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Dental Fillings Linked to Pregnancy Risk

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Mercury is a toxic heavy metal, one that can cause harmful effects to your nervous, digestive, respiratory and immune systems. It’s known to damage both the kidneys and the lungs in humans, and the World Health Organization (WHO) notes that health effects from mercury exposure include tremors, impaired vision and hearing, emotional instability, paralysis, insomnia and developmental deficits during fetal development.1

Mercury exposure has also been linked to attention deficit and developmental delays during childhood, with WHO noting, “[M]ercury may have no threshold below which some adverse effects do not occur.”2 In other words, even very small doses of mercury may be harmful.

It would seem common sense to keep such a toxic metal far away from the most vulnerable among us, namely developing babies, which is why in the European Union, Canada, Australia and Mauritius, the use of mercury fillings in pregnant women has either been banned or recommended against.3

This isn’t the case in the U.S., where mercury fillings are still allowed in pregnant women and children, even as the evidence of harm mounts against them.

Mercury Fillings Linked to Perinatal Death

Researchers in Norway analyzed data from more than 72,000 pregnant women, comparing it with the number of teeth filled with dental amalgam.4 Amalgam is made up of 50 percent elemental mercury along with silver, tin and copper. Although they’re often referred to as “silver” fillings because of their color, they’re actually made with a significant amount of mercury.

In the study, the researchers wanted to find out whether the number of mercury fillings in a pregnant woman’s mouth was linked to the risk of perinatal death, which refers to stillbirth that occurs from 22 weeks’ gestation to the end of pregnancy, as well as early neonatal death in the first week after birth.

A statistically significant association was indeed found. Women with 16 teeth filled with amalgam had nearly double the risk of perinatal death compared to those with zero amalgam fillings.

What’s more, a dose-dependent relationship was noted, with risk of perinatal death increasing along with the number of amalgams. The association persisted even after the researchers controlled for other risk factors like the mother’s age, smoking or alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The study concluded:

“The absolute risk of perinatal death ranged from 0.20 percent in women with no amalgam-filled teeth to 0.67 percent in women with 13 or more teeth filled with amalgam …

The current findings suggest that the risk of perinatal death could increase in a dose-dependent way based on the mother’s number of teeth filled with dental amalgam … Additional studies on the relationship between exposure to dental amalgam fillings during pregnancy and perinatal death are warranted.”

Mercury Exposure Among Dental Staff Linked to Miscarriage and Other Pregnancy Risks

Another group at risk of mercury exposure is dental staff who, in addition to exposure from any mercury fillings in their mouth, are exposed to the toxic metal in the workplace.

Writing in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers explained, “Dental staff members are constantly exposed to mercury vapor, which is readily absorbed through the skin and lungs and excreted by the kidneys.”5

The study involved 64 pregnant dental staff and 60 pregnant employees that were not exposed to mercury in the workplace. Not only did the dental staff have higher levels of mercury in their urine but they also had lower blood antioxidant activity during the three trimesters of pregnancy.

Further, the dental staff were more likely to experience miscarriage and preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy that can lead to serious, or even fatal, complications to mom and baby), and their babies tended to be smaller for gestational age, compared to the babies born to nonexposed women.

The researchers suggested the negative pregnancy outcomes among the dental staff may be linked to oxidative stress induced by exposure to mercury.6

This is yet another reason why mercury fillings should no longer be used. Because mercury is the most vaporous of the heavy metals, dental amalgam makes dental workplaces full of toxic air — which exposes dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants and front office staff to eight to 10 hours of dangerous breathing every workday.

Such hazards are generally not disclosed to the dental staff, even the pregnant women, which, as this latest study suggests, can and do have serious consequences to those working in the office. Further, few dental workers employed by pro-mercury dentists are given protective garb or air masks to minimize their exposure to mercury and other toxins.

Alex Hummell, CEO of Mercury Instruments USA Inc., a company that makes equipment to detect airborne levels of mercury, said he’s seen air contamination in dental offices that’s so high it would be shut down if it were any other office.7 He won’t even take his children into just any dentist’s office for this very reason.

Your Mercury Fillings Release Mercury Vapor

The American Dental Association (ADA) is among those who have long defended the use of mercury fillings. Even with all of the accumulating evidence against them, Colgate, an ADA-endorsed toothpaste brand, continues to support their use, stating, “By the time the amalgam is placed in your tooth, the mercury has formed a compound with the other metals. It is no longer toxic.”8

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also fallen short of protecting Americans from installing this toxic metal in their mouths, and continues to state that they’re fine for adults and children ages 6 and over.

Yet, even they acknowledge that dental amalgam “releases low levels of mercury in the form of a vapor that can be inhaled and absorbed by the lungs” and “high levels of mercury vapor exposure are associated with adverse effects in the brain and the kidneys.” Further, according to the FDA:9

“The developing neurological systems in fetuses and young children may be more sensitive to the neurotoxic effects of mercury vapor. Very limited to no clinical data is available regarding long-term health outcomes in pregnant women and their developing fetuses, and children under the age of six, including infants who are breastfed.”

