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Most people under the age of 75 have probably never heard of the Great Spanish Flu of 1918, which is remarkable. You’d think more schools would teach about it and try to use what happened as a means to promote healthy living, disease prevention, and how to avoid the flu.

Over 50 million people all over the world died within a matter of months from this disaster and no one knows why. This famed influenza outbreak, that literally killed more people than every war in recorded history combined, has boggled the mind of epidemiologists and doctors for nearly 100 years.

Mystery of The Spanish Flu

After nearly 100 years, public health experts are still unable to explain why this flu outbreak was so deadly. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) says that the primary reason for this outbreak was:

“No virus from 1918 had been isolated, but all of its apparent descendants caused substantially milder human disease. Moreover, examination of mortality data from the 1920s suggests that within a few years after 1918, influenza epidemics had settled into a pattern of annual epidemicity associated with strain drifting and substantially lowered death rates.” (1)

This disease was so severe that case-fatality rates exceeded 2.5%, which is 25 times greater than most flu pandemics. This is a 2,500% difference! No one really knows for sure, but the total death toll has been estimated between 50 – 100 million.

Between 1918 – 1919, an estimated one-third of the world’s population (~500 million) were infected by what public health researchers now believe was a mixture of H1N1 and swine flu pandemics.

Most flu outbreaks kill younger, older or already sick people so it’s important to learn how to avoid the flu. However, as seen in the chart below, the Spanish Flu pandemic predominantly killed healthy young adults; confounding researchers even more.


Figure 2: “U-” and “W-” shaped combined influenza and pneumonia mortality, by age at death, per 100,000 persons in each age group, United States, 1911–1918. Influenza- and pneumonia-specific death rates are plotted for the interpandemic years 1911–1917 (dashed line) and for the pandemic year 1918 (solid line). (2)

Recent research conducted on the bodies of frozen victims has actually discovered that the virus killed through an overreaction of the body’s immune system; somewhat like an autoimmune disorder where your body thinks your own cells are pathogens and puts your immune system in overdrive. According to one source,

“The strong immune reactions of young adults ravaged the body, whereas the weaker immune systems of children and middle-aged adults resulted in fewer deaths among those groups.” (3)

In a day and age where autoimmunity affects more than 50 million people alone in the U.S., we may be ripe for another health catastrophe. (4) So learning how to avoid the flu is very important.

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Prevention Is Key

You don’t have to worry about dying from the flu (or even getting the flu for that matter) if your immune system is functioning at 100% so you can put away your hazmat suit and you don’t need to live in a storm shelter. So learn how to avoid the flu by building your immune system.

As Rashid Buttar, DO puts it, “Cancer, first and foremost, is a problem with the immune system, you cannot have cancer if you have an intact immune system.” (5) And so it goes with all other diseases, including the flu.

How to avoid getting the flu – The key to keep sicknesses like influenza at bay is to follow these steps that have been shown to enhance your immunity:

  1. Maintain a healthy paleo nutrition plan.
  2. Regularly exercise.
  3. Minimize the stressors in your life.
  4. Supplement with a good probiotic.
  5. Reduce toxins like sugar and preservatives.
  6. And, of course, regularly visit your chiropractor!

The Chiropractic – Flu Connection

One of the most interesting facts about the Great Spanish Flu of 1918 or the “Mother of All Pandemics,” as some researchers refer to it, is that research shows that chiropractors were one of the primary instruments to help stop the plague!

Multiple literature reviews have supported this notion that chiropractic adjustments can boost various aspects of the immune function in a unique way. (6, 7) Specifically, chiropractic has been clinically shown to:
Promote the production of white blood cells, which are the mainstay of the immune system. (8, 9)

Consistently reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. (10)

Induce and enhance production of the immunoregulatory cytokine IL-2 and the production of immunoglobulins. (11, 12)

Increase CD4 counts in HIV/AIDS patients. (13)

Chiropractors were originally licensed as doctors because of their ability to treat infection, NOT take away headaches or back problems. (14) Contrary to popular folklore, chiropractors primarily treated infectious diseases like polio up until the 1950s!

The Texas Chiropractic Association highlights this point in their historical account of the Chiropractic – Spanish Flu connection: (14)

“Chiropractors got fantastic results from influenza patients while those under medical care died like flies all around.”

“Statistics reflect a most amazing, almost miraculous state of affairs. The medical profession was practically helpless with the flu victims but chiropractors seemed able to do no wrong.”

The data that they reference is quite remarkable: (14)

  • In Davenport, Iowa, 50 medical doctors treated 4,953 cases, with 274 deaths. In the same city, 150 chiropractors including students and faculty of the Palmer School of Chiropractic, treated 1,635 cases with only one death.
  • In the state of Iowa, medical doctors treated 93,590 patients, with 6,116 deaths – a loss of one patient out of every 15. In the same state, excluding Davenport, 4,735 patients were treated by chiropractors with a loss of only 6 cases – a loss of one patient out of every 789.
  • National figures show that 1,142 chiropractors treated 46,394 patients for influenza during 1918, with a loss of 54 patients – one out of every 886.
  • Reports show that in New York City, during the influenza epidemic of 1918, out of every 10,000 cases medically treated, 950 died; and in every 10,000 pneumonia cases medically treated 6,400 died. These figures are exact, for in that city these are reportable diseases.

The same epidemic reports show that chiropractors 3,490 cases of influenza with only 7 deaths. But the best part of this is, in Oklahoma there is a clear record showing that chiropractors were called in 233 cases where medical doctors had cared for the patients, and finally gave them up as lost. The chiropractors saved all these lost cases but 25.

Learn how to avoid getting the flu. This information is absolutely profound.

In the words of Dan Murphy, DC, “Chiropractors are doing something to influence the efficiency of the immune system.” (15)

And according to Dr. B.J. Hardick, “The number of my patients who get sick from flu viruses is quite low; especially those who follow my Advanced Plan. And when people do get affected and present with some symptoms, they generally get back up on their feet in no time flat.”

As the cold and flu season will be here before we know it, I strongly recommend that you regularly visit your chiropractor, plus remember to develop and stick to a good natural health regimen.

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