As autumn sets in, the days become colder and the nights are suddenly more brisk and chilly.
The media and pharmaceutical companies spring to action, sending out constant reminders that it's time to line up for your annual flu shot, because the flu season is upon us once again.
Social media lights up like a pinball machine, full of news coverage, politicians' pleas, and experts putting in their five cents about why you should get the flu shot this year – because flu outbreaks are going to be worse and more devastating than last year, of course.
People start weighing up if they should have the flu vaccine this year. Perhaps they'll get vaccinated… perhaps they wont.
If you’re expecting a baby or trying to conceive, there's the added consideration about having the flu shot while pregnant.
But before you decide, there are quite a few facts you should know about the flu vaccine – facts which your doctor or other vaccinating health professional probably wont tell you.
If there is just one piece of information you take from this article, then let it be this:
>>> The single best thing you can do is to be sure to read the product information insert located inside the flu vaccine's pacakging. Ideally read this with your doctor or nurse, so you both get educated, in the likely case they haven't read it themselves. <<<
Make sure it's not a printed off information sheet, which is what's usually offered to patients. You need to see the official vaccine insert. You know, the bit of paper which is normally included in medications you're prescribed. It'll allow you to read about the full side effects and risks, so you can make an informed decision – you don't need to be a doctor to do this.
If they refuse to give the insert to you or conveniently “don't have any” (which is what some people have experienced), I would not make a decision until you are given one. A doctor who does not value informed decision making is not a doctor you should call your own.
The Flu Vaccine – What You Need To Know
Here's something to get you thinking:
Did you know the flu vaccine is produced many months (even up to a year) before the flu season actually begins?
Scientists select three or four viruses out of the hundreds circulating, to be included in next season's flu vaccine.
The selected viruses are injected into chick embryos, then the eggs are incubated so the viruses can replicate.
This method of vaccine production allows pharmaceutical companies to be prepared to pump out a vast quantity of vaccines when flu season comes around.
But it also means the flu shot you're given may already be redundant if the virus has mutated since then, or if it's not the same virus taking everyone down in the current flu season.
Here are the flu vaccines being used in Australia for 2017 – all quadrivalent vaccines (contains four flu strains).
The adult flu vaccine product information sheet has this warning for pregnant women, which is exactly what you'll find on most flu vaccine inserts:
“Use in Pregnancy: Category B2
The safety and effectiveness of Afluria Quad™ vaccine has not been established in pregnant women. Therefore, careful consideration should be made regarding the benefits and risks prior to administration of Afluria Quad™ vaccine to women who are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant. No embryofetal development study has been conducted with Afluria Quad™ vaccine.”
Use in Lactation
The safety and effectiveness of Afluria Quad™ vaccine has not been established in nursing mothers.
Afluria Quad™ vaccine has not been evaluated for genotoxic potential.
Afluria Quad™ vaccine has not been evaluated for carcinogenic potential.
And we're okay with this?
In the video below, evidence is presented for cases of fetal death after flu and TDaP vaccines during pregnancy. This is not something you will find in mainstream media – advertiser lashback would be massive and swift, especially from big spending pharmaceutical companies. If you value informed decisions, it means weighing up evidence from both sides and not just what the headlines say. Mainstream media is rarely a reliable source, with ‘fake news' being the buzz phrase in the last 12 months. Have you noticed how quickly our phone captured videos have become the news, exposing true accounts of events?
The Flu Shot – How Effective Is It?
On the CDC's (Centers For Disease Control and Prevention) website, there's reference to a study which resulted in an efficacy rate as low as 16% in healthy adults.
They state the reason for the poor result was due to fewer viruses circulating that year.
Another year, the efficacy rate was just 23% across all age groups. Medical News Today explained the poor result, saying:
“The CDC note that around 70% of this season's H3N2 viruses have been identified as “drift variants” – viruses that possess antigenic or genetic changes that make them different from the virus included in this season's flu vaccine, meaning the vaccine's effectiveness is reduced.”
An efficacy rate of 50-60% seems to be seen as a good result for the flu vaccine.
You see, there are hundreds of viruses which cause influenza and influenza-like illnesses, and the viruses tend to mutate.
So, you can imagine there are going to be major issues with efficacy.
A study has shown taking the immune boosting vitamin D3 was more effective at stopping influenza than the actual vaccine. But will your doctor or the media tell you to take that as a preventative?
Not while there's plenty of money to make in every human being on the planet getting a vaccine.
What About Flu Vaccines During Pregnancy?
So, the whole idea of having something highly unnatural injected into your body (which likely isn’t protecting you for the current flu bug), let alone the toxic additives in vaccines like aluminium (a well known neurotoxin), when there are zero studies that flu vaccines are safe and effective during pregnancy or when breastfeeding.… how does that sound now?
Some countries still use flu vaccines which contain thiomersal (mercury), which is another reason to make sure you read the vaccine insert so you can find out what's in the vaccine. From the CDC (Centers For Disease Control and Prevention) website:
“Flu vaccines in multi-dose vials contain thimerosal to safeguard against contamination of the vial.”
No-one wants to test the safety of vaccines on pregnant women and unborn babies, which is understandable.
But if the flu shot is not safe for newborn babies, and if babies are more at risk of serious complications from medications and toxins while in utero (compared to when being breastfed) this is a big red flag.
Yet, pregnant women are being told to go ahead and get the flu vaccine. Without knowing it, they have become the study, and it's highly unlikely they have read the vaccine insert before having the shot.
Find out what Doctor Mayer Eisenstein (who has since passed away, sadly) has to say about flu vaccines, especially during pregnancy.
Flu Vaccines – A Troubled History In The Media
Remember the Swine Flu?
“A LEADING health expert [Wolfgang Wodarg, head of health at the Council of Europe] says the swine flu scare was a “false pandemic” led by drugs companies that stood to make billions from vaccines. He believes it is “one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century” and has called for an inquiry.”
Wolfgang stated: “In order to promote their patented drugs and vaccines against flu, pharmaceutical companies have influenced scientists and official agencies, responsible for public health standards, to alarm governments worldwide. They have made them squander tight health care resources for inefficient vaccine strategies and needlessly exposed millions of healthy people to the risk of unknown side-effects of insufficiently tested vaccines.”
Vaccine injuries began showing up, from convulsions to brain damage. An Australian toddler, Saba Button, won compensation for severe brain damage from Fluvax, a vaccine that should not be given to children. Fluvax is no longer is given to children, but it can't get any more awful for Saba and her family. Imagine having to go through what they did, in order for us to find out we shouldn't be giving Fluvax children. Saba wasn't the only child to be injured with Fluvax either.
Even today, in 2017, swine flu injury stories are still being published.
Narcolepsy Boy Wins £120k Swine Flu Vaccine Damages: “A boy with a rare sleeping illness caused by a swine flu vaccine has won £120,000 in damages. Josh Hadfield, 10, from Frome in Somerset, developed narcolepsy after receiving the Pandemrix vaccine six years ago. He was awarded the money after appealing against the government which had initially refused to pay as he was not “severely disabled” enough.”
Not disabled enough?
Can you start to see how vaccine injuries can definitely occur, but go unacknowledged because it's not seen as being devastating or newsworthy? Many people have stories which go unheard. Mainstream media does not want to touch it, because they rely on massive amounts of advertising income from pharmaceutical companies, especially during flu time.
The Flu Vaccine Results In 60% Of Vaccine Injury Compensations In The US
I strongly encourage you to watch the short video below, where you'll see two doctors talking about the flu vaccine.
The first, Doctor Paul Offit MD, is a paediatrician who is the director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He is a well known pro-vaccination figurehead in the US. He also a co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine, so he is financially vested in vaccines. In this video, he is responding to a pharmacist who is concerned about one of her patients who had a particularly bad reaction to the flu vaccine.
The second is Professor Alvin Moss MD, FACP, FAAHPM, who is also a nephrologist (kidney specialist). He taught medical ethics at West Virginia University for over 25 years, where he is the director for the Center for Health Ethics & Law. In the video, he is speaking under oath in a testimony to the West Virginia Senate. He is particularly concerned about the flu vaccine resulting in significantly more injuries than other vaccines.
