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It’s all every parent talked about on the sidelines during one of our kiddos’ soccer games a few days ago. Well, between game-induced cheers and gasps and groans, that is.
One family lamented that they hadn’t yet gotten their flu shots.
We choose not to get flu shots because:
- All adult formulations of the flu vaccine still contain Thimerosal, (a mercury preservative), and many contain amounts above federal safety guidelines. The child formulation, for ages 6 to 35 months, contains trace amounts of Thimerosal. This is the case even though the EPA and the FDA directed the vaccine manufacturers to take mercury out of all childhood vaccines. In 2001, the Institute of Medicine issued a report that said it is “biologically plausible” that mercury-containing vaccines could cause injury to the brain.”
- Moderate reactions to the flu vaccine include fever, pain / redness / swelling at the site of the injection, headache, fatigue, sore throat, nasal congestion, cough, joint & muscle pain, and nausea. Serious complications include brain inflammation, convulsions, Bell’s palsy, limb paralysis, neuropathy, shock, wheezing/asthma, and other breathing problems.
- As of July 2012, there have been more than 84,000 reports of reactions, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths following flue vaccinations, including over 1,000 related deaths and over 1,600 cases of Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS — a disabling neurological disorder that involves temporary or permanent paralysis that can lead to death and has been causally related to influenza vaccinations).
- According to the CDC, the flu shot has been 60-70% effective in protecting against the flu in past flu seasons — and that’s been the case even when the match between the vaccine and the predicted strains of the flu virus is close!
- Vaccines contain many awful ingredients that we’d rather avoid, including cells from other species of animals.
You should make your own decision about whether to get a flu shot based on what’s best for you and your family, in consultation with your doctor. For us, though, it’s a no-go.
So how do we protect our family’s health during flu season?
Well, there are many things I’m a DIYer about — for example, raising The Ditzy Chicks, feeding them local soy-free non-GMO feed, deep cleaning their coop several times a year, maintaining a mealworm farm for them, and so on . . . just to provide our family with fresh eggs produced right in our own backyard.
But there are many other things I’d rather contract out. That fire cider recipe that goes around every fall? Yeah, my kiddos wouldn’t go for that. Call it the 80/20 rule, or the good-better-best theory — I do what I can and try not to sweat the rest.
So in the spirit of encouraging you to start where you are and do what you can, I’m sharing with you how we deal with the flu (and any other bugs that come around) — and how you can, too, without having to plan ahead, mix a teaspoon of this and a tablespoon of that, melt stuff together over a double boiler, and so on. In other words, this is the the plug-and-play, non-DIYer way . And for the parent who — like me — would rather sit with my kiddo in my arms and provide that kind of comfort than stand in the kitchen concocting the latest potion. That’s just me, your mileage may vary. 😉
Practice Good Hygiene.
Good hygiene is important year-round, but especially in any family with children. Between school, sports, clubs, playgrounds, outings, holidays, and so on, we have to be consistent with hygiene because it’s our primary defense against any contagious bugs — flu or otherwise. Here’s what we do:
- We wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water. And it’s always the first thing we do when we return home from being out. We also make sure not to touch our eyes, noses, or mouths while we’re out. I make our own foaming hand soap by simply diluting Dr. Bronner’s castile liquid soap with water in a 10:1 ratio — so inexpensive!
- We use sanitizer on our hands in the absence of soap and water. For convenience, we like this pocket-sized hand sanitizer from Clean Well. They tuck in to lunchboxes, purses, sports equipment bags, backpacks, wherever. I keep Clean Well’s larger bottles floating around in our cars. These products are naturally antibacterial, free of alcohol & triclosan, and safe for kids.
- If we cough or sneeze, we cover our faces with our upper arms or elbows, rather than with our hands.
Support A Strong Immune System.
Continuing with our belief that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, here are the things we do to build up and support our immunity, as well as when we suspect we’ve been exposed to a bug:
- Limit our sugar intake. Yes, sugar works against our immune system by feeding all the yuckies.
- Drink lots and lots of water.
- Take multivitamins. I like the ones made by Garden of Life because their kids’, women’s, and men’s formulas contain probiotics, enzymes, essential trace minerals, and CoQ10 — plus they’re vegetarian & gluten-free, and made from whole foods and organic fruits & vegetables.
- Load up on vitamin C, zinc, echinacea, and elderberry. Note that these are all yummy chewables — perfect for the kiddos . . . and some grown-ups, too!
Take on the bugs — head on!
- My kiddos’ favorite natural cough syrup, made with buckwheat honey, cinnamon, zinc, apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, sea salt, and lemon balm.
- Cough drops that are gluten-free, very soothing, and a good distraction. Oh, and they’re mint chocolate flavor. Yup. You need some.
- Throat spray — raspberry mint flavored, to be precise — that my kiddos actually like. This stuff is seriously yummy.
- Hyland’s Homeopathic flu tablets dissolve quickly. They’re made for kids.
- An herbal tea — already in tea bags for ease of use — made with a blend of linden, chamomile, peppermint, and elder flowers. This one is specially made for kids. Four of my kiddos like it. Two of them won’t drink it, no matter what I mix it with. Oh well.
- Chewable Umcka cold & flu tablets. We notice some relief within the same day.
- Colloidal silver, for its antimicrobial properties. Bonus — it has no flavor whatsoever and tastes like plain ol’ water!
- An organic chest rub that is easier to buy than to make. 😉 Made with melaleuca, eucalyptus, and coconut oil, it’s for everyone in the family (even though it has ‘baby’ in its label)!
- Homeopathic multi-symptom formulas for the flu or for colds.
- The amazing neti pot, good for anything respiratory, whether it’s due to bacterial/viral infections, allergies, or anything else. One of our kiddos uses it year-round, but it’s especially helpful for you if you have congestion or nasal irritation because it cleans the passages gently and thoroughly.
Go for the TKO.
If nothing else, here’s what I insist any of us takes when we’re sick because we’ve yet to encounter a bug (yes, including the swine flu!) that survives this combination for any significant amount of time:
- Lots of garlic — fresh, pickled, in dishes, and in capsule form.
- Oil of oregano — my absolute favorite remedy for everything under the sun. It’s anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial. We keep both the capsules and the oil itself on hand and choose which to use depending on the need. The advantage of the capsules is that you don’t have to deal with the taste. The advantage of the pure oil is that we start to feel relief within minutes. This stuff WORKS, period. That said, I cannot and will not recommend that you ingest essential oils.
- Side note — you’ll definitely want to replenish your gut flora with after you’re done fighting off the flu. Of course, I suggest local raw milk from pastured cows, plus cultured foods like kefir and yogurt. And things I ferment myself using whey — like veggies, salsa, and mayonnaise. But since this is the non-DYIer way, what I suggest is taking these probiotic capsules which contain twelve strains of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) , fermented vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, & seaweed, prebiotics, and enzymes. They’re also vegetarian, gluten-free, and non-GMO. Score!
You may have noticed that I didn’t include anything specifically for lowering a fever. Check with your doctor about the temperature at which you should go in for an appointment. Anywhere below that threshold, I just don’t treat. A fever is the body’s way of fighting off invaders by making conditions in the body inhospitable — ie raising the temperature. So in our family, we prefer to work with our body’s natural reaction, rather than against it.
I hope that y’all now feel a little more prepared for the next time you get sick — Just be sure to keep that cabinet well-stocked!
And please share other off-the-shelf remedies that have worked for you in the comments!This post was featured at Wellness Wednesdays.