What To Do and Not Do When a Pandemic Starts- Part 2, by Scientist69


In part 1 of this article series, I explained the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic as well as virus transmissions. We also went through some basic biosecurity measures, including items to have on hand and how to use them, including some detail on various disinfectants. Now, let’s move forward in our discussion on dealing with pandemic-causes viruses.


Vaccinations have gotten a bad reputation, unfortunately due to the occurrence of some rare issues such as allergies to vaccines, autoimmune responses, et cetera and a whole lot of misinformation. Generally, if you had regular vaccinations, you might have some protection against any other flu, but it most likely will not be enough to prevent disease; however, it might give you a leg up in regards to dying. The reason for this is in the biology of the virus and the biology of your immune response.

Vaccinations against the seasonal flu are typically weakened or mostly killed influenza virus strains, with the vaccine companies trying to guess which strains are actively circulating next winter. They guess by looking at what is emerging in other parts of the world, particularly the southern hemisphere where winter and flu season is in June, July, and August. They then produce the vaccine against those strains and hope for the best. Obviously, that does not always work, which is why you sometimes have low rates of protection.

How it Works

The way a vaccine works, generally, is that your immune system identifies the killed vaccine strain as a foreign invader. Specialized cells can then recognize different parts and for example produce antibodies, which are specific for just that strain. The mutations that make a virus more virulent or better at infecting usually are in the genes of proteins that the virus uses to enter the target cell. In other words, if any mutation happens in the genes of these proteins, the virus might be able to infect a human. Those proteins are also the parts that antibodies are effective against, because they bind to it and prevent the virus from entering, until other cells simply take care of the invader.

Another way how vaccines work is through a different cell type of the immune system, which can actually recognize additional parts of the virus and kill infected cells directly. These viral parts often are more conserved, because they make up the structure of the virus and are usually not changed much in different viral strains. Researchers currently are trying to develop more effective vaccines against those structural proteins, hoping they will give more general protection against different flu viruses.

Other viruses, such as SARS and MERS-like viruses, are even more difficult regarding vaccine development. We are not even close, especially considering that similar viruses can arise anytime but might be different from what we have seen previously. They can be really nasty buggers.

Treatment (and What Does Not Work)

You did stick to biosecurity, but unfortunately you came into contact with an infected person before people realized what was going on. How do you know you are infected?

You might be starting with feeling either general weakness or the typical signs of a cold or flu, including sore throat, sneezing, runny nose and eyes. Later you potentially develop a cough, fever, soreness, et cetera. The common flu is bad enough and can knock you down significantly, especially if you were not vaccinated. A pandemic flu has the potential to cause a high rate of mortality, so hope for the best. Of course, you should try to go and see a doctor, but in case of a pandemic that might be rather challenging. You might want to go directly to the emergency room, if they have the capacity. Fluids and medication will be important.


There are currently several antivirals on the market, Tamiflu and being the most widely known. They are effective against both Influenza type A and type B viruses, but the big drawback is that you have to take them the first 48 hours to be really effective, and they might not work against the pandemic virus. Also, they might run out, but it is worth a try. If you get really sick though, it might be too late.

Unfortunately, that is kind of it. I know that some people put a lot of stock into herbs/alternative medicine, et cetera. As a scientist, I would not exclude plants that can have antiviral effects, but the problem is that we developed drugs because plant extracts are often not potent enough. They might have some effective component, but which ones and if they are strong enough is a guessing game. Most herbal medicines or extracts won’t hurt anything, but I would not expect wonders in case of an aggressive virus. However, if you are out of options, you should certainly try. There are several books on herbs used in medicine, so if you are interested I would look up a comprehensive book.

Garlic Fun Fact

I have a fun fact from more recent research on the antimicrobial effects of garlic: It works best if you chew the garlic, not take a pill. The reason has to do with enzymatic activation of the effective components of garlic in the mouth when you chew, so just taking a pill does not result in the same effect. Only use it if you are in a truly dire situation and your significant other does not care that you really stink!

