By Jonathan Benson
With Ebola on everybody’s minds these days, the topic of disease prevention, and particularly how to avoid viral infections — incidentally, the annual rite of “flu season” is also upon us — is surely on every survivalist’s radar. But learning how best to prepare for, well, the worst poses its own set of unique challenges because, quite frankly, real solutions for disease eradication aren’t exactly popular media’s thing.
Most mainstream news outlets simply tell people to constantly wash their hands and avoid human contact, but this is hardly foolproof, nor is it practical or even necessary. Strengthening one’s immune system should be the first line of defense, and learning how to effectively prevent infection the second. The latter approach is two-pronged, meaning there are safe and effective ways to kill viruses on surfaces as well as inside your body, and knowing both is critical for long-term survival.
Ultraviolet C light disinfects water, sterilizes surfaces
Measuring in wavelengths between 100 and 280 nanometers (nm), as defined by the World Health Organization, ultraviolet C, or UVC (short wave), light is one effective way to rid exposed surfaces of harmful pathogens. A growing number of hospitals, which are notorious for harboring antibiotic-resistant “superbug” pathogens, have chosen this non-toxic method as a first-line defense against pathogens, and you can, too.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recognizes UV light as effective in the purification of water, as it destroys harmful microbes including yeast, bacteria, algae, molds, viruses and oocysts. Many water treatment facilities use UV light to control microorganisms, as it penetrates the cell walls and cytoplasmic membranes of organisms and rearranges their DNA, effectively blocking them from reproducing.
UV robots at hospitals are already proving to be more effective than bleach at cleansing equipment and sterilizing rooms. Up to 25,000 times more powerful than natural sunlight, UV robots can be programmed to shine light on all exposed or potentially compromised surfaces, including under beds and between curtain folds. After about 10 minutes, anything living on surfaces will be rendered completely sterile.
“We can clean and disinfect a room (by hand) to an 85% level, but when we use the ultraviolet light we can clean that room to 99.9%,” stated Dr. Ray Casciari, a pulmonary disease specialist at St. Joseph Hospital, to CNN. “This is the future of hospitals because 85% is not enough.”
Silver, copper solutions prove effective against harmful pathogens
The metals silver and copper are effective disease killers as well. The colloids of both metals exert an “oligodynamic effect” on microorganisms, effectively killing fungi, viruses, molds and various living cells, even at very low concentrations. Put simply, silver and copper colloids bind to the proteins of pathogens and basically deactivate them, resulting in their death.
Researchers from the National College of Kathmandu in Nepal described this process in a 2002 study they published, which looked at how metal ions interact with microorganisms. They wrote:
“The exact mechanism of this action is still unknown but some data suggest that the metal ions denature protein of the target cells by binding to reactive groups resulting in their precipitation and inactivation. The high affinity of cellular proteins for the metallic ions results in the death of the cells due to cumulative effects of the ion within the cells.”
Boost your immune system with antiviral herbs
Having to constantly worry about the pathogenicity of the surfaces you touch is really only necessary, though, when your immune system is not up to par. If your immune system is strong and well-supported with proper nutrition, your chances of succumbing to illness are greatly reduced, which is why it’s so important to eat right for your survival.
Purposely supplementing your diet with antiviral foods and herbs is critical if you want to avoid viral infections. Here’s some helpful ones you may want to incorporate into your diet:
1. Apple cider vinegar. For regular maintenance, take one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a splash of fresh lemon, every morning in water or juice. Raw apple cider vinegar with the “mother” is rich in nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, sodium (the healthy kind!), magnesium, sulfur, iron, copper, fluorine (not the synthetic type of fluoride added to water), silicon and pectin, as well as dozens of trace minerals and essential amino acids.
All of these are highly effective at alkalizing and detoxifying the body, making conditions unfriendly to pathogenic bacteria and viruses.
2. Oil of oregano. Hailed for its amazing antiviral, antibacterial and antioxidant potency, oil of oregano belongs in every survivalist’s health repertoire. Studies have shown that the carvacrol component of the oil is particularly beneficial in targeting and eliminating viruses. And unlike pharmaceutical drugs, oil of oregano won’t kill off your healthy intestinal flora, nor will it cause antibiotic resistance.
3. Elderberry. Sometimes referred to simply as elder, elderberry has long been used as a treatment for respiratory ailments stemming from cold and flu. The University of Maryland Medical Center recognizes elderberry as having proven anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antioxidant and anticancer properties, and laboratory evidence has shown that the “superfruit” is powerfully effective at boosting immunity.
4. Vitamin C. Perhaps most well known for treating colds, vitamin C is arguably the most effective remedy for preventing and treating viruses of all kinds. The late Dr. Linus Pauling studied the nutrient extensively and found that, in order for the immune system to maintain its defenses against viral infections, vitamin C is essential. Injections of high-dose vitamin C are also effective at eradicating disease once it has taken hold.
5. Vitamin D. One of the easiest ways to maintain a vibrant immune system is to spend more time in the sun. When your skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, your body produces vitamin D, which in turn reduces your risk of developing influenza and other viral conditions. People with optimal vitamin D levels also tend to avoid getting sick in general.