The Flu Shot: Who’s Looking Out For You? (I Am)
Another flu season is upon us and just like every year we’re advised to get the flu vaccine or suffer the terrible consequences we hear about on TV or at the drug store. The CDC wants pretty much everyone to be vaccinated. So should you get the shot – or not? Do you know there are several types of vaccines, all with various risks, and there’s plenty you can do naturally to help prevent and/or treat the influenza virus.
Flu vaccines weaken the immune system and many times actually make a person more predisposed to illnesses. The vaccine can put one’s health at great risk – from the chance of developing Guillain-Barre syndrome, (a neurological disease that can result in death), to immune system complications such as allergies, autoimmune diseases, and ear infections. Toxicity issues are associated with many of the vaccines given today as mercury and formaldehyde are still present in many shots. Several chemical preservatives are in them too. The vaccine link to Autism Spectrum Disorders and developmental learning and behavioral disorders is becoming more evident.
Who Should Get the Flu Shot?
I’m not here to tell you whether you should, or should not, get the flu shot. That’s not my job to tell you what you should do. Actually, it’s nobody’s job to tell you to get a flu shot (or not get one) and that includes your own primary care physician. I believe in informed consent and an individual making an informed decision based upon unbiased information they have been provided and researched themselves. Unfortunately, most people don’t know much about the flu vaccine other than what the media, their friend, or their doctor tells them, so they think there is nothing wrong with receiving the flu shot. They’re told it will prevent the flu and comes without any risk; or the ever-popular claim that “catching the flu will be much, much worse than getting sick from the shot.”
The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. Yes, it is “the most important step.” Eating well and taking other measures to stay healthy (such as washing your hands) are not as important to the CDC. Did you know there’s only one vaccine (shot) approved for your child under three years old and even the others have their own approved age group ranges? Unfortunately this shot for your infant will come with some formaldehyde, and that’s highly toxic to all, especially little ones. Most people don’t know that there are several different types of flu vaccines and some are clearly worse than others. Most never know which one they already got. Interestingly, those people specifically advised to get vaccinated, the “immune compromised” such as children and the elderly, show little if any benefit from being vaccinated. And those with asthma, another target group, can often have their symptoms exacerbated by a flu vaccine.
The drug companies also note that it is not known whether their vaccine is excreted in human milk. Since many drugs are excreted in human milk, they advise caution when administering the vaccine to a nursing woman. It is also not known whether the drugs can cause fetal harm or how they affect reproduction capacity in women. Furthermore, the vaccines have not been evaluated for carcinogenic or mutagenic potential, or for impairment of fertility. Yet, the CDC continues to recommend all pregnant women get the flu shot since they too are “high risk.” Are you scratching your head yet?
The 2012-2013 Flu Vaccine
Each year, federal health agency officials try to guess which three flu strains are most likely to be prevalent in the U.S. the following year to determine which strains will be included in that following year’s flu vaccine. When the match between the vaccine and circulating viruses is close, the flu vaccine is thought to provide a 70-90% chance of temporary immunity to selected strains in healthy persons less than 65 years old. (The only way to get natural and permanent immunity to a strain of flu is to recover naturally from the flu.) For those over 65 years old, which is one of the target groups, the efficacy rate drops to a mere 30-40%. It is however considered to be 50-60% effective in preventing hospitalization or pneumonia and 80% effective in preventing death from flu caused by the covered strains. The vaccine typically contains two type A and one type B strain. This year’s winners are:
- an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
- an A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus;
- a B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus (from the B/Yamagata lineage of viruses)
The names do look strange, (and mean nothing special if you live in CA or WI), but the H1N1 virus used to make the 2012-2013 flu vaccine is the same virus that was included in the 2011-2012 vaccine. Though, as noted above, that immunity is most likely gone already if you got last year’s shot. The H3N2 and B vaccine viruses are different from those in the 2011-2012 influenza vaccine.
So how accurate is this year’s vaccine? Uh, well, – we’ll know that at the end of the flu season.
The six main vaccines you’re likely to come in contact with for 2012-2013 are listed here. Each drug also contains residual amounts of egg proteins (ovalbumin), as well as other preservatives. So if you’re allergic to egg, you might not want to shoot that into your veins. Thimerosal (mercury) is used in manufacturing of the drugs but some companies remove it before completion. *One dose of thimerosal exceeds the EPA’s safety limit of mercury exposure by over 250 times.
This is my Quick Reference Guide which I made by reading through each respective drug insert (that was a couple fun hours). You can click on the name for the pdf insert to see it all.