Homeopathic Anti-Flu Medications

One of the anti-flu medications from the holistic/homeopathic side sold is Oscillo. I am sure people swear by it, because they took it during a case of “the flu”, which might have been just a cold, and they felt better or thought they did. I do not want to go too much into a rant about homeopathy, but I will give you the facts and leave it at that.

First of all, homeopathy was invented in 1796, well before medicine was developed as a science. It is based on the belief that any substance that causes a disease can also cure the disease. You just dilute the substance in the water until none of the substance remains and only their memory remains in the water. If you want to give it a try, I challenge you to take a large quantity of a toxic substance and then use the homeopathic dilution of it as a remedy. [Editor’s Note: Please folks, don’t do this. The author is using satire to make a point.]

Of course, there are people that swear by it, but in large studies it has become quite clear that this mostly is due to the placebo effect. That is a completely different story and utterly fascinating, but you have to believe in the effect for it to work, and it is certainly not fool proof.


The kicker with Oscillo is that it is made from duck liver and heart. Now why is that used to treat influenza? Funny you should ask: the doctor who came up with it misidentified the causative agent for the Spanish Flu as a bacterium, which he named oscillococcus. The thing is, he claimed he found it in ducks. To summarize, not only is the agent causing influenza a virus, not a bacterium, but said bacterium oscillo, which does not exist or cause the flu, was found in ducks and is diluted to 10400 to treat a viral infection. I rest my case. If you still want to try it, good luck. You will need it.


When you hear about a viral disease popping up infecting people all of a sudden, particularly from the Asian/Middle East regions, consider a few vacation or sick days for the whole family. Keep a close eye on developments; social media might work best.

Stay Home! If you have to go out, practice good biosecurity.

There are few options for treatments, so start early.

Feel free to ask questions regarding anything biology, virology, immunology, pandemic, et cetera. I will be happy to give snarky advice. Just don’t ask me to recommend anything homeopathic.

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

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  1. I caught the flu this year and it was nasty. 104 temperature for 4 days followed by 2 weeks of hacking cough. I work at home so didn’t go out except for daily minimum chores. By the way, one of my favorite meals is cold chicken and whole garlic cloves. Couple pieces of chicken and 3-4 cloves (good thing I work at home, eh? 😉

  2. I make an extract with elderberries that I take daily during flu season. I have read professional, as well as layman, literature that elderberries done this way are as good, if not, more effective than Tamiflu. I have not had the flu for decades. I would not degrade herbal so readily.

    1. I had to share a room in East Africa with a really sick guy a few months back and asked our Doc for some immune protection help. He gave me elderberry tablets and vitamin c’s and wished me luck. I didn’t get sick, not that this is science, science is inconvenient; but not getting sick is real convenient.

      I have York elderberries in my orchard, but voles set them back bad. Need more owls or coyotes I suppose. Anyone put elderberries north of chicken coops or near where they dump out livestock water? Maybe mine would have adapted to that better.

      1. You PLANTED elderberries? Maybe it’s a different kind of elderberries. I didn’t know it was an orchard plant. We just have them wild here, and I go out in the blackberry thickets in boots and harvest them. I got a bunch last year. It was so awesome.

    2. Agreed that herbal remedies should not be over-looked. Goldenseal is a great external antibiotic, and there are other herbs that can be used to help treat other external and internal aliments.

  3. Thanks for your article and contribution.

    I felt some of the commentary was a bit misleading, like flu vaccines are going to make you less likely to contract a ‘flu-like’ disease —- “Generally, if you had regular vaccinations, you might have some protection against any other flu,…” There really isn’t overwhelming evidence to support this claim, at least not for those living in the 1st world.

    I’m not saying vaccines are bad necessarily, just pointing out that with a 10%-50% rate of effectiveness, some could argue they are no more effective than homeopathic remedies you dismissed.

    1. You could not be more wrong. The effectiveness of homeopathic medicine a zero. A flu vaccine varies but can be 100%. There are three basic flu virus and literally thousands of variations of these basic virus. If your immune system is triggered or pre-prepared for a specific basic virus THEN depending on your own health and human variable you have a better chance for a virus that is NOT the specific one targeted by the vaccine. That is a world of difference.

