The “5th” Season- Protect Yourself from the Flu & the Flu Vaccine

flu-season-e1286218605690Fall is in the air and Winter is quickly around the corner. As we come to the end of October, the month of crisp morning air, football games, falling leaves, pumpkin everything, we begin to see signs and commercials sprouting up everywhere advertising the ‘flu vaccine.’ Fall, winter, and the flu seem to go hand in hand there are steps you can take right now to protect yourself and others from getting the flu this year. But beware – the flu vaccine isn’t the answerInfluenza or the ‘flu’ as we call it is a contagious respiratory infection that is spread through coughing, sneezing, talking, or even touching surfaces contaminated with influenza. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year 24,000 people die from flu related complications.According to the CDC, flu symptoms can include any or all of the following:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

The CDC, doctors, pharmacists, and drug stores promote the flu vaccine as the key way to avoid the flu and suffering from these uncomfortable symptoms. What you must know is that the flu vaccine has never been proven to ward off the flu or decrease its severity. When you get the flu vaccine you risk dangerous side effects too. In fact, some of these nasty side effects are much more to worry about than the flu.

Of even greater concern is that recent studies indicate that the flu vaccine is even less effective in the group it’s most pushed on who suffer the highest death rates from the flu – senior citizens.

According to Lisa Jackson, a doctor at the Group Health Center for Health Studies in Seattle, her research revealed that there was no difference in pneumonia deaths between seniors who got the flu vaccine and those who didn’t get one. Pneumonia is the number one complication that causes flu related deaths, particularly in senior citizens.

As medical researcher Neil Z. Miller states in his book Vaccines, Are They Really Safe & Effective?:

“Every year, health officials must guess which strains of the flu will circulate throughout society. When they guess right, and their vaccine contains flu strains matching that year’s circulating flu, the shot is about 35% effective in preventing that year’s flu in the elderly. When they guess wrong, the vaccine offers NO protection against the flu.”

The flu vaccine is not just ineffective in seniors; it’s also never been proven to work in most of the population. But that hasn’t stopped the huge push for everyone to get one. In fact in an article published in the Wall Street Journal on August 25, 2010, it was reported that the U.S. government plans to spend $2 billion to produce between 160 million and 165 million doses of flu vaccines this year alone. This is more than ever before and part of the plan is to make these vaccines available faster than ever before.

Expediting millions of vaccines at increasingly faster rates is something that concerns me. With so much controversy already surrounding vaccines, including this year’s flu vaccine, it’s scary to think that the already limited testing for safety and side effects will become even more limited working under time pressures.

The CDC is now recommending that anyone older than six months (without extenuating circumstances) get the flu vaccine. This is simply a bad idea. First, it’s vital for you to know just what’s in the standard flu vaccine this year. You may be surprised. Next step is to make your own decision regarding the flu shot; don’t just jump on this bandwagon.

Seasonal Flu Vaccine: Do You Really Know What You’re Getting?

Despite the lack of evidence to support the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, the push to get one is the strongest it’s been in years. There are even campaigns going at local pharmacies of a “BODO” flu shot–buy a flu shot, donate a flu shot. But what many unknowing consumers may find surprising is exactly what this seasonal flu shot contains.

First and foremost let’s go back to the panic that swept the nation in regards to swine flu and then the swine flu vaccine. Many people were experiencing severe side effects from this vaccine and there was concern about its safety.

Well guess what? This year’s standard flu shot contains that same swine flu vaccine, H1N1. It also contains the H3N2 vaccine which is a variation of the seasonal flu, and the influenza B vaccine. But that’s not all you’ll get. Vaccines come with mercury, formaldehyde, heavy metals, and other dangerous toxins. In fact mercury from vaccines is theorized to cause autism in children.

