By Guest Blogger Michlyn Metropolit
‘Tis the season.
Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the crispness of the cool air that has blown in. I love the display of pumpkins and mums at every grocery store or market that I frequent (and I MEAN frequent. I have three small children and a fully stocked ‘fridge is a very, very temporary thing).
I love grabbing a chunky sweater. I love fall sports. I love making stocks from scratch and then turning them into amazing, hearty, yummy and vibrant soups. I love seeing leaves transform into something magical. I love boots more than flip flops (wow!). I LOVE this season.
I can honestly think of only one thing that makes me feel less than giddy about Fall. FLU SEASON! From a personal perspective, I don’t have a ton of anxiety for my own family when it comes to contracting (and dealing. ughhh) with a flu virus, perhaps because I am equipped with some very basic knowledge (and formal education) on how to prevent such an event.
”The plan” is not an absolute, but we have had great success in my family over the years and will continue to follow “the plan”. In fact, “the plan”, has left our entire family of five, flu free for as long as I can remember (even runny nose free, cold free, cough free).
We’ll get back to “the plan,” but for now let’s talk about “the new black” of flu season- Swine Flu (or H1N1- defined as the genome composition for the subtype of influenza). There are thousands of strains of flu viruses, including many mutated forms- resistant to most anti viral medications. Every year, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) monitors the influenza virus, focusing on type A strains, such as H1N1 and type B strains.
I recall this time last year, we were living in New Jersey (my husband plays professional hockey). NJ became the first and only state in the US to mandate a seasonal flu vaccine for all children enrolled in school.
I chose to opt out and seek an exemption for my children. While this was a very informed, educated and responsible decision for MY children, I would never broadcast my opinion or judge anyone for (perhaps) not making the best decision for their own children. As a society, we are taught to follow rules (good God, everyone close to me knows I have a TON of rules. And they are expected to be strictly adhered to. Not quite Captain Von Trapp style, whistle and all, but very close), and I don’t fault these people for following those rules.
New Jersey had many schools that had to close for more than a week because the strains going around were so strong and the kids were so sick. Parents were piled in Doctors’ offices only to hear that their child was sick with a different strain than which they were vaccinated for. This had to have been frustrating as it was presented as a vaccine to PREVENT the flu.
But back to “the new black of influenza”. Oink Oink! While swine flu is continuing to rear its head across North America, data shows that it is no more severe than the regular, seasonal flu. A recent study showed that those already exposed to the virus (though that didn’t contract symptoms) have developed antibodies.
Canadian researchers have found (the data is being considered for publication in medical journals) that those who received a seasonal flu vaccine are twice as likely than those who did not, to contract swine flu. While there is no scientific evidence demonstrating that the swine flu vaccine offers real-world protection against the circulating swine flu, it is being paraded as a completely safe and effective way to prevent contraction of the virus. Believe me, I hope that this vaccine turns out to be safe and effective for all. It is a scary thing for a parent to be told that there is nothing else that you can do to protect yourself and your children (so you MUST get the vaccine). Talk about ON THE FENCE!!!
But so you know, the vaccine WAS NOT properly safety tested by the FDA and was approved with a waiver, utterly bypassing the normal process of long-term safety that the public expects the FDA to enforce. In fact, according to attorney, Jim Turner, the FDA’s baseless approval is a violation of federal law.
For my own family, I am initiating “the plan”, which includes beefing up vitamin D in the form of supplementation. Flu season pops up when summer is gone and regular vitamin D intake is decreased. The plant, elderberry, is widely used in Europe and Asia as an immune booster that is effective in combating influenza (and has worked quite well for us as well).
In fact, there are hundreds of anti-viral herbs. Adding or upping a probiotic- always a good idea. Trust your doctor, but also trust yourself!!! It’s quite empowering to have the knowledge to make an informed decision, whatever that may be.
And another thing we have been doing in our family religiously that has also helped ward off those flu germs…
Wash your hands! Wash your hands! Wash your hands!
I wish you all a happy, healthy, and flu-free Winter season.
Michlyn Metropolit, M.S., herbalist, holistic health consultant.
For a full list of ingredients for the vaccine, check out www.CDC.gov or your respective government agency website.