1 in 5 Americans with Mental illness…or are they just taking psycho tropic drugs?

February 7, 2012 by  
Filed under General News

The recent article, below, purports that 1 in 5 Americans suffer from Mental Illness as diagnosed by a physician. This would mean that the diagnosing doctor issued some form of psycho tropic medication to combat the symptoms of said ‘disease’. I wonder if the statistic is based upon diagnosis or the prescription?

 

It really doesn’t matter what the statistic is based upon at one level of understanding. That docs prescribe medication for people that have problems coping with life is disturbing. Since when did psychotropic drugs make an impact on reality?  As evidenced by recent studies, diet can have a major impact on mental well being….junk food can destroy your mood and ability to function normally.  Of course, your doctor won’t tell you this information.

 

To me this is just another way for folks to avoid the reality of thier choices in life. If your mind leads you down a path of denial you will have problems, in my opinion. Drugs will not help. They can in fact contribute further to a whole host of additional problems including suicide, violent behavior, senseless violence among common side affectss!

 

One in five American adults mentally ill in past year

NEW YORK | Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:19am EST

 

(Reuters) – One in five adults in the United States, or nearly 50 million people, suffered mental illnesses in 2010, with women and young adults suffering disproportionately, a government report released on Thursday found.

 

The survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found women were more likely than men (23 percent versus 16.8 percent) to have experienced a mental illness, while the rate of mental illness among people aged 18 to 25 was twice that of those aged 50 and older.

 

The administration defined mental illness among adults as diagnosable mental, behavioral or emotional disorders, excluding developmental disorders and substance use.

 

The survey found that 5 percent of American adults, or 11.4 million people, surveyed in 2010 had suffered a serious mental illness in the past year that substantially interfered with their lives.

 

According to the report, about 8.7 million American adults had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year, with 2.5 million making suicide plans and 1.1 million attempting to take their own lives.

 

Americans suffering mental illnesses were three times more likely to have developed substance dependence or substance abuse disorders than adults who had not experienced mental illness.

 

Among youths aged 12 to 17, 8 percent — or 1.9 million teenagers — experienced a major depressive episode in the past year, defined as a period of at least 2 weeks when a person experienced a depressed mood or loss of interest.

 

Those teenagers who experienced a depressive episode also had twice the rate of illicit drug use than teenagers who had not experienced depression.

 

The administration surveyed 67,500 people aged 12 and older in person around the United States.

 

The report is available here: 1.usa.gov/zUrdpz.

 

(This storyclarifies the headline and first and fourth paragraphs to reflect that data is from 2010 and changes wording in parentheses in paragraph two in story posted Jan 19, 2012 as 20120119elin007)

 

We need to stop the madness and begin to take control over our lives in a very real way. Hopefully we haven’t lost our rudder to guide us!

 

 

HPV vaccination for boys recommended by CDC; Health experts believe rates will fall if boys and girls receive vaccine

February 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Health News

Health authorities on Friday urged all boys age 11-12 to get a routine vaccination against the most common sexually transmitted disease, human papillomavirus, or HPV.

Other changes as part of an annual update to immunization schedules included a recommended hepatitis B vaccine to the protect the livers of adults up to age 60 who have diabetes and a vaccine against whooping cough for pregnant women.

The updates, agreed upon by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), were published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report of February 3.

The HPV vaccine has been approved for girls since 2006 but the CDC had not expressly urged it for boys, though boys were included among those who could receive it to prevent certain cancers and genital warts.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/hpv-vaccination-boys-recommended-cdc-health-experts-rates-fall-boys-girls-receive-vaccine-article-1.1017856#ixzz1lcgjTTtI

Green tea could be secret to healthy old age, study suggests

February 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Health News

Elderly adults who regularly drink green tea may stay more agile and independent than their peers over time, according to a Japanese study that covered thousands of people.

Green tea contains antioxidant chemicals that may help ward off the cell damage that can lead to disease. Researchers have been studying green tea’s effect on everything from cholesterol to the risk of certain cancers, with mixed results so far.

