"Flu" prevention options
Sorry can’t make it to pilates tonight!
A lot of my clients "got the ‘flu" this year and had to email their apologies, “sorry can’t make it to pilates tonight”. Sometimes it could be a month before I’d see them again. This really bugs me. I don’t like seeing my clients sick. And besides, it’s bad for business. So I'm sharing with you how I've reduced my influenza and colds risk...
Advocating nutrition and lifestyle optionsThis article advocates nutrition and lifestyle to guard agains flu and colds. It is considered a little bit "non pc" by the pro-vaccine lobby so in fairness to them I've provided a link to the American authority on flu vaccinations, the CDC. The CDC's articles give a fair and non-biased discussion on flu but they do what medical authorities always do: they fail to recommend the use of nutritional and alternative styles of prevention. Read the CDC's advice here: Prevent Seasonal Flu. If you spot nutritional and alternative advice in the CDC's articles then please let me know. But I'm pretty sure you won't!
Ineffectiveness of ‘flu vaccine against the common coldFlu vaccination is 100% ineffective against the common cold. It doesn't work against colds because it's not designed to work against colds. It's designed to work against Influenza. Adults get the common cold 3-4 times per year (reference 6). The American based Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that flu rates vary from 5 to 20% of the population from year to year so that on average adults could get the flu about once every seven years. A few (not many) might get the flu more often than once in 5 years (reference 7). This means that over 7 years you might have 28 colds and one bout of the flu. Don't take my word for it. Check out reference 7 below.
Partial effectiveness of ‘flu vaccine against influenzaFlu bugs change all the time which makes them a moving target for the drug companies who have to decide which strains of flu to put in the vaccine well before the flu season starts. In a good year (about half the time), the drug companies get a good match between the ‘flu strains and the vaccine and the vaccine might be 40 to 60% effective(8). In a bad year it’s a lot less. In America in 2004/2005, it was 10% effective(1). In 2014/2015 it was 18% effective(1). Considering the vaccine companies are working with a moving target I think they do an amazing job. I’m not saying don’t vaccinate. If that’s what you doctor wants then it's one of your options and you should consider it. If you are indispensable (solo mum, sole charge businessman), that would be a good reason to vaccinate. But nutrition and lifestyle options may work better.
How often will a flu shot stop you getting the "flu?If the vaccine is on average effective a third of the time and you get a bout of the 'flu every 7 years, how often will a regularly vaccinated person benefit from a flu shot? Answer: a flu shot would stop that person getting the flu once every 21 years. They would still get two bouts of the flu in those 21 years. Hopefully these bouts of flu would be a little less severe due to partial vaccine immunity but this is not proven. With high exposure jobs like airline steward or nurse the risk of getting flu goes up and so frequency of avoiding flu via vaccination would be higher. But nutritional support gives some protection from colds and flu's every year.
High risk personsPeople with diabetes and damaged lungs are much more likely to need flu related hospitalisation(8). For these people the flu may be life threatening and it makes sense to vaccinate. But again, nutrition and lifestyle options to prevent these (largely preventable) chronic illnesses are a good alternative if applied over a lifetime.
Consider your optionsI used to suffer severe ‘flu and colds but I don’t now (touch wood!) I do take vitamin D during late winter (daily is best). I do take 50 grams a day of of whey protein for it’s lactoferrin and other immune promoting content (lactoferrin may reduce the rates and severity of colds and influenza by as much half). I do take coconut oil in my green tea (it’s a surprisingly pleasant drink).
I don’t take statins which have been shown to lower the immune response to ‘flu vaccine(1). And besides, my blood tests don't indicate a need - probably due to the dietary interventions just listed, thank goodness! And I don’t take the ‘flu shot either because research shows that each year you take the vaccine it becomes a little less effective than the previous(1), and there's always a small risk of vaccine reaction. Better to wait until there's a really serious influenza epidemic (think 1918 Spanish ‘flu), in my opinion.
SummaryTo avoid colds, improve your nutrition. To enhance resilience to the flu improve your nutrition. To improve the chance of solid immunity from flu vaccination improve your nutrition. If you have a chronic disease such as diabetes or are exposed to flu frequently, e.g. air line staff, then consider vaccination and improve your nutrition. Did I make my point?
Further readingI wrote this blog to share with you some cold and flu prevention options. These are options I'm pretty certain will see you at my pilates classes on a more regular basis. I love seeing my clients. In fact you are the best part of my day. And I don’t like to see you suffering. So take time to read up the issues. Feel free to drop me a line and voice your opinion.
- Flu Vaccine Effectiveness in Question
- Corral the Common Cold with Whey Protein Supplement
- Vitamin D Is More Effective Than Flu Vaccine, Study Says
- How monolaurin can help you fight the flu
- 1918 Spanish ‘flu
- Colds and flu statistics
- Overview of the Flu
- Vaccine Effectiveness - How Well Does the Flu Vaccine Work?
- Should flu vaccination be mandatory for healthcare workers?