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What are the Benefits of Guava Leaf Tea?





Guava is one of the most popular fruits grown around the world, with India being the global leader and Mexico coming in second. In the United States, Hawaii is the state with the highest production, with a total harvest of 1.7 million pounds in 2014 alone.1

Experts believe that guava came from Southern Mexico all the way through Central America. Early Spanish colonizers in America helped spread the fruit globally by bringing it to the East Indies and Guam.2

The fruit of the common guava has a yellow skin with white, yellow or pink flesh, along with small, hard seeds. The tree produces quadrangular branches, with oval to oblong leaves that are 3 inches long. Common products made from guava include jams, jellies and preserves.3

While the fruit is a popular snack around the world, did you know that you can benefit from the leaves as well? Guava leaves are known for their antioxidants and other constituents that can help boost your well-being, and the easiest way to achieve that is by making guava leaf tea.

What Is Guava Leaf Tea?

Guava leaf tea is a beverage made by boiling the leaves in water, which helps release their nutrients. One of the traditional uses of this tea is for antidiabetic therapies,4 although other folk uses include helping relieve cough, rheumatism and mouth ulcers. The leaves can be utilized topically as well, depending on the illness.5

While oral tradition may provide insightful information, published scientific evidence from reputable journals is the best way to ascertain if guava leaves are actually good for you. In the next section, you can read about the different ways guava leaves can benefit your health.

Guava Leaf Tea Benefits You Should Know About

Guava leaves and guava leaf tea have been studied extensively by various publications. This part of the plant has shown to be a nutrient powerhouse that can provide a wide array of health benefits. Some notable examples include helping:

Lower blood sugar levelsDiabetes is a condition wherein your blood sugar level is higher than normal. If it stays that way for an extended period, your body will begin to experience various health complications, such as heart disease, stroke and nerve damage.6

Diabetics may greatly benefit from the leaves of the guava plant. Various studies indicate that either guava leaf tea or guava leaf extract helped reduce blood sugar levels, and that guava leaves can be a useful alternative treatment for the disease.7,8,9

Eliminate the flu virus — The flu virus constantly mutates as it passes from one person to another due to genetic changes. As a result, you can get sick again because your immune system may not recognize the virus.10 However, there’s promising research showing that guava tea may work as an effective antiviral agent.

In one study published in the Antiviral Research journal, researchers noted that guava tea is 3.4 to 5.4 times more potent than green tea in eliminating pandemic influenza viruses. They concluded that:11

“Guava tea shows promise to be efficacious for control of epidemic and pandemic influenza viruses including oseltamivir-resistant strains, and its broad target blockage makes it less likely to lead to emergence of viral resistance.”

Fight oxidative stress — Guava leaf extracts have been found to help eliminate free radicals throughout your body. In a 2007 study, researchers noted that 93.4 to 96.2 percent of linoleic acid oxidation was inhibited by administering guava tea and leaf extracts.12

Lower cholesterol levelsCholesterol is an essential substance needed by your body to produce healthy cells. However, having too much of it can predispose you to atherosclerosis— this is the accumulation of cholesterol deposits on your arteries, which can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.13 Drinking guava leaf tea may help curb this problem.

In a study published by Japanese authors in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, guava leaf extract has been found to have antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic effects. They noted that:14

“Many Japanese consumers have taken the commercially available tea and are likely to maintain good health. The consecutive ingestion of Guava Leaf Tea with every meal is expected to benefit prediabetic and diabetic patients as an alimentotherapy in both developed and developing countries.”

Suppress appetite — Adult obesity is an ever-increasing problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 93.3 million Americans, or 39.8 percent of the total population, are obese, with related medical costs totaling up to $147 billion.15

If you’re overweight and having difficulties avoiding consuming excess calories, guava leaf tea may benefit you. Results from a 2017 study showed that extracts from guava leaves helped inhibit lipase and α-glycosidase, which may help curb obesity.16

Ease diarrhea — Common digestive diseases such as bacterial diarrhea stem from contaminated food or water, causing loose stools that may last for a couple of days, as well as abdominal pain.17 Guava leaves may help with this regard.

A 2008 study notes that guava leaves contain antispasmodic and antibacterial properties that may help reduce the symptoms of not only diarrhea, but also dysentery.18 In another study, researchers noted that extracts from guava leaves may be an effective agent against diarrhea caused by simian rotavirus.19

Manage inflammation — Inflammation is your immune system’s response to pathogens and other stimuli to help fight against disease and infection. When this happens, you may experience swelling, pain and heat in the affected area. However, there are cases when inflammation is too much, and your health suffers as a result. Arthritis, for example, is an inflammatory condition that severely affects your quality of life.20

A study published in the International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences states that extracts obtained from guava leaves possess anti-inflammatory properties that may help relieve symptoms of inflammation-related conditions such as acne, bronchitis and asthma.21

Manage dengue fever — Dengue fever is one of the most common viral diseases around the world that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no cure for this virus, so treatment relies on the management of symptoms, as neglect can lead to fatalities.22 One study indicates that guava leaves are effective in helping increase your blood platelet count, which may help avoid bleeding. A drop in blood platelet count is a hallmark symptom of dengue fever.23

Lower the risk of cancer — Guava leaves have been found to have anticancer activity, according to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food. Scientists have found that guava leaves are able to suppress the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and other molecular mechanisms related to cancer. Overall, 60 compounds have been identified to be responsible for the cancer-fighting abilities of guava that may be effective in prevention as well as treatment.24

Relieve symptoms of menstruation — In some women, menstruation causes uncomfortable symptoms such as back pain, fatigue and abdominal cramps that may hamper their daily routine.25 Many home remedies exist out there that are effective, but if you’re looking to add more to your repertoire, guava tea may be a good choice.

