshed and full of beans in a way as I've ever felt for some time. Indeed, for many years prior to this to this infection, I suffered quite badly from Asthma - sometimes almost unable to move and feeling like I was on my last breath! But now since having been laid up with flu the Asthma seems to have gone completely.

 

If this is the result of a dose of flu then I can highly recommend it. From my experience all this vaccination business offered to certain groups is not only a waste of money, but detrimental to health. I'd say get yourself a dose of flu - perhaps I should find some way to bottle the stuff and offer it for sale!

 

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Have you checked the statistics on deaths initiated by flu? It might make you less enthusiastic about it.

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Also, there is the question whether you had cold or flu. The latter usually leaves you severely exhausted for weeks.

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Also, there is the question whether you had cold or flu. The latter usually leaves you severely exhausted for weeks.

Well, the symptoms were: headache, muscle ache, shivers, lousy feeling mentally, apparent high temperature (although I never measured it), visual images of shapes and strange faces when eyes closed and food tasted like cardboard.

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I am not advocating to go and get yourself injected with the active flu virus, but it could be because the infection stimulated your immune system which 'over-reacted' and thus reduced the asthma. It is known that mild doses of poison act through hormesis to boost the immune system. In the times before antibiotics, people used to drink small amounts of dirty water to fortify themselves against typhoid, or inject themselves with cowpox pus in order to avoid smallpox.

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I am not advocating to go and get yourself injected with the active flu virus, but it could be because the infection stimulated your immune system which 'over-reacted' and thus reduced the asthma. It is known that mild doses of poison act through hormesis to boost the immune system. In the times before antibiotics, people used to drink small amounts of dirty water to fortify themselves against typhoid, or inject themselves with cowpox pus in order to avoid smallpox.

That was my assumption.

 

Wasn't it the case that someone discovered dairymaids being immune as a consequence of being exposed to something (can't recall what it was)?

 

Anyway, my asthma seems to have disappeared. So perhaps my infection has given it a good kicking.

 

For how long?

I was effectively bedbound for about two days. Mind you, even whilst bedbound I still had the odd poke on the computer, just to break the monotony!! But for about two days both before and afterwards (six days in total) just about struggling around. And no medication of any kind taken.

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Asthma is caused by an inflammatory reaction of your body. If your immune reactions are lowered, so may asthma attacks (depends a lot of the type and various other factors). Boosting the immune system would have most likely the inverse effect. In fact, influenza has been known to cause fatal asthma attacks.

 

The key is that the mechanism of asthma are intrinsic. Something external may trigger it, but all the symptoms are caused by your body itself. There is nothing that an infection could help eliminating it (except if certain diseases lower your immune responses.

 

The way you describe your symptoms are also more like a cold. Flu usually results in severe symptoms for 1-2 weeks.

Also, just to make it clear, willful infection with influenza is a really bad idea. While rarely fatal in healthy individuals, the symptoms are usually crippling, not comparable to the few days bed rest you may need with common cold symptoms.

Edited by CharonY

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Asthma is caused by an inflammatory reaction of your body. If your immune reactions are lowered, so may asthma attacks (depends a lot of the type and various other factors). Boosting the immune system would have most likely the inverse effect. In fact, influenza has been known to cause fatal asthma attacks.

Again as before, I think that's my understanding. As my understanding is asthma is a consequence of an over or misguided reaction of the immune system, whereby as you say a lower immune reaction would lower asthma symptoms. With the reverse with increased immune activity.

 

But perhaps asthma is a misguided reaction rather that just overreaction. And as you say flu is doubtless dangerous for asthma sufferers, to which I confess I found breathing quite strained during my confinement. But now the asthma has gone! My conclusion is that maybe somehow the immune system has sorted itself out such that it's not firing off unnecessarily.

 

The way you describe your symptoms are also more like a cold. Flu usually results in severe symptoms for 1-2 weeks..

I couldn't say, so maybe it was as you say. But as I can't ever recall being confined for 1-2 weeks with severe symptoms, or indeed simply confined for 1-2 weeks, maybe I've never ever had flu ever.

 

Also, just to make it clear, willful infection with influenza is a really bad idea. While rarely fatal in healthy individuals, the symptoms are usually crippling, not comparable to the few days bed rest you may need with common cold symptoms.

Perhaps I'm not saying wilful infection, but perhaps not wilfully trying to avoid it. In particular, I understand our immune system needs to experience the environment so it can learn.

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Getting flu is not terribly common, if you live in an area that has low flu incidence and high amount of people that get vaccinated. Things start to get worse if more people decide not to vaccinate. Note that the way vaccination works is that it actually presents antigens to your immune system. I.e. you get the benefit of having your immune system respond to something, without suffering through the harmful effects of actual infection.

