Written by: Becki Andrus
Every year about this time is when people start to become really concerned about the flu, and it seems like everyone is getting sick. Everywhere I go, I see and hear people talking about being sick– the schools are fully of sniffly kids, there are sneezing people at the grocery store, and even friends and family on Facebook are talking about how icky they feel.
Twice within the past week I have heard someone comment to me about the fact that every single person in their workplace is sick right now, but many of them keep coming to work because they can’t take time off. These bugs are being passed from person to person, and it is human nature to come down with an illness every now and then.
But, it is possible to prevent the illness from hitting you hard, by using a few natural remedies to strengthen your immune system. Since I began my journey with natural healing and healthy eating, I have found that I don’t get sick as often– and when something does affect me I can quickly get over it without being laid up in bed for a few days.
No one wants to get sick, and one “solution” that many people choose is to get a flu shot. Another solution to consider is lifestyle changes to boost your immune system, which naturally prevents disease and illness. Even though lifestyle changes may not seem like they are effective to prevent illness, you need to remember that our bodies are built with an immune system in place which is designed to fight disease and illness.
Learning how to support those natural functions is much more effective than injecting harmful substances into your body. My husband and I RARELY get sick, and when sickness does set in, it is very VERY mild. Now, let me be clear: I am not opposed to modern medicine, and I recognize that some vaccines have been very beneficial for society. But, my personal approach is to focus on natural remedies, and use medications on a limited as-needed basis.
So, today I want to talk about how a flu shot works, and tomorrow’s post will be dedicated to outlining specific steps that you can follow to naturally prevent illness without the use of harsh medications.
What is in the Flu Shot?
Flu shots are made with a strain of the flu, which theoretically helps to prevent serious illness if you are exposed later on. A small amount of the virus is in the shot, and your immune system learns how to fight the illness– so antibodies are present if you come in contact with that strain of the illness again.
Some common ingredients in a flu shot include:
• Thimerosal: A preservative, containing 49% mercury
• Formaldehyde: Carcinogenic
• Polysorbate 80: May cause severe allergic reactions, and has been linked to infertility in testing on mice.
• Gentamycin: Antibiotic
• Gelatin: May cause severe allergic reactions
• Sucrose: Sugar
As you can see, there are a number of toxic ingredients that are added to the shot. The problem with these ingredients is that the toxicity may actually suppress the immune system! So, your body is being introduced to the illness, and the immune system is being suppressed at the same time. That does not sound like a recipe for health…
When the flu shot is developed, it is necessary to predict the strain that will affect our population. This development must occur in advance, because they need time to produce and distribute the shots around the country. Typically, flu strains are looked at around the world to determine which strains might be brought into the United States, and then they add about half a dozen strains into the shot predicting how the illness will move and adapt in the population.
Many people may think that it is good that as many as 6 strains are used, because that helps to prevent more than one strain. But, the problem is that each year there may be literally hundreds of strains that might affect the major population, so choosing 3 to 6 strains out of hundreds is poor odds. In my opinion, it’s a crapshoot.
Effectiveness of Flu Shots
We hear over and over that everyone needs to get their flu shot each year, but is there specific information to back up the claims that flu shots really help to prevent illness? Here are some facts that I found regarding the effectiveness of flu shots:
- A research study focused on Vaccines for Preventing Influenza in Healthy Children showed that children under the age of 2 years old received no benefit from getting a flu shot compared with a placebo. In children older than the age of 2, the flu shot was only 33% effective for flu prevention.
- Another report looking at the effectiveness of flu shots for adults found that “Influenza vaccines have a modest effect in reducing influenza symptoms and working days lost. There is no evidence that they affect complications, such as pneumonia, or transmission.”
- The interesting aspects about the report for the effectiveness of flu shots in adults was that there was also a warning with the results: “WARNING: This review includes 15 out of 36 trials funded by industry (four had no funding declaration) . . . . Studies funded from public sources were significantly less likely to report conclusions favorable to the vaccines. The review showed that reliable evidence on influenza vaccines is thin but there is evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions and spurious notoriety of the studies. The content and conclusions of this review should be interpreted in light of this finding.”
So, there MIGHT be minimal benefits from getting a flu shot… but is it really worth injecting your body with so many potentially harmful ingredients, especially when there are other options available to boost your immune system?
I could continue to post more data showing that flu shots are not as effective as most people think, but the point of this article is not to go over-board with statistics and resources. Instead, I want to make this simple point: that research studies and science suggest that flu shots are not as effective as some medical professionals claim.
Remember that the pharmaceutical industry is a BUSINESS, their main interests are to make money. Also, keep in mind that these statistics look at the effectiveness of preventing illness as a result of the flu, they do NOT look at the potential side-effects of the flu shot.
It is also important to note that the flu shot does not protect against the common cold, which can have similar symptoms as the flu. There are over 200 viruses that cause the cold, and they are constantly mutating. It is estimated that only 13% of people who think that they have the flu actually have the flu virus, it is more likely that they are experiencing a severe cold.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this article series… tomorrow I will be sharing my step-by-step guide to using natural remedies to prevent the flu.
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