Doctor Moss says, “The flu vaccine happens to be the vaccine that causes the most injury in this country… 40% of all vaccinations in this country are flu shots, but 60% of all compensations [in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program] are for the flu vaccine.”
See some example compensation payouts (in the United States) for the flu vaccine here.
It's truly a must watch, simply to see how vastly different the opinion of two highly educated medical professionals can be. They aren't quacks. They are both highly regarded amongst their peers.
Australia Does Not Have A Vaccine Compensation Program
Unlike the US, Australia has no compensation schemes in place to provide financial assistance to vaccine injured individuals. In fact, those who are injured can be left to fend for themselves, seeking financial support by reaching out on social media.
An Australian mother, Kathy Watson-Jones was paralysed by the flu vaccine.
Her story was told by the Melbourne newspaper, The Herald Sun:
“A FIT and healthy Melbourne mother was left paralysed from head to toe just days after having a routine flu jab. Kathy Watson-Jones was crippled by Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare condition where the body’s immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system.
As her nerves shorted out, her condition rapidly declined and she lost control of her limbs, she struggled to breathe and her speech was mumbled. Hospital staff had to tape her eyes shut just so she could sleep.
Working as a clerk in the maternity ward at Northpark Private Hospital, Ms Watson-Jones, 45, said she was encouraged by her employer to have the injection for the first time on April 23.”
Two years later, Kathy still cannot walk. Vinnies have been supporting her by promoting the #walkforkathy event. You can find out more here.
Vaccine reactions are highly underreported around the world – even the CDC admits underreporting occurs.
This may occur due to lack of knowledge about vaccine reactions, lack of desire to report injuries to the reporting system (VAERS), lack of knowledge about the reporting system, and bullying. Yes, bullying is a problem for some health professionals reporting adverse events too. One ER nurse shared his story about being the only health professional to report vaccine reactions in his hospital – you can read about it here.
The Flu – Who Is To Blame?
Catching the flu is simply a case of a virus finding a susceptible host.
Humans don’t have such a thing as a flu vaccine deficiency: we don’t need a vaccine in order to not get the flu.
But many of us have issues with our immune system not functioning as well as it could.
We can blame our lifestyle, nutritional choices, stress and the toxins we put into our bodies daily. Vitamin deficiencies (for example vitamin D3) can impact immune system function, which can easily happen in winter. A deficiency can occur during other times of the year too, since we cover up so much in order to avoid skin cancer, and we spend lots of time indoors.
If you’re in the US during the winter, you'll know it's the same time of year where many will eat and drink to excess, as well as having snow instead of sunshine.
Big and scary headline making killer bugs is what the media would prefer to have you believe, when its actually more likely to be people hungover from one excuse to over-indulge after the other. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years – poor immune system copping a beating!
It's a peak period of food, alcohol, stress, lack of sleep and lack of rest, all resulting in poorly functioning immune systems. No surprises there.
Not Everyone Who Is Exposed To The Flu Gets The Flu
Alfred Hero is a professor at the University of Michigan in the College of Engineering, who authored a flu study where participants were infected with the flu virus – and only half of them got sick. He said this via MSNBC regarding the immune systems function with the flu:
“Many people might conclude that if you are exposed to a virus and you don't get sick, it's because the virus didn't stick or it was so weak, it just passed right through your system and your system didn't notice. That's not a correct notion … There is an active immune response which accounts for the resistance of certain people getting sick, and that response is just as active as the response we all know and hate, which is being sick with the sniffles, fever, coughing and sneezing. It's just that the responses are different.”
So, the state of your immune system can dictate how sick you get and what you get.
While you are pregnant, you have lowered immunity. So it's even more important to protect and boost your immune system naturally. Doing so will give you a far more effective defense system against colds and flus.
What Will Inhibit or Lower My Immune System?
We’ve become a society obsessed with comforts and quick fixes. So it's no surprise that for many, our diets revolve around comfort foods and caffeinated drinks, because we think we need these things to keep us going – or to get going!
We suck down flavoured and sweetened drinks like juices and milks, while indulging with chips, chocolate, alcohol, pizza, pasta, bread, cake, lollies… shall I go on?!
Typically, we have more stress than ever, we don’t take enough time to meditate or spend time in nature and we don’t use our bodies as often as we used to.
