At the height of the worst killer flu outbreak ever seen, U.S. Army troops were being loaded by the thousands, onto ships for transport to Europe to do battle against the German Kaiser (WWI). The world must have seemed turned upside down. With 4,500 influenza related deaths reported in one week alone in Philadelphia, soldiers were more fearful of coming down with the flu then they were of dying from a German bullet ... And rightfully so.
During just one Atlantic crossing of 10,000 U.S. troops, 4,000 died from influenza contracted while onboard ship. Soldiers were scared to death of going below deck for fear of becoming exposed. The open air afforded by being top side was their only safe haven. And so it was, WWI provided the mechanism to spread the great flu pandemic of 1918.
250,000 German soldiers and 44,000 American soldiers died on the war's front from this virus, rather than from bullets. Many more thousands died behind the front. Little has been said about it, but the flu pandemic probably did more to put an end to the war than any military might could muster. World-wide, an estimated 20 to 30 million people died from that flu outbreak.
Little was understood about flu outbreaks back in 1918. Today we know that influenza is caused by a class of viruses that are among the most infectious pathogens known to man. They are just as much a threat today as they were in 1918.
Once inhaled, the virus infects the cells lining the respiratory tract. If the infected person's immune system happens to be compromised or weak, the infection can cause high fever, body aches and pains and pneumonia. Symptoms can vary in intensity which makes the flu difficult to distinguish from a cold. Even worse, a totally immune person can become a carrier of a virus, infecting other people less fortunate.
The human body, is fully capable of staving off infectious diseases...IF...its immune system is working at full throttle. But we know from statistical data a full blown influenza epidemic would today kill off an estimated 100 to 120 million people, exactly because their immune systems are compromised. A human body with such a system is not capable of defending itself against a virulent viral invasion.
Everyone is a Carrier...
This bit of history and background underscores the importance of making enclosed spaces, like our homes, safe from infectious diseases. Back in 1918, kids played skip rope while singing this tune...
"I had a little bird, it's name was Enza.
I opened a window and in-flew-Enza."
We cannot prevent our kids, even today, from coming in contact with a flu virus or from carrying it home, but we can do something to purge our homes and respiratory tracts of infectious pathogens.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road...
Researchers at Weber State University are spraying therapeutic grade essential oils within enclosed atmospheres in controlled tests, to measure their effectiveness against various airborne, life-threatening pathogens. What they have found and reported can literally save your family's life. Diffusing essential oils in a micro-fine vapor (within an enclosed atmosphere like a home), effectively repels infectious pathogens...while at the same time boosting one's immunity system.
The Weber State study demonstrated that essential oils are even more effective and reliable than such antibiotics as Penicillin and Ampicillin. A virus or bacteria will mutate to defend itself against vaccines and antibiotics, but no pathogen has ever been known to mutate when confronted with essential oils. Microscopic photo's dramatically recorded the massive breakdown (lysis) of pathogenic lifeforms taken during the tests.
Specific oils which proved most effective include cinnamon, oregano, thyme and blends of oil containing frankincense, oregano, wild tansy, black cumin. clove, hyssop, ravensara and mountain savory oils.
Previously, Dr. Jean C. Lapraz, the famed French researcher, reported in 1985 that he couldn't find a single bacteria or virus that could live in the presence of the essential oils of cinnamon or oregano. Today, from the Weber State study, we know of many other essential oils that are as equally effective.
Put a Diffuser to work in Your Home...
Diffusing essential oils in your home is easy to do, but it's knowing what to do and doing it that matters. To begin, essential oils are volatile. That is, they quickly evaporate, which makes them ideal for purifying the air within a home or office. People may place a drop or two on the vents of a furnace or air conditioner. The air passing over the vent will disperse the oil vapor. Other methods employ the use of a fan by placing a few drops of oil on the fan housing. But the most efficient method uses a device made specifically for diffusing called a diffuser.
Commercial diffusers typically disperse the oil in micro-fine or molecule size vapors, which quickly saturate the air. Because the vapors are micro-fine, they can remain suspended for up to several hours. By using such a diffuser, everyone, pets included, will inhale the vapors as they breathe. As the vapors reach the interior of the respiratory tract, the chemical molecules of the oil go to work against invaders and penetrate into the blood stream. The whole body benefits as the oils work synergistically with the body's defenses.
Better diffusers consist of an air pump, oil well and a glass nebulizer connected by flexible air tubing. The pump can be set on the floor or under an end table out of sight. Many people hook diffusers up to a timer, which allows it to turn on and off automatically. The whole assembly is easy to assemble and to clean.
My family has been diffusing essential oils for four years, and is satisfied that diffusing really works to keep the flu bug away. People all about us fall ill in the Fall, but we remain healthy. We typically run our diffuser twice a day for about 30 minutes, though it can be operated for longer periods of time. We use a variety of oils, but the ones we use most often are blends of oil. They have a clean smell which fills the whole house. At Christmas time we diffuse pine and cedar oil which have a wonderful fragrance reminiscent of childhood Christmas past.
From my family to yours..we encourage you to buy a diffuser for your home. You are sure to love diffusing essential oils for their wonderful fragrances. But most of all, you will have peace of mind knowing you have placed a protective barrier between your family and the rest of the world.
1. Doomsday Flu, video production, History Channel
2. Rolling Stone, Killer Flu. January 22, 98
3. Weber State University, Essential Oil Research Study, 97/98
4. Aromatherapy, the Essential beginning, by D. Gary Young, Essential Press pub, 96