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Insulin pumps linked to more reports of injury and death than any other medical device, records show

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“What’s your birth date?”

“November … November … 27… November 27, 1963,” says Christine Landry, her voice fading over the phone.

The 49-year-old registered nurse from Cornwall, Ont., sounds tired and confused.

It’s the night of July 22, 2012, and Landry called a 24-hour helpline run by Medtronic, the company that manufactured her insulin infusion pump, because a button on her device was stuck and making a loud beeping sound.

On a recording of the conversation, she can be heard struggling to answer basic questions as she arranges for a replacement pump to be delivered to her home.

The next morning, her son, Philippe, then just 20 years old, found her unconscious in her bed.

“As soon as I walked up the stairs, I could hear heavy breathing,” he said. “When I went into her room, she was foaming at the mouth and I couldn’t wake her up. So I called 911 right away.”

His mother did eventually wake up, but with severe brain damage.

Christine Landry’s family now suspects she was never well suited to use an insulin pump. (Landry family)

The recorded conversation with the helpline was the last time Christine Landry’s family heard her speak. They say it’s clear from the recording that she was slipping into a diabetic coma.

She died this past September.

Like millions of people with diabetes around the world, Landry used an insulin infusion pump to try to improve her quality of life.

But a CBC News/Radio-Canada/Toronto Star investigation finds that for some people with diabetes, depending on their level of training and knowledge, the popular device might not be the safest way to regulate their blood glucose levels.

Health Canada data obtained under Access to Information reveals that in the past ten years, insulin pumps have been the subject of at least 40 recalls and may have a played a role in 103 deaths and more than 1,900 injuries — more than any other high-risk medical device in the health agency’s database.

The device acts as an artificial pancreas, slowly dripping insulin through a tube and needle under the skin, helping a person with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels. It’s marketed as an alternative to injecting insulin using disposable needles or pens several times a day.

Insulin pumps are increasingly popular among Canadians with diabetes. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

Pumps were first approved in Canada in the early 1980s and have become increasingly high-tech. They are now just a bit smaller than an iPhone and come with special features such as a “wizard” button that calculates a recommended dose based on the user’s carb and insulin intake history.

Manufacturers and provincial governments consider pumps so safe and simple to use, they are recommended and insured for children.

Many people with diabetes say insulin pumps are convenient and provide them with more control over their blood glucose levels than the traditional syringe or pen methods. The pump uses only rapid-acting insulin, which means the user can have worry-free meals and snacks at the touch of a button.

The pump’s constant drip of insulin can also help with the so-called dawn phenomenon, a potentially dangerous surge in blood sugar in the early morning.

But some doctors warn the convenient device requires considerable knowledge and skill to be used safely and effectively.

Dr. Peter Senior, an Edmonton-based endocrinologist who has done consulting work for pump makers, says the devices can be life-changing, but only for people with diabetes who have learned to manage their blood sugar levels.

“The misconception,” he said, “is that [pumps] will think for you. They will make the decisions. But the pump is just a dumb device that will do what you ask it to do. If you forget to ask it to do important things, or you ask it to do wrong things, then problems can arise.”

‘She was not even a candidate for the pump’

Initially, Philippe Landry didn’t understand how his mother could have been so severely injured using a device she was convinced made her life so much better.

She used to struggle to control her blood glucose levels, he says. She thought her Medtronic pump was the solution.

She loved her insulin pump so much she became a certified pump trainer, paid by Medtronic to help other Cornwall-area residents with diabetes to use their devices.

But her family now says it’s possible using a pump was never a good idea for her. They say she was a “brittle” diabetic, which means her blood sugar levels were unstable and sometimes reached extreme highs and lows.

“If she knew what we know now, she wouldn’t have gotten involved in that,” said Christine’s mother, Huguette. “She was … not even a candidate for the pump. I don’t know if anybody had mentioned that to her.”

The Landry family is suing Medtronic, alleging Christine Landry’s pump and infusion set malfunctioned, causing catastrophic and permanent injuries.

The company recalled the VEO Paradigm Insulin Pump model a year after Landry’s injury.

In its statement of defence, Medtronic says Landry acted negligently and was “fully aware and informed of the nature of the risks associated” with her insulin pump.

The manufacturer says Landry “failed to properly manage her alcohol and food consumption, monitor her glucose levels and instruct family members on the appropriate response to diabetic incidents.”

Pumps not for everyone, doctors say

Dr. Senior estimates that as many as 10 per cent of Type 1 diabetics are using an insulin pump, which could amount to 30,000 Canadians. In the U.S., it’s now 40 per cent.

He worries the devices are being “pushed too heavily at patients who’ve not been adequately trained in managing their diabetes.”

Dr. Simon Heller runs a five-day course for people with Type 1 diabetes in the U.K. As part of a study, the professor of clinical diabetes at the University of Sheffield gave a group of 317 insulin pump and needle users the same training and compared their glycemic levels and quality of life over time.

“One of the reasons we did this trial,” he said, “is that we are concerned that people might use the pump expecting the pump to fix them.”

His two-year study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that after both groups completed intensive training on insulin management, participants using pumps reported only a slightly better quality of life than those using needles.

He found that increasing a person’s understanding of how to manage their condition is just as important as technology.

Health Canada ‘ill-equipped’ to investigate

Ontario’s Mary Krueger says Health Canada has a knowledge gap of its own when it comes to insulin pumps.

Krueger says her son, Steven, was an energetic and adventurous young man, living life to the fullest despite his Type 1 diabetes, with plans of becoming a licensed pilot and certified diver.

Mary Krueger’s 27-year-old son, Steven, may have died as a result of a malfunction with his insulin pump, according to a coroner’s report. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

He’d purchased his Paradigm MMT-511 insulin pump in 2002, shortly after it was approved by Health Canada.

He loved the freedom the pump afforded him. He told his mother it was working great.

But, on June 18, 2006, the 27-year-old was found dead in his bed at his home on B.C.’s Thetis Island.

Steven Krueger’s family says Health Canada wasn’t properly equipped to investigate the cause of his death. (Submitted by Mary Krueger)

A coroner’s inquiry ruled his death was accidental. The report said a “malfunctioning insulin pump” might have contributed to an insulin overdose. Looking for answers, the Kruegers shipped Steven’s pump to Health Canada’s medical device laboratory for analysis.

“We felt that Medtronic needed to be held accountable for what had happened,” Mary Krueger said. “We wanted them to acknowledge that something had gone wrong with the pump.”

The family soon realized the government’s expertise was limited, she says.

We should have had the answers right away when he died. We had to do a lot of the investigation ourselves.– Mary Krueger

Health Canada found a malfunction with the pump: it was stuck in “prime” mode, a setting used to test the insulin drip. Instead of injecting a few test drops, Steven’s pump didn’t stop, the report says. It “ejects all the insulin in the cartridge,” which could cause an overdose.

But inspectors couldn’t open the pump casing to confirm the cause of the problem. Mary Krueger was told to return the product to its manufacturer, Medtronic MiniMed, for further investigation.

Steven’s pump model was the subject of multiple recalls in Canada and the U.S. since his death, including an alert in 2014 that mentioned “users who have unintentionally programmed the pump to deliver the maximum bolus amount.”

Looking back now, Krueger thinks Health Canada was ill-equipped to investigate.

“We should have had the answers right away when he died. We had to do a lot of the investigation ourselves.”

Cutting costs

The problem isn’t unique to Canada. In the U.K., a 2013 coroner’s inquiry into the sudden death of another insulin pump user expressed concern about a “lack of analysis of medical devices post-mortem,” especially since insulin pumps had become so popular.

However, in 2010, Health Canada actually closed its Bureau of Medical Devices labs to cut costs.

Briefing notes sent to Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq at the time, and obtained by CBC News, show the department was under pressure to approve licences for a growing number of medical devices. To pay for that work, cuts had to be made to “lab research in low-impact or non-critical areas.”

In a statement to CBC, Health Canada said lab testing is now done by device manufacturers themselves or outsourced to third parties.

“This is more cost-effective and allows the department to access state-of-the-art facilities across all areas, rather than maintain lab capacity related only to specific scientific domains.”

Health Canada also said because of “recent post-market concerns” with all infusion pumps, including insulin pumps, it now requires manufacturers to submit evidence of more rigorous testing on their devices before they can be approved for sale.

