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How to Grow Sweet Alyssum

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Flowers are more than just a pretty way to fill your garden. Apart from their aesthetic quality, they have the power to reduce stress and inspire creative thinking. You might even find yourself less anxious while admiring your garden.

Flowers are often given as gifts to friends and loved ones and many have natural scents when in bloom, providing you with a natural air freshener and room deodorizer. Some flowers, such as marigolds, are natural pest repellents for your garden.1 Others play an important role in the growth of more flowers, fruits and vegetables by attracting pollinators such as bees, butterflies and wasps.

A study published in Evolutionary Psychology from Rutgers University2 revealed flowers help to improve emotional health by improving feelings of life satisfaction and positive social behavior. Female participants in the study reported those positive feelings lasted for days.

In the same study, those who gave the flowers were perceived as happy, achieving and capable individuals who were more emotionally intelligent and appreciative of beauty and nature.3

In addition to brightening up a room, some flowers may also be used in tea or taken medicinally when used properly, such as rose, chamomile, evening primrose and pagoda flower.4 However, while Sweet Alyssum is beautiful in your landscape and may be tasty in your salad, it is not often used medicinally.5

History of Sweet Alyssum

Sweet Alyssum, (Lobularia maritima), also known as Sweet Alison, is indigenous to the Mediterranean region, including the Canary Islands and the Azores, growing along the coast in areas of full sun. A member of the mustard family, it is often added to salads in Spain for a vitamin C boost. Although some eat Sweet Alyssum, others may get a rash from handling it.6

The name alyssum is derived from the Greek language. Since the prefix “a-” negates the word following it and “lyssa” means rage, alyssa means “without rage.”7 Those who named the flower may have had rabies in mind as it was used in folk medicine to treat the condition. In the language of flowers, Sweet Alyssum means “worth beyond beauty” or “sweetness of soul.”8

Alyssum was found in gardens as far back as the 1500s and prized for their low forming growth and fragrant flowers. During the 1800s, the yellow variety enjoy popularity in the U.S. By the 1900s, the more fragrant white flowered variety grew in popularity and was recommended as a plant for attracting bees.9

Sweet Alyssum Is Best Known for White Flowers


The genus alyssum contains nearly 170 species of flowering plants in the Brassicaceae family. Most are annual or perennial herbaceous plants growing up to 100 cm (nearly 4 inches) high with yellow or white flowers. Although Sweet Alyssum is best known for the fragrant white-flowered type, the plant does come in a variety of other colors as shown in this short video, including:10

  • Easter Bonnet — This is an early blooming variety in lavender or white, blooming through the spring
  • Pastel Carpet — This is a blend of pink, lavender and cream colors, offering a subdued colorful variety to your garden
  • Snow Princess — This is a sterile hybrid with white flowers. It is extremely heat tolerant and noted for the characteristic of spreading and cascading
  • Blushing Princess — This has a fragrant flower and a lavender color, also heat tolerant growing up to 8 inches tall and spreading nearly 24 inches wide
  • Wonderland series — This type has a deep red color growing in a compact flat plant, excellent for edging as it only reaches up to 5 inches tall and spreads 24 inches across

Sweet Alyssum is a delicate carpet of tiny flowers with narrow lance-shaped leaves and flowers with tiny four-petal, cross shapes. Although an annual plant in many hardiness zones, those who live in areas with a mild winter may find they return easily as a perennial, or even bloom through the winter.

The plants easily self-seed, being carried by the wind through your yard. If you’re planning to change varieties the following summer you may be surprised by several volunteers sprinkled throughout your garden.11

Planting and Caring for Your Hardy Annual Sweet Alyssum Flower

Alyssum prefers a rich soil with a neutral pH. They’re easily started from seed and since they enjoy the cool weather, they can be sown directly into your garden several weeks before the last frost.12 Gardeners in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 7 through-1113 may have plants growing year-round.14

As long as it’s not a hard freeze, your seeds will germinate and grow outdoors. However, if you’d like a large impact on your garden, start the seeds indoors five to six weeks before your last expected frost date.

Sowing seeds is done simply by scattering them on the ground and pressing down so they make good contact with the soil and aren’t blown away. It is important the seeds are still exposed to light in order to germinate. Keep the soil moist until germination and then water whenever the soil feels dry. If you start indoors, don’t transplant outside until after the danger of frost is past.15

Although it is somewhat frost tolerant once established, tender transplants do not fare well. In northern climates where the summers are cooler, the plants will enjoy full sunlight. However, in warmer climates, as you move further south, the plants need protection from the hot afternoon sun. This will extend blooming a little longer into the season.16

It requires a significant amount of energy for the plants to produce so many flowers. Once the weather gets very hot, Alyssum will stop blooming. The more heat- and drought-resistant plants may bloom longer into the hot weather.

Deadheading the plants will help them continue to bloom. This can sometimes be tedious if you have a large bed. With a large drift, you can shear them by one-third, encouraging the plants to set new buds quickly.

When planted in the ground, you may not need to add fertilizer unless the soil is poor. Planted in a container, alyssum will need more frequent watering and monthly feedings with an organic fertilizer. Alyssum makes a carpet-like ground cover that spreads and can create a living mulch under taller plants. They work well to fill in nooks and crannies on walkways and walls or along edges.17

Traditional Uses of Sweet Alyssum

Today, Alyssum is added to salads for flavor. However, there is a long list of traditional uses, some of which are not in current practice as the condition it was used to treat responds more consistently to other treatments. Rabies is one such example. Before using Alyssum for any health condition, consult with a knowledgeable practitioner and use it in moderate amounts.

Individuals who are allergic should avoid it entirely. That said, young leaves, flowers and stems can add flavor to your salad and other dishes, and the plant is commonly used in Spain as an astringent in the treatment of gonorrhea, and as a diuretic.18 Alyssum has also been used to treat:19



Abdominal pain

Colds and coughs

Pain from cavities and bleeding gums

Edema

Ascites (fluid in the abdomen)

Scurvy

Sweet Alyssum Helps Get Rid of Pests Naturally

Sweet Alyssum attract pollinators and butterflies,20 and are generally pest free. Occasionally, aphids can create a problem, especially when the plants are under stress. These are tiny insects known to pierce the stems of tender shoots and suck out nutrient-rich sap. Although an infestation may start out slowly, aphids reproduce quickly and a colony can easily destroy your garden if left untreated.

For minor infestations it might be possible to physically remove the insects using a pair of gardening gloves and a brush or pinch them off the plant. If the infestation is contained on one or two stalks, it is wise to prune off the affected portion, drop it in a bucket of soapy water and dispose of the plant material.21

If you have more bugs, it might be possible to use water pressure with the simple application of a garden hose. Make sure your plants are well-established and older as the pressure may harm younger, more fragile plants. The basic nature of mild household detergents makes it perfect to get rid of a mild or moderate aphid infestation.

Dilute a few tablespoons of dish soap and a bucket of lukewarm water and use a spray bottle or sponge to apply it to the plants where the aphids have taken hold. The soap dissolves the waxy coating from the aphid’s body, which dehydrates the insect and eventually kills them without harming the plants.22

A cocktail of equal parts thyme, peppermint, clove and rosemary essential oils mixed in a small spray bottle of water is a potent insecticide against both the pest and their eggs and larvae.

Anytime you’re treating for aphids, whether you’re removing them manually using a garden hose or spraying on soapy water, make sure you treat the underside of the leaves where the eggs and larvae may be hiding.23

Planning Your Garden

Alyssum does well in borders or planted along a rock or stone wall. You may consider planting it to fill in gaps in your garden or as a living mulch around your trees. However, if these beautiful ground-covering flowers are part of a larger garden scheme, you may want to consider the following as companion plants:

Blue Fortune (Giant Hyssop) — This drought- and heat-tolerant plant is generally disease- and pest-free. It displays lavender blue spikes from midsummer to early fall and is deer tolerant and low maintenance. When crushed, the aromatic foliage has an anise scent and can be used to flavor cold drinks.24

Dahlia “David Howard” — These apricot orange flowers are set against dark purplish foliage. The flowers bloom massively from July until the first frost. They work well along borders and in containers and have a long vase life as cut flowers. Hardiness zones 3 through 7 may need to dig the Dahlia tubers in the fall before the first frost and store them over the winter to protect the plants.25

Sedum Herbstfreude (Autumn Joy) — This vigorous flowering plant lasts more than six months and will remain attractive through the winter months in warmer climates. It stands 2 feet tall and wide, topped with tiny, starlight raspberry pink flowers that change to rich rose and copper rust in the fall.

They are best grown in full sun, but tolerate light shade and are attractive to bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. The plants are low maintenance, deer- and drought-resistant and heat tolerant.26

There are multiple health benefits to gardening, including improved emotional and mental health, cardiovascular exercise, stress relief, improved hand strength and dexterity and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.27 If you want to give it a try, the following apps may make quick and easy work out of planning your garden space.

  • Gardenize — This app allows you to choose your plants, upload your photos and take notes on your garden plan and growth. It’s also a social platform where you can share your information with friends and ask questions of others.
  • Home Design 3D Outdoors — The free version allows you to make your plans but not save the information. Using an intuitive interface, the app shows your plan in 3D and allows you to edit your dimensions and add plants and lawn furniture.
  • Small Garden Ideas — This app helps you organize a small garden space, including an indoor garden or patio garden. Also included are ideas for vertical gardens, winter gardens and information on how to maintain your flowers and plants.

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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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