For the new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers decided to examine the question of whether green tea drinkers have a lower risk of frailty and disability as they grow older.

Yasutake Tomata of the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine and his colleagues followed nearly 14,000 adults aged 65 or older for three years.

They found those who drank the most green tea were the least likely to develop “functional disability,” or problems with daily activities or basic needs, such as dressing or bathing.

Full Article

THREE HUNDRED 9/11 cops diagnosed with cancer… with average age of just 44

February 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Health News

Hundreds of young police officers who responded to the 9/11 attacks have been diagnosed with cancer following the horrific tragedy, it has emerged.

A staggering 297 cops – with an average age of just 44 – have been diagnosed, according to figures obtained by The New York Post.

The data shows almost three times the number of officers are applying for cancer-related disability pensions than before the tragedy.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2097220/THREE-HUNDRED-9-11-cops-diagnosed-cancer–average-age-just-44.html#ixzz1lcWncNpX

Santorum off base on Health Care

February 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Big Pharma

No big surprise, Rick Santorum’s stance on Health care with a profit motive is a bit off base, in my opinion.

 

Believe me folks I am no socialist/communist etc…I believe in free enterprise. However, the health care system (I am not a proponent of Obamacare either! Quite the opposite) as we know it today is broken and we must look at all potential components of this disaster.

 

In my opinion, the take over of our health care system by Wall Street is a huge factor is why it isn’t working. You can call that profit driven…in my opinion profits are not the culprit, AVARICE IS!

 

Wall Street doesn’t care about the citizens, only profits. Capitalism with Compassion is a good thing in this case folks…to drive our health care system based solely on the ability to make a ton of dough seems wrong to me as it reflects on who can get health care and the quality of same.

 

Change is required, period.

Santorum defends drug companies in health care speech

Posted by

CNN’s Adam Aigner-Treworgy

 

Woodland Park, Colorado (CNN) – In what his campaign billed as a “major speech on health care,” Rick Santorum found himself Wednesday defending a profit-driven health care system to a woman who said her son requires expensive medication to stay alive.

 

The former Pennsylvania senator also detailed the deficiencies he sees in his rivals’ health insurance records.

 

Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

 

One of the feistiest exchanges came in response to a young child’s question on the cost of medical care in America. Urged on by his mother, a boy asked what Santorum would do to lower medical costs, but before he could finish his question, the candidate said such things should be left up to the market.

 

“We can make medicine cheaper by using markets,” Santorum said. “That’s how you make medicine cheaper is that you have free people going out there and competing against each other and competition drives up quality and drives down costs.”

 

As Santorum was outlining his small-government, free-market approach to rising health care costs, another woman chimed in that she can no longer afford medication she desperately needs because the cost has become so exorbitant.

 

“The only reason new drugs are developed is because Americans actually do pay for the cost of that research,” Santorum said. “And so when you say oh, I’ll go and get my drugs in Canada, that’s great. Go get your drugs in Canada and if everybody did that, you’d have no new drugs. You have that drug and maybe you’re alive today because people have a profit motive to make that drug.”

 

Using a somewhat confusing metaphor, Santorum tried to explain the need for a profit motive by comparing health care consumption to technology consumption.

 

“People have no problem going out and buying an iPad for $900,” he said. “But paying $900 for a drug, they have a problem with it. It keeps you alive. Why? Because you have been conditioned to thinking that health care is something that you should get and not have to pay for. Drug companies, health care companies need to have a profit motive, because if they don’t, then how are we going to regulate costs? We are gonna ration care.”

 

The mother of the original questioner tried once more to plead her case, explaining that she’s paid $1.3 million a year to keep her son alive, and while she’s willing to go bankrupt for her child, it pains her to see his friends die in the hospital because their parents cannot afford the treatment.

 

Finding himself in the unenviable position of defending oft-derided drug companies, Santorum stuck to his guns.

 

“He’s alive today because drug companies thought that they would make money in providing that care and if the drug company didn’t think they could make any money by providing that care, I hate to put it in these terms, but that drug wouldn’t be here,” he said, adding that he sympathized with the mother, “we either believe in markets or we don’t.”