Consider this: if your pet fish is sick, do you change the water and clean the tank? Or do you just give the fish some medication in the water and pray that it gets better? If you didn't choose to get the water situation sorted, you'll probably end up with a dead fish.
How do you even begin to fix this?
Here's how you can help ‘change the water' for your tank.
So, What Foods Impair The Immune System And Contribute To Illness?
A healthy immune system is a strong force to be reckoned with. A body in balance is a body that has resistance to disease.
Shortcut: here are 13 healthy breakfast ideas which will leave you gloriously full, your tastebuds buzzing and blood sugar levels more horizontal than vertical! Make sure you bookmark the breakfast link for morning inspiration.
Here are things to avoid like the plague.
Sugar causes blood sugar levels to spike… then crash, resulting in your brain chasing more sugar… and the cycle continues. Even savory foods can produce this very response. A bowl of pasta spikes blood sugar levels higher than having some chocolate. Ask any diabetic and they'll tell you wht processed grains do to their blood sugar levels.
Sugars in soft drinks, even foods and drinks labelled “sugar-free” need to be avoided. In fact, artificial sweeteners should be avoided at all costs. Not only can they make you crave more sugar, but there are a range of health problems associated with it's use, including migranes and other serious illnesses. As someone once said, if you see sugar-free, diet, or similar on the label, think chemical sh*tstorm.
Highly recommend watching That Sugar Film – an educational and entertaining film about sugar, featuring cameos from awesome people like Hugh Jackman, Stephen Fry and others.
It's well known that caffeine can stimulate the adrenal glands – many of us consume it daily even with the belief we need one to get through the day or even to start the day!
However the adrenal glands eventually become exhausted and don’t respond any more – which can leave you a perfect target for health problems. Caffeine can result in headaches, anxiety, fatigue, irritability and dehydration. When you have a cup of coffee, your body is triggered to excrete more water than you took in from that drink.
Just 1-2% dehydration can result in a temporary impairment of physical and mental capabilities. Your body needs plenty of water to be at it's best, physically and mentally.
If you're in this category, I'm sure you well know the risks to your baby’s (and those around you) health and immune system.
If you need help trying to quit, please read our article on smoking while pregnant, which is full of loads of information, without the guilt.
#4: Processed Grains
As best you can, avoid or eliminate foods made from grains, for example bread, rice, biscuits, cake, pizza, cereals etc.
These high glycemic foods make your blood sugar levels rise rapidly like sugar – its like throwing fuel onto a fire. Many people don't realise a bowl of pasta can spike blood sugar levels higher than a bit of chocolate. Ask any diabetic what happens to their blood sugar levels after eating these things.
Again another category you may not be in, or perhaps you’re still having a glass of wine here or there. We know what alcohol does to brain cells, it kills them, not strengthens them for resistance to illness. Alcohol is often loaded with sugar too, especially when we mix it with soft drinks or juices.
#6: Medications and Drugs
Only take medications if you truly need them. You only have to see media stories over the years to see drugs recalled, having undesirable side effects, being claimed as a ‘wonder drug’ only to result in serious complications down the track.
Google the Vioxx controversy for just one example.
What Can I Do To Boost My Natural Immunity?
Try these things to give your immune system a great boost!
Quality Prebiotics and Probitoics
As you are probably familiar with, your body contains both good and bad bacteria. When the bad bacteria outnumber the good, you have a problem – you get sick. You can buy probiotics from the pharmacy, natural health store or a naturopath (ideal as they have the more potent formulas and can help with specific problems). By taking probiotics daily, you’re helping to keep the good bacteria topped up in your system and helping to fight off any nasties. Around 70-80% of your immune system is in your gut – so treat it well!
Supplement With Vitamin D3
There is a growing amount of evidence coming to light about the importance of vitamin D3, especially when supplementing for pregnancy. Not only has it shown to reduce the amount of colds and eczema in the infants born to those mothers, but it also appears to reduce a heap of other major pregnancy related health problems, including:
- Reduced risk for premature birth (by around half)
- Reduced occurrence of small for dates babies
- Reduced risk for infections, especially respiratory infections (colds and flu) as well as infections of the vagina and the gums (around 25%)
- Reduced risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and preeclampsia
The women in this study were taking 4000 IUs of D3 per day and the controls took only 400 IUs (which is the amount typically found in pre-natal vitamins). There were no side effects found in either group. For a list of recent studies, check out the link HERE.
