Let me start off by first saying that as a Registered Nurse who leads a Natural Wellness Community, I get a TON of messages and emails about my opinion and decision with the flu shot every year. This year has been no different, so I figured I would just drop a blog to help support others in their attempt to be the HEALTHIEST they can be this winter season. I am NOT here to start a debate. I am here to simply support and inform. I hope that this blog will be insightful, eyeopening, and helpful!
One of my biggest pet peeves about “flu season” (which I hate that we call it a “season”), and especially within the healthcare profession, is the HARD forceful push for the flu vax without addressing the other REALLY important factors that need to be considered to prevent & support illness of ANY kind (including the flu). Basic Prevention is the first line of defense:
WASH YOUR HANDS AND COVER YOUR MOUTH.
This needs to be BRAINWASHED not only into healthcare professionals (for the most part it is), but it also needs to be on Highway Billboards & in Doctor Office education just as much as the Flu Shot signs and education are. As simple and crazy as this principle sounds, so many forget and neglect it. The bottom line is that Big reminders could make a BIG difference, and we don’t push it enough.
No matter whether you get the flu shot or not, we need to focus JUST AS MUCH on natural prevention and boosting our immune systems. So many institutions and companies make people think that if you get the flu shot, you’re safe. Part of me wonders if ALL of the people who get the flu who’ve received the flu shot took precaution in other ways? And part of me wonders if they actually were informed and educated on the other ways to defend themselves, other than just the shot? If people who received the vax cared enough to take precaution with the shot, I feel they would care enough to learn other scientifically proven preventative measures and take action with those too. I know some who do, but I’ve also observed many who don’t.
For most in healthcare, the vax is to protect the immunocompromised & sick patients. So why would we not be aggressively addressing ALL ways to prevent in the same way we do the vaccine? Prevention is Prevention, am I right? But there doesn’t seem to be billions of dollars to be made in the health and prevention industry, just sayin.
Let’s say I’m a person who lives a sedentary lifestyle, eats fast-food daily because I’m a burned out tired nurse and I’m stressed all of the time. I want what’s quick, easy, and tastes good. I live off of coffee and soda & I have no energy. I get the flu shot, and receive the flu a month later. At that time, what if proper self care (exercise, eating right, hydrating, taking vitamins, eating a high plant based diet, probiotics, herbal teas etc) and other natural preventative measures could have played a part in protecting me (and supporting my immune system)? Maybe the virus I was affected by didn’t even contain the strands that the vaccine did! So I had ZERO defense at that point. Remember, that’s the “risk” we take with the vaccine. It may not cover what the current virus is at that time. Viruses aggressively morph to survive.
So let me ask you this, if we have research that shows how obesity has been scientifically proven to increase risk of infection, decrease immune response to illness, and also has been shown to have decreased response to vaccines including the flu shot, does that mean we should force every healthcare professional to get healthy, eat well, maintain a specific weight, or else they won’t have their job? Doesn’t seem right, does it? So does forcing healthy, prophylactic, natural immune supporting human beings to receive the flu shot mean we should force unhealthy, obese individuals to get healthier, lose weight, or risk losing their jobs if they don’t, too? Because that is increasing your risk for contracting illness, even the flu, since you may have a weakened response to the vaccine and/or a weaker immune system to defend yourself if you do get hit. At the end of the day that’s still putting others at risk, yet we don’t see health food education or research and statistics on this issue anywhere during flu season. Food for thought.
Again, the whole point of the Vaccine is to prevent and lessen the severity through BOOSTING YOUR BODY’S IMMUNE RESPONSE TO THOSE SPECIFIC STRANDS OF THE FLU THAT YOU WERE VAXED AGAINST THAT WE CAN ONLY PREDICT! If by some chance, you are hit with the flu and strand that was NOT addressed in this years flu vax, what’s you’re defense other than the current state of your immune system? And if you’re currently in an unhealthy state: obese, stressed, on immunosuppressive agents, diabetic, etc, that flu is going to hit HARD. And who knows WHO you will come in contact with and expose that to. See where I’m going with this?