And while countries like Australia, Sweden, and Finland have banned the flu vaccine this year in anyone younger than five years of age, the U.S. continues to push the vaccine. You’re probably wondering why these countries have banned this supposedly safe vaccine? The reasons are side effects, mostly in the young. Severe side effects that young patients experienced after receiving it range from fever spikes to vomiting to narcolepsy. Yes, the H1N1 vaccine poses some serious concerns – and remember this is now in every dose of the standard flu shot.

Other serious reactions to the flu shot include life-threatening allergies to vaccine ingredients, as well as Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), a severe paralytic disease.

And these aren’t the only countries voicing concern over this years flu shot. As a result of concerns in European countries over the H1N1 vaccine, the European Union is now investigating this potentially dangerous vaccine. I certainly don’t feel safe putting any of this into my body; particularly when there are safe, all natural alternatives for avoiding colds and the flu.

Vaccines & the Immune System

The other major issue with vaccines is that they stimulate the wrong immune response in the body.

Without going into too much detail, our bodies have a TH1 immune response and a TH2 immune response. Vaccines stimulate the TH2 response in the body. This is more like an “emergency immune response.”

By having an immune system that is trained to respond with a TH2 response (which is inflammatory in nature), you then weaken your TH1 response (which is responsible for fighting viruses, parasites and cancer cells).

Staying Flu Free without the Flu Vaccine

There are a number of vital ways to stay flu free this season that won’t put you at risk for any of the potentially dangerous side effects of the flu vaccine. One of the most important immune system boosters is vitamin D. In fact, more and more people in the medical field are finally realizing that vitamin D deficiency can lead to a host of health problems.

Many people in the world are seriously vitamin D deficient. According to Dr. Holick, researcher and author of The Vitamin D Solution, this chronic and serious deficiency leads to osteoporosis, rickets, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and more.

During the winter months, coincidently also the flu months, many people where flu hits the hardest go for weeks on end without any sunlight. Sunlight is one of the best, if not the very best, source of vitamin D. In fact, studies show that when children take vitamin D3, they had lower incidents of flu and asthma attacks.

If you want to protect yourself and other from the flu this year the first thing to do is avoid the flu shot, and start living a more natural lifestyle! Real, whole foods, exercise, chiropractic care, a vitamin/mineral regiment, and rest does wonders for the body. Our bodies are smart, we were made to be self-healing; it is our job to listen to our body, follow the cues it gives us.

Be healthy this Fall and Winter.

Until Then-
Walk in Excellence, Conviction and Comfort with a total spirit of Love
Dr. Erica



The “5th” Season- Prevent the Common Cold or Flu

Taking medications to treat or prevent cold and flu symptoms does just that: they only address the symptoms. The underlying cause of the illness is still present in your body. What you have done by suppressing the symptoms is ignore your body’s warning signs that something is amiss and your immune system is having to work overtime. The synthetic medications also add to the toxic burden your body already has to deal with every day.Instead of waiting until you experience these cold and flu symptoms, your best bet is to build up and strengthen your body’s natural defense mechanism–your immune system. If you do still experience cold and flu symptoms, don’t worry. Your body always does the right thing at the right time. A cough means your body needs to rid itself of mucus. A fever means the body needs to raise its temperature to kill a virus. Learn to recognize these symptoms as natural processes of the body.

As I’m sure you know, I definitely do NOT recommend you get a flu shot as a preventative measure for the flu. These vaccines guide your immune system in an improper and unnatural manner, they often contain dangerous chemicals and preservatives.

Prevent the Common Cold

There are a number of vitamins, minerals and herbs that will naturally boost your immune system, which will be much more effective at preventing or fighting off a cold or flu. It’s important to remember, though, that herbal supplements should not be taken for an extended period of time, and not all herbal supplements are the same. When taking herbal supplements you want to take quality supplements, which you can get at a local health foods store.

Herbal Supplements

Brewer’s Yeast

  • Brewer’s yeast contains B vitamins, chromium and protein. It is used for cold, flu and other respiratory tract infections.
  • Brewer’s yeast stimulates intestinal enzymes to help relieve diarrhea, fights bacteria in the intestines and improves immune response to viruses that infect the lungs.
  • Research has found that Brewer’s yeast reduces the risk of getting a cold or the flu and helps symptoms dissipate more quickly.