 

Asked by a reporter after the event about what alternatives people in such tough circumstances have, Santorum suggested that charity was a better option than government intervention.

 

“Even in the tough cases, even at the ones that pull at your heart strings, we’ve got to believe in people and markets and churches and families and charity instead of government, and that’s what I believe” he said.

 

Earlier in his remarks, while highlighting the similarities between the health care plan Mitt Romney passed in Massachusetts and the controversial plan passed by President Obama, Santorum came out against the widely-popular provision that requires insurance companies to offer plans regardless of preexisting conditions.

 

“I have family members who have preexisting conditions, and I’m not for preexisting condition clauses,” Santorum said.

 

To justify his position, he described a hypothetical situation wherein healthy Massachusetts residents opt not to buy insurance, instead paying a fine. Then when they get sick, they purchase insurance, immediately dropping it again once they get better.

 

“What happens to the cost of health insurance,” Santorum asked the crowd, many of whom answered that costs would rise. “There’s a reason for preexisting conditions clauses. You want people to get insurance, and if they don’t, then they shouldn’t be free riding on everybody else. That’s exactly what’s going to happen with Obamacare.”

 

Santorum said this similarity between “Obamacare” and “Romneycare” would mean that “Barack Obama, in a debate or in this election, is going to destroy Mitt Romney on the issue of health care.” Both plans are wrong, he argued, because both represent top-down management of an issue that should be left up to families.

 

I don’t have insurance and haven’t had for many years now and thank God I haven’t really required any for my kids or wife or myself. We try to live a healthier lifestyle from that promoted on TV…junk food, visual garbage and mindless chatter. Organic food, herbal supplements and exercise is a common theme around here.

 

I don’t deny that there are others that have had the misfortune of falling ill and requiring intensive western medical treatments and they are probably financially ruined, even with insurance. This is just one of the reasons we have to see a rational change in the system, our minds and hearts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ladies, Heart Problems Are Just as Common for You as Men!

February 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Health News

I hope that you ladies are aware that Heart Problems are just as common among Women as Men! The warning signs are virtually the same as for men and birth control pills can lead to heart/blood pressure issues as well.

 

If you think you have a family history and/or lifestyle that might indicate heart problems I would highly suggest that you take some preventive measures to mitigate any current and/or future problems.

 

I advocate a highly natural approach, combining herbs and proper foods known to reduce/mitigate issues. Hey even Dr. Oz is talking about these issues now and advocating natural treatments. Of course, if you are in a serious symptomatic condition go to the hospital or doctor. Western medicine can get you over an immediate crisis if necessary.

 

Don’t forget to excercise often. Cardio exercise, walking even, will definitely imporve your cardiac outlook!

 

Heart disease just as common in women

Published: February 03, 2012 8:00 AM

 

If you’re a woman, you may not believe you’re as vulnerable to a heart attack as men – but you are. In some instances, women may not notice the signs of heart attack. They may think that other health problems are causing their symptoms or that the symptoms will go away on their own. As a result, women don’t always receive medical care quickly enough to prevent complications or death from a heart attack.

 

Today, we know that heart disease affects as many women as men. In fact, heart disease is the number one cause of death in Canada for women over the age of 55 and almost as many women as men die from heart attacks.

 

To support you and your family in preventing or in managing heart disease, Agassiz Community Health, together with its partners, will be hosting a public information day on Tuesday, February 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the District of Kent Fitness/Activity Centre located at 6660 Pioneer Avenue in Agassiz. You will be able to have your blood pressure tested, observe exercise classes in session, have access to advice from health professionals, and gather important information to take home and read.

 

Not too long ago, heart disease was considered predominantly a man’s disease. Men were the breadwinners and their hard work sometimes led to chest pain and heart attacks. Women, on the other hand, had “female problems” and heart disease was not one of them. Symptoms reported by women that would have been considered signs of heart disease in men were often dismissed as meaningless or even fictitious. As a consequence, until recently, research on heart disease focused mainly on men.