Your immune system is what FIGHTS anything that your body encounters, including the flu. The stronger your body’s defense system, the less servere your symptoms will be and the quicker you will recover. That’s the reason we push the vax. It’s supposed to make your immune system stronger and more defensive against the predicted strands of flu. Your immune system IS the reason you recover. It’s not like you get the flu and it’s got some timeline it HAS to stay in your body. The bottom line is, the stronger your immune system & the more support you give it before and during that acute process, the less severe the symptoms can be and the quicker the healing if you are affected. We fail to address and educate on these VITAL matters EVEN WHILE pushing the flu shot!
Why are these vital? Because what if the flu shot ISN’T as effective as predicted? What if the strands injected AREN’T what is in this years flu virus when it hits? What if your body receives the vax and builds up immunity to strands that your body ends up NOT being affected by? So my question is, what kind of protection and defense do you have now? Isn’t the goal of the vax to “keep us healthy?” If the whole point is for the vax to boost & support our immune response to specific strands of flu and then we get hit with a completely different morphed strand (which is likely because that’s what viruses do, they morph rapidly so that they can survive), like I asked before, what kind of defense does your immune system have now? We need to support in ALL ways, and again, we don’t talk about this!
So….when people get hit with the flu who’ve received the vax and the symptoms are BAD, most likely at this point, they’ve thrown all their marbles in one jar: The Vaccine. They didn’t take prophylactic action in others ways to naturally support their immune system, and they most likely didn’t take action during, with the below interventions that I’m going to discuss. Therefore, that flu hit HARD and they suffered! And yah, the flu sucks. But one must wonder how less severe those symptoms would have been had they supported their immune system, the SAME immune system the flu vax is supposed to support for PREDICTED strands, naturally in other ways?
Many feel confident in their ability to support their body naturally. Some really, at their core, feel just as passionately about NOT getting the vaccine as those who DO. And I want people to know, that as crazy and eye rolling as it sounds to some, many people (especially nurses) feel criminalized being told they HAVE to receive the shot or they will lose their job. Some people are very informed and educated about case studies and research done on the potential short and long-term adverse side effects of this vaccine. Some people (myself included) are also aware of the unimpressive statistics and breakdown of the efficacy of the vaccine per the CDC, and don’t feel comfortable putting that in their bodies and taking the risk of the potential threats that the chemical constitutes in the flu vaccine pose. The risks simply outweigh the benefit in their eyes, and they are educated and confident in their alternative approach if they are affected. Here’s a really great article discussing statistics per the CDC and the breakdown of vaccine efficacy, potential side effects, and different types of flu vaccines, including pro’s & cons. And for some (many nurses I know), it can feel like they are being blacklisted for just wanting to do the right & safest thing for their body. Nobody wants to hurt anyone else. Nobody wants anyone to suffer or get sick. We all want to be well and we all need to make educated decisions for ourselves in doing so.
At the end of the day, people receiving and not receiving the flu shot are BOTH, at their core, trying to protect themselves. Interesting thought, isn’t it?
Foe nurses and people who chose to not receive the flu vax, it’s not an easy route. They don’t want to anyone hurt. They don’t want anyone sick. They simply want to do and make a decision that is best for their physical and emotional health. Yes, this is an emotional and spiritual decision for many on both sides of the fence. And if they are responsible, researched, and educated, they will do just fine in preventing and dealing with the the flu if it hits, no matter the decision. But as a Nurse, I want to say this. Know your state laws with religious exemptions. Know your rights as a healthcare employee in your state (not in your hospital). Advocate for yourself. If you truly feel at your core that you should’t get the flu vaccine, then you need to step up and advocate for yourself.
I want you guys to know this. My heart and intention is for everyone to stay healthy and support their body in such a way that their immune system is STRONG and CAPABLE of dealing with ANYTHING that gets sent their way, including the flu. I want you to know that some people are extremely prophylactic and cautious in making a decision about the flu shot, on BOTH ends. I will never judge anyone for making a decision WISLEY, being researched, and taking precaution to protect their health no matter their choice to vax or not. But I do ask that before you have an opinion on EITHER side, that you do your research, know the facts, and respect the educated and researched beliefs of others.