  • Echinacea acts as an anti-inflammatory, which can help reduce bronchial symptoms of cold and flu.
  • Echinacea directly attacks yeast and other kinds of fungus.
  • Different preparations have different concentrations of Echinacea. Some common preparations and dosages include:
    • Tablets containing 6.78 milligrams of Echinacea extract, two tablets 3 times a day.
    • 900 milligrams of Echinacea root tincture daily.
    • 5-6 cups of Echinacea tea on the first day of symptoms, and then 1 cup a day thereafter.


  • The flowers and berries of elderberry is said to boost the immune system, treat flu and relieve sinus pain.
  • Elderberry does seem to attack flu viruses and reduce bronchial inflammation. A preliminary study found that it reduced severity and length of flu symptoms when given at the first signs of symptoms.


  • Garlic has antibiotic and antibacterial properties. In a recent study, people that took a garlic supplement for 12 weeks got about 60% fewer colds than those who didn’t and recovered faster if they did get a cold.
  • The best way to take garlic, aside from adding it liberally to your dishes when you cook, is to swallow a raw clove. You might need to cut it in half if it is too large. Bite down once to release the allicin, then swallow with water like a pill.
  • If you find this method too odorous, garlic capsules are fine to take as well.

Vitamins and Minerals

Baking Soda

  • Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is derived from a naturally-occurring mineral. It may be used to combat a whole host of disorders and works by decreasing acidosis in the body.
  • To treat cold or flu, dissolve ½ teaspoon of baking soda in water 6 times a day at the first day of symptoms, 4 times a day the second, and two times on the third.

Vitamin C

  • Vitamin C can boost the immune system and reduce the severity of cold and flu symptoms.
  • Take 1,000mg of Vitamin C daily to ward off a cold or the flu and up to 4,000mg daily when you are experiencing symptoms.

Vitamin D

  • Vitamin D is produced in the body by sunlight and regulates the expression of over 2,000 genes, including those of the immune system. Recent research has found that low vitamin D levels are linked to higher rates of cold, flu and respiratory infections.
  • Many physicians believe that current recommended daily amounts of vitamin D are far too low, and that 2,000 rather than 200-400 units per day is a better choice.
  • To treat cold or flu, take 2,000 units per kilogram of body weight once a day for 3 days.


  • Zinc may lessen the symptoms of the cold virus but excessive amounts aren’t good for you. Zinc pills and sprays do not seem to be effective.
  • Take 50-100mg of zinc daily to ward off or treat cold and flu symptoms.

Prevent the Common ColdChiropractic Care

  • During the 1918 flu epidemic, flu patients that received chiropractic care survived much more readily than those that didn’t.
  • Matthew McCoy, chiropractic journal editor says, “These results are not so surprising given what we now know about the interaction between the nervous system and the immune system. We know that chiropractic has beneficial effects on immunoglobulins, B-lymphocytes (white blood cells), pulmonary function and other immune system processes.”
  • More recent studies have found that chiropractic care reduced the incidence of colds and flu by 15%.

Other Tips

Drink plenty of fluids
Fluid helps your body to flush bacteria and viruses from your system. Drink approximately half your body weight in ounces daily of either spring water or reverse osmosis filtered water. Green and black teas are potent immune system-boosters and antioxidants.

Restoring the beneficial bacteria in your gut will boost your immune system considerably. Probiotics can be purchased at your local health foods store.

Get Fresh Air
Indoor winter environments can be a source of concentrated toxins and germs. The dry air we inhale as we heat our homes during the winter makes airways more reactive and sensitive to viruses.

Manage Stress
Simple relaxation has been found to increase immune system cells. Chronic Stress on the other hand, has been found to increase both the risk and duration of cold and flu substantially.

