Wednesday, September 30, 2009

WHY you should avoid the flu shot

This article is worth reading. Our family never has gotten the flu shot and none of us have ever gotten the flu either.

Studies show that flu vaccines are unsafe and ineffective.

Signs and Symptoms of Influenza

As most of you probably know, influenza is a contagious viral respiratory infection. Symptoms include:

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Runny nose

  • Sore throat

  • Cough

  • Muscle aches

  • Fatigue

  • Decreased appetite

Typically, the condition will improve after two to three days of bed rest, although some symptoms may persist for about a week.

What many people do NOT know, however, is that death caused directly by the flu virus is very rare. The vast majority of so-called “flu deaths” are in fact due to bacterial pneumonia – a potential complication of the flu if your immune system is too weak.

Other complications can include ear- or sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic health conditions.

The elderly and people with other pre existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, are at higher risk of developing pneumonia after a bout of the flu.

The Flu Vaccine Does Not Prevent the Flu, nor Protect Against the Vast Majority of Flu-Related Deaths

The conventional treatment for bacterial pneumonia is an antibiotic, not a viral flu drug, so to think that taking a flu vaccine will prevent death from pneumonia doesn’t really make sense.

“But the vaccine will prevent the flu, which will prevent the possibility of developing pneumonia,” some might say.

That sounds good in theory, but the statistics simply do not support this assertion.

Because study after study, and master studies that compile the results from several studies to get a more objective result, keep coming to the same conclusion: Flu vaccines DO NOT WORK, and in many cases do more harm than good.

In fact, one shocking statistic brought to light in this video is that BEFORE the CDC advocated vaccinating children under the age of five, the number of children dying from the flu was very low, and on the decline.

Then, in 2003, just after children aged five and under started getting vaccinated, the number of flu deaths SKYROCKETED. The death toll was enormous compared to the previous year, when the flu vaccine was not administered en masse to that age group!

How anyone can consider a strategy that yields a higher death toll to be a “success” is a mystery to me.

The Problem with Flu Death Statistics

However, as frightening as much of this may sound, it’s important to keep things in perspective. According to the statistics shown in the video above, more Americans die from asthma, and even malnutrition each year, than the flu.

Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grossly distort the facts about flu deaths, making the flu virus seem far more dangerous than is warranted. On the CDC’s main flu page, they state that about 36,000 people die from the flu in the United States each year.

But if you search a little harder, you can find the actual number of people who died from the flu in 2005 (this is the most recent data that’s available) was 1,806. The remainder was caused by pneumonia. In 2004, there were just 1,100 actual flu deaths.

The statistics the CDC gives are skewed partly because they classify those dying from pneumonia as dying from the flu, which is inaccurate.

How is the Flu Vaccine Made?

This is another area that many people do not understand or take into consideration before getting a seasonal flu shot.

In January or February of each year, health authorities travel to Asia to determine which strains of the flu are currently active. Based on their findings in Asia, they assume that the same strains of viruses will spread to the U.S. by fall.

At this point, U.S. vaccine manufacturers start making that season’s flu vaccine, which will contain the strains found in Asia. However, if the viral strains circulating in the U.S. that season are not identical to those in Asia, the vaccine you receive is a complete dud.

And to add insult to injury, you’ve just been injected with a laundry list of harmful ingredients.

What’s in the Seasonal Flu Vaccine?

The flu strains selected are cultivated in chick embryos for several weeks before being inactivated with formaldehyde, which is a known cancer-causing agent. Then they’re preserved with thimerosal, which is 49 percent mercury by weight.

Even many health care professionals are confused about this and are not aware that the preservative thimerosal is mercury. As a quick side note, one of my chief writers told me that, “the doctor’s office told me the vaccine does not contain mercury, just something called thimerosal.”

Please, don’t be fooled by this incredible ignorance. If you have carefully studied this issue there is a great possibility you may know more than your physician about this topic. Don’t back down if they tell you something you otherwise know to be true.