You know and can see the difference between someone being researched & informed, and someone who just wants to be dumb, emotional, impulsive, and cause a scene. There’s too many of the latter out there. Knowledge and research is what drives me. It’s what allows me to confidently make the decisions for my health, family, and life that I do, and not just an ignorant statement or decision based off of the opinions & beliefs of others around me. I see that all too much. I know it’s easy for the flu shot to be a no brainer for so many. “If the CDC says it works and my doctor says it works, then I must get it! It’s safe, I dont want to get sick, and it’s supposed to be good!”
Here’s the deal. I research EVERYTHING because I’ve learned this the hard way in life! My research started when I saw the “Buy a Flu Shot, Get a $10 Starbucks Gift Card for Free” billboard on I75. Someone’s making money off this stuff. Turns out, the flu vaccine is a billion dollar industry alone. And most ALL flu shot studies and stats have been funded by pharmaceutical companies and the CDC themselves (the people who make the money from these vaccines).
CVS, Walmart, & Walgreens aren’t paying for expensive billboards, radio ads, commercials, and people flipping flu shot signs out front because they care about your health. They’re paying for them because the flu shot makes them millions to billions of dollars annually. And trust me, they’ll go along and use all forceful scare tactics and skewed stats if it makes them the big bucks! That’s the sad healthcare world we live in right now. I was already a little reserved about the flu shot and its contents, but this awareness of the money making industry that it is made me dive deeper into the safety concerns and true efficacy of the vax. I encourage both sides of the fence to dive deep. Make decisions for yourself and have the research, education, and a PLAN to back up your decision. It 100% gives you the confidence and backbone to make your decision and move forward, despite the opinions of others.
When people bash others for their decisions, it eats at me. You don’t know the experiences in life, the research they’ve done, or what they’ve seen that drives them to make the decisions that they do. You really don’t. At the end of the day, the GOAL is to be healthy. The goal is to take the best care of yourself and make the decisions that you need to make for yourself and your family, again, to be emotionally, physically, and spiritually well. Many of those decisions involve really deep emotions. So RESPECT the decisions of others. Support each other in HEALTH and with kindness. Your rude, impulsive, and passive aggressive opinions will not change anyone else. Let me know the last time that you accomplished your goal in changing someones opinion in such a way…..
So I want to end with some powerful education and ways we can TRULY support our health naturally! Let’s start with the basics again, because the Basics are BIG!
•Wash your hands like you have OCD!
•Cover your mouth always! (and hold your breathe on an elevator…I do this )!
•Be smart and aware of the people wiping their nose or sneezing/coughing around you. Sounds silly, but that’s part of prevention. Pray attention to how many doorknobs, handle bars, and shopping carts you touch all day!!! WASH YO’ HANDS!!!!
•Almost 80% of our immune system resides in our gut. Many pathogens get into your bloodstream through your intestines. The stronger your gut health and the more healthy your microbiome (probiotics), the more defense your body will have to fend off the bad guys that try to sneak into your bloodstream.
Ways to boost your immune system Naturally:
•Echinacea tea nightly (I drink it all day long when I’m sick). Super powerhouse that boosts your immune system and stimulates white blood cell production.
(I do one cup every night before bed. When I feel like I’m getting sick, I literally drink it all day long (5-6 cups a days).
•Probiotics (supplements, kombucha, apple cider vinegar, fermented veggies) and multivitamin daily! This helps support health immune response in the gut and keeps your cells healthy and strong so that in the event of an emergency (the flu), they can of their thing!
•Green smoothies daily! (High antioxidants and vitamins to support that immune – love me spinach, kale, Mango, blueberries, Ginger & banana)!
•Move your body DAILY to stimulate your lymph system which helps detox and keep your cells healthy! It also supports immune function!!
