A new point of view on the flu

by Dr. Shawna Eischens — 

It is estimated that 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu each year, often experiencing a fever, cough, sore throat, aches, fatigue and/or nasal symptoms.

It is estimated that 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu each year, often experiencing a fever, cough, sore throat, aches, fatigue and/or nasal symptoms.

Welcome to the season of the dreaded flu, which is expected to be in full force by January/February. Before you run out and get your flu shot, read on to educate yourself so that you can make the best choices for you and your family.

It is estimated that 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu each year, often experiencing a fever, cough, sore throat, aches, fatigue and/or nasal symptoms. Complications may include pulmonary or cardiac issues and are of greater concern for people with asthma or those whose immune system is compromised.

Prevention — For sports fans, this can be thought of as your “defensive line” to prevent illness from temporarily defeating your body. Hand washing, proper nutrition (eating whole foods, vegetables and fresh garlic; avoiding sugar, alcohol and processed foods), sleep and stress management are just a few ways to keep your body in prime shape to fight off lurking microbes that we encounter on a daily basis.

Infection — Even though we come in contact with many viruses and bacteria every day, we are not always sick, thanks to our powerful internal defensive line. Contrary to what many may believe, it is not unhealthy to come down with the occasional cold or flu that passes quickly.

The duration and frequency of illness is a great indicator of how your body’s immune system is functioning. By fasting or nourishing your body with anti-microbial foods and herbs and allowing your body to rest to focus on healing, you will be able to overcome illnesses more quickly.

Knowing that the influenza virus is prevalent, is the flu vaccine your best option?

Reliable statistics on the efficacy of the flu vaccine are difficult to find, but it has been estimated that vaccines are from 19 to 89 percent effective in preventing the flu. Published research from June 2013 states that for those immunized against the flu in any given year, only about one person out of 100 received any benefit. It was also found that the immunization did not reduce complications or days lost from work due to illness. Vaccines in children aged 2 years or younger are not significantly more efficacious than placebos.

Since the flu vaccine is developed based on previously circulating strains and geographical region, it is difficult to know how protected you will be from this year’s influenza virus.

 

What is in a flu shot?

Although ingredients vary based on the form and name of a vaccine, the following ingredients are most commonly used in influenza vaccinations.

  • Chicken embryo and egg protein are used to culture the virus and may create issues for people allergic to eggs.
  • Formaldehyde is a chemical used to inactivate the virus and is neurotoxic and carcinogenic.
  • Thimerosal/mercury is a preservative used in multi-dose vials, and is also a neurotoxin.
  • Neomycin is an antibiotic that can damage the kidneys when given intravenously.
  • Various other additives and stabilizers, such as MSG, sucrose, gelatin, etc., are often used as well.

As with many decisions in life and also in medical care, a risk-versus-benefit ratio must be considered. In the latter case, it is about whether you want to inject these chemicals into your body to possibly avoid contracting the flu.

 

Other options to the flu vaccine

Foregoing a traditional flu vaccination does not mean that you should choose to do nothing to protect yourself and others against the flu. In addition to the suggestions mentioned above, various immune-boosting and anti-viral options are available for you to take advantage of.

• Nutrient IVs, homeopathic remedies or injections, herbal tinctures and specific supplements are all safe and effective options to keep you healthy during this flu season and beyond.

• Colostrum supplementation has been shown to be at least three times more effective than vaccination to prevent flu in both healthy subjects and patients with high-risk cardiovascular concerns.

• Homeopathic injections do not contain eggs, viral particles or preservatives and have been shown to prevent viruses, allergies, sinusitis and asthma.

However you decide to defend yourself against this year’s flu, know that various safe and effective options are available besides the traditional flu vaccine.

 

Dr. Shawna Eischens is a naturopathic physician at Pingel Progressive Medicine. Her practice focus spans from pediatrics to geriatric care with strong passions for physical medicine, nutrition, homeopathy and acupuncture. 602-845-8949, drahawnae@yahoo.com or pingelprogressivemedicine.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 32, Number 6, December 2013/January 2014.

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