Most people I talk to want natural flu prevention tools in order to keep themselves and their families safe. In preparation for this year’s flu season, conventional methods of dealing with the virus are beginning to hit the market. The most notable and one of the most controversial is the flu vaccine. Every year, a new vaccine is formulated with 3 strains of flu viruses that researchers have determined are to be the most prevalent. The Center for Disease Control recommends that everyone over the age of 6 receive a flu shot, but especially the elderly, those with chronic illnesses, and those with a weakened immune system.
But is the flu vaccine really right for your family? The CDC says the vaccine doesn’t work in every case. In fact, there are two factors that determine its effectiveness:
- First, a person’s state of health is a factor. Studies show that those with healthy immune systems will respond better to the vaccine.
- Second, its effectiveness is also determined by what strains of the virus are included in the formulation. The flu vaccine targets only the three most prevalent strains of flu, but there are actually many other types of viruses that circulate during flu season that can bring on similar symptoms.
So depending on how healthy you are and what viruses circulate in your area, the CDC states, “it is possible that no benefit from flu vaccination may be observed.” In addition, very few studies have been conducted on the safety of flu vaccines as new formulas are developed. In fact, there are disturbing reports of adverse effects of flu vaccines, especially for pregnant women. Also, very few longitudinal studies been conducted to determine the long-term effect of vaccine use. Essentially, the fact is that our public health policy has embraced a form of flu prevention that they cannot guarantee is safe or effective.
That’s why Naturopathic Medicine focuses on strengthening the body’s immune system as a standard natural flu prevention method. We know that boosting a person’s health is the single most effective way to prevent disease in the body. Not only is it safe to enhance the body’s immunity, but it is an effective method for preventing infection from ALL the viruses that circulate during flu season, not just the three most common. That is why, unlike the the advocates of flu vaccines, we can guarantee that immune-boosting preventive medicine is both safe and effective for every member of your family. There are also no negative side effects, and the positive side effects include having more energy and feeling better in general.
Whatever you decide to do for your family, everyone can benefit from the following tips to fight the flu naturally:
1. Basic Hygiene. Wash your hands frequently, especially after visiting public places. Cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing.
2. Get More Sleep. Not getting proper rest can put unnecessary stress on the body and lower your immunity. Get at least 8 hours of high-quality sleep each night, and rest more when you feel under the weather. Sleep is when your body repairs itself, so it is vital for good health.
3. Increase Vitamin C. Eat foods such as kiwi, grapes, strawberries, and oranges to give your body an antioxidant and immune boost.
4. Increase Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps maintain the health and integrity of the mucous membranes, so foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach and kale can also help stave off the flu.
5. Drink Herbal Teas. Herbal teas such as red clover, echinacea, lemon and honey, or other commercially available cold/flu formulas can help fortify the body’s immune system. Also, green tea is high in antioxidants and can help strengthen T-cells (the body’s primary defense against infections).
6. Increase Vitamin E. Vit E can help boost immunity and enables T-cells to fight infections. Vit E rich foods include almonds, sunflower seeds, butter and egg yolks.
7. Supplement Vitamin D3. Japanese researchers have shown that school aged children taking 1200 IU of Vitamin D3 per day had a 42% lower risk of contracting the flu than children taking a placebo. Vitamin D3 has increasingly been shown to be one of the most effective ways to prevent illness.
8. Homeopathic Remedies. One homeopathic remedy for the flu (Influenzinum) uses infinitesimal doses of flu strains to stimulate your body’s vital force to offer protection from invading pathogens. Occillicoccinum is a popular and helpful homeopathic remedy that is readily available. Other combination homeopathic remedies for flu symptoms are available over-the-counter as well.
9. Natural Flu Vaccine. A natural, homeopathic flu vaccine that has benefits similar to conventional vaccines, only without the harmful additives, preservatives, and side effects. We usually recommend receiving this injection every 6-8 weeks during flu season in order to keep your immune system healthy. We offer this injection in our office, so just call us to schedule an appointment.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2013. Vaccine Effectiveness – How Well Does the Flu Vaccine Work?. Retrieved 21 August 2013 from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaccineeffect.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2013. Who Should Get Vaccinated Against Influenza Retrieved 21 August 2013 from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/whoshouldvax.htm
Alan Casseis. 2012. Eminence vs. Evidence.http://www.cochrane.org/news/blog/eminence-vs-evidence
Dearing, S. 2010. Medical reviews conclude influenza immunizations ineffective. Digital Journal. Retrieved 25 October 2010 from www.digitaljournal.com/article/288946
England, C. 2010. Thousands of USA pregnant women miscarry after the H1N1 vaccine. American Chronicle. Retrieved 20 October 2010
Urashima, M., Segawa, T., Okazaki, M., Kurihara, M., Wada, Y., and Ida, H. 2010. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza in schoolchildren. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 91(5) 1255-60.