27 Nov Flu Season Is Upon Us!
Flu season in upon us and it is anticipated to be a bad one!
Per CNN Health News: “Last year’s seasonal flu vaccine effectiveness was just 42%, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated. Even if vaccinated, people had inadequate protection against the flu”.
Interestingly, the efficacy of the flu vaccine varies year to year since it is formulated with a mix of viral particle strains based on anticipated predominant flu virus strains that are expected to circulate for that year. The 2015-16 efficacy was 47% but the 2014-15 vaccine was effective only a dismal 19% of the time!
This year’s vaccine is anticipated to be problematic in that there have been issues with the egg proteins used to grow the vaccine and, the predominant virus that’s anticipated for this season(H3N2) is evolving such that the vaccine may no longer be a match for the virus (even if this strain is correctly predicted to predominate this year).
Evaluating the Flu Vaccine:
Being such a low efficacy vaccination means that we should be evaluating the contents of the vaccine and its potential adverse effects very carefully.
The multidose vials of the flu vaccine contain thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative agent. If you’re going to get vaccinated, request a single-dose vaccine. Note though that there is no such thing as a “preservative free flu shot” (as advertised by some providers of the single-dose shots). The various preparations contain differing preservatives and additives including polysorbate 80 and formaldehyde.
The side effects of the flu shot are most commonly pain at the injection site but muscle aches, headache, fatigue, and arthralgia (joint pain) are also reported. Funny, these symptoms are the most common symptoms of the flu itself!
Flu Prevention, Naturally:
Here are a few tips to help you prevent the flu.
2) Gargle with water twice daily
3) Take a vitamin D supplement during the fall and winter
4) Eat foods rich in Vitamin C, Zinc, Selenium, and Vitamin A/ Beta Carotene
5) Get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep nightly
6) Address your Stress!
6) Limit sugar is your diet
7) Consider a probiotic and elderberry if you are prone to getting sick. Both are safe for long-term use in most people.
Treatment Options if you have the Flu:
If you do start to feel like you have the flu, you have two options:
2) Lucky for us, we have a few studies confirming that Elderberry has antiviral properties similar to Tamiflu. The key is to start taking it as soon as you feel symptomatic. Gaia herbs makes a syrup and their trusty Quick Defense which are both available at Whole Foods.