Flu Watch 2001/2
- and much more

presented by Domenick J. Masiello, D.O., D.Ht.

I am fairly confident that this Flu information will be applicable nationwide and maybe even worldwide due to the large amount of international travel (influenza originates in Asia and travels west). I will update this as often as it becomes necessary during the winter.

Final Update - May 2002


October 2001

The View from New York

When I signed off last spring after my last installment of Flu Watch, I couldn't have imagined that when I resumed this feature in the fall that I would be writing about terrorists attacks, bio-terrorism and war. The new millennium has started, the new world order has begun.

In addition to this year's Flu Watch, what follows will have varying degrees of applicability. I am writing from the perspective of a classical homeopath and a traditional osteopath working in New York City. Those in
other parts of the United States and the world may or may not find it useful.

Since the terrorist attacks last month three remedies have emerged as useful in helping patients cope with this shock - Opium, Ignatia, and Staphysagria.

Please note that many patients do not require treatment at this time and that one should study these remedies and know their differences and similarities. Persons not medically trained are cautioned not to be cavalier in prescribing for emotional trauma. Grief has its own rhythm and time frame and may not respond as physical ailments might. The homeopathic goal is to support the person through his or her time of grief and not to somehow eliminate the grieving. Helping patients not fall physically sick, helping them with insomnia and other functional symptoms is both noble and realistic. For some people these events provide an opportunity for previously suppressed emotion to come to the surface and the assistance of psychologists is advised. Because homeopathy works on multiple levels we often think that we can do it all with just homeopathy but this is not true for all patients. If you are in over your head, swallow your homeopathic pride and get help. Psychotherapists who are attempting to practice homeopathy should be careful and seek the help of a skilled homeopathic physician if it seems like many physicals are emerging from your prescription. Lastly, I would say that what many of us in New York are experiencing is not text- book post- traumatic stress syndrome. We are not individuals who have undergone a shock and are attempting to lead normal lives again. We are individuals who have undergone a shock and are living life in an abnormal world. What will be needed by patients in the future is still emerging and only time will tell.


Homeopathy has been around for more than two hundred years - long before the advent of antibiotics. Historically homeopathy has been used to treat infectious diseases including epidemics.

Typically, after treating several cases of an epidemic disease, a skilled homeopath would notice a common pattern of symptoms and the simillimum would emerge. This simillimum for the epidemic (the epidemicus remedy) could then be used to prevent others from getting sick. Please note that this is NOT a homeopathic vaccine. This remedy is specific for a specific epidemic at a specific point in time. One could give the nosode made from the infecting organism as an adjunctive treatment but this is NOT homeopathy but isopathy. The isopathic nosode may help treat the case but it is not necessarily the epidemicus remedy for that specific epidemic.

This is how a homeopath would treat a naturally occurring epidemic. Some patients might die before the pattern emerged but eventually the epidemicus remedy would make itself known. We should not forget that the cure may require more than one remedy. There may be an epidemicus remedy for each stage of the disease as was the case in the Asiatic Cholera epidemic which
Hahnemann figured out from reading detailed descriptions of the patients provided by his grand nephew, a homeopath in Russia.

A genetically altered organism used as a biological weapon presents a different challenge to the homeopath. Biological weapons are rapid acting and lethal. So far, the episodes of anthrax in Florida and New York are not
linked to genetically altered strains of Bacillus anthracis and are intended to produce fear not mass destruction. In light of the above, I am recommending that my patients have Anthracinum 1M on hand. If public health offices declare a health emergency and begin distributing the antibiotic Cipro (Ciprofloxacin), take the antibiotic as directed and one dose of the nosode daily for at least two weeks. More than just a mere
nosode, Anthracinum has a substantial materia medica (See Hering's Guiding Symptoms) and treats cutaneous, gastrointestinal and pulmonary forms of anthrax (the pulmonary form was called "inner anthrax" back then). To those purists out there who would rather die than use an antibiotic, I advise you to read the Organon. Hahnemann makes it abundantly clear that some emergencies require the use of anything you have on hand because the assault to the vital force may be so harsh, there may not be enough time for the patient to recover.

Flu Watch

October Superimposed on all of this, there is a mild upper respiratory infection making the rounds. This is not classic flu but probably a mild rhinovirus. It presents with mild runny nose, mild sore throat, and fatigue. There may be headache and some body aches but no chills or fever. Patients are not excessively thirsty. I have found it very useful to give
Influenza Co. 1M (Ainsworth) - just one dose. I then give Gelsemium 1M about 8 hours after that. I repeat the Gelsemium 1M once a day for two more days. This has cured virtually all cases this month. Incidentally, I have not found any specific treatment needed for patients who live near ground zero. I have visited the site and despite the horror of what one sees and the acrid smoke and the gray grit everywhere, no syndrome related to exposure has yet to emerge. As things develop, I will update the Flu watch and I hope and pray influenza is the worst thing we have to worry about this winter.

Remedy:  Influenza Co. 1M
             Gelsemium 1M

November 2001

The month of November came and went without the appearance of influenza. However, a viral upper respiratory infection which made its appearance in October, continued unabated in November. The symptom picture was pretty much the same - a mild sore throat with mild fever, some body aches and chills. Influenza Co. 1M (Ainsworth) and Gelsemium 1M are still working wonderfully as described in the October entry. Should the window of opportunity for treatment be missed, however, the symptom picture seems to shift to a progression of the sore throat into a head cold with sinus congestion characterized by head and face pain, thick yellow or yellowish-green discharge from the nose and the back of the throat. Some neglected cases have proceeded to bronchitis. The remedy which is indicated in the 2nd stage of this seasonal cold is clearly Kali Bichromicum. Kali Bichromicum seems to work best in these cases when the potency changes frequently.I give 200C twice a day for the first day, 1M once a day for the second day and 10M once on the third day.