Resting is essential to health and allowing the body to heal naturally.

Incorporate some or all of these tips into your daily lifestyle routine to prevent the cold and flu naturally, and avoid the dreaded “5th” season!

Until Then-
Walk in Excellence, Conviction and Comfort with a total spirit of Love

-Dr. Erica


The “5th” Season

Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter are all seasons of the year. Recently, a 5th season was added. Did you know that? Neither did I. Apparently the 5th season is a very special season, it is also a ‘rotating’ season depending on the time of year.  In the Spring and Fall we have “Allergy” season, and in the Fall and Winter we have “Cold and Flu” season.

According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases each year people in the United States will get 1 billion colds. But feeling sick isn’t the only thing that happens. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 22 million school days will be lost each year due to colds. And as most parents know, when kids miss school, parents miss work.

Will you be one of the 1 billion colds? Will your children miss school this year too, forcing you to miss work?


The “COLD” Hard Facts about Colds
It’s estimated that there are 200 viruses out there that can cause colds. And despite what many people think (and your grandma may have told you), there’s no evidence that cold weather, large tonsils or other such old wives tales can make you get a cold. Evidence does suggest that stress and having allergies can increase your chances of getting a cold.

Colds are caused by viruses such as the rhinovirus, the coronavirus, and more. These germs take up residence in the lining of the nose and grow, eventually attempting to infect the body. If your body is weak or unable to resist the germs you get sick. Colds generally last from about two days to two weeks.

Cold Symptoms
We all know what a cold feels like; runny nose, stuffy head, low grade fever, sore throat, cough, headache. If you have these symptoms it’s most likely that you have a cold. Although treatment of colds is a topic of controversy, there are preventative steps you can take to not get a cold in the first place!

Here are 5 Steps to Beat a Cold or Flu
1. Eat Real Food and Cut out the Sugar
What I mean by real food is food that is most natural, found in nature with the least amount of processing involved before it reaches your table. I’m talking fresh or frozen (preferably fresh) fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, and antibiotic free meats.

Sugar is one of the worst things to consume, especially if you’re trying to stay healthy – and who isn’t? Sugars weaken the immune system and help bacteria to grow. Avoiding sugars is key to staying healthy, particularly when you’re under stress or in the middle of cold and flu season.

2. Exercise
Although when you think of preventing a cold you don’t necessarily think ‘I’d better exercise if I don’t want to get sick,’ this is one of the best ways to improve your overall health and stay healthy during cold and flu season.

According to researcher Michael Flynn who studies the impact of exercise on the immune system at Purdue University, thirty minutes of exercise, three or four times a week, is the best way to boost your immune system. Any more will actually begin to have the reverse effect.

3. Sleep
Now this old wives tale still holds true today. When you’re sick you need to get plenty of rest, but you can’t really ‘catch up’ on sleep or makeup for weeks or months of too little sleep.

Getting enough sleep on a regular basis is key to maintaining good health. Studies show that lack of sleep is associated with health problems and the inability to lose weight. According to the Harvard Women’s Health Watch one adverse effect of not getting enough sleep is a compromised immune system.

4. Stress LESS
There’s nothing like stress to bring on all sorts of physical ailments including colds and flu’s. According to Laurel Mellin, associate professor at the University of California in San Francisco, 80% of health problems are stress induced.

5. Get Adjusted
The nervous system controls and coordinates every others system in our body even your immune system. So, when a nerve interference is interrupting your nervous system from functioning properly, your not going to be 100% healthy. Gentle, specific, scientific chiropractic adjustments correct the cause of your health condition, allowing your body to heal and recover over time.

No one wants to come down with a cold or the flu anytime. When you take the above seven steps to stay healthy you’ll not only beat colds and flu’s, you’ll be protecting your body from other more serious chronic diseases that could really compromise your health down the road.

Until Then-
Walk in Excellence, Conviction and Comfort with a total spirit of Love

-Dr. Erica