BellyBelly Naturopath, Nicole Tracy of Nurtured by Nature say this about vitamin D3:
“I am finding so many cases of Vitamin D deficiency amongst my patients these days. The recommended reference range of serum Vitamin D recently changed from a minimum of 50 nmol/L to the increased minimum level of 75 nmol/L. Ideally, as a Naturopath, I like to see levels over 100nmol/L, and I find that if this kind of level is maintained there are far fewer incidences of colds or flu.
Vitamin D3 is such a crucial nutrient for immune system health, preventing the occurrence of viruses such as the common cold and influenza, and reducing the development of many forms of cancer – particularly breast, colon, prostate, lung, blood and bone cancers. In preference to vaccinating oneself against just a couple of strains of influenza, isn’t it wiser to build and nourish the immune system so the body can defend itself against an entire spectrum of pathogens?
Vitamin D of course has the added benefits of maintaining bone density, increasing fertility and maintaining regular ovulation, promoting healthy pregnancy and better birth outcomes, improving insulin sensitivity, slowing DNA damage, improving mood, supporting healthy thyroid function and reducing risk of cardiovascular disease.
We don’t receive large amounts of Vitamin D through our diet (it's found mainly in deep sea fish, egg yolks, butter, cream, liver and cod liver oil) so our primary source is through direct exposure to sunlight. We need approximately 40% of our body exposed for 8 minutes daily in summer and 22 minutes in winter. Supplementation is usually required in addition, and Vitamin D3 ideally in highly absorbable liquid form.”
Cook With A Healthier Oil
Cooking with cold pressed olive oil is commonly known as the best, healthiest option. But there is something else which is brilliant, especially for the immune system, digestive system and heart – coconut oil.
It looks a little different to traditional cooking oil in that it has a higher melting point, therefore you buy it solid in a jar, but it has an exquisite taste and a host of great properties which you can read more about here.
You can use it for all sorts of applications, not just cooking. I do all my cooking with coconut oil and love the taste. Unlike many other oils, it isn’t as affected or damaged by heat (most common cooking oils are) and contains anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties.
There are loads more health benefits – visit the Coconut Research Center to see the huge list!
Sort Out Your Stress!
Stress, anxiety and anger are a huge drain on the immune system – emotions can effect your body more than you realise.
You probably notice the more stressed you are, the more frequently you get sick (or more sick than usual).
Find ways to relax and unwind, speak to a counsellor if you need to – just find a way to help get your body in a peak emotional state – which will make for a better birth too!
Try and mediate for at least 20 minutes a day – even if it’s just in the shower or bath. Switch off your thoughts and be present, in the moment.
“Cutting-edge scientific research now proves what the yogis have always known: deep relaxation can have a profound effect on a wide range of medical conditions… “Harvard researchers asked the control group to start practising relaxation methods every day,” explains Jake Toby, hypnotherapist at London’s BodyMind Medicine Centre, who teaches clients how to induce the relaxation effect. “After two months, their bodies began to change ” the genes that help fight inflammation, kill diseased cells and protect the body from cancer, all began to switch on.”
Studies show that if you’re healthier you recover much quicker from respiratory conditions.
This study shows up to 50% reduction in upper respiratory tract illness durations for active people opposed to sedentary.
While pregnant, walking is a great way to improve your health and prepare you for birth – where you’ll be pushing your physical and emotional limits more than ever before. Walking is very relaxing and a great form of exercise for the body and mind.
Try and get out for 20-30 minutes of walking for 5-7 times a week.
Get Good Quality Sleep!
If you’re not getting good sleep this can impact on your immune system, metabolism and emotional health.
While you sleep, your immune system goes through important processes.
Get to bed by 10:30pm and make sure there are no distractions in your room – tv’s, even mobile devices.
Studies have shown that just by having your mobile device in the room, it interrupts sleep patterns, even when on silent. If you aren’t comfortable at night (which is common in pregnancy), look for some solutions, like extra pillows.