With the stock market in a strong, counter-trend rally, fear of the flu has replaced concern over financial matters as the top worry of many people. Short-term forecasts about the severity and virulence of the flu are about as likely to be accurate as are short-term forecasts of the direction the stock market will take. Yet, I would not bet against either a dramatic fall in the stock market later this year or a dramatic resurgence of the swine flu this fall or winter. Both are manifestations of the same underlying cause—namely, a shift in the collective social mood.
In his book The Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior, Robert Prechter writes:
The fact is that epidemics and pandemics seem to hit populations during major negative social mood trends. …When we study pandemics of the Dark Ages or the Spanish influenza epidemic that broke out during the bear market of 1917 (which year also saw intense fighting in World War I and the Communist coup in Russia), there always appears to be a bear market in force, and the extent of the epidemic tends to correlate with the size of the setback in mood.
A negative collective social mood—characterized by such feeling as depression, anger, and fear creates the conditions for both falling stock prices and the spread of disease. “But wait,” you might say. “Isn’t disease caused by viruses and bacteria?” Although there are complex reasons—which no human being can ever fully understand—as to why one individual succumbs to a virus and another individual doesn’t, it would be a mistake to overlook the underlying psychological and spiritual state of the individual. Thus, we come to my first recommendation for protecting yourself from a flu epidemic:
Cultivate feelings of love, gratitude, happiness, and forgiveness. Tragically, most human beings hold the mistaken belief that these feelings are generated from sources outside of themselves—people, places and circumstances. Instead, these feelings are generated from a choice we make deep inside ourselves. During periods of negative social mood, our egos give us plenty of reasons why we should be angry, ungrateful, unhappy, and unforgiving. If we choose to follow the advice of our ego, bad feelings will drown out good feelings. It is up to each of us to turn away from our egocentric thinking and make a different choice.
Expose yourself to the Sun in order to increase your intake of Vitamin D. I am not recommending sunbathing on the beach, but I am recommending activities such as walking, hiking, running, and gardening. During these activities you can expose your skin to moderate amounts of sunlight without the use of sunscreen. Many Americans living in northern climates are deficient in Vitamin D, and Vitamin D is an important component of a healthy immunological system. See for instance Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D
This summer, stop yourself from guzzling soft drinks and eating copious amount of ice cream. The summer months bring huge increases in the consumption of soft drinks and ice cream, both of which contain huge amounts of sugar and corn sweeteners. Sugar weakens the immunological system and will make you more vulnerable to illness in the colder months. See here for instance. Do not underestimate how much sugar you are consuming. For instance, there are over 16 teaspoons of sugar in one 20 oz bottle of Coke. Learn to enjoy water instead of sweetened drinks.
Incorporate into your diet common, culinary herbs and roots, such as ginger, garlic, turmeric, sage, thyme, that have medicinal properties. These ingredients have important antiviral and antibacterial compounds. Buy organic when possible. Much of the non-organic garlic and ginger is from China and is contaminated. See here.
In matters of health, bailouts—in this case, flu vaccines and Tamiflu—may have their place for some. But, prevention is cheaper, safer, and far more reliable. It is far better to be proactive today then to panic about the flu at some future date. Americans who don’t take their own measures now will be forced to rely upon whatever dubious measures the government recommends down the road.