In a written statement to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Medtronic said “numerous clinical studies” have shown its insulin pumps “improve blood glucose control in patients with diabetes.”

The company also points out that adverse event reports sent to Health Canada do not establish whether a medical device actually caused an injury or death.

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Sweet! Here are 7 reasons to eat sweet potatoes

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(Natural News) Sweet potatoes may not be as popular as regular potatoes, which is too bad — since they’re packed with vitamins and minerals. One cup of sweet potatoes can provide more than 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin A. It’s also rich in vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese. Both purple and orange varieties contain antioxidants that can protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

Eating sweet potatoes is beneficial for your health

Sweet potatoes are brimming with micronutrients and antioxidants —  making them useful to your health. Below is a list of reasons why you should incorporate sweet potatoes into your diet.

They improve brain function

The purple variety of sweet potato contains anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have revealed that anthocyanins are effective at improving cognitive function. Moreover, the results suggest that purple yams can help protect against memory loss. Antioxidants from the purple variety safeguard the brain against damage from free radicals and inflammation.

They aid digestion

Sweet potatoes are rich in dietary fiber. This macronutrient prevents constipation, diarrhea, and bloating by adding bulk and drawing water to the stool. In addition, fiber keeps a healthy balance in the gut by promoting the growth of good bacteria.

They slow down aging

The beta-carotene in orange sweet potatoes can help reduce damage caused by prolonged sun exposure. This is especially true for people diagnosed with erythropoietic protoporphyria and other photosensitive diseases. Sweet potatoes also contain antioxidants that protect against free radical damage. Free radicals are not only linked to diseases but also premature aging.

They boost the immune system

Orange and purple sweet potatoes are loaded with a good number of antioxidants that help protect the body from harmful molecules that cause inflammation and damage DNA. This, in turn, protects the body from chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.

They can prevent cancer

Eating sweet potatoes can help protect against various types of cancers. The compounds in sweet potatoes restrict the development of cancer cells. Test tube studies have shown that anthocyanins can prevent cancers in the bladder, breast, colon, and stomach.

They lower blood sugar

Despite its relatively high glycemic index, studies have shown that the regular intake of sweet potatoes can help lower blood sugar, thanks to the presence of dietary fiber. While fiber falls under carbohydrates, it is digested differently, compared to starchy and sugary forms of carbohydrates. Interestingly, insulin doesn’t process fiber (unlike other types which get turned into glucose), and it only passes through the digestive tract.

They promote healthy vision

Orange sweet potatoes are rich in a compound called beta-carotene, an antioxidant which transforms into vitamin A in the body. Adequate intake of vitamin A promotes eye health. Conversely, deficiencies in vitamin A have been linked to a particular type of blindness called xerophthalmia.

Sweet potatoes are easy to incorporate into your everyday meals. They are best prepared boiled but can also be baked, roasted, or steamed — they can even replace other carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes, and toast. (Related: Understanding the phytochemical and nutrient content of sweet potato flours from Vietnam.)

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Frostbite: What it is and how to identify, treat it

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Manitoba’s temperature has plummeted to its coldest level this season, triggering warnings about the extreme risk of frostbite.

Oh, we know it’s cold. We can feel Jack Frost nipping at our noses. But what about when he gnaws a little harder — what exactly does “frostbite” mean?

People tend to underestimate the potential for severe injuries in the cold, says the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. We laugh off the sting of the deep freeze, rub our hands back from the brink of numbness and wear our survival proudly like a badge.

That’s because, in most cases, frostbite can be treated fairly easily, with no long-term effects.

But it can also lead to serious injury, including permanent numbness or tingling, joint stiffness, or muscle weakness. In extreme cases, it can lead to amputation.

Bitter cold can cause frostbite in just minutes. Here’s how to recognize the warning signs and treat them. 0:59

Here’s a guide to identifying the first signs, how to treat them, and when to seek medical help.

What is frostbite and frostnip?

Frostbite is defined as bodily injury caused by freezing that results in loss of feeling and colour in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes — those areas most often exposed to the air.

Cooling of the body causes a narrowing of the blood vessels, slowing blood flow. In temperatures below –4 C, ice crystals can form in the skin and the tissue just below it.

