It’s time to address the topic that has so many parents are concerned about this season…

 THE FLU 

Should you and your child get the flu vaccine? What are the risks? Do the benefits outweigh the cons?

I receive so many calls from parents about whether their child should or not get the shot.  My research allows me to conclude there is not a definite assurance against contracting viruses. What I can say is before you decide to get a flu shot for yourself or your child, take a few minutes to look into the research on both their safety and effectiveness.

As well intentioned the vaccine programs are, there is a potential negative impact on the natural development of immunity to other viral infection types. Case in point, new research in the Journal of Virology found that the seasonal flu vaccine may weaken children’s immune systems and increase their chances of getting sick from influenza viruses not included in the vaccine.  In other words, annual vaccination against influenza virus hampers development of immunity to viruses not included in the vaccine.

My advice therefore is to allow your child’s and your own immune system to develop along natural biological lines and flow. The following are some guidelines to consider, when reducing your family’s vulnerability to those infections:

Reduce intake of sugar, and high fructose corn syrup. The average person is consuming about 75 grams of fructose per day, and when fructose is consumed at that level it can devastate your immune system by unbalancing your gut flora. Sugar is ‘fertilizer’ for pathogenic (unhealthy) bacteria, yeast, and fungi that can set your immune system up for an assault by a respiratory virus.

Most people don’t realize that 80 percent of our immune system actually lies in our gastrointestinal tract. That’s why controlling sugar intake is CRUCIAL for optimizing your immune system. Even consuming just 75 to 100 grams of a sugar (about the same as in two 12-ounce sodas) reduces the ability of white blood cells to overpower and destroy bacteria. This effect is seen for at least a few hours after consuming a sugary drink.

I believe that if the public in general knew this, from Halloween through the 1st of the New Year, consumption of sugar would have been reduced and there would be fewer reported cases of flu and related illnesses. Fortify with Vitamin C a very potent antioxidant. Use a natural form, which contains associated micronutrients. You can take an amount every hour until you are better. Supplemental Vitamin C may also lessen the duration and symptoms of a common cold and support healthy immune function.

  • Fortify with Oregano Oil. The higher the carvacrol concentration, the more effective it is. Carvacrol is the most active antimicrobial agent in oregano oil. I pour the Oregano oil into empty capsules and take. (There are many essential oils that have active antimicrobial agents)
  • Fortify with Vitamin D3 with K2. Research has confirmed that “catching” colds and flu may be a symptom of an underlying Vitamin D deficiency. Less than optimal vitamin D levels will significantly impair your immune response and make you far more susceptible to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections.
  • Use efficient strategies to neutralize the impact of constant stress like rest, EFT, massage, soothing music, yoga etc. Short-term stress may actually boost the immune system because the body produces more cortisol to make ”fight or flight” possible. But chronic stress has the opposite effect.  It makes you more vulnerable to illness, from colds to serious diseases. Chronic stress exposes your body to a steady cascade of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which suppress the immune system.
  • Get adequate exercise- moderate exercise – like a daily 30 minute walk — increases the level of leukocytes, an immune system cell that fights infection.
  • Get good night’s sleep. Getting a good night’s rest goes a long way in preventing a cold or flu. If your body is tired, it has a hard time fighting off any invaders that may come your way.
  • Drink hot tea that promotes sweating to help drive a virus from your system: juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 cloves garlic and cayenne (to tolerance); Echinacea with golden seal; tea containing ginger etc.
  • Drink plenty of fresh, pure water. Water is essential for the optimal function of every system in your body.
  •  Nurture strong relationships and a good social network. Several studies support the idea that feeling connected to friends is important to your physical health as well as your mental health – and specifically your immune system.
  • Cover your mouth when you sneeze. Use a tissue or your elbow when you sneeze since sneezing into your hands will make you more likely to transmit germs to others. It also means any germs on your hands can transfer to your face, nose, or mouth.
  • Vigorous hand-washing is key. Place paper towels or napkins at the sink that you can use and toss. Clean door handles, TV remote controls and faucets with inexpensive rubbing alcohol, antimicrobial herb and spice formulas.
  • Crack a window or door to let in fresh air.

Healthy habits and natural choices go a long way towards both preventing the flu and healing viral infections. Following these simples suggestions can have a major effect on your health in this and every season.

Sources – Department of Virology, Erasmus Medical Center, Dr. Molewaterplein 50, P.O. Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands