I've been grappling with getting the flu shot (NYS law requires anyone working in a nursing home to have one - and I still teach residents there a few hours a week). I can wear a mask for several months while I'm there which is inconvenient and difficult since most of the residents rely on reading my lips since they are hard of hearing. But I will make a decision very soon. In the midst of all this, I came across some old notes of mine I'd like to share with you regarding the flu.
Just the facts:
COLDS - Colds are not caused by cold air drafts, or getting wet or chilled. Antibiotics won’t help a cold because it’s a viral infection. Cold symptoms usually worsen during the first three to five days, and then gradually improve. But it’s normal for coughs to linger for two to three weeks – anything more is more than a cold and should be seen by your physician. Frequent hand washing is one good defense against colds.
FLU - People with the flu virus can be contagious at least a day before they show symptoms – and up to four days after their symptoms begin. The flu virus is very contagious. You can become ill from 18 to 72 hours after exposure. The flu is a major misery – but not usually dangerous for a healthy child or adult. It can send you to bed for at least five days. A cough and/or fatigue can linger for days or weeks afterward. The flu can be life threatening for older adults or those with chronic illnesses (hence the states law for healthcare workers). The flu is caused by a virus and cannot be made better with antibiotics. Those drugs are good only for fighting bacteria.
About the Flu Vaccine - Vaccinations are controversial – flu shots usually contain mercury, a potent neurotoxin, and are not always specific for this year’s version of the flu. This is because they are manufactured before the actual strain causing this year’s flu is known. Consequently, the flu shot doesn’t always confer protection and may actually cause illness from adding to the body’s toxic load. (Case and point - after succumbing to having a vaccine last year if I wanted to continue teaching at the nursing home, I got VERY ill for a few days...yup...the flu!) The flu vaccine can also be life threatening for older adults or those with chronic illnesses. I have done some research and if you are going to get the flu shot, get the one without thimerosal (which has mercury). The one I found is called Fluzone Intradermal. Call first, but I see them offered at CVS, Walgreens and other pharmacies.
A Naturopathic Flu Vaccine Replacement So what to do? If you don't have to get a flu shot because of your job or believe it's better for your body not to have the shot, the best, non-toxic defense against the flu is Oscillococcinum (ah-sill-o-cox’-sin-um), available at most drug stores, grocery stores and health food stores. This homeopathic remedy may help keep whole families healthy throughout the winter. Oscillococcinum has been shown in clinical studies to decrease the duration and intensity of flu symptoms. Starting now, line everyone up two or three times each week for the remainder of flu season. Give everyone a capful of the little pellets from a vial of Oscillococcinum. Let the pellets dissolve. Remember to take it 15 minutes away from food and toothpaste. That’s it – it’s that simple.
When others around you come down with the flu, take the capful more often, maybe every day. At the first signs of achy muscles, fatigue, or other symptom of the flu, take a capful three times a day or more. I’ve known folks who have all the symptoms of contracting the flu chase it away completely with this remedy. It’s homeopathic, so there are no side effects. Some report that they felt ill, took the remedy and felt better within minutes; then, when they felt symptoms returning, took the remedy again, and continued this way until symptoms ceased to came back. The key is you have to catch it early; this remedy doesn’t work when you already have the full-blown array of symptoms. If symptoms do grab hold and you become ill, there are many other natural remedies which can be used to shorten the duration of your illness and get you healthier quicker. There is no need to suffer when there are things that can be done to end the suffering. And, unlike modern medicine, there are remedies and supplements found in naturopathic medicine which can be used to treat viral infections. Look for a naturopathic physician near you.