Frostnip most commonly affects the hands and feet. It initially causes cold, burning pain, with the area affected becoming blanched. It is easy to treat and with rewarming, the area becomes reddened.

Frostbite is the acute version of frostnip, when the soft tissue actually freezes. The risk is particularly dangerous on days with a high wind chill factor. If not quickly and properly treated, it can lead to the loss of tissues or even limbs. 

Signs of frostbite

Health officials call them the four P’s:

  • Pink: Skin appears reddish in colour, and this is usually the first sign.
  • Pain: The cold becomes painful on skin.
  • Patches: White, waxy-feeling patches show when skin is dying.
  • Prickles: Affected areas feel numb or have reduced sensation.

Symptoms can also include:

  • Reduced body temperature.
  • Swelling.
  • Blisters.
  • Areas that are initially cold, hard to the touch.

Take quick action

If you do get frostbite, it is important to take quick action.

  • Most cases of frostbite can be treated by heating the exposed area in warm (not hot) water.
  • Immersion in warm water should continue for 20-30 minutes until the exposed area starts to turn pink, indicating the return of blood circulation.
  • Use a warm, wet washcloth on frostbitten nose or earlobes.
  • If you don’t have access to warm water, underarms are a good place to warm frostbitten fingers. For feet, put them against a warm person’s skin.
  • Drink hot fluids such as hot chocolate, coffee or tea when warming.
  • Rest affected limbs and avoid irritation to the skin.
  • E​levate the affected limb once it is rewarmed.

Rewarming can take up to an hour and can be painful, especially near the end of the process as circulation returns. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help with the discomfort.

Do not …

There are a number of things you should avoid:

  • Do not warm the area with dry heat, such as a heating pad, heat lamp or electric heater, because frostbitten skin is easily burned.
  • Do not rub or massage affected areas. This can cause more damage.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Do not walk on your feet or toes if they are frozen.
  • Do not break blisters.

Seek immediate medical attention

While you can treat frostbite yourself if the symptoms are minor — the skin is red, there is tingling — you should seek immediate medical attention at an emergency department if:

  • The exposed skin is blackened.
  • You see white-coloured or grey-coloured patches.
  • There is severe pain or the area is completely numb.
  • The skin feels unusually firm and is not sensitive to touch after one hour of rewarming.
  • There are large areas of blistering.
  • There is a bluish discolouration that does not resolve with rewarming.

Be prepared

The best way to avoid frostbite is to be prepared for the weather in the first place.

Wear several loose layers of clothing rather than a single, thick layer to provide good insulation and keep moisture away from your skin.

The outer garment should breathe but be waterproof and windproof, with an inner thermal layer. Retain body heat with a hat and scarf. Mittens are warmer than gloves because they keep the fingers together.

Be sure your clothing protects your head, ears, nose, hands and feet, especially for children.

Wind chill and frostbite rates

Wind chill: 0 to –9.
Frostbite risk: Low.

Wind chill: –28 to –39.
Frostbite risk: Moderate.

Exposed skin can freeze in 10-30 minutes

Wind chill: –40 to –47.
Frostbite risk: High.

Exposed skin can freeze in five to 10 minutes.

Wind chill: –48 to –54.
Frostbite risk: Very High.

Exposed skin can freeze in two to five minutes.

Wind chill: –55 and lower.
Frostbite risk: Extremely High.

Exposed skin can freeze in less than two minutes.
 

NOTE: In sustained winds over 50 km/h, frostbite can occur faster than indicated.

Source: Environment Canada

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Awkward Flu Jabs Attempted at Golden Globes

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In what can only be described as a new level of propaganda, hosts Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh featured a flu shot stunt during the 76th Golden Globe Awards ceremony. They told the audience to roll up their sleeves, as they would all be getting flu shots, while people in white coats stormed down the aisles, syringes in hand.

Most of the audience looked thoroughly uneasy at the prospect of having a stranger stick them with a needle in the middle of an awards show. But perhaps the worst part of the scene was when Samberg added that anti-vaxxers could put a napkin over their head if they wanted to be skipped, basically suggesting that anyone opposed to a flu shot deserved to be branded with a proverbial scarlet letter.

The flu shots, for the record, were reportedly fake,1 nothing more than a bizarre gag that left many people stunned by the Globe’s poor taste in turning a serious medical choice into a publicity gimmick.