Acute inhalation of mercury is known to cause inflammation of the lungs and shortness of breath, as well as respiratory failure and death in extreme cases. But even smaller doses may be harmful, as inhaled mercury vapor is absorbed into your blood, where it’s transported throughout your body.

For pregnant women, this includes crossing the placenta, where it can accumulate in your unborn child. Mercury from a mother’s dental fillings can also be passed to her baby via breast milk.10 At least one study also found an association between prenatal exposure to mercury fillings and adverse effects on mental development in baby girls.11

Pregnant Women Advised to Limit Seafood but Not Warned About Mercury Fillings

Many pregnant women are aware of the government warnings to limit the consumption of certain types of seafood, like tuna, because it may contain unsafe levels of mercury during pregnancy. It’s a major contradiction that similar warnings are not put in place for mercury fillings, especially since they’re associated with blood mercury levels in pregnant women.

One study found that mercury fillings contribute about 6.5 percent of total blood mercury in U.K. pregnant women, which is comparable to the amount contributed by seafood consumption (8.75 percent).12

Yet, the researchers suggested that measures of dental amalgam mercury exposure were imprecise, so the amounts contributed were probably an underestimate. In other words, mercury fillings may contribute the same amounts of mercury or more to pregnant women as eating seafood, but warnings are only issued for the latter.

The fact is, it’s proven that mercury fillings raise levels of mercury in your body. One study used data from nearly 15,000 people and found that among those with more than eight fillings, blood mercury levels were more than double those of people without fillings.13

Meanwhile, higher mercury levels are linked to IQ deficits and other developmental problems in infants, leading researchers to suggest “a safe limit of mercury cannot be calculated.”14

Another variable is that research suggests exposure to electromagnetic fields, such as those from cellphones or MRI medical scans, may increase the release of mercury from amalgam fillings.15 It’s even been hypothesized that this could be a contributing factor to increasing autism rates. According to one study in the Journal of Biomedical Physics and Engineering:16

“[M]ercury can decrease the levels of neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, noreprenephrine, and acetylcholine in the brain and cause neurological problems … We have previously shown that exposure to MRI or microwave radiation emitted by common mobile phones can lead to increased release of mercury from dental amalgam fillings …

As a strong association between exposure to electromagnetic fields and mercury level has been found in our previous studies, our findings can lead us to this conclusion that maternal exposure to electromagnetic fields in mothers with dental amalgam fillings may cause elevated levels of mercury and trigger the increase in autism rates.”

Why Risk It? Safer Alternatives Exist

There’s no reason for pregnant women — or anyone, for that matter — to risk putting mercury in their mouth, as safer alternatives exist. One of the most popular alternatives to amalgam is resin composite, which is made of a type of plastic reinforced with powdered glass.

It’s already common throughout the U.S. and the rest of the developed world, offering notable improvements over amalgam, as, according to Consumers for Dental Choice, it:17

Is environmentally safe: Composite, which contains no mercury, does not pollute the environment. This saves taxpayers from paying the costs of cleaning up dental mercury pollution in our water, air and land — and the costs of health problems associated with mercury pollution.

Preserves healthy tooth structure, because, unlike amalgam, it does not require the removal of significant amounts of healthy tooth matter. Over the long term, composite preserves healthy tooth structure and actually strengthens teeth, leading to better oral health and less extensive dental work over the long term.

Is long-lasting: While some claim that amalgam fillings last longer than composite fillings, the science reveals this claim to be baseless. The latest studies show that composite not only lasts as long as amalgam, but actually has a higher overall survival rate.

Do be aware that many private dental insurance companies do not cover mercury-free fillings for all teeth, so be sure to read the fine print if you’re considering a new plan. If your plan fully pays for amalgam while limiting or denying coverage for mercury-free fillings, register your objections with this easy-to-fill-out online form, which you can then email to your insurance company.

Please visit the Consumer for Dental Choice “Demand Your Choice” page to find additional details and tools to help you take a stand against your insurance company’s pro-mercury policies. Next, find another insurance company or dental plan that pays for mercury-free fillings in all teeth, without exceptions or clauses.

Choose a Mercury-Free Dentist

If you’re pregnant, it’s imperative that you choose a mercury-free dentist (including if you work in a dental office). If your current dentist is still using mercury in his or her practice — even if they also offer mercury-free options — seek a dentist that offers only mercury-free fillings for all patients. And, be sure to inform your dentist about the reason you’re transferring.

For those of you who have mercury fillings, I recommend having them very carefully removed by a competent biological dentist who follows professional protocols for amalgam removal. However, do not remove fillings while pregnant, as this could expose you to increased mercury vapors.

In addition, I urge you to take a moment to sign Consumers for Dental Choice’s petition to the FDA to ban mercury fillings for children. The agency admits amalgam poses a risk for unborn and young children. It admits there’s no proof amalgam is safe for use. Enough is enough. The time is well overdue for the FDA to take action to protect children and pregnant women from this well-recognized neurotoxin.

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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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