Another word about bio-terrorism. The recent issue of the Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA: Vol. 286, No. 20, Nov. 28, 2001) contains two articles describing the cases of 4 patients with inhalation anthrax. Two survived. Two did not. Although these allopathic articles don't contain the kind of description homeopaths need and want, it is fairly clear that both the patients' symptoms and course of treatment as well as the autopsy findings indicate that Anthracinum was and is an excellent choice for the treatment and possible prevention of anthrax. Please refer to the Anthracinum chapter of Hering's Guiding Symptoms and you will note that even the post mortem findings are similar. This statement, however, must be taken in the context of the caveats mentioned above in the October entry about the nature of the genus epidemicus. One final editorial comment - In my opinion various homeopathic manufacturers and organizations have taken a much too timid view toward the issue of homeopathy and its possible use in bio-terorism. These positions may be politically correct and cover one's corporate backside, however, they give too mild a assessment of homeopathy's potential. For instance, Variolinum is a remedy indicated for the prevention of smallpox. Your attention should be given to the Characteristics section of Clarke's chapter on Variolinum. One very rarely sees prevention of a specific disease as an indication for a homeopathic remedy, even if it is a nosode like Variolinum. We would do well to study the materia medica of Variolinum. Is small pox likely in the current war against terrorism? The US government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase an old vaccine that has not been upgraded since the 1970s so there is a potential threat. I know that there is an issue about the source material of our homeopathic stocks of Variolinum. Despite this shortcoming, I still think it wise to have some Variolinum on hand, if for no other reason, than to treat the inevitable reactions to the conventional vaccine should its widespread use be required.

Additional Remedy: KALI BICHROMICUM

January 2002

Despite recent medical reports of the appearance of influenza in the US, the number of cases in the Northeast of the US have been few and far between. The winter upper respiratory virus which has been going around the past few months and changed from the Gelsemium or Kali Bichromicum type to the Arsenicum Album type. Patients are now typically presenting with fever, chills, sore throat (which is better from warm drinks) and some body aches. There may be improvement in open air despite being better from bundling up. As is typical, many patients present with the gastro-intestinal version, particularly in children. This symptom complex usually includes a sudden onset of a mild fever, nausea and/or vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms seem to last 24 - 48 hours.

Additional Remedy: ARSENICUM ALBUM

May 2002

Once again the much anticipated outbreak of influenza did not materialize this year despite dire warning from various government and media outlets. The past two months have seen many cases of a viral upper respiratory condition characterized by fever, dry sore throat, body aches and tiredness. This initial presentation quickly changes as the sore throat disappears and is replaced by increasing nasal and sinus congestion with thick, sometimes greenish nasal discharge and similar expectoration. There is face and head pressure and congestion. Kali bichromicum in doses of increasing potency over a period of 3 - 4 days works ideally.

As the months since September 11th have flown by, there have been an increasing number of patients whose psychological peace has been disturbed by the return of old issues once thought to have been addressed with in previous years of psychotherapy. The anxiety of this horrible event has resonated with something in their past and the need to address emerging issues becomes apparent. The remedies which have helped in these cases now goes beyond Ignatia, Natrum muriaticum, Staphysagria and Opium and as always in homeopathy, individualization of treatment is the key. Some patients have returned to psychotherapy others are exploring therapy for the first time. Homeopathy is a wonderful aid to self-exploration.

Recently, there has been more discussion in the press about the possibility of nuclear terrorism. The detonation of a "dirty bomb" in a metropolitan area creates a situation new to homeopathy. There are no homeopathic references to treatment in this context and conventional medicine offers little help. Many factors determine the potential effect of exposure to such a bomb. Distance from the epicenter of the explosion is the most important factor as are the nature and composition of the device. Needless to say, what follows are suggestions to those individuals fortunate enough to have sustained no immediate harm from such an explosion. Based purely on isopathic considerations it is my opinion that it would be wise to have on hand Radium bromatum and X-ray in the 200C or 1M potencies. Immediately upon a distant exposure one dose of each should be taken each day for about two weeks. For example, Radium bromatum 200C in the am and one dose of X-ray 200C in the pm. Potassium iodide is often used in these cases as a way of blocking the effects of radioactive iodide from saturating receptor sites in the thyroid. This helps prevent thyroid cancers in the future. If potassium iodide is not available in your area, the same protection can be obtained by taking Kali iodatum 1X tablets (try Standard Homeopathic Company). For infants under the age of one, the dose would be 10 tablets (one grain size) of Kali iodatum 1X for ten to fourteen days. For children over the age of one, the dose would be 20 tablets once per day. The tablets can be dissolved in water, juice or milk. Unfortunately, the adult dose would have to be about 100 tablets once a day for 10-14 days. As one can see, this is not the ideal way of taking potassium iodide but this information is offered in case individuals would like to stockpile some potassium iodide. The use of homeopathic potassium iodide is just a way of getting a material dose of iodide to protect the thyroid in cases where the conventional preparation is not available.

Over the next several months let us hope and pray that there will not be continued violence in the world and that this horrible experience will motivate changes toward a more peaceful world.

Please Note: I would add this caution - the epidemicus remedy will work when the condition is caught early. Neglected cases may require different remedies. Also, strep throat almost always rides along the influenza wave so a high fever with a sore throat should not be neglected.

Domenick J. Masiello, D.O., D.Ht.
420 East 51st Street
Suite B
New York, NY 10022
Phone 212-688-4818
Fax 212-888-6395