- Afluria (CSL Limited)
- Mercury? Yes – in multi-dose (24.5mcg)
- Formaldehyde? No
- Age – approved ages 5 and up
- Fluarix (GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals)
- Mercury? No
- Formaldehyde? Yes (5mcg)
- Age – approved ages 3 and up
- FluLaval (ID Biomedical Corporation; distributed by GSK)
- Mercury? Yes (<25mcg)
- Formaldehyde? Yes (≤25 mcg),
- Age – approved ages 18 and up
- Fluvirin (Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Limited)
- Mercury? Yes – in multi-dose (25mcg); (≤ 1 mcg mercury per 0.5-mL single)
- Formaldehyde? No
- Age – approved ages 4-16 only. (In those less than 4yrs evidence of diminished immune response)
- Fluzone: Fluzone High-Dose and Fluzone Intradermal (Sanofi Pasteur)
- Mercury? Yes – in multi-dose (25mcg)
- Formaldehyde? Yes (≤50 mcg),
- Age – approved ages 6 months and up
- FluMist (MedImmune Vaccines Inc.)
- Mercury? No
- Formaldehyde? No
- Age – approved ages 2-49 only; (Children younger than 5 years of age with recurrent wheezing and persons of any age with asthma may be at increased risk of wheezing following the administration of FluMist Quadrivalent)
- Live Virus!
- Contains MSG
Note that FluLaval is very toxic with both mercury and formaldehyde, (ages 18+ only). Most single-dose shots do not have mercury. Only Fluzone is approved for kids under 3 – and it contains formaldehyde and the multi-dose comes with mercury too.
Tamiflu For Your Flu?
Hey, how about that Tamiflu? That is the drug available if you get the flu that blocks the enzyme neuraminidase. Neuraminidase inhibitor medications prevent new virus particles from being released, thus slowing or stopping the spread of the virus. On average, a person recovers 30% faster on Tamiflu. Common adverse drug reactions associated with Tamiflu include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and headache. Rare reactions include hepatitis and elevated liver enzymes. See how to naturally block the neuraminidase enzyme below.
** This drug, Tamiflu, is currently being investigated for “missing information” and hiding the true outcomes of clinical trials.
I believe in maintaining a strong immune system through living a healthy life and taking natural preventive measures, and making choices which promote health and well-being. The flu shot is not part of this plan.
Healthy Tips For Avoiding the Flu
- Avoid refined foods such as white sugars, (especially high fructose corn syrup), and flours which suppress the immune system
- Avoid fake sweeteners such as Splenda and Nutrasweet
- Avoid “bad” fats – partially hydrogenated oils
- Reduce the amount of omega 6 fats in your diet which are in many packaged, baked, and fast foods. They’re the corn, soy, safflower, peanut, and yes even canola oil. More here.
- Eat organic fresh fruits and vegetables and lots of them
- Drink plenty of pure filtered water
- Limit caffeine intake (coffee, tea, chocolate, & soda of course because of the sugar too)
- Check your vitamin D level and consider supplementing. All about vitamin D here
- Exercise daily, at least 30 minutes (see this at Sock-Doc)
- Wash your hands frequently, especially after visiting public places
- Get plenty of high quality sleep (and correct sleep problems)
Healthy Suggestions If You Have the Flu (or Any Virus)
- Take elderberry extract. The Israeli extract commonly referred to as Sambucal is proven to block the neuraminidase enzyme responsible for viral replication. This can be used for support during the cold season by taking 2 teaspoons,(1 teaspoon for children), 4 times a day. It can significantly reduce infection time. Some studies show that this can resolve flu symptoms in as fast as 2-3 days, compared to a typical 6-7 day infection period.
- Vitamin C? I rarely find vitamin C in its common refined ascorbic acid form to be of any benefit to a person, other than to acidify their tissues which can have its own advantages (and disadvantages). It’s more important is to eat plenty of organic, nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables to get all the natural phytonutrients found in the whole food. I also like Camu powder for its natural vitamin C content. I like the products Camu Supreme and Thera Supreme, available in my office (for patients) or here.
- The mineral selenium is also known to help with the immune system and fight viruses. Typically 200mcg a day can be beneficial.
- Consider vitamin D supplementation (per the above recommended test) as well as vitamin A. I typically use 6,000IU to 20,000IU of vitamin A per day in patients who show a need for it. Check with your doctor!
- Rub your thymus reflex point. Your thymus is the master gland of your immune system and rubbing over this typically tender spot will help to support the organ’s function. The area to rub is on the right side of your body midline to your armpit at the level of your nipple. The area can be tender in a small place or as large as 3 inches vertical to 2 inches lengthwise. Rub out the tender areas in a firm, circular motion for 1-2 minutes, 4-5 times a day – or better yet, get someone to do it for you! It will feel more tender than what you can do yourself!
The flu vaccine is not the answer in preventing the flu. Staying healthy is.
Here’s a great site I got some of the information for this article from – Dr. Tenpenny. Check it out!