Should I Get the Flu Shot?

A reader recently wrote in to ask me my opinion of getting the flu shot. I personally would not get one because of the unnecessary risks associated with getting the vaccine as well as the uncertainty surrounding vaccine integrity overall. The research and statistics supporting vaccine safety and effectiveness is not sound and has widely been questioned, refuted and shown to be subject to interpretation, not to mention being funded by pharmaceutical companies.

Flu vaccine effectiveness has been estimated by the Centers for Disease Control to be around 60% for the 2012-2013 flu season. Yes, that is in trials of ideal conditions where the vaccine completely matches the circulating virus strains in the trial population. However, this 60% level of effectiveness is not enough benefit for me to risk being one of the 800+ cases of vaccine-induced narcolepsy reported in Sweden and other European countries (Reuters January 22, 2013) or the one in a million who develops Guillan-Barre paralysis from the “harmless” vaccine. Last December, US Courts awarded a rare $1 million settlement from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to a single family, but that offers no compensation to the hundreds or thousands of others who have been left holding the bag when their children have been permanently damaged from mandated childhood vaccinations.

While Europe and many other part of the world have banned genetically modified foods from their diets due to the known and unknown effects these ingredients pose, the US FDA has recently approved a number of novel genetically engineered flu vaccines, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola.

“The first, Flublok, is produced by programming insect cells to produce hemagglutinin, a flu virus protein essential for entry of the virus into your body’s cells. Flublok is ‘the first the first trivalent influenza vaccine made using an insect virus (baculovirus) expression system and recombinant DNA technology,’ and is approved for use in adults only, ages 18-49. Two other genetically engineered flu vaccines are under development. According to Reuters, one of them, created by Novavax, will use ‘bits of genetic material grown in caterpillar cells of virus-like particles’ that mimic a flu virus.”

The genetically modified components allow for faster production of the vaccines, particularly in the case of a pandemic developing. But does faster mean safer? Of course not. The science is still out on GE ingredients and we would be wise to get more results before casually injecting every American with these unknown substances in every corner pharmacy of the country.

Our bodies are already equipped to fight off flus and viruses and we strengthen our immune systems by mobilizing those built-in healing resources. Flu vaccines temporarily depress our immune systems in order for the vaccines to work. The last thing we want to do during flu season is depress our immunity for any length of time.

Instead of taking an unnecessary vaccine risk as a healthcare strategy, take steps that you are certain will benefit your wellbeing. Follow these simple immune building guidelines from Dr. Mercola and you will be far less likely to acquire the flu, or if you do, you will be better prepared to move through it without complications and return to good health.

Optimize Your Gut Flora. This may be the single most important strategy you can implement as the bacteria in your gut have enormous control of your immune response. The best way to improve your beneficial bacteria ratio is to avoid sugars as they will feed the pathogenic bacteria. Additionally, processed foods and most grains should be limited and replaced with healthy fats like coconut oil, avocados, olives, olive oil, butter, eggs and nuts. Once you change your diet, then regular use of fermented foods can radically optimize the function of your immune response.

Optimize your vitamin D levels. Optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best strategies for avoiding infections of all kinds. Regularly monitor your vitamin D levels to confirm your levels are within the therapeutic range of 50-70 ng/ml.

Avoid Sugar and Processed Foods. Sugar impairs the quality of your immune response almost immediately, and as you likely know, a healthy immune system is one of the most important keys to fighting off viruses and other illness.

Get Plenty of Rest. Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you’re tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu. Be sure to check out my article Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep for some great tips to help you get quality rest.

Have Effective Tools to Address Stress. We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. If you feel that stress is taking a toll on your health, consider using an energy psychology tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique, which is remarkably effective in relieving stress associated with all kinds of events, from work to family to trauma.

Get Regular Exercise. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads. Be sure to stay hydrated – drink plenty of fluids, especially water. However, it would be wise to radically reduce the intensity of your workouts while you are sick.

Take a High-Quality Source of Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats. Increase your intake of healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in krill oil, which is crucial for maintaining health.

Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don’t use antibacterial soap for this – antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm than good.

Tried and True Hygiene Measures. In addition to washing your hands regularly, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. If possible, avoid close contact with those, who are sick and, if you are sick, avoid close contact with those who are well.

Use Natural Antibiotics. Examples include oil of oregano and garlic. These work like broad-spectrum antibiotics against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your body. And unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, they do not appear to lead to resistance.

Avoid Hospitals. Stay away from hospitals unless you’re having an emergency treatment and need expert medical care, as hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds. The best place to get plenty of rest and recover from illness that is not life-threatening is usually in the comfort of your own home.

Carol Bedrosian is the publisher of Spirit of Change holistic magazine. Visit www.spiritofchange.org for more information.