Is it weird that I can’t wait to pull my winter comforter out of its storage bag and throw it on my bed? I love this time of year: the days are shorter, the nights are a little colder, and all the trees in my neighborhood are hues of orange, red, brown, and gold. The only downside to fall is the Big Pharma marketing blitz that begins right around Halloween.
Yes, with the falling leaves comes the constant reminder that the cold and flu season is right around the corner. This means that every CVS Pharmacy, Target, doctor’s office and health care facility will be urging you to get a flu shot. Not to mention all the online ads trying to convince you that death is imminent for the un-vaccinated.
Here’s the deal. Don’t be bullied or pressured by the marketing tactics. A good friend of mine was actually offered free parking validation from her doctor if she got the flu shot. What?! Um, that’s not prevention, it’s bribery.

What you need to know:

1. The flu shot “may” protect you from certain strains of the flu virus. Which means that if you are infected with a different viral strain, you will likely still get sick.
2. Even the CDC admits that last year’s flu shot was the most ineffective in years and only reduced the risk of getting the flu by about 19-23 percent
 http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/effectiveness-studies.htm
If you decide not to get the flu shot this season, you still have many safe and natural alternatives to boost your immune system. The following extracts and nutrients have been used as natural immune boosters for hundreds of years across many cultures. When used as directed, they offer low risk support with no serious side effects.

Colloidal Silver

Colloidal silver is made of small particles of silver that penetrate on a cellular level and destroy pathogens of all types, including bacteria, fungal spores, parasites, and viruses. It also helps promote rapid healing of infected or destroyed the tissues. You can use it as a spray, drops, or topically.

Garlic

Garlic has antimicrobial and antiviral properties and if consumed regularly, can protect against infection. Cooking garlic helps to release its healing powers. Add it to soups for flavor and health benefits. Garlic is also available in tablet form.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that has the ability to help neutralize free radicals in the body. Increasing Vitamin C intake to 1-2 grams daily during the cold and flu season can help to ward off illness.

Echinacea

An herb that can be taken in tea or capsule form to help stimulate activity of immune cells (consult with an integrative health care provider if you have allergies or are on medications; do not use if you have an autoimmune disease)

Astragalus

An herb that has antiviral properties and enhances immune cell activity. It can be taken at the onset of a cold to reduce symptoms. It is not to be used for prolong periods of time or with fever-related illnesses. It comes in capsule, tea, and tincture form.

Probiotic

Probiotics contain beneficial bacteria that help to promote a healthy digestive tract and limit disease causing bacteria in the gut. It’s also good practice to take a probiotic after completing a prescription of antibiotics in effort to restore levels of good bacteria in the gut

The Wrap Up:

Remember, you have options. If the flu shot gives you peace of mind, then roll up your sleeve and make it happen. If you like the idea of helping your immune system do what it was meant to do, then use these tips and get through this season like a champ. Either way, do what you’ve got to do to stay well. Me…I’m going to wrap myself up like a burrito in my winter comforter and sweat it out.

For more information on natural ways to prevent disease and keep your body healthy read my book Secrets to Healthy Aging.

 

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