      Most people who die from the flu have NO immune preparedness for it, i.e. no vaccine and they did not have that flu earlier in life. Some people who die from flu who DID have either the vaccine OR have been exposed to that flu in previous years die because of their individual immune and other health issues. In other words because of old age or poor health they simply don’t have the ability to deal with a serious illness.

      So it’s your choice: Homeopathic with zero chance of being effective or a flu vaccine with 40%-60% chance of being effective.

  4. Can anyone quote a shelf life of elderberry extract? I made some over ten years ago and figured it was probably time to replace it. Very difficult to get down when sick btw.

  5. Well, there’s holistic, then there’s science, then there’s that stuff they do that’s driven by political and economic factors that they like to call science, but I would call it control.

    Personally, I like science. Science explains the mechanisms both for infection and treatment. Just like with this article, I can see a definite link between cause and effect. With holistics, it is more about the faith of things. Elderberry extract fits into this category. If you think it will work, then it just might. Not a sound application logically, but then we aren’t really logical creatures anyways.

    The nemesis is the control. Combine some science with a little faith (the sheeple effect) and you get the control. Get the gen pop hooked on the notion that everything is treatable with a pill or a shot, first by making some meds truly effective at eradicating diseases, then imply by juxtaposition that all pharma is good, even while downplaying the adverse effects of some of these drugs to the point people die and class action lawsuits are filed. When the cure exceeds the risks of the disease, yet the authorities dispense it to their clients anyways, that is control.

    So go ahead, take your elderberries, pop those pills, let them pump you full of chems. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. But keep this in mind.

    Everybody gotta die sometime.

    1. I like science too. I’m just not so quick to write off SOME homeopathy as being anti-science. Elderberry extract actually does have some evidence of antiviral effect based on the admittedly limited studies done on it. The other homeopathic craze to help influenza symptoms, Ocillicoccinum, has just about zero benefit from the medical resources I’ve read, admittedly citing very few actual studies. Here is where your woo-factor comes in to play – if people think it will help their fever, aches, and pains, maybe it will.

  6. Some people just seem to not get the flu. Neither my husband nor I have ever had the flu & don’t get vaccinated. I’ve had the flu vaccine twice – maybe 3 times – in the past 45 years. I did, however, get the pneumonia vaccine as I had pneumonia when I was much younger & it was horrible. I don’t want to go thru that at my age!

  7. A lot to be said for the placebo effect. Back in the day we didn’t tell patients about side effects because if we did they would get them. It was a form of positive reinforcement. That also works well in the reverse. If you tell them something is going to do this and they believe in you they will feel that whatever it was will work.

    I remember being on duty in the battalion aid station during a stand down in Vietnam. Troops in from the field for a week of relaxation, decent food, barbecues and beer. Lots of beer. Three very drunk guys came to the aid station and demanded sleeping pills. A demanding drunk can be scary and I had three of them. I also didn’t have any sleeping pills. I went into the back and came out with 3 cold capsules which I had filed with salt. Told them they were very powerful and not to take them until they were ready to lie down. The next morning they were on sick call for their hangovers and thanked me profusely for those great sleeping pills.

  8. “Vaccine Excipient & Media Summary
    Excipients Included in U.S. Vaccines, by Vaccine”

    National Vaccine Information Center


    “The First Principle of the Nuremberg Code is ‘The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should have legal capacity to give consent; should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision.'” (nvic.org)

  9. Colloidal silver, hospitals use a spray of water and colloidal silver to disinfect their sickrooms, I’ve been taking it orally for years as well as spraying it on my face and hands before and after going out and whenever I get food poisoning. Will also neutralize cat spray smell and will kill bacteria and viruses in water, just don’t use it if you have a septic system as it will kill all Good bacteria and your tank will stink. Firms can’t make any profit off it because it can be made at home, so it’s use is not publicized.

    1. Just be sure to read the many warnings posted in SurvivalBlog over the years about the risks of REGULAR internal use of colloidal silver. It is intended for use only to treat acute symptoms. Prolonged regular use internally will cause it to build up in your system and literally turn your skin blue.

    2. “I’ve been taking it ………..and whenever I get food poisoning”
      Most folks get food poisoning once and then adjust their life styles. You might want to do that.

  10. I guess the scientist/ author chooses to ignore the mercury/aka thimerasol used as a preservative in vaccines. And the autism that accompanies that additive. Also this flu season really puts the hurt on the vaccine industry

  11. 1) I find it hard to believe that millions of doctors — sworn to cure people of illness — would engage in and support a massive conspiracy by the drug industry to give us bad vaccines.

    2) I will give some consideration to the anti-vaxers when they go through 6 years of medical school/ training and conduct scientific studies that pass critical analysis by peer review.

    3) Until then, I see little reason to put much importance on their statements. Last time I checked Jenny McCarthy had not been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Medicine. In fact, I doubt that she could pass a high school biology exam if you held a gun to her head.

    4) What is happening to America?? Why do we think that if some moron has appeared on TV in some way then they have instant credibility? The most prominent example being Democrats’ current belief that late night TV comedians attacking Trump are somehow philosopher kings. Even though their demigods –Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel,etc — are GROWN MEN whose entire life’s work has consisted of being nothing more than clowns.

    5) We have had people doing voodoo thinking for the past 8000 years — and those people did little to rescue humanity from the misery and early death that used to be our lot. Our life spans used to be –what? 30 years? We used to be periodically devastated by epidemics of plague, smallpox, cholera,etc. And the people who saved us from that were scientists and doctors — NOT people stating opinions about things which they had studied only in the most casual way.

    1. Dan Neides,MD – former medical director and chief operating officer of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute: “Make 2017 the year to avoid toxins (good luck) and master your domain: Words on Wellness”

      The question is, is Dr. Neides a quack now and are his thoughts merely opinions? You can listen to him in his own words in a YouTube presentation titled “Daniel Neides, MD – A Doctor’s Perspective.”

      Scientists are NOT saviors! In fact, scientists are more likely to be wrong than right. Science depends on a transcendent source of truth. Speaking from someone who converses with accomplished, respected, and highly educated “scientists” daily.

      “I find it hard to believe that millions of doctors — sworn to cure people of illness — would engage in and support a massive conspiracy by the drug industry to give us bad vaccines.”

      Please be honest, have you taken even a minute amount of time to do your own research (nvic.org — many Dr.’s and scientists in this organization) or do you rely on the “6 years of medical school/ training and conduct scientific studies” and stop there refusing to learn anything new?

      Have you considered the following possibilities:
      – doctors are lacking full transparency from pharmaceutical powers
      – doctors rarely read the vaccine inserts
      – many doctors are exhausted, overworked, and underpaid.
      – many doctors are struggling to keep up with the day-to-day and very few are taught first allopathic only to identify and manage disease often with medication vs. healing holistically and recognizing integrative, functional, organizational, nutritional, environmental toxins etc.

      If we blame the doctors and nurses…the truth will never get out and we risk alienating those who are genuinely interested in healing others as they will likely become the most defensive and reject an open conversation.

      This truly is an issue of informed consent (both for the doctors and the patients).

      Fear is a powerful motivator, especially when you know how to use the right words and when the “license” is used as a weapon.

          1. Drinking single malt Scotch is not the same as drinking rubbing alcohol.

            And drinking a single drop of Scotch is not the same as drinking a gallon.

            But you don’t see quantitative measurements in voodoo thinking.

      1. Don Williams,

        You have succeeded in using power, accusation and the worst kind of labeling to advocate fear and isolation over a genuine intellectual conversation. Your words are coming across harsh and cruel.

        – “cult”
        – “terrorists”
        – “Taliban”
        – “Voodoo”
        – Anyone who questions the doctor, reads the medical journals, reads the insert, practices a non-fear based approach to the antithesis.

