The flu shot hard-sell that starts in the fall and continues through the winter here in the United States is enough to make a lot of well-meaning Americans rush to their doctors or flu vaccine clinics in search of a shot that people believe will keep them from coming down with a potentially deadly strain of influenza.
But those of us who hesitate, then hesitate some more, about putting unnecessary chemicals or agents into our systems, should be relieved to know that despite what doctors may tell us and what we hear on the TV news, there are plenty of reasons to think long and hard before you get a flu shot — and the minuses may outnumber the pluses more often than not.
Consider the following:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which heavily promotes flu vaccination each year, has a board, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which recommends who should be vaccinated. Most board members have financial ties to the vaccine industry! Year after year, the Committee has recommended that a greater number of Americans receive flu shots.
- Most doctors don’t get flu shots themselves — despite the fact that they may have a greater chance of being exposed to flu viruses than people who don’t hang around a lot of sick folks!
- The flu virus exists in our bodies year-round.
Health professionals who advocate that people get vaccinated tell us that new strains of influenza could kill us, especially if a person is older. However, bold statements such as this fail to take into consideration that most deaths triggered by flu viruses involve people who had other underlying health problems, such as cardiovascular disease or other chronic illnesses.
Bacterial pneumonia, which kills some 60 thousand people a year, is not prevented by the flu shot. A study done by the Group Health Center for Health Studies in Seattle, published in the medical journal The Lancet in 2008, found that flu shots do not protect elderly people from catching pneumonia. The illness occurs with equal frequency in people 65 and over, whether they get a flu shot or not.
In a study often referenced, more than 1,800 volunteers age 60 and older received a flu shot or a placebo. Two percent of flu shot recipients got influenza, compared to three percent of placebo recipients. Despite the fact that study authors could say that the flu shot reduced influenza cases by 50 percent — the truth is that only one person out of every 100 who got the flu shot benefited. Two still got the flu, anyway.
Indeed, oftentimes, getting a flu shot will actually cause the flu or flu-like symptoms. Many of us know someone who went to the trouble of getting their flu shot — then came down with the flu days later!
In addition, influenza vaccines have toxic ingredients, such as mercury and aluminum, both of which are bad for the nervous system. (Aluminum has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease). Vaccines also contain formaldehyde, a preservative that’s highly toxic to humans. Vaccines can also have ethylene glycol (anti-freeze), and antibiotics that can cause potentially deadly allergic reactions. Other adverse effects that have been known to occur from the flu vaccine are joint inflammation and arthritis.
Preventing the Flu the Natural Way
Boosting your immune system is what you want to do, to guard from contracting the flu — or any number of other illnesses.
The following are many important ways in which you can support your immune system:
- If you’re in sunny, warm winter weather, and you get some sun every day, your body will synthesize enough vitamin D from the sunlight. But if your sun exposure is limited, taking a vitamin D supplement is a great idea. Though taking a good daily multivitamin + minerals is a good start, it likely won’t provide enough D vitamin to supercharge your immunity. Vitamin D regulates many functions in the body, and it causes cells in the immune system to make antimicrobial peptides, natural antibiotics that the body produces. And unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, these peptides attack viruses, as well as bacteria.
- Take plenty of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant and immune system strengthener. Again, exceeding the recommended daily allowance is a good idea, when you want to strengthen your immune defenses.
- Orange juice is a great source of vitamin C, as well as phytonutrients that further strengthen the immune system. But you don’t want to go too crazy with the juice, because that will up your sugar intake. Diluting orange juice with water is a great way to get vitamin C, hydrate your body (thereby flushing out toxins), and lessen some of the tartness in the juice, which may be too much for some people.
- Eat your garlic! Never mind about your breath! This is one of the best foods for keeping you healthy, as it has a powerful natural antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal ingredient. Chop raw garlic and sprinkle on dishes and salads, or crush cloves and add to your recipes.
- Cut down on sugar intake, as sugar (and high fructose corn syrup) weakens the immune system. Do not be tempted to substitute with artificial sweeteners, as these are bad for your health, too.
- Consider introducing probiotics into your diet; these are friendly intestinal bacteria that help keep in check populations of bad organisms in the intestinal tract
- Be sure to get plenty of zinc. This trace element can greatly boost immune defenses against respiratory ailments.
- Vitamin E: consider taking a daily supplement in addition to what your multivitamin offers, as it’s another important antioxidant.
- Cook with olive oil, which has a lot of health-promoting ingredients. When consumed in high quantities, corn, safflower, canola, soybean and peanut oils suppress the immune system.
- Get plenty of sleep. Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is what most people need. Shorting yourself on sleep will weaken your immune system fast.
- Last, but not least, wash those hands! When you visit other places, be sure to wash hands with soap after touching doorknobs, faucets, computer keyboards, or after shaking hands.
By Lisa Pecos