Still feeling flushed from my article last week about a potential change in how science news was reported, I was caught, almost unaware, by a story from a California NBC affiliate titled, “Can Natural Remedies Prevent H1N1?” Since they’d posed it as a question, I felt certain that I knew what the answer was! “No.” But as a surprise to me, seems they didn’t come up with that.
I’m glad to say they didn’t come up with “yes” either. Actually, phrasing the headline as a question was sort of misleading, as it seems to me they didn’t even try to answer the question. Instead, they just interviewed a woman named Beatrice Levinson, the owner of “Monterey Bay’s Naturopathy.” Ms. Levinson managed to get in some great copy, like “I don’t recommend vaccinations for H1N1.” I might have responded, “I don’t want a person who’s not a doctor giving me medical advice,” but maybe that’s petty. But she didn’t stop dispensing the medical advice there. No, according to Ms. Levinson, instead of taking that nasty western medicine vaccine hoodoo, all it takes to ward of a global pandemic are water, a diet full of “natural foods” (stop eating those plastics, people!), sleep, and exercise. Oh! And sweating, apparently that’s great for H1N1 too. Which is good news for anyone with the illness, because that fever you’ve got will insure that you sweat until you’re well again. Or dead.
And speaking of dead! Apparently, health officials in our country have recently revised their counting of kids dead from H1N1 to include those who died from secondary infections. They’ve now revised their tally of children dead from flu from 129 to 540. I guess those 540 kids weren’t getting enough exercise. Gym class, failing our nation’s young again. Or maybe it was the natural foods. Perhaps what put those children in the ground was their lack of sleep, or maybe they drank too much soda and not enough water. Because according to our naturopath friend, those are a much more viable solution to H1N1 than a vaccine designed by the dreaded western medicine.
Am I putting the entire blame for the 540 preventable deaths from swine flu on Beatrice Levinson of Monterey, CA? Of course I’m not. That would be reckless and irresponsible. Almost as irresponsible as suggesting that a healthy diet will be more effective for your clients against a potentially deadly virus that has spread across the entire globe than a vaccine created by some of the best health science we have.
H1N1 is not a joke. People are dying from it. We are looking down the barrel end of one of the worst flu seasons we’ve had in years. I say to Beatrice Levinson, you have spread dangerous misinformation to those around you. I say to KSBW Action News, you have failed in your job as a news team. Your job is to counter the false information that comes to you, not to act as a sounding board for any wacko with a bone to pick against scientific medicine. And to naturopaths everywhere: stick to solving the random and psychogenic pains your clients are so apt to have, thanks to those horrible symptoms “life” and “humanity.” Do your species a favor and leave the real problems to science.