        BTW, before you implicate any more lawyers, research the National Vaccine Compensation Court.

        Could there be the most remote possibility that you are misinformed or even wrong?

        “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love” (1 John 4:18).

    2. Don Williams:
      Jenny McCarthey is a MOTARD of the first realm!
      While she can not pass a high school biology exam with a gun put to her head, I’ll wager she could fail one just by miss spelling her name. LMAO.
      Let the clowns play with there voodoo dolls. I do believe that good old fashioned common sense and PROPER EDUCATION knowledge will win out the day.
      Dam fine article, well done.

  12. The last time I took a flu shot was over 30 years ago. I was healthy, there was a bad flu going around, I worked around a lot of parents with young children, and I needed to stay healthy. I took the vaccine and lo and behold, I got a serious case of the flu. I was out for more than a week, had to go back to work, and felt like h*ll for a month after that. I haven’t had a flew shot since.

    I got a bad case of “something” last year, no fever, occasional chills, some sinus and bronchial congestion, and generally felt like death warmed over. I took massive doses of vitamin C, D3, echanacea/goldenseal blend, doubled up on a good multi-vitamin, a good herbal tea nightly, and the occasional hot toddy. It did take a month for this one to run it’s course. I’m still here, I got over it, and I still won’t take a flu vaccine.

    I won’t take the flu vaccine because I don’t want the flu.
    I won’t take the pneumonia vaccine because I don’t want pneumonia.
    I won’t take the shingles vaccine because I don’t want the shingles.
    So far it’s worked for me. YMMV!

    1. It seems to me:

      If you have been exposed to the flu already and you take the shot, you are just going to get it worse.

      If you take the flu vaccine and the strain going around isn’t covered in the vaccine, you are just going to get it worse.

      I’ve noticed, though it may be anecdotal, that the people who are getting the flu, and are effected by it the most, including death, are the ones who have already been vaccinated.

      Thank you, no!

      1. The flu vaccine is optional. You aren’t required to take it (unless your job requires it) and if you get the flu and or your family gets the flu it is your problem. But you do not need to be unaware of the facts or bend over backwards to distort the facts to support your choice. Choose not to get the shot. No one cares. But what about your under age children? What diseases do you not want to protect them from? Don’t fall back on your myths and quack sources, what will you do if your baby or your grandchild dies from the flu while you insisted they not get the shot? How will you live with that?

  13. Usually the people who have discovered vaccinations are part of a giant plot call us sheeple. Fortunately this time a contributor skipped that .

    Tell me mr.anti vac people why we don’t have polio anymore?It’s gone , and is it coincidence that they developed a vaccine and people took it?

    The only organized group on earth besides the anti vacs people who oppose polio vaccinations are the Taliban.

    1. Would that be the giant plot against the sheeple that has reduced US childhood mortality rate to a small fraction of what it is in Third World manure holes where people still believe voodoo claptrap?


      I wonder what the recommendation is for when avian flu turns lethal? Are we supposed to slash our arm with a knife to promote bleeding and take a strong laxative in order to restore the humors to balance?


      1. I have no problem with natural remedies — when the rigorous disciplined thinking of evidence-based science supports them. Willow bark has aspirin. Foxglove was used to treat heart disease long before digitalis was identified. Opium from poppies was used to relieve pain for thousands of years.

    1. David,
      I do wonder if Scientist69 has had any close contact with anyone who has been vaccine injured (or died from getting a vaccine) or has children on the autism spectrum? A closeness to suffering can be healthy for the mind and heart.

      There is something quiet off-putting about a person who insists that he has the corner on truth. It completely shuts down the conversation.

      1. Now that we know autism is not caused by vaccinations why continue to conflate them?

        Research how many people are injured or died from “natural” medications and additionally how many people were injured and died because they choose natural medications/supplements instead of science based medication. Thenumber is about a million times more than those harmed by vaccinations.

