I cannot provide an unbiased view, however, I will provide a couple of pro's and con's for getting a flu shot.
If you have someone in your household who has a depressed immune system, such as a child with sever asthma, an elderly person, a person who has lung disease (sarcoidosis), or other auto-immune disorders that depresses the immune system, someone who has cancer (or is in treatment getting chemotherapy for cancer), or someone who is HIV positive and may be suffering from the end stages of AIDS. In these cases, it is best for you to get the shot, as someone on the household with that person. If you were to contract the flu, you could transmit that flu to the person. The flu to a person with a depressed immune system is actually much worse than to someone with a healthy immune system. In fact, the flu can actually cause pneumonia and death to someone who is susceptible. So you can think about getting the flu shot if you have someone with a compromised immune system in your home.
Typically, the flu shot is for Influenza A and B, which are the most common. The problem is that there are a multitude of Influenza strains out there. You can get the flu shot and still be exposed to the other strains - Influenza C, D, .. the whole alphabet, and not be protected. So getting the shot and it not helping you is a con.
Another con is the amount of preservative ingredients that are in the vaccine itself, outside of the killed virus. So first of all ..who wants to put a dead virus in their body? Second, compounds like thimerosal, formaldehyde, and egg proteins, are all used as preservatives inside of the flu vaccine. If you are allergic, you should definitely should not be taking the vaccine but you want to consider that these are the type of things that are also going into your body in addition to the components of a dead virus.
Another pro to taking the flu vaccine, is when the flu vaccine does works, you're contributing to preventing an epidemic of the flu. When a flu epidemic hits, people get pneumonia and die. So by getting the shot, you are helping to prevent a flu epidemic.
It is your choice as to whether you get the flu shot - you have to make an informed decision. I encourage you to continue to do your research, ask your doctor, holistic doctor, integrative doctor, and ask about it .. but here are some things you can do, regardless of whether or not you get the flu vaccine, to prevent the flu naturally.
The first is the most obvious and most important - wash your hands. We come into contact with several objects and people throughout the day, so it would be prudent to wash your hands throughout the day. There have been some studies that showed that those alcohol gels that we use are not as effective as good ol' soap and water.
How do you wash your hands? You wet your hands first, then you put the soap on and lather your hands up. How long should you wash your hands? Long enough to sing one verse of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," then rinse your hands off.
Second, cover you mouth when you cough and sneeze. That's another obvious thing. When you cough and sneeze, particles of the virus come out of your mucus and saliva (gross, I know!) but they can spread this virus to the people around you, even if they are not right in your face.
Third, you can give your immune system a boost and there are several ways to do that. You can get some vitamin C and take at least 1000mg a day and if you feel the slightest bit of sniffles, you can bump it up to 5000-10,000mg a day. I know that sounds like a lot, but you cannot overdose on vitamin C.
The other supplement that you can pick up over the counter is one of my favorites. It's by Buried Treasure and it's called Acute Cold & Flu Formula, or ACF. You can find it on www.iherb.com to pick it up, or visit your local vitamin shop, or Whole Foods. This has a great combination of herbs and nutrition that boost your immune system and fight off the flu completely. I recommend stocking this in your pantry at the beginning of the flue season.
Finally, if you do come down with the flu, there are some things that you can do to kill that virus faster. One of these things is the unsung hero - ginger! I recommend, in addition to taking your 5000mg of vitamin C and Acute Cold & Flu Formula, buy a raw ginger root, peel it, blend it, boil it and drink it as a ginger tea. Ginger has proven to be a excellent anti-viral.
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