 

What you may refer to is the hygiene hypothesis in which small exposure to antigens over time can lead to reduced allergic symptoms, as your immune system is actually occupied with things so that it won't trigger needless and harmful immune responses.

 

For that however, it is most likely suffice avoid living in an overly sterile environment. This may include simple things like avoiding overuse of antimicrobial cleaners and getting out more often, though the details are still not clear about that one.

 

Exposure that actually leads to illness is basically a bad idea, as it means that you got a dose that overwhelms you immune system. The best way are arguably doses that are sufficient to trigger immune responses but are below an infectious dose or variants that are less pathogenic. Incidentally, this is the principles with which vaccines work.

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Note that the way vaccination works is that it actually presents antigens to your immune system. I.e. you get the benefit of having your immune system respond to something, without suffering through the harmful effects of actual infection.

Presumably as long as the immune system doesn't say: why am I bothering to attack dead invaders! And then a real one comes along. i.e. the cry wolf too many times consequence.

 

For that however, it is most likely suffice avoid living in an overly sterile environment. This may include simple things like avoiding overuse of antimicrobial cleaners and getting out more often, though the details are still not clear about that one.

The catch 22 syndrome? Surround yourself in a clean environment and don't expose yourself to nasty germs and you're likely end up weakening your immune system. Or, expose yourself and don't live in an overly clean environment. But mind you, not too unclean as it might kill you!

 

Seems to me the trick is getting the balance right.

 

Seem to recall catching part of a TV prog a while back where a group of obsessive individuals (something to do with obsessive disorder) would measure the dirt or bacterial level wherever they went (they had some sort of instrument). In one scene they appeared to enter a café and started screaming at the level indicated by their instrument. Their immune system probably doesn't know the difference between one of their own body cells and flu virus. And if their instrument ever stops working it seems to me they'd be going into fits.

Edited by Delbert

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Seem to recall catching part of a TV prog a while back where a group of obsessive individuals (something to do with obsessive disorder) would measure the dirt or bacterial level wherever they went (they had some sort of instrument). In one scene they appeared to enter a café and started screaming at the level indicated by their instrument. Their immune system probably doesn't know the difference between one of their own body cells and flu virus. And if their instrument ever stops working it seems to me they'd be going into fits.

 

Obsessive compilsive cleaners? What cracked me up about that programme was the only levels they were happy with were those suitable for food preparation in a hospital and were squealing when the inside of their shoes didn't make the grade. Oh well I guess it's not called a disorder for nothing.

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Presumably as long as the immune system doesn't say: why am I bothering to attack dead invaders! And then a real one comes along. i.e. the cry wolf too many times consequence.

 

The immune system does not work that way. It only ever recognizes parts of foreign particles (the antigens) it has no clue whether something is alive or not.

 

 

 

The catch 22 syndrome?

 

Not quite. More like a function of how our immune system works. Essentially you want an equilibrium in which it is able to effectively recognize foreign particles but does not go overboard with its response or start attacking your own body. It has evolved under quite different conditions than we face today and may have therefore certain troubles with our lifestyle. Note that many symptoms (including fever, for example) are reactions of our immune system and are not necessarily due to pathogenic actions. While these symptoms are part of the important immune defense, it can overreact (therefore claims of things boosting immune systems tend to be dubious).

Cytokine storms are an example where the immune response reacts so strongly to invaders that it may actually kill you (rather than the pathogen). Under these conditions a strong immune system could be a liability. Cytokine storms have been associated with deaths related to the swine flu, the SARS epidemic in 2003 and the flu pandemic in 1918.

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Thanks to everyone for all the replies.

 

But if my experience is anything to go by, then I remain with the view that a dose of whatever I had (if it wasn't the flu then it must have been a very severe cold) is a fantastic pick-me-up. As I've said, my asthma seems to have completely disappeared. An asthma which was quite debilitating at times. In fact there have been a few occasions where I was thinking I was on my last breath! But now nothing - it almost seems impossible.

 

If the two are connected, all I can say is if you're in the relative group, then stay away from the annual flu jab.

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Just a progress report on the asthma consequence.

 

My asthma remains completely gone, for which I can't express and convey my delirious happiness enough. And I repeat my previous whereby I can thoroughly recommend a dose of flu as a possible cure for said affliction.

 

I would add that during your confinement you don't take any medication, prophylactic or anything (apart from food and water that is!).

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Just a progress report on the asthma consequence.