        Why do some people incur harm from a vaccination? The implication is that it was the vaccine that did it. But it is not. Some individuals have health problems that will react to any “stick” needle/vaccination. You could inject them with pure saline solution and they would react to it. It is NOT the vaccine it is the individual whose internal health problem reacts to outside influences.

        1. I’d like to know where you researched data that supports your assertion that “The number is about a million times more than those harmed by vaccinations.”

  14. Frank L –

    I used to have the same opinion about Polio until I learned more – turns out Polio was already on the decline BEFORE the vaccine had been created/ implemented. You’ll find the vast majority of the disease is wiped out with modern sanitation practices – also its worth noting that the vast majority of people that contract Polio (something like 97%) get a sore throat and fever and no other permanent symptoms of paralysis.

    1. It is somewhat more complex than that. What you say about sanitation is true and you characterize polio today –when it has been almost eradicated. But the past history is different.

      In spite of modern sanitation practices reducing the disease over all, the USA and Europe experienced a surge of localized epidemics in the early 20th century. The rate of paralysis is higher in adults who contract it.

      From Wikipedia:

      “Small localized paralytic polio epidemics began to appear in Europe and the United States around 1900.[133] Outbreaks reached pandemic proportions in Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand during the first half of the 20th century. By 1950, the peak age incidence of paralytic poliomyelitis in the United States had shifted from infants to children aged five to nine years, when the risk of paralysis is greater; about one-third of the cases were reported in persons over 15 years of age.[134] Accordingly, the rate of paralysis and death due to polio infection also increased during this time.[133] In the United States, the 1952 polio epidemic became the worst outbreak in the nation’s history. Of the nearly 58,000 cases reported that year, 3,145 died and 21,269 were left with mild to disabling paralysis.[135] Intensive care medicine has its origin in the fight against polio.[136] Most hospitals in the 1950s had limited access to iron lungs for patients unable to breathe without mechanical assistance.”

  15. Science has taught us a lot about the world and our bodies but it’s not infallible. Just look at past history. As a teenager they said cramps were just in a womans head. Now we know otherwise. Doctors can’t do much about colds unless there is a secondary infection. I make an herbal infusion based on Dr. Christopher s formula. It has stopped or shortened many flu and colds in our family and others I’ve shared it with. So if an herbal treatment can help shorten or prevent it why not give it a try ? Just because “science” hasn’t “proven” it yet doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

    1. If you believe Dr. Christopher s formula will help you with colds and flu I support your right to use it. I would put it right up there with chicken broth or Vick’s vapo-rub. Does it really cure anything, shorten an illness duration or prevent illness. Most likely not but if it makes you feel good use it. But do not confuse it with actual science based medicine. If you or your children ever get sick please seek medical help and don’t self medicate. When I get a cold and it is really bad I take a nyquil so I can sleep at night. Seems to make e feel better. But I don’t delude myself into thinking it is actually helping/curing or shortening my cold. If I got something serious I would go to a doctor.

  16. I firmly believe we are all entitled to our own opinions. But I can tell you that this herbal formula has helped our family and others. A few years back the local teacher had a bad lung infection for 4 weeks and had been to the doctor twice and still was ill. My husband offered to give him some of our formula. The teacher said he had nothing to lose so took some. In two days he was well. I have often started coming down with the flu or colds (I frequently watch my young granddaughters) and if I take a couple of doses the symptoms go away and I don’t get sick. If I’m busy and don’t take it right away I come down with it and then I take it and it shortens the time I’m sick, Like 2 days instead or 2 weeks that others are suffering. I really do understand your feelings on this because until 5 years or so ago I thought that this stuff didn’t work. But then I saw it work in our family members and had a change in my view. If you happen to get really sick with a virus and the doctors aren’t helping you just might want to give it a try. 🙂

    1. SiS I’d like to let you know about a book I think you’d enjoy. I’ve made tinctures using information from Chapter 2: pages 42 – 48 (and specifically ingredients noted on pages 46 to 48). Like you, I rely on the tincture(s) I’ve made and have found them to be worthy of “stockpiling.” The book is: “Herbal Antivirals – Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections” by Stephen Harrod Buhner.

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