According to the CDC, the majority of flu vaccines contain thimerosal. Some contain as much as 25 mcg of mercury per dose. This means that it may contain more than 250 times the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety limit for mercury.

By now, most people are well aware that children and fetuses are most at risk of damage from this neurotoxin, as their brains are still developing. Yet the CDC still recommends that children over 6 months, and pregnant women, receive the flu vaccine each year.

In addition to mercury, flu vaccines also contain other toxic or hazardous ingredients like:

  • Aluminum -- a neurotoxin that has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease

  • Triton X-100 -- a detergent

  • Phenol (carbolic acid)

  • Ethylene glycol (antifreeze)

  • Betapropiolactone - a disinfectant

  • Nonoxynol - used to kill or stop growth of STDs

  • Octoxinol 9 - a vaginal spermicide

  • Sodium phosphate

How Safe is the Flu Vaccine?

Serious reactions to the flu vaccine include, but are not limited to:

  • Life-threatening allergies to various ingredients

  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome (a severe paralytic disease that is fatal in about 1 in 20 cases)

  • Encephalitis (brain inflammation)

  • Neurological disorders

  • Thrombocytopenia (a serious blood disorder)

How Effective is the Flu Vaccine?

Remember that the potential effectiveness of a flu vaccine is dependent on the ASSUMPTION, made nearly a year in advance, that Asia’s viral strains will be the ones hitting the U.S. When they guess wrong, the vaccine is worthless from the very start.

But does that mean they withdraw the flu vaccine when they discover it contains the wrong strains? NO! They just keep giving it out anyway.

But even if they were to overcome that hurdle and actually select the correct strains, there’s still no evidence that it does anyone any good to get a flu vaccine.

Study after study comes back showing the same dismal results: the flu vaccines are not an effective method of prevention of the flu, and they do not save lives. As mentioned earlier, they may even be responsible for an increased death rate in some groups.

Sometimes determining efficacy is as easy as reading the information coming straight from the vaccine manufacturer.

How about this quote taken directly from the flu vaccine FLULAVAL’s package insert (which you likely never see when getting the flu shot) for the 2009-2010 formula:

" FLULAVAL is an influenza virus vaccine indicated for active immunization of adults 18 years of age and older against influenza disease caused by influenza virus subtypes A and type B contained in the vaccine. This indication is based on immune response elicited by FLULAVAL, and there have been no controlled trials demonstrating a decrease in influenza disease after vaccination with FLULAVAL.”

That’s right, NO controlled trials demonstrating ANY decrease in your risk of contracting the flu at all after vaccination! (It also states that each dose contains a total of 25 mcg of mercury.)

For those of you who are still unconvinced, know that there’s plenty of scientific evidence available to back up the recommendation to avoid flu vaccines. In addition to studies mentioned in the video, here are several other examples showing that flu vaccines do not work for any age group:

  • A study published in the October 2008 issue of the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that vaccinating young children against the flu had no impact on flu-related hospitalizations or doctor visits during two recent flu seasons.

The researchers concluded that "significant influenza vaccine effectiveness could not be demonstrated for any season, age, or setting" examined.

  • A 2008 study published in the Lancet found that influenza vaccination was NOT associated with a reduced risk of pneumonia in older people.

This supports an earlier study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

  • Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine also confirms that there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza and pneumonia in the elderly, despite the fact that vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent now.

  • In 2007, researchers with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious

Diseases, and the National Institutes of Health published this conclusion in the Lancet Infectious Diseases: “We conclude that frailty selection bias and use of non-specific endpoints such as all-cause mortality,have led cohort studies to greatly exaggerate vaccine benefits.”

  • A large-scale, systematic review of 51 studies, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2006, found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo in children. The studies involved 260,000 children, age 6 to 23 months.

Last but not least, I think it says a lot that 70 percent of doctors and nurses, and 62 percent of other health care workers do NOT get the yearly flu shot.