 

From those studies emerged the “classic” symptoms of heart attack: chest pain (a painful, crushing feeling behind the breastbone), tingling down the arm (usually the left arm), accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating, nausea indigestion-like symptoms and clammy skin.

 

In the past, it was believed that women and men had different warning signs of heart attack. This may not be the case. Both women and men may experience typical or non-typical symptoms such as pain in the arm, throat, jaw or pain that is unusual, pain that may feel like burning, squeezing, heaviness, tightness or pressure, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, sweating, fear, anxiety, and denial. Although women may describe their pain differently from men, nevertheless, the most common symptom in women and men is still chest pain.

 

So what puts women at risk for heart disease and heart attacks? Some of the risk factors like age, gender, family history of heart disease, or ethnicity cannot be controlled. But, there are risk factors like high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, being overweight, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise, smoking, and stress which can be controlled.

 

While these risk factors are the same as those for men, there are unique aspects related to women’s heart health:

 

• Role of estrogen — During a woman’s reproductive life cycle, about age 12 to 50, the naturally-occurring hormone estrogen provides a protective effect on women’s cardiovascular health. However, estrogen’s protective effect can change depending on a variety of factors.

 

• Birth control pills — In a small percentage of women, oral contraceptives increase the risk of high blood pressure and blood clots. This risk is increased by smoking and other existing risk factors.

 

• Pregnancy — Over the nine months of gestation, women may develop certain conditions like pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes that might put them at higher risk of heart disease.

 

• Menopause — The overall risk of heart disease may increase due to the reduction of the hormones estrogen and progesterone produced by the body.

 

• Cholesterol — After menopause, as natural estrogen levels drop, more and more women tend to develop high cholesterol.

 

• Triglycerides — They are the most common type of fat in the body. A high triglyceride level often goes with higher levels of total cholesterol and LDL (“bad” cholesterol), lower levels of HDL (“good” cholesterol) and an increased risk of diabetes. Research suggests that having high triglycerides may increase the risk of heart disease.

 

For women, knowing about the risks of heart disease and recognizing the signs of a heart attack is critical. But, what is even more important is understanding that you can take steps to prevent heart disease. That means eliminating – or at least – minimizing the risk factors you can control by stopping smoking, becoming physically active, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and following your doctor’s recommendations.

 

Some women believe that making just one healthy change will take care of all of their heart disease risk. To protect your heart, it is vital to make changes that address each risk factor you have – each has the individual potential to greatly increase a woman’s chance of developing heart disease. You can make the changes gradually, one at a time. But making them is very important. The take-away message? Be aware of your risk factors and take them seriously. The actions you take now to lower your risk may just save your life.

 

– Submitted by Agassiz Community Health

 

You might try the Enerfood, Heart toner and some other food and herbal based products offered by EnerHealth botanicals!

Health care repeal vote set

January 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Economy, Featured, Health News

Unfortunately, this vote is largely symbolic of the division in the country…Health Care Reform, a.k.a. Obamacare is set to go down in a house vote but will unlikely survive the Senate nor a Presidential veto…

Too bad in my eyes. As a small business owner I am not welcoming this ‘sick care’ bill. I would rather have gym memberships for each employee and offer them healthy products from EnerHealth Botanicals.

House set for health care repeal vote

By the CNN Wire Staff

Washington (CNN) — The House of Representatives is set to vote on a repeal of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul this week, fulfilling a campaign promise of congressional Republicans and setting up a clash with the White House and Senate Democrats.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has scheduled a floor debate on the measure for Tuesday and a vote on Wednesday. The new GOP majority, in keeping with its “repeal and replace” mantra, will instruct various House committees to craft alternatives to the law.

“Repealing the job crushing health care law is critical to boosting small business job creation and growing the economy,” Boehner wrote online Monday.

The health care repeal vote had initially been scheduled for last week, but GOP leaders postponed it after the January 8 shootings in Arizona that killed six people and wounded 13, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona.

The measure is expected to pass the Republican-led House, but is believed to have little chance of clearing the Democratic-controlled Senate or surviving a certain presidential veto.

