A shot in the dark

Cold and flu season is upon us. And I am very thankful to be able to say I haven’t suffered from either in as long as I can remember. So either my memory is going or I’ve had a good run.

So before it’s too late, I thought I’d tackle the topic of flu shots…since you can get them on practically every street corner these days. In fact, the CVS on my corner has a sign in the window that says their flu shots this year have a 90% smaller needle than last year. Really? What were they using? A needle is a needle (and they’re going to hurt regardless).

So by now, I’m sure you can guess…I don’t recommend flu shots, for the most part.

There are a few people who are the exception–those who are infirm or immune-compromised. But that’s a very small percentage.

And while there are people who do well with the vaccine, it’s a poor guarantee. After all, it’s just a guess against which flu strain is more likely to hit you. And if they’re wrong, well guess what, you’ve now given yourself something completely useless–and not completely risk free. Besides possible flu symptoms, you’re also risking exposure to thimerosal (the mercury-containing preservative still present in some vaccines). This is why I also urge parents to be very cautious in making the decision about giving the flu vaccine to their children (while it’s still an option). If you do choose to vaccinate, at the very least, be sure it’s thimerosal-free.

I could go on and on writing about the flagrant and deceptive brain washing of the public when it comes to flu shots, but that won’t do you much good…

So, how can you stay well through the winter months without the flu shot?

One thing you can do is take a high-quality probiotic supplement. Probiotics help keep the balance of bacteria in your gut optimal. And a healthy gut helps ensure a healthy immune system. And if you do happen to get sick, a recent report has shown it can help shorten the duration of symptoms.

The study involved 198 U.S. college students. Those who were given probiotics experienced colds that lasted four days, compared to six days in the placebo group. The probiotic group also noted a 34% reduction in severity.

This is a pretty remarkable finding and one that we should pay close attention to. After all, the group studied is a population that typically gets sick very easily. College students are often under a lot of stress and living in close quarters with one another. When that occurs, you are particularly prone to colds and flu. Of course, living as I do in New York City, this pretty much describes my home town and everyone I know.

No one likes to get sick. And we’re all so busy, who has time for it?!

Taking a good probiotic should be as automatic as brushing your teeth in the morning–especially during cold and flu season.  And if you feel a cold or flu coming on, it’s generally safe to increase your dose the first day you feel “off” then for the duration of symptoms.

Other methods I use for cold and flu season include supplementing with oil of oregano, olive leaf extract, lauric acid, and vitamins A, C, and D. And for additional details and recommendations, see the October 2012 issue of my monthly newsletter Logical Health Alternatives.

“Probiotics are secret weapon for fighting symptoms of the common cold in college students study suggests.” ScienceDaily, 22 Oct. 2012.