The reasons why they opted to not get vaccinated were:

  • They didn't believe the vaccine would work

  • They believed their immune systems were strong enough to withstand exposure to the flu

  • They were concerned about side effects

Might Influenza be Little More Than a Symptom of Vitamin D Deficiency?

Vitamin D, “the sunshine vitamin,” may very well be one of the most beneficial vitamins there is for disease prevention. Unfortunately it’s also one of the vitamins that a vast majority of people across the world are deficient in due to lack of regular exposure to sunshine.

Published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection in 2006, the hypothesis presented by Dr. John Cannell and colleagues in the paper Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D raises the possibility that influenza is a symptom of vitamin D deficiency.

The vitamin D formed when your skin is exposed to sunlight regulates the expression of more than 2,000 genes throughout your body, including ones that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses. Hence, being overwhelmed by the “flu bug” could signal that your vitamin D levels are too low, allowing the flu virus to overtake your immune system.

At least five studies show an inverse association between lower respiratory tract infections and 25(OH)D levels. That is, the higher your vitamin D level, the lower your risk of contracting colds, flu, and other respiratory tract infections:

  1. A 2007 study suggests higher vitamin D status enhances your immunity to microbial infections. They found that subjects with vitamin D deficiency had significantly more days of absence from work due to respiratory infection than did control subjects.

  2. A 2009 study on vitamin D deficiency in newborns with acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) confirmed a strong, positive correlation between newborns’ and mother’s vitamin D levels. Over 87 percent of all newborns and over 67 percent of all mothers had vitamin D levels lower than 20 ng/ml, which is a severe deficiency state.

Newborns with vitamin D deficiency appear to have an increased risk of developing ALRI, and since the child’s vitamin D level strongly correlates with its mother’s, the researchers recommend that all mothers’ optimize their vitamin D levels during pregnancy, especially in the winter months, to safeguard their baby’s health.

  1. A similar Indian study published in 2004 also reported that vitamin D deficiency in infants significantly raised their odds ratio for having severe ALRI.

  2. A 2009 analysis of the Third National Health andNutrition Examination Survey examined the association between vitamin D levelsand recent upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) in nearly 19,000 subjects over the age of 12.

    Recent URTI was reported by:

    • 17 percent of participants with vitamin D levels of 30ng/ml or higher

    • 20 percent of participants with vitamin D levels between 10-30 ng/ml.

    • 24 percent of participants with vitamin D levels below 10ng/ml

    The positive correlation between lower vitamin D levels and increased risk of URTI was even stronger in individuals with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

  3. Another 2009 report in the journal Pediatric Research stated that infants and children appear more susceptible to viral rather than bacterial infections when deficient in vitamin D. And that, based on the available evidence showing a strong connection between vitamin D, infections, and immune function in children, vitamin D supplementation may be a valuable therapy in pediatric medicine.

How to Prevent the Flu without Getting a Flu Shot

For most people the flu shot does not make you healthy; it does just the opposite and weakens your immune system.

If you follow a healthy lifestyle, you will not have to worry about getting the flu. Take it from me -- I’ve never received a flu shot, and I haven’t missed a day of work due to illness in over 20 years. The key steps that I follow to stay flu-free, which I suggest you follow too, include:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Swine flu paranoia humor

For those of you wondering, I am having a blast in my new role as teacher of 170 students, ranging in age from 1st through 12th. I teach music to the 1st - 12th graders throughout the week and I teach high school Spanish. I just love the daily moments, the hundreds of conversations that happen, the learning, the excitement students show when they grab a hold of a project you present.

I love that I walk down the hall and throw I love yous silently at my son who happens to sit near the door and can see me throughout the day as I traverse from office to copy machine to staff room. I love that every time he sees him, he leaves the line he is in to dash over to me for yet another kiss on the cheek.

I love seeing my little gal throughout the day, getting hugs and kisses from her all day long, and getting to see her in action at school.

I love that I totally know the kids my sprouts are playing with.