Republicans have acknowledged the virtual impossibility of an outright repeal, and have indicated there will likely be attempts to defund portions of the measure or eliminate specific provisions in the months ahead.

A couple of key Democrats said Sunday they were prepared to cooperate in the elimination of certain measures considered excessively burdensome to businesses. Leading members of both parties have expressed concern over a rule, scheduled to take effect in 2012, requiring businesses to issue 1099 tax forms to any individual or corporation from which they purchase over $600 in goods or services in a year.

“A lot of our small businesses came to me (after the health care overhaul passed) and said there’s a lot of paperwork I now have to fill out,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, noted Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We can change that. That’s something we can absolutely agree on.”

Promises of a more civil discourse in the wake of the shootings may cause some representatives to tone down their rhetoric over what continues to be a sharply polarizing and emotional issue. Boehner himself appears to have backed away from past assertions that Obama’s overhaul is a job “killing” piece of legislation.

“I think that violent discourse in political life — right, left or center — is wrong and should be rejected,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We, as elected officials, have an obligation to try and tone that down.”

On “Face the Nation,” Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, said, “I think that we Republicans, and I think Democrats alike, will realize that if we tone down the rhetoric sometimes our debate is more effective from our own side. It’s better to have a more civil tone and a civil debate. And I think it behooves all of us to do so.”

The health care debate during the last Congress was marked by months of acrimonious partisan exchanges, including a series of angry town hall meetings held by congressional Democrats during the summer of 2009. A number of threats were reported and congressional district offices were vandalized at the time.

Republicans continue to insist that the health care overhaul — Obama’s signature domestic accomplishment — will hamper economic growth while doing little to control skyrocketing medical costs. Democrats have noted, among other things, the increased number of Americans covered by the law. They’ve also seized on a recent analysis from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office noting that a repeal of the overhaul would add $230 billion to the federal debt by 2021.

Democrats argue the analysis undermines Republicans’ emphasis on fiscal responsibility.

GOP leaders, in turn, insist the analysis was based on unrealistic economic and fiscal assumptions originally provided by Democrats.

Nonetheless, Republicans have exempted a repeal of the health care law from new rules prohibiting legislation from adding to the federal debt.


Let’s hope the Senate suddenly gets a severe case of wanting to do what the people desire!

GMO = Crack of Seeds

January 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured

The embedded video here is an excellent discussion of many things and concentrates a lot of time on GMO seeds and Monsanto and how this is tantamount to ‘crack’ for other countries, creating debt and reliance on Monsanto forever for their food. Max terms it another form of fiat currency.

Please listen to this Max Keiser interview and expand your horizons!

I totally agree on many points Max makes here.  I am also thumbs up on his Wikileaks views.  We have to support this effort to make government more transparent, something which is absolutely lacking at this point…from the FED to Congress to the DOD.

Obama Care Repeal?

January 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured

House plans a test vote to repeal Obamacare and not a minute too soon in my opinion. I am totally against forcing anyone to purchase health care insurance. In fact, I am not too fond of the ‘insurance’ industry as a whole, but that is beside the point.

These jokers in Congress need to pay attention to the rights of the People and not big money interests. This was nothing more than a huge windfall for the health insurers, HMOs etc. It just required the transfer of wealth from the People to insurers.

I am personally concerned about the entire medical/caregiving industry and the philosophy it has adopted over the decades. I believe that the time has come for a complete reevaluation of this system from Big Pharma to Medical inc…I am also a realist and don’t think this will ever happen…not under current circumstances.

House takes first step toward health care repeal

WASHINGTON – Confronting President Barack Obama, the new Republican-led House took a first step Friday toward a symbolic vote to repeal his landmark health care overhaul law, which would provide coverage to more than 30 million now uninsured.

The 236-181 largely party-line vote set the stage for what is likely to amount to no more than a political message, since Democrats who still run the Senate have promised to block efforts to scrap the law and Obama has veto power..

The House action set the rules for a debate next week that will culminate in a simple up-or-down vote on repeal, scheduled for Wednesday. The House will also instruct several committees to come up with more modest replacement health care legislation, a process that could take months even if successful.

