THE SHOT NOT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD - FLU SHOTS
October 2004 - Herbal Legacy Newsletter
by Lindsay Wolsey
In January of 2004, the results were in.  The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) reports showed that the flu shot did not keep people from getting the flu.  Basically, the reports showed that people who got the flu shot were just as likely as those who didnít to develop flu-like symptoms.  This following all of the hype that there wasnít enough vaccine for everyone, and then the announcements that you can still get a vaccine, and there isnít really a shortage.  In October of 2004, when I began writing this newsletter, the hype over the flu shot was just beginning.  Chiron Corporation, one of the major manufacturers of the flu shot, was unable to ship their vaccine, due to contamination by the Serratia bacterium.  This meant that people could only get the vaccines made by Aventis Pasteur Pharmaceuticals.

So the news media has kicked into full gear, warning people that the nation is short 46 million flu shots.  Healthy adults and school children are being told to forego the flu shot, to leave those shots available for those in high-risk groups.  What are the high-risk groups?  The elderly, children under 24 months, and health-care workers.  My dad, who is a Type II diabetic, is apparently also in this group.  As he is only 54, he insists heís not in the elderly category.

One of the things I still donít understand about this vaccine, is why there is such a promotion about getting the flu shot, when they play a guessing game as to which flu strain to put in the vaccine?  Vaccine manufacturers start putting together the vaccines in February.  So, for the 2004-2005 flu season, Chiron and Aventis started producing flu shots in February 2004.  One of questions is how do you know which flu will be going around in November of 2004?  The answer is, you donít. So they guess.  They put up to 3 different strains of flu into the vaccine, hoping that one of them will match up to the flu that hits.  Sometimes they get it right, and sometimes they donít.

One of the funniest things I read about the flu vaccine situation last year was ďThe CDC says flu vaccine will offer "some" immunity against the Fujian flu that's going around this year. Some people are expected to get the flu even though they got vaccinated. But they won't get as sick as those who didn't get the vaccine.Ē  Okay, prove it.

So I was feeling pretty good about this newsletter, until this morning when I read an article that said ďthe flu shot is plentiful.Ē  After a little research, it looks like it is plentiful in Utah, and now anyone who wants a flu shot can get one.  Weíve also only had 21 cases of the flu reported this season.  I predicted to David (before I finished reading the article) that it would say that itís been a relatively light flu season, and sure enough, thatís what article said.  However, it appears that the country as a whole has only 61 million doses, out of the 100 million they were anticipating, and that 98 million people need the vaccine.

When this whole situation started, I thought it would be highly likely that the flu wouldnít be a big deal this year.  Of course, I knew that the news media and the CDC wouldnít admit that people donít really need the vaccine, but would make it out to be that we were lucky it was a light season.  According to statistics, over 200,000 people each year are hospitalized with the flu, and over 36,000 people die from it.  I just ran the numbers, and each state should have about 4,000 cases of the flu this season.  So, if Utah has had only 21 cases halfway through the season, is it going to hit us in full force with the remaining 3,979 cases?  Or is the lack of vaccine the reason the flu season is so light?  Time will tell, because weíre only halfway through the season.

How Do I Know If Itís The Flu?

It usually starts off with cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, and a non-productive cough.  Then it moves into fever, particularly a high fever.  Flu is characterized by severe headaches, muscle aches, and fatigue.  The fever may last 3-5 days and the whole incident itself may last up to eight days.

So If I Donít Get a Shot, What Do I Do?

One news station in our area had some advice that I thought was better than the advice to get your flu shot-to avoid the flu, wash your hands.  In fact, washing your hands is just good advice all around.  I would also add boost your immune system.  Take things like Garlic, Echinacea, or Cold Season Immune (one of my all-time favorite formulas).  For children, use Kid-E-Mune.  Avoid eating junky foods, which is hard during the holidays, with everyone bringing over plates of cookies all the time.  Get enough rest, and stay warm.

Dr. Christopher had a case where a whole household of children came down with the flu.  Their mother called Dr. Christopher in a panic.  Dr. Christopher chuckled to himself, thinking that the panic was more due to the fact that there was only one bathroom, than the fact that all the children were sick. He told he to use red raspberry tea, and the sickness passed fairly quickly.

If you get the flu, use Red Raspberry tea to nourish and calm the stomach; slippery elm gruel (slippery elm and licorice mixed with water) to nourish and calm the stomach; fruit juices to stay hydrated; vegetables soups for hydration and nourishment; and be sure to keep the bowels clean.  If you have to, Master Herbalist and School of Natural Healing Graduate Sandra Ellis recommends using a catnip enema.  For children, add the Kid-E-Well formula.  And stay at home if youíre sick.  For one thing, youíll get better faster.  And for another, you donít need to go passing your flu germs on to the rest of the neighborhood.  If you do, your neighbors who got the flu shot will be upset, because they got the flu anyway.

Copyright © 2004 Christopher Publications.  All rights reserved.

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