Do I Need a Flu Shot?

It seems like every retail pharmacy, primary care office and even grocery stores are promoting and encouraging everyone to get a flu shot. The decision to vaccinate for the flu is very complex and somewhat controversial. It’s highly individualized and dependent upon your genetics, your current health status, your own beliefs, and in some instances your place of employment. Natural options for flu prevention are also worth exploring.
The flu vaccine is certainly not 100% effective in preventing the flu.  Using data published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies by many factors: the age group being vaccinated, the overall health of the person being vaccinated, and the variant flu strains that arise during an outbreak that were not  included in the vaccine. According to this published data, those in the 18-49 age group may see the greatest benefit, which is typically in the 30-34% range of effectiveness. Adults over 65 typically see the least effectiveness, with a typical range of effectiveness of around 10%. 
For those who are potentially interested in getting a flu shot, there are some things to consider when making your decision.  How strong is your immune system at fighting off infection? At what level of toxic exposure are you willing to expose your body? Do the benefits outweigh the risks? That last question is especially important, as there are certain populations that have a greater risk of secondary infection and more serious health complications if they get the flu virus. 

Some Common Ingredients in the Flu Vaccine and Their Potential Issues

Egg Protein – common food allergen
Antibiotics – common allergens
Polysorbate 80 – can contribute to liver toxicity
Aluminum salts – neurotoxin than can contribute to cognitive deficiency, dementia and some links to Alzheimer’s disease
Formaldehyde – human carcinogen (12th Report on Carcinogens by the National Toxicology Program)
Thimerosal/Mercury – Suppresses the immune system and may contribute to autoimmune diseases
We like to educate our patients on healthy alternatives to some traditional medicine approaches to help you make the best informed decisions for you and your family. Whether you personally decide to receive a flu shot or not, the following strategies can be helpful to everyone.

Natural Options for Flu Prevention

  • Wash your Hands: 20 seconds of scrubbing with soap and water is what’s needed to kill viruses (sing the ABC’s).
  • Heal your Gut: 70% of your immune cells are located in your gut.  Optimize gut health to boost immunity. Schedule with one of our providers to discuss this in more detail.
  • Reduce Alcohol and Sugar Consumption: Less than 25g of sugar/day is recommended for women and 36g for men.  Adding sugar to any illness or infection is like adding gasoline to a fire. Moderate to large amounts of alcohol can suppress the central nervous system. Have you tried our easy-to-follow 7 Day Liver Detox program to help you break the sugar habit? Schedule with a Wellness Coach to discuss this in more detail.
  • Reduce Stress: Stress suppresses the immune system.  Minimize stress or consider relaxation techniques (yoga, meditation, prayer, essential oils, etc,)
  • Get Adequate Sleep: 7-9 hours of sleep is ideal to recuperate from daily toxic exposure.  Chronic sleep deprivation reduces immune function. Schedule with one of our providers to discuss this in more detail.
  • Exercise: Boosts immune system by increasing circulation and relieving stress
  • Essential Oils: AB Be Well blend (similar to the popular Thieves blend), Oregano, Frankincense & Lemon are common oils that can be used to boost immunity. They can be diffused, used topically and some oils are safe for ingestion. The AB Be Well blend is available at our office.
  • Year Round Supplement Support: Vitamin D 5,000iu daily or 50,000iu weekly (this strength can only be purchased at our office), Fish Oil 1-2g daily, Probiotic 20-40 billion daily, Multivitamin and CDB Oil. These are our recommended “Essential Five” supplements and when you purchase all five in a bundle, you will also receive 3 free Lipo B injections!  
  • Cold/Flu Season Supplement Support: WholeMune or Daily Immune 1-2 daily as preventative, Viracid 2 caps every 2 hours with onset of cold/flu symptoms x 12 capsules 

Let Us Help

Ultimately, we want to help our patients stay healthy by addressing immune system function in every way possible. If you have additional questions, simply schedule an appointment with one of our providers.
Vaccine Ingredient References
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16400901
http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/pubhealth/roc/roc13/index.html
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/06/18/antibiotics-bacteria.aspx
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/downloads/appendices/B/excipient-table-2.pdf
http://www.fda.gov/downloads/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/UCM220624.pdf