Perhaps you have noticed that, in the last couple of years, flu shots are being marketed so aggressively that you can practically get a flu shot at along with your favorite coffee drink.
Is this to protect you from the bad old flu? Or is this a way for the pharmaceutical companies, who are beholden to their stock holders to ever increase profits, to make more money. Take a look at the math. There are about 20 million childhood vaccines sold. There are 300 million flu vaccines sold.
So, does the flu vaccine protect you against flu? Influenza infection causes muscle aches, headache, congestion, fever and coughing. The side effects of the flu vaccine are muscle aches, headache, congestion, fever and coughing. Hmmm. Plus the flu vaccination puts you at risk for shingles and Guillain-Barre syndrome. [i]
Does the flu vaccine save lives? The National Vital Statistics System, which tracks actual causes of death, estimates that there are only 500 deaths from flu per year. By comparison, almost 3000 people die from ulcers.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) estimates, based on computer models, that, in 2006-2007. flu deaths ranged from 3,000 to 49,000. [ii] Their website states is difficult to say how many people actually die of flu because other illnesses have similar symptoms, and often those who die are already aged and ill. Also, many deaths are actually from pneumonia. Well, does that mean that flu leads to pneumonia? No, as it turns out influenza is only one of 30 different causes of pneumonia, according to The American Lung Association, and not the most common one.
The CDC distributes flu vaccines. A few years ago few people were availing themselves of flu shots, so what was the CDC to do? Apparently lacking oversight by any regulatory agency, the CDC turned to PR and marketing to get the job done and sell the American people on flu vaccines. [iii] The CDC does not monitor either the effectiveness of the inoculation campaign, nor the risks of continued vaccination year after year, even in infants and children.[iv]
An important risk to getting a flu shot is the fact that many of the shots contain mercury in the form of thimerosal, added as a preservative.[v] Mercury is a potent poison and needs to be cleared from the body before it accumulates to toxic levels. If you decide to get a flu shot, is advisable to ask about the presence of thimerosal and opt for a formula without it.[vi] Thimerosal was used in the infamous DPT (Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus) vaccination formula that started the controversy about childhood vaccines and autism. That formula was later changed. Interestingly an MD, who spent thirty years researching vaccine safety and was instrumental in getting the DPT formula changed, is against flu shots. Dr. Mark Geier says that there are no long term studies on the safety of getting repeated flu shots year after year, that the flu vaccines cause Guillain-Barre, and that flu shots are ineffective against flu virus because the formula must be changed every new flu season.[vii]
So, what can you do to protect yourself and your family? We are exposed to viruses frequently, but we don’t always get sick. Some people never get the flu at all and others seem to catch it often. The difference is in the response from the immune system when threatened.
Viruses are not “alive,” in the same sense as bacteria or other organisms. They invade our cells and use the cellular material to replicate themselves. Then the cell bursts open, releasing many more viruses. That is the reason flu tends to come on so quickly. And most often, the flu will run its course and the virus will mutate until it is no longer a threat to the host. If there is a lingering cough, that is probably because a bacterial infection set in, or there is an underlying weakness in the tissue of the bronchia or lungs.
At any stage along the way natural medicine, including nutritional, herbal and homeopathic medicines, can handle the symptoms and shorten duration far better than pharmaceutical drugs. The time to go for drugs is if a bacterial infection threatens to develop into something severe like pneumonia.
To prevent the flu from catching you, there are several things I recommend.
1. Avoid sugar as much as possible. The cells in our bodies that are doing the job they are supposed to, the eye, liver, heart and skin cells to name a few, don’t need sugar and are greatly impaired by sugar. Sugar causes inflammation, it robs the body of vital nutrients, and it feeds fungus, parasites, bacteria and cancer. Really.
2. Get plenty of rest. Human bodies are used to resting more in winter months when it is cold and this is probably pretty deeply programmed. Sufficient sleep allows repair to take place, and it allows our adrenals to get a break. Adrenals help the body to respond to stress and are big players in the immune system.
3. Take mineral supplements, including good quality calcium. Consider quality, not high quantity. The cheapest calcium supplements may not be easily absorbed and utilized. The body needs minerals, as the building blocks of the body. Most of us are not getting enough minerals because the soil in which our vegetables and fruits are grown is very depleted. You can get calcium from leafy greens as well as dairy products. You may not be getting enough magnesium, zinc or iodine, as well as trace minerals. Supplementation may be needed.
4. Be sure you can absorb your minerals, by having a high degree of stomach acid. Don’t drink high-ph water or take acid blocking medication unless you have an ulcer. If we were supposed to drink alkaline water, the fresh water on the planet would be alkaline. It isn’t. The ph of the blood must remain neutral, from 7.0-7.2. We cannot outsmart Nature. I will go over this more in another blog, but the old remedy for heading off a cold or flu is to drink apple cider vinegar diluted in water, with a little honey (local is best) or stevia. Or take Betaine HCL tablets to increase your stomach ph and help you digest protein.
5. Salt and potassium are vital minerals. Make your own sports drink with fresh organic lemon juice, honey or stevia, mixed with water to taste. Add a pinch of sea salt or Himalayan salt.
6. Zinc and iodine are two more minerals that are helpful to the immune system. Iodine is held in the thyroid gland and, when the blood passes by on its route all around the body, the iodine kills pathogens. So, even the thyroid is involved in the defense of our bodies.
7. Take immune boosters when you don’t have the flu or a cold. Keep your immune system strong and don’t wait until you feel something coming on.
8. Be happy. It has been shown that happy people have stronger immune systems.[viii] How you can make yourself happy will be the subject of a future blog. Meanwhile collect jokes, see funny movies and spend time around other happy people. They will be the ones who are not passing around the flu
If you feel you are susceptible to the flu, colds, winter or spring allergies, or bronchial infections, now is the time to treat your immune system. We can identify the area of your body that is the weakest link and strengthen that. And we can help you keep your kids healthy, both for their sake and for yours. Stock up on homeopathic and herbal remedies so they will be there if you need them, and find out what supplements you should be taking to have your healthiest winter ever.
Mention this blog and get a $15 discount on an immune system assessment if you book before the end of October. And remember that Halloween sweets may trick your immune system, so ask about our blood sugar balancing Inositol supplement that kids love to take. Good tasting and chewable, our Inositol helps kids of any age avoid the sugar blues. It will minimize those sugar crashes and cravings that bring out the goblin in all of us.