Flu Shot or Not?

October 13, 2009 at 2:15 am

flu shotThis is a very difficult decision weighing on the minds of many Americans right now as seasonal flu vaccines are readily available and the new H1N1 vaccine is close behind. The decision to receive the vaccine for yourself or for your child is a personal one that depends on numerous factors such as underlying health conditions, access to medical care, environmental exposures, and personal belief systems. It is important to remember that receiving the standard flu vaccine does not necessarily mean you will not get sick this fall or winter, and being mindful of natural immunity boosting practices may further prevent your risk of illness.

Thimerosal is a preservative containing mercury that is used to preserve the flu vaccines. The CDC reports that up to 50 million thimerosal-free vaccine doses will be available this season. When possible, try to request a preservative-free vaccine. If you are concerned about avoiding a reaction to the vaccine, contact Dr. Emily to discuss simple homeopathic remedies such as Arnica or Ledum that may help prevent adverse effects from the shot. Additional remedies may be helpful if symptoms occur after the vaccine.

If you choose not to receive the vaccine or would like to consider additional ways to bolster your immunity this winter, here are few wellness tips for cold/flu prevention:

  • Keep up the Vitamin D: If you spend most of your time indoors at work or at school, then you are most likely Vitamin D deficient.  Elevated blood levels of Vitamin D3 are correlated with increased immune protection as well as cancer prevention.
  • Eat the Rainbow: Enjoy a diet rich in a variety of fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts & seeds, and wild fish. Reduce or eliminate refined carbs, sugar, alcohol, & caffeine which may weaken the immune response.
  • Hydrate your body & your sinuses: Bump up your water intake this winter to help your body flush out any exposure to toxins &  rinse your sinuses regularly with a Neti Pot to prevent infections from establishing residence in your upper respiratory tract.
  • Exercise: Carve time to move your body with yoga, cardiovascular exercise or moderate walking. Regular exercise can enhance well-being and strengthen the immune system.
  • Cold-Rinse Showers: End your showers with a cool rinse for 15-30 seconds – especially over your thyroid gland (base of the neck) which stimulates metabolism and your thymus gland (center of the chest) which stimulates T-cell production.
  • REST:  Prioritize 7-8 hours for sleep each night. Much of our healing occurs while sleeping. Listen to your body and at the first sign of illness or feeling “worn out,” take time to rest.

(These statements are not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. It is important to consult with a healthcare practitioner if you experience symptoms of the flu or other illness.)

Entry filed under: fall, Wellness Tips, winter.

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