To Stay Healthy This Flu Season – You Don’t Need a Shot
Fall is here and so is the cold and flu season. Or at least, talk of the flu. Health care professionals are beginning their annual push for flu shots before the season is in full swing this November.
But here’s something they won’t tell you – Flu vaccines are not the only or even the best way to protect yourself from getting sick. In many cases flu shots aren’t necessary and they’re often detrimental to your health.
- The flu vaccine is not proven to effectively prevent the flu. A flu shot only immunizes you against strains of flu viruses that are active nine months before the flu seasons begin. That’s when scientists collect circulating flu bugs to make the vaccine. But viruses are constantly changing, so a new strain can appear. So even if you get a flu vaccine you may still get the flu! And when you do, the vaccine may have already weakened your immune system.
- You can also get the flu from the vaccine itself. Scientists make flu vaccine from actual flu viruses. They grow flu viruses in chicken eggs and then kill them with a chemical. In theory it makes the virus inactive, yet lists of possible side effects from the vaccine include fever, headache, tiredness and sore muscles – yes, that’s the flu. And the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases reports this happens most often in children or in those with weakened immune systems, the very people they recommend receive the vaccine!
- Flu vaccine contains thimerosal, a toxic preservative. Thimerosal is a preservative that contains mercury. Research has already shown it’s toxic to your nervous system. What’s more, some scientists believe the growing use of thimerosal in vaccines is linked to the growing rates of autism in children. In fact, in 1999 the federal government recommended the removal of thimerosal from vaccines yet most vaccines, including all flu shots, still use it.
Despite these health risks medical authorities continue to urge people over the age of 50, babies, and those with chronic health conditions, even pregnant women to get a flu vaccine. While the flu is a very serious illness you shouldn’t ignore, there are other, far safer ways you can protect yourself and your loved ones.
Defending Against Flu, Naturally
The easiest way to protect against the flu is to have a healthy immune system, by eating nutritious foods, getting enough rest and washing your hands frequently (with just regular soap is enough, try to avoid the antibacterial type of soap), especially before you eat. Of course that doesn’t mean you still won’t come into contact with airborne virus particles. That’s why your first line of defense against the flu, or any other illness, is to strengthen your immunity.
I use a combination of immune boosting Acupuncture treatments and Chinese herbs in my practice during flu season with great success. Acupuncture treatments focus on treating specific symptoms you are currently experiencing, while supporting the underlying defensive energy, called Wei Qi, which circulates in your body. Then I formulate a natural protocol tailored to your individual needs. This protocol focuses on supplements, dietary changes, and Chinese herbs that strengthen your immune system to defend your body from future infection. Some of these include ginger, which warms the stomach and helps to build Wei Qi and astragalus which strongly builds Wei Qi and encourages the circulation of Lung Qi. I encourage all my patients, even when they’re well, to come in for an Acupuncture “tune-up” at the change of each season.
You can also choose a homeopathic flu vaccine. Scientists make one each year after the World Health Organization identifies the season’s flu virus strain. They naturally dilute the strain to homeopathic levels, levels usually lower than that of a traditional vaccine. It’s called Dolivaxil TM. You take doses orally over the course of several weeks. It works by building your body’s own natural defenses against the season’s specific flu viruses safely, without side effects.
There is also a Chinese Herbal formula I use frequently. It addresses the very early stages of infection when you first start to feel a sore throat, cough and fatigue. When taken at first sign of illness, this formula can successfully stop a virus like the flu from taking hold and making you sick.
-J. Nicole Lentfer, L.Ac.