There is always an argument for, and against, the flu vaccine. But it is usually never so simple as there are other factors to weigh.

Flu vaccinations. To do them, or not is the yearly question we ask ourselves. Often, with my patients we talk about the pros and cons of getting this vaccination. Together, we look at the risk factors to exposure of the flu like where my patients work, their age, and their overall health status to determine what is best for them. Usually, my gut instinct is to not vaccinate, but I have to evaluate what is best for each one of my patients. I have never had the flu shot, nor at this point do I see where I would personally need it; however, this is not always the case for my patients.

There is one big issue when it comes to the flu shot besides the other ingredients, or adjuvants, that are found in the shot. The issue is we are trying to figure out what the flu is going to look like based on the flu that is current to Asian countries. We, as scientists and medical professionals, make our best educated predictions as to what the flu strain will do. But we have to remember that this is a living thing we are talking about, and it can do the unexpected. According to the CDC, Influenza A, or H3N2, has underwent an antigenic drift. What this means is the current vaccine cannot latch on to the virus like it was intended to because there has been a change in the protein structure of the virus. Dr. Duke Carlson, a family doctor at TexomaCare in Denison, has said “...[b]ut they can still latch on. I mean, [the vaccine is] still effective. Just not as effective.”

Thus, if we have a less than effective flu vaccination being given to people then there is a higher chance of getting the flu with or without the vaccination regardless. This is where good Naturopathic Medicine, and its treatment options, come into play along with common sense. Here are my top ten things to do to help protect you, and your family, from getting sick this holiday season.

  • Avoid the sugar. I feel like I have beaten this one into the ground, but sugar wreaks havoc on the immune system.
  • Wash your hands. Yes, your mother taught you this when you were little, but remember to sing the alphabet song, or happy birthday, in your head as you soap up your hands. Wash your hands before you eat, before you touch your face, family, or others.
  • Sleep. If you are feeling run down then you need to sleep. Remember to do the wet sock treatment.
  • If sick, do not go to work. Your co-workers, and the people you interact with, don’t want your sickness. Taking a day, or two, off will help you come back healthier faster than if you just continued working.
  • Know what supplements to add in to support your own unique physiology. What supplements work for one do not always work for everyone else.
  • Exercise. Thirty minutes a day can help to support your immune system, and help keep you healthy. This will not only help you physically, but also mentally and emotionally.
  • Eat fresh foods. The vitamins, minerals, and wholeness of these foods support your system. While packed and processed foods are simpler to pick up they are more taxing on the body, and much lower in nutritional value.
  • Make your soul sing. Do whatever you can to bring joy into your life. Avoid the negative people, laugh, sing, dance, and even cry. Allow your emotions to transport you to happier places, and make your soul sing and giggle at the same time.
  • Say no. It’s ok to do this. You don’t have to go to every event, or try to be everything to everyone. Instead, try saying yes to your own personal time.
  • Get in to see a Naturopathic Doctor when you are not feeling well. We will help you tailor a treatment plan that will suit your needs taking into account the individual person that you are.

May you stay well this holiday season, and enjoy lots of laughter, love, and happiness with family and friends.