Obama made history last year when Congress finally passed the law after months of contentious debate, closing in on a goal of coverage for all that Democrats had pursued for generations. Republicans say they changed history by taking back the House in the midterm elections, partly on the strength of their pledge to tea partiers and other conservative backers to undo the divisive law, whose complexities, costs and consequences remain largely unknown.

“Today we are taking the first step in fulfilling a key promise to the American people,” said Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., who led the GOP side in the debate. “We are setting in motion a process to repeal President Obama’s job-killing health care bill and replace it with real solutions.”

During last year’s election campaign, many Democrats kept silent about the health care law. On the House floor, they mounted a full-throated defense, accusing Republicans of trying to take away benefits that many people are already receiving, from lower prescription costs for Medicare recipients to extended coverage for young adults on their parents’ plan and newly available insurance for people with serious medical problems.

“Repeal this bill, and you’re going to find more Americans dying,” said Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif.

Polls show the public remains divided over the underlying law as well as the question of whether it should be repealed, scaled back or added to.

Senate Democrats say what the House does matters little, since they will derail any repeal legislation when it reaches the other side of the Capitol.

That leaves House Republicans with few clear options. They could try to deny the administration money to carry out the law, but that may not work either. Major elements, such as tax credits to help make health insurance more affordable, were written as entitlements, meaning that they will be automatically funded. And if a drive to deny funding threatens to shut down the government, it could backfire politically.

Leading proponents of repeal acknowledge it may take the election of a Republican president to accomplish the goal. That means both parties will likely take the major issues in the health care debate to the voters in 2012, when Obama is expected to run for a second term and the House and Senate will again be up for grabs.

The drive to repeal has opened Republicans up to charges that they would increase the federal deficit. The Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan budget referee, says the legislation would increase deficits by $230 billion from 2012 to 2021. That’s because spending cuts and new taxes more than offset the cost of expanding coverage.

Republicans counter that even if that’s technically true, it would save money in the long run to repeal a big new program before it gets off the ground.

The law would provide coverage to more than 30 million now uninsured, expanding Medicaid to pick up more low-income Americans and offering tax credits to help the middle class buy coverage. Most Americans would be required to carry health insurance, either through an employer, a government program or by purchasing their own policy. A legal challenge to that mandate is expected to go all the way to the Supreme Court.

Voting with the Republicans were four Democrats who had opposed the law last year — Reps. Dan Boren of Oklahoma, Mike McIntyre and Larry Kissell of North Carolina, and Mike Ross of Arkansas.

Let’s hope this movement gets some momentum and doesn’t remain just a grandstanding effort by the opposition to this bill.

Flu his UK

December 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured

AS the swine flu hits the UK causing phrases like ‘pandemic’ to rear their ugly heads, we find that even though a very large portion of the population has now been vaccinated you still see that same percentages of infected population.

What they don’t want you to know is that the vaccinated are getting ill also…so what is the point? We can go from the really benign, MSM explanation to the more ‘radical’ interpretation of conspiracy. I tend to fall somewhere between the conspiracy theory and the just raw capitalism exhibited by these drug companies. The more of these toxic vaccines they get the governments to buy into and sell for them by ‘requiring’ said vaccinations, the better their bottom lines.

There is enough nasty business in these vaccines to cause some long term damage and even death in some cases. You can go from there in drawing more conclusions. This screwy scheme is far deeper than meets the eye, especially if your eyes are drawn to MSM reporting.

Britain on course for flu epidemic

Britain is on course for its first flu epidemic for more than a decade, according to the Government scientific data.

The level of influenza – including the swine flu strain – in the population is now higher – and rising more sharply – than they were at this point in 1999, when the country was heading for an epidemic which triggered a major NHS crisis.

With millions of people visiting friends and family over the Christmas period experts believe that the rate could reach epidemic levels within a week.

The number of flu victims in intensive care has more than doubled in one week, with 460 patients now in critical care beds.

Meanwhile, a Government memo is warning of shortages of Tamiflu – the main drug used to treat flu patients – in some parts of the country.

