This newsletter sees me fresh from a 7 week adventure through India and Bhutan where everything, including the weather, was quite unlike anything we experience here in British Columbia. It has been an abrupt transition from roasting in India to near freezing as Arctic winds blow outside. As the cold weather arrives to stay, this is the time to revisit ways of keeping ourselves healthy through this season.
How about Vaccination?
The push for the flu vaccine is in full swing and we are told this is the best way to prevent getting the flu – provided last April, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) correctly predicted which strains would be prevalent this winter. Drug manufacturers need months to cultivate the virus strains and formulate the vaccine, so this year’s vaccines, made up of 3 or 4 distinct flu virus strains, are based on last year’s experience. Flu viruses mutate easily however, and over the past 10 years, CDC’s own statistics have shown the flu vaccine effectiveness rate ranging anywhere from 10-60%; last year’s was a disappointing 23%, for every 100 people vaccinated, 77 were still likely to get the flu (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/effectiveness-studies.htm).
There are 10 different flu vaccines authorized for use in Canada. Several contain Thimerosol (a form of mercury, potentially toxic to the brain); some contain live virus strains while others have been inactivated. All are cultured in egg protein and contain chemicals like formaldehyde, squalene and/or antibiotics which can affect some people adversely. If you choose to vaccinate, educate yourself about the different formulas and make your decision as to which is safest for you and your family. When you receive the injection, confirm the vaccine has been stored correctly and has not passed the expiration date. And most important, make sure you are in good health when you receive the shot! Vaccines are designed to confuse our immune system’s normal functioning and for a period of time, affect its action. As a result, you may be more susceptible to other illnesses after vaccination so take extra care of yourself for a week or two.
Natural Health Options:
Even if you do vaccinate, the statistics show it’s hardly a guarantee against the flu. Follow common sense preventions such as thorough and frequent hand-washing, avoiding other sick people, getting rest and eating a good diet. Herbal supplements designed to boost the immune system can also be helpful; I have used an organic herbal tincture called Deep Defense which can be taken daily and is appropriate for all ages.
Homeopathic flu preventatives include the famous, impossible-to-pronounce Occillococcinum which I continue to hold in great esteem. Countless times I have taken or given it to people who were feeling the first hints of illness coming on – and avoided getting sick. Many people take a dose every 1-2 weeks for prevention throughout the flu season. This is a broad-based influenza deterrent and not dependent on which particular strains are circulating. It is best taken before you are actively sick, though, so keep some on hand and take 3 doses over a few hours whenever you feel the slightest symptoms coming on.
Influenzinum is the other homeopathic flu preventative, prepared and diluted from those same flu virus strains in this year’s vaccine but without the chemical additives and can also be taken periodically through the flu season.
Unlike vaccines, homeopathic remedies are taken orally (the pathway through which viruses normally enter); as a result, our highly developed immune system mounts a targeted defense, as if this is a true disease encounter. However because remedies are energetic (rather than the material virus), no physical illness can develop – but our immune system is now alert and educated with barriers in place against the actual pathogens. Both these remedies can be found at health food stores, natural grocery stores and even some conventional drug stores.
Hopefully you will sail through the coming winter without pause – but if this is not the case, remember homeopathy works very well to speed up recovery times and lessen the discomforts of acute illness. For clients with a good homeopathic kit at home, often we can simply work over the phone and a helpful remedy can be administered right away. For those who don’t have a kit but would like to be prepared, I have a few 36-remedy kits in stock.
As we move further into the cold darkness outside, may we all be filled with warmth and light within!