Once a month at our school, 7th - 12th graders spend the morning doing a service project in our community and then they get to pick a teacher led activity to do in the afternoon. Well this teacher offered a hike at a local State Park. So today, in the bright happy sun, I grabbed my Wildman Sprout son and Rennaisance Man husband and took 10 middle school and highschool kids out on a 5 mile hike. We all talked the entire time - getting to know each other even better and wishing we could do this every Friday. And I get paid for this??!!

What humors me about being in a school in the US is the paranoia over the Swine flu. I anticipate it will be at our school in a couple of weeks as it's already in our area - and I anticipate that my family will be down for a few days because of it - maybe not, but I am guessing so and frankly, I just want to get it done with.

So I leave with this humorous depiction of our country's current paranoia:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A thank you note I'd like to share with all of you

To my pastor:

Your sermon blessed us in many ways, but truly, it takes courage to be as transparent as you are, willing to be coming before the church with your own questions.

I don't think I have ever followed up with you over a conversation we had a few years back that set me in a direction of restoration. Your sermon reminded me about it all and I wanted to finally thank you and share with you what transpired.

Remember when I was sick? I dealt with a strange illness for nearly 2 years that resulted in a myriad of symptoms - daily fevers, fibromyalgea, adrenaline tremors, anxiety, no energy, depression and on and on. My whole chemical being was disturbed which kept triggering more problems (like the anxiety) and finally it triggered diabetes II. It was around that time, that when you asked me how I was doing I surprised myself even by saying I'd like to go stand in front of a train at times. It wasn't truly what I felt but after 8 months of being sick and then getting diagnosed with diabetes too I was at my lowest.

So, you pulled me into your office and I was half hoping you'd assure me that I'd be fine...that my body would snap out of this slump and that the nightmare would end...but NO, you said, "your real task is to figure out what you are going to do if you never get better". Oh man did that make me frustrated. Not at you...but at the thought that the hope I was living for that the sickness would end was not the right hope to have but I was challenged to replace my direction of hope from "someday I'll get better" to "what will be my attitude of praise be NOW as I am not necessarily assured that this will pass".

I let that thought simmer and boil in my mind and it slowly perculated down to my heart but it didn't really grab ahold of my heart until a year later. I thought about it often and kept challenging myself to let go of the anxiety and fears even in the midst of a scary situation. A good 9 months after you said that to me, I was finally diagnosed. I had Epstein Barr - the same virus that causes mono but in the EBV state is often called Chronic Fatigue Syndrom - and the doc said I'd probably be this way for 5 to 20 years or even for the rest of my life. So the truth of what you said was now a reality.

I was down for no more than a week before God grabbed me and said you can either stop living or you can grab my hand and keep on with as much joy as you can muster. I decided then and there that despite the diagnoses, I was going to start smiling, like Julie does. Maybe I could slowly trick my body into thinking I was happy. It was a first step anyway. I was going to LIVE fully, and praise HIm and not let this EBV be who I was but instead let the fact that I was a child of God, wholly and beautifully made by Him, be who I believed myself to be.

So God began a work to restore me spiritually. And about the time when I was feeling alive in Him again and not defeated by a diagnoses, the diabetes, anxiety, fibromyalgea, adrenal surges, sleepless nights, and fevers disappeared. So, He then healed me physically. Now, I did do things to help my body have a chance as I had no desire to be in this decrepid state for 5 to 20 years - like eat tons of organic veggies and fruit, exercise, etc. - but God did the healing.

I so love that through that one God appointed conversation that we had He was able to bring about Spiritual Restoration to me...and He chose to then bring about Physical Healing too. If he would have healed my body first before restoring my spiritual health, I would never have learned what I needed to learn or been deeply changed and molded by the whole ordeal. It would have been easy to bound around in Joy if he just healed me right away...but He instead insisted that I do what your challenge to me was: let go of the fears, Hang on to Him, keep the faith and the Joy for life in the MIDDLE of it.

It feels so good to feel so great again - but it feels even better to have been given the wisdom that only comes through trials and then Spiritual restoration as He did in me too.

So, since I am not sure I ever thanked you - thank you so much.