Swine Flu mania! My view…

Posted on November 20, 2009

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This excellent article prompted me to sit down and have a good look at the Swine-mania that is sweeping the nation and the world. What initially struck me is that it is one of the most balanced articles I have seen! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Honestly, i’m tired of hearing about it. In reality, this is just another flu, and the vaccine risks and/or advantages are really nothing new either. So what’s all the hubbub?

I feel like in theory I’m supposed to lean more to the side of being passionately anti-vaccine along with so many of my alternative minded colleagues. I get all the emails and links from the natural medicine side of the fence, and sorry, but I have to say that most come off as kooks. Bad writing, paranoia, silly graphics, and little evidence or decent references. And then we have to deal with the fact that some people who do excellent work and thorough research, somehow manage to position themselves to sound like complete kooks. (More on that in a moment.) It’s embarrassing.

I have to date, seen no solid evidence or solid science that this vaccine is more dangerous than other vaccines or that there is any kind of great conspiracy to kill us all with vaccines.

Good researchers that manage to sound like kooks: My favorite example here is Dr. Joseph Mercola of Mercola.com which claims to be the “World’s most popular natural health newsletter”. Sadly most of the headlines are often fearmongering, and most of the doctor’s own writing is at once meandering, rhetorical, and hyperbolic. (There also tends to be a lot of pitch for various products.) Hidden here, however, is a mother lode of serious studies, media articles, and other references, which when carefully sifted through make a powerfully informative source. There is a lot to look at HERE regarding the Swinedemic on this site. I recommend sticking to the references rather than the editorial.

We must consider the track record of vaccines in the past, and consider that the widespread collateral damage (acceptable level of adverse events) involved in mass vaccination, and the possibility that it may not in our interest to avoid every new bug that comes our way.

I am very suspicious of squalene and thimerosal (ethylmercury), two adjuvants (effect boosters) used in most versions of the H1N1 vaccine. The adverse event rate with this vaccine is supposedly very low and falls within “acceptable limits”. I think, however, that there is evidence that the adverse events with vaccines, those adverse events thought to be related to adjuvants rather than the virus-specific component of the vaccine, tend to be particularly sad, chronic, and destructive to quality of life.

Why take any such a risk at all, you may ask? The argument for why the fairly low risk of personal harm from the Swine-shot is worth it, is that the more average people getting vaccinated the more we protect at-risk populations; the old, the young, the pregnant, or the already sick. This is the only reason to get the vaccine. This is, in reality, just another flu, with a similar complication and death rate to other flus.

Should we accept a small risk of personal harm to be responsible to your community at large? I am still not sure myself, so I definitely can’t answer that for you.

Will I personally be getting the vaccine this year? Absolutely not.

What am I doing to stay flu free?
For many years now I can honestly say I have never been surprised by an illness. I get colds and flus when I am not taking care of myself properly or allow myself to get run down. This even applies to “travelers ailments” that famously affect the gastrointestinal tract. It’s rarely just luck, but more a question of keeping the right balance, and in some cases taking the right herbal and supplement preventives.

The basic rule of thumb would be to not co-mingle any of the following factors: extreme stress, overwork, inadequate sleep, inadequate nutrition, very sedentary lifestyle, alcohol (or drug) intoxication/abuse, refined sugar consumption, or a lot of low quality pro-inflammatory foods. These all directly suppress immunity. The unavoidable presence of one or two of these factors can be balanced out by strictly avoiding the others.

If you find you are always getting sick, picking up every bug that’s going around, you may want to take a good look at how you are living. No vaccine is the right answer to a chronically depressed immune system. It may be time for a life overhaul – something I find myself addressing often with clients.

Beyond the other factors I mentioned; a seasonal diet, probiotics, seasonal preventive herbs, and being sure to get adequate amounts of well assimilated (food sourced) vitamins A, E, C, D, Zinc, Iodine, and Selenium. The last 4 are chronically deficient in most Canadians. Don’t rely on your drug store multi-vitamin for these either, as the small amounts of chemically isolated nutrients they proffer are not well absorbed. A high quality food-sourced and co-factored supplement regimen or multi is key, or a carefully examined approach to a nutrient dense seasonal diet. In addition, the hygiene advice offered in the article mentioned at the top is also excellent advice.

And finally, as I have said before, worry is terrible for the immune system! Choose the path you feel most comfortable with, take those actions, and relax. Statistically, vaccine or not, we are all likely to get through this unscathed.

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