The rate of flu in England and Wales is 87.1 cases per 100,000 of the population, a rate which has tripled in seven days.

In the run-up to Christmas 1999, levels were less than 60 per 100,000 population, yet by early January 2000 the outbreak had reached epidemic proportions, with more than 200 cases per 100,000.

The records, which only represent those who visit their GP, always underestimate the true extent of sickness.

Influenza expert Prof John Oxford said: ‘The numbers now are worse than they were in winter of 1999, and the curve is steeper; when you look at the graph the line for this year it is incredibly unsettling; it looks like scaling Everest,” said the virologist.

“If that trend continues I would not be surprised if we get to epidemic levels within one week.”

In the millennium winter, the resulting crisis meant patients were left to wait on trolleys and thousands of elderly people died, prompting then prime minister Tony Blair to order a tripling in health service spending.

Prof Oxford, from Queen Mary University of London said the “massive movements of populations” across the country as families came together for Christmas were likely to be speeding the spread of disease.

He said it was a “great shame” that the Government had taken the decision to axe its annual publicity campaign urging vulnerable people to have their flu jab.

“We don’t know what will happen next – everything is now hanging in the lap of the Gods – and it wouldn’t have been that way if people had been vaccinated,” said the professor of virology.

While the elderly usually suffer worst from flu, research suggests they may have some immunity to swine flu having encountered a similar strain of the disease in previous decades.

As a result, in the event of an epidemic, overall death numbers were unlikely to be as bad as those in the winter 1999/2000, Prof Oxford said, though overall “years of life” lost might be the same, with more children and young adults being struck down.

Latest figures show 27 deaths from flu, 24 of which were from swine flu. Nine of the cases were children.

Across the country, pharmacists are complaining of shortages of Tamiflu, the main drug used to treat the virus.

Prof Dame Sally Davies, the Government’s chief medical officer, last week changed the official advice to GPs, instructing them to prescribe the drug to anyone who might benefit – not just those in “high risk” groups.

A Government memo seen by The Sunday Telegraph reveals there are already shortages of the drug in some parts of the country, with concerns that stocks will run out elsewhere as demand increases.

The letter, by Dr Keith Ridge, England’s chief pharmaceutical officer, sent to hospitals and pharmacies on Thursday and marked urgent, warns: “Following increased demand for antivirals, there have been reports of localised shortages at both pharmacies and wholesalers”.

The letter, which announces the release of more than 50,000 packs of drugs from national stocks, says increased demand is expected, but that the level is hard to predict.

Pharmacies are told to ensure they have sufficient drugs to give them to patients within 48 hours of them falling ill, but told that stockpiling drugs “will lead to further shortages”.

A separate warning about shortages of treatment for babies was issued by the Royal College of GPs on Christmas Eve.

Doctors have been ordered not to prescribe the liquid version of Tamiflu to anyone over the age of one, to ensure there is enough of the formula left for babies.

GPs have been told that patients aged one or more must be given tablets, with parents of children who cannot take tablets given instructions on how to crush and dilute them.

The same practice is more dangerous when the solution is for babies, because of the greater risk of giving too high a dose.

John Healey, shadow health secretary, attacked the Government’s decision to axe a national advertising campaign, which until this year had encouraged take-up of flu vaccinations.

Vaccine uptake among under 65s in at risk groups, such as those with conditions like asthma, is five per cent lower than last year, while the number of elderly people being vaccinated has dropped slightly.

He said: “The health secretary should authorise an immediate public advertising campaign to encourage those most at risk to get the flu jab. This is the time to act.”

Last weekend Prof Davies criticised ministers for stopping the campaign, after warning hospitals that half of the most severely ill patients treated had previously been in good health.

Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, said the numbers of those now critically ill with flu had been a “significant increase”.

He said the NHS was “responding well” to the demands on it, and said the Government would continue to monitor the situation carefully.

Please don’t allow these animals to convince you get vaccinations. I can’t recommend them nor can many other folks, MDs included. They are not effective and can be dangerous to your health.

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