•Stay away from the processed crap (fast food) and processed sugar, that feeds bacteria and causes cellular inflammation and leads to chronic & acute disease. When cells are inflamed and damaged, they become sluggish and can’t do their job optimally, INCLUDING our immune & fighter cells.
•Drink water all day long- healthy cells!
•Fish oil (I use a high quality grade fish oils with a 1:1 EPA to DHA ratio & take daily) – cellular & brain health.
•Eat lots of phytonutrients –rich antioxidants and vitamins to support your immune system – PLANTS ARE MEDICINE! This article is amazing.
•Diffuse PURE protective essential oils: (cinnamon bark, clove, lemon, wild orange, Eucalyptus, Rosemary). Those are germ destroying and also immune stimulants.
•ACF Immune Support – Natural herbal immune stimulant and support. Tastes not so great, but supportive during acute phase. You can find this at whole foods. Read directions on bottle.
•Elderberry Syrup – really incredible for acute symptoms if affected. Check out my Sister’s Recipe!
•Turmeric & Ginger – powerful anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. So so so good for you and can be really soothing. I typically drink this in tea form DURING acute illness. You can add raw honey too if you have a sore throat. Great for airways and sinuses. You can use a store bought brand or make your own at home.
•Again, Wash your hands, cover your mouth.
If they pushed this science & information above just as much as they pushed the flu vax, we’d all be healthier every season regardless of our decision to vax or not. And that is FACT. The goal is to hyper-support your immune system. We have one for the very natural purpose of SURVIVING! We love to share all of the drugs and vaccines that can vamp it up, but we fail to ignore all of the science and research out there that SHOW how to support it naturally. Our bodies and our minds are pretty incredible, and have the ability to do GREAT things in a healthy state.
I’ll end with this. Eating processed foods, sugar & fast foods combined with not moving your body and supporting your mental health is like putting the wrong gas into your car, not getting oil changes or putting air in the tires, and not getting maintenance done. It’s not going to last and it’s not going to function optimally. This is exactly how your body works, including your immune system.
So whether you get the flu shot or not, please do all that you can to keep both you and your family healthy this season! Don’t let anyone push their opinion on you. Don’t put out a post asking what others do. That’s always a debate and disaster waiting to happen. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH AND MAKE THE BEST EDUCATED DECISION THAT MAKES THE MOST SENSE FOR YOU! I will never judge anyone for making an educated, researched, and informed decision if AT THEIR CORE they feel it’s the right decision physically, spiritually, and emotionally for them.
As a Nurse, my heart is to take the BEST care of my patients. I never want to harm them or put them in danger. My life is built around being the healthiest version of my self, both physically and emotionally. That involves putting into my body what I know is good, and staying away from what I know could potentially cause harm. This includes inflammatory foods and toxic chemicals. Am I perfect? Heck no. But do I try for the most part to be pretty consistent? Most definitely.
Taking care of my physical health is a HUGE part of how I take care of my emotional health. When I support my body with what I know fights disease instead of feeds it, and when I move it more often than I don’t, it keeps me emotionally balanced and gives me peace of mind that I am doing ALL that I can to be healthy. Healthy feels good. I’ve been on the other end: tired, angry, depressed, sick all of the time, achey, anxious….the list goes on. It didn’t feel good. Making these decisions for my heath and life allows me to rest in knowing that I am taking the best care of myself that I can, and that’s all I can do.
Your health is a journey. Your body and mind is BEAUTIFUL AND SACRED. Treat it well, and be kind to others. At the end of the day, I’m just trying to make the BEST decision that I can based off of my own research and education so that I can live a healthy and happy life. Know the risks. Research EVERYthing that you can. DIVE into the data. Really read deeply into the results and learn what exactly is being measured. Don’t just take someones words for anything, regardless of their credentials. We’re at a place in time where you can learn and research a LOT on your own. Be your own advocate. And with that knowledge and research, make the best decision for yourself. No matter your decision, remember what can by naturally done on your end to support your body the best that you can this winter season.
Be well. Be Kind. Be the Boss of your Health.
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