A 2007 study notes that a daily 6-milligram dose of guava extract helped significantly reduce menstrual pain compared to traditional drugs like ibuprofen.26

Boost cardiovascular system — Guava leaf extracts have been associated with improved endothelial cell health, according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Researchers remarked that the extracts helped inhibit the glycation of proteins that may have damaging effects to endothelial cells.27

Kill drug-resistant bacteria — Guava leaf extracts have been found to be an effective alternative to eliminating drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterial strain responsible for various infections. Even better, researchers were able to prove that guava leaf extracts are able to fight multidrug-resistant variations of staph bacteria.28

Guava Leaves Do Not Have Caffeine

Guava tea does not contain caffeine, so people who are allergic or sensitive to this substance can enjoy the tea without any side effects.29 Real “teas” that contain caffeine are those that are made from the Camellia sinensis plant.30

Grow Your Own Guava Tree to Make the Best Guava Leaf Tea

Now that you know what the leaves of the guava plant can do for your health, isn’t it time that you enjoyed the benefits for yourself? But before you get leaves of your own from the local store, it’s better to grow your own guava plant. Not only will you have your own fresh supplies of guava fruits and leaves whenever you need them, you will have a tree that will help add to your garden’s aesthetic appeal. Here are some tips to follow when planting a guava tree.

  • The first thing to remember when growing guava is preparing the seeds via germination. Soak the seeds in water for two weeks or place them in a pot of boiling water for five minutes. This will soften the coating on the seeds.31
  • The next step is preparing your soil. Guavas are adaptable to most environments, but thrive best when the ground is well-drained.32
  • The plant must also have full sun exposure at all times. When winter comes, move the plant inside to protect the leaves, but still placed in the brightest location possible.
  • Water the plant regularly during the growing season, but reduce during winter.33

Make sure the seeds have ample room to grow, as the tree can reach up to 20 feet high.34 Patience is also required when growing guavas, as it can take around three years before they begin to bear fruit, keeping in mind that optimal growing conditions are met and maintained.35 There are various guava types to choose from. Some of the most popular include:36

Red Malaysian — Known for its red color, the Red Malaysian is generally grown due to its aesthetic appeal thanks to its characteristic pink flowers and red-tinted leaves. The fruits possess the same color as well.

Tropical White — As the name implies, this guava type is popular due to its white-fleshed fruit. It is also known for its yellow skin and pleasant aroma.

Mexican Cream — Another white-fleshed variety, Mexican cream is renowned for its creamy and sweet flavor that is commonly used in desserts.

Strawberry Guava — This type produces fruits that look and taste similar to strawberries.

Lemon Guava — The fruit of this guava type has a similar taste and look to lemon.

Detwiler — The only variety that produces yellow flesh.

Try This Simple Guava Leaf Tea Recipe for a Start

Guava leaf tea is one of the easiest ways to reap health benefits from the plant. All you need are a handful of leaves and boiling water. Once your tree has fully grown, follow these instructions:37

How to Make Guava Leaf Tea


  • Six guava leaves, plucked fresh from the tree
  • 1 liter (a little over 1 quart) water
  • Raw honey (optional)


  1. Pick six fresh guava leaves and wash them thoroughly.
  2. Boil the leaves in 1 liter of water.
  3. After boiling for 10 minutes, pour the water through a filter.
  4. Add a dash of honey for flavor and added health benefits.

Guava Tea Side Effects Are Practically Nonexistent

There’s very little information regarding the dangers of consuming guava or drinking guava tea. In general, the plant is good for most people, including pregnant and breastfeeding women.38 When consuming the fruit, however, be sure to do so in moderation as the sweet varieties contain fructose that may overpower the health benefits when consumed in excess.

Guava Leaf Tea May Be One of the Best Beverages You Can Enjoy

Adding guava leaf tea to your beverage list is one of the best things you can do for your health. As the research has already shown, the drink can benefit your health in numerous ways, such as managing blood sugar and cholesterol levels. However, patience is needed when planting your own guava tree as it can take years to fully mature. If you’d like to have fresh leaves right away, look for a reputable source that doesn’t use pesticides or other chemicals to protect your health.

Frequently Asked Questions About Guava Leaf Tea

Q: What do guava leaves cure?

A: Guava leaves may help boost your health in various ways. In one study, researchers found that the leaves may help fight against oxidative stress.39 Guava leaves can also help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, which can be beneficial for diabetics.40

Q: Is guava leaf good for hair growth?

A: Yes, guava leaf can be a good agent for promoting hair growth. It is rich in vitamin C, a nutrient that can help boost the production of collagen, a protein found in human hair and skin.41

Q: Is guava tea good for diabetics?

A: Yes, drinking guava leaf tea may be beneficial for diabetics. One study notes that the tea helped lower blood sugar levels after a meal, with the effect lasting for two hours.42

Q: Is guava harmful?

A: Guava is generally good for your health. Pregnant and breastfeeding women can eat the fruit as well, but stick with moderate amounts for safety reasons.43

Q: Does guava reduce weight?

A: Guava leaf tea can be part of a healthy weight management plan, according to a study published in Food Research International.44


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Sweet! Here are 7 reasons to eat sweet potatoes





(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





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





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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