Flu Shot Stunt Reeks of Desperation

Whoever came up with the idea to turn the Golden Globes into a platform for a public health message probably thought it was ingenious, but the stunt only serves as a seemingly desperate attempt to make flu shots relevant and in vogue. During the 2017 to 2018 flu season, only 37 percent of U.S. adults received a flu shot, a 6 percent drop from the prior season.2

“To improve flu vaccination coverage for the 2018-19 flu season, health care providers are encouraged to strongly recommend and offer flu vaccination to all of their patients,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wrote. “People not visiting a provider during the flu season have many convenient places they can go for a flu vaccination.”3

Yet, perhaps the decline in people choosing to get vaccinated has nothing to do with convenience and everything to do with their dismal rates of efficacy. In the decade between 2005 and 2015, the influenza vaccine was less than 50 percent effective more than half of the time.4

The 2017/2018 flu vaccine was a perfect example of this trend. The overall adjusted vaccine effectiveness against influenza A and B virus infection was just 36 percent.5

Health officials blamed the flu season’s severity on the dip in vaccination rates, but as Dr. Paul Auwaerter, clinical director of the division of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told USA Today, “[I]t is also true that the vaccine was not as well matched against the strains that circulated.”6

But bringing flu shots to the Golden Globes, and calling out “anti-vaxxers,” is nothing more than “medical care, by shame,” noted Dr. Don Harte, a chiropractic activist in California. “But it was entertaining, in a very weird way, including the shock and disgust of some of the intended victims, notably [Willem Dafoe],” he said, adding:7

“This Hollywood publicity stunt for the flu vaccine is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen from celebrities. But it does go with the flu shot itself, which is, perhaps, the stupidest of all the vaccines available.”

Did 80,000 People Really Die From the Flu Last Year?

The CDC reported that 79,400 people died from influenza during the 2017/2018 season, which they said “serves as a reminder of how severe seasonal influenza can be.”8 It’s important to remember, however, that the 80,000 deaths figure being widely reported in the media is not actually all “flu deaths.”

According to the CDC, “We look at death certificates that have pneumonia or influenza causes (P&I), other respiratory and circulatory causes (R&C), or other nonrespiratory, noncirculatory causes of death, because deaths related to flu may not have influenza listed as a cause of death.”9

As for why the CDC doesn’t base flu mortality estimates only on death certificates that list influenza, they noted, “Seasonal influenza may lead to death from other causes, such as pneumonia, congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease … Additionally, some deaths — particularly among the elderly — are associated with secondary complications of seasonal influenza (including bacterial pneumonias).”10

In other words, “flu deaths” are not just deaths directly caused by the influenza virus, but also secondary infections such as pneumonia and other respiratory diseases, as well as sepsis.11

According to the CDC, most of the deaths occurred among those aged 65 years and over, a population that may already have preexisting conditions that makes them more susceptible to infectious diseases. As Harte said of annual flu deaths, “[M]ost if not all, I would assume, are of people who are already in very bad shape.12

CDC Claims Flu Vaccine Reduces Flu Deaths in the Elderly — But Does It?

Since people aged 65 and over are those most at risk from flu complications and death, the CDC has been vocal in their claims that the flu shot significantly reduces flu-related deaths among this population. The research, however, says otherwise.

Research published in 2005 found no correlation between increased vaccination rates among the elderly and reduced mortality. According to the authors, “Because fewer than 10 percent of all winter deaths were attributable to influenza in any season, we conclude that observational studies substantially overestimate vaccination benefit.”13

A 2006 study also showed that even though seniors vaccinated against influenza had a 44 percent reduced risk of dying during flu season than unvaccinated seniors, those who were vaccinated were also 61 percent less like to die before the flu season ever started.14

This finding has since been attributed to a “healthy user effect,” which suggests that older people who get vaccinated against influenza are already healthier and, therefore, less likely to die anyway, whereas those who do not get the shot have suffered a decline in health in recent months.

Journalist Jeremy Hammond summed up the CDC’s continued spreading of misinformation regarding the flu vaccine’s effectiveness in the elderly, as they continue to claim it’s the best way to prevent the flu:15

[T]here is no good scientific evidence to support the CDC’s claim that the influenza vaccine reduces hospitalizations or deaths among the elderly.

The types of studies the CDC has relied on to support this claim have been thoroughly discredited due to their systemic ‘healthy user’ selection bias, and the mortality rate has observably increased along with the increase in vaccine uptake — which the CDC has encouraged with its unevidenced claims about the vaccine’s benefits, downplaying of its risks, and a marketing strategy of trying to frighten people into getting the flu shot for themselves and their family.”

Death of Vaccinated Child Blamed on Not Getting Second Dose

In January 2019, the state of Colorado reported the first child flu death of the 2018/2019 flu season — a child who had received influenza vaccination. But instead of highlighting the vaccine’s failure and clear limitations, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment blamed the death on the child being only “partially vaccinated.”

“It’s an unfortunate but important reminder of the importance of two doses of influenza vaccine for young children who are receiving influenza vaccine for the first time,” Dr. Rachel Herlihy, who is the state communicable disease epidemiologist, said in a news release.16 For those who aren’t aware, the CDC notes that one dose of flu shot may not be enough to protect against the flu. Instead, they state:17

“Children 6 months through 8 years getting vaccinated for the first time, and those who have only previously gotten one dose of vaccine, should get two doses of vaccine this season …

The first dose ‘primes’ the immune system; the second dose provides immune protection. Children who only get one dose but need two doses can have reduced or no protection from a single dose of flu vaccine.”

Not only may the flu vaccine fail to provide protection against the flu, but many people are not aware that other types of viruses are responsible for about 80 percent of all respiratory infections during any given flu season.18 The flu vaccine does not protect against or prevent any of these other types of respiratory infections causing influenza-like illness (ILI) symptoms.

The chance of contracting actual type A or B influenza, caused by one of the three or four influenza virus strains included in the vaccine, is much lower compared to getting sick with another type of viral or bacterial infection during the flu season.

Does Flu Vaccine Increase the Risk of Influenza Infection, Contribute to Vaccine Shedding?

There are serious adverse effects that can come along with annual flu vaccination, including potentially lifelong side effects such as Guillain Barré syndrome and chronic shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA). They may also increase your risk of contracting more serious flu infections, as research suggests those who have been vaccinated annually may be less protected than those with no prior flu vaccination history.19

Research presented at the 105th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego also revealed that children who get seasonal flu shots are more at risk of hospitalization than children who do not. Children who had received the flu vaccine had three times the risk of hospitalization as children who had not. Among children with asthma, the risk was even higher.20

There’s also the potential for vaccine shedding, which has taken on renewed importance with the reintroduction of the live virus vaccine FluMist during the 2018/2019 season. While the CDC states that the live flu virus in FluMist is too weak to actually give recipients the flu, research has raised some serious doubts that this is the case.

One recent study revealed not only that influenza virus may be spread via simple breathing (i.e., no sneezing or coughing required) but also that repeated vaccination increases the amount of virus released into the air.21

MedImmune, the company that developed FluMist, is aware that the vaccine sheds vaccine-strain virus. In its prescribing information, they describe a study on the transmission of vaccine-strain viruses from vaccinated children to nonvaccinated children in a day care setting.

In 80 percent of the FluMist recipients, at least one vaccine-strain virus was isolated anywhere from one to 21 days following vaccination. They further noted, “One placebo subject had mild symptomatic Type B virus infection confirmed as a transmitted vaccine virus by a FluMist recipient in the same playgroup.”22

Are There Other Ways to Stay Healthy During Flu Season?

Contrary to the CDC’s and Golden Globe’s claims that flu vaccinations are a great way to prevent flu, other methods exist to help you stay healthy during the flu season and all year, and they’re far safer than annual flu vaccination. Vitamin D testing and optimization have been shown to cut your risk of respiratory infections, including colds and flu, in half if you are vitamin D deficient, for instance.23,24

In my view, optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best respiratory illness prevention and optimal health strategies available. Influenza has also been treated with high-dose vitamin C,25 and taking zinc lozenges at the first sign of respiratory illness can also be helpful.

Following other basic tenets of health, like eating right, getting sound sleep, exercising and addressing stress are also important, as is regularly washing your hands.

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