 

My asthma remains completely gone, for which I can't express and convey my delirious happiness enough. And I repeat my previous whereby I can thoroughly recommend a dose of flu as a possible cure for said affliction.

 

I would add that during your confinement you don't take any medication, prophylactic or anything (apart from food and water that is!).

 

!

Moderator Note

It's one thing to speculate based on anecdotal experience (dubious as that practice is) but quite another to make actual medical recommendations. We don't do that here; if someone has the flu, the only advice one can give is to go to your doctor and follow his/her directions.

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!

Moderator Note

It's one thing to speculate based on anecdotal experience (dubious as that practice is) but quite another to make actual medical recommendations. We don't do that here; if someone has the flu, the only advice one can give is to go to your doctor and follow his/her directions.

Point taken and I offer my apologies for overstepping any rules. Contrary to what I've said, I agree.

 

I'm just reporting my recent experience and speculating as to the possibility of a change with the immune system as a consequence - as I've been told asthma is a result of some sort of immune reaction. So although my suggestion was slightly tongue-in-cheek, nonetheless it was a feeler as to whether anyone else has had similar experiences.

 

Furthermore, speaking to a neighbour the other day it seems he had suffered a similar infection. He'd been to the doctors at least twice and said he'd been given an antibiotic. Now my understanding is that the flu or the common cold are viral infections; so if that's what he had, what use was an antibiotic?

 

Anyway, I'm absolutely chuffed with the complete disappearance of my asthma. Something I'd suffered with for about ten years, which had been quite debilitating at times.

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Flu is definitely viral, cold often, but not always. However, there can be bacterial infection following or accompanying either. The mucosal system as well as the immune system is often compromised during viral infections making it easier for bacteria to settle in. That is why some may e.g. develop bacterial pneumonia that requires AB to clear out. It really depends on what the MD has found for diagnosis and that is why armchair diagnoses are often wrong.

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It really depends on what the MD has found for diagnosis and that is why armchair diagnoses are often wrong.

Obviously I don't know what went on in the consulting room, but my gut feeling is my neighbour's medication was the result of an armchair diagnosis.

 

Perhaps my general view has been revealed by my comments, but if not then they are to keep well away from doctors unless there is absolutely no other option. For example, I persevered with my asthma for some time before I decided that the only option was to pay a visit. And as for the resulting medication, from the time my asthma clearly disappeared, I have been slowly weaning myself off the medication, whereby now I've stopped taking the stuff (I didn't want to stop abruptly).

 

Maybe I'm labouring the point, but I had to stop for a moment today to actually recall how bad the asthma was, and say to myself: I wouldn't have even contemplated doing what I'm doing now (I was felling and cutting up a tree that had rotted at the base).

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I am new to this forum, so this post will probably be just a little too late to be of any value.

 

My own personal experience, after suffering a severe bout of flu, was that I then started to have anxiety and panic attacks - very strange indeed.

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I am new to this forum, so this post will probably be just a little too late to be of any value.

 

My own personal experience, after suffering a severe bout of flu, was that I then started to have anxiety and panic attacks - very strange indeed.

Presumably you're suggesting the second is a consequence of the first. It may not be the case.

 

Similarly, it was my reason for posing the question about flu perhaps being an elixir. I tenuously connected the two and offered the possibility that the flu somehow cured my asthma. The asthma may have disappeared had I not contracted the flu!

 

Also, I read the other week that findings were that taking relieving medication during a bout of flu or whatever would increase the number of infecting organisms (viruses)!! This seems to support my theory that upon treating such an infection one well have it for about three weeks; but on the other hand leave it alone and it'll go in a fortnight!

 

As I said previously, I did not take any medication whatsoever during my confinement.

 

Did you take medication during your confinement?

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Relief medicine does not treat the infection. It mostly modulates symptoms by altering your immune response (the inflammatory pathways). Again, recovery within a week is more indicative of common cold than flu.

Edited by CharonY

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Delbert: From my experience all this vaccination business offered to certain groups is not only a waste of money, but detrimental to health

 

 

Tell that to the ~41,000 who die each year from influenza. There is a reason the very young and very old are targeted for vaccination, because at those ages, it can kill.

 

Leave the bad medical advise at home.

Edited by chadn737

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Tell that to the ~41,000 who die each year from influenza. There is a reason the very young and very old are targeted for vaccination, because at those ages, it can kill.

 

Leave the bad medical advise at home.

I said: from my experience. Which I think is a perfectly legitimate comment. And 'leave bad medical advice at home' is also a legitimate comment, but like mine a comment only. I believe the medical profession was full of good advice, which upon later experience and reasoned investigation is doubtless now no longer considered good advice.

 

My comment is no less legitimate than yours.

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