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Bad advices – celebrity edition….

with 4 comments

As if the hysteria over the H1N1 swine-flu is not enough, now we have a celebrity providing bad advice on preventing the flu.  Via Twitter no less.

Actress Gul Panag wrote today:

There’s a “preventive” homeopathic medicine for Swine flue (sic) – INFLUENZUM,available at all homeopathic chemists.Prevention is better than cure (link)

No shit ! And so when do I get to give advice on how the director should frame her next shot. Because, you know – I have dabbled in amateur theater. (Btw, the medicine is not called INFLUENZUM – it is influenzinum)

Although Gul hasn’t gone off on the deep end like her American counterparts, Jenny McCarthy or Jim Carrey and their anti-vaccination idiocy, it is still bad advice.

To set the records straight, a homeopathic treatment is no prevention against the flu.  Notwithstanding the tall claims on websites such as this  which state:

Influenzinum is made each year from the influenza vaccination shot. Here’s how it is made, and how we have made it for years. It is in the HPUS (Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States).We take the shot itself and place it in 9 parts water and succuss (25 thumps)- the result is 1x – We then take that 1x, put in 9 parts alcohol and succuss it again and make a 2x (& a 1c). The 3x or 2c are then made separately – 1:9 (x) or 1:99 (c).We continue in this manner up to 30x and 30c (by hand and from the 30c on to the 200c using the Helios potentizing machine). (Joe Lillard,WHP)

Apart from the alcohol, I am not sure there is much palliative in this prescription. By the time, the dilution takes place, you will be lucky to catch any strain of the original virus to boost your immunity. Prevention of flu, as it were, can be through a combination of  keeping  your hands and face clean,  and avoiding infected people. The latter, even in a low density populations is difficult without shutting yourself completely from the world. Even taking the flu vaccine every year is no guarantee against the infection during the season since new viral strains can easily appear. For the H1N1 particularly, even though a vaccine has been developed, not much is yet known about its efficacy.  Hence the so-called Influenzium treatment – even if effective against other flu – would be useless for H1N1.

Overall, the best option is to remain safe and pretty much hope for the best. And yeah – get the shot if available. There aren’t any easy alternatives.

Unfortunately, I suppose this kind of quackery will be very popular in India – especially where you have countless millions brainwashed by one Baba Ramdev, who among other things, proposes cure for homosexuality through yogas. (And yes, according to him, swine-flu can be prevented through yogas too.)

The scary part is that people may take such advice to heed and have an elevated sense of safety. Does not help the individual or the community.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

August 20, 2009 at 1:11 am

Posted in India, Rants, Science

Tagged with , ,