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Tea Tree Oil for Warts and Cold Sores

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Tea tree oil is considered to be one of the most versatile essential oils. While it has a long history of use for the treatment of skin conditions and wounds, you may appreciate this pungent oil most when you have an unsightly cold sore or bothersome wart. Given its many uses for health and home, I highly recommend tea tree oil.

What Is Tea Tree Oil?

Tea tree oil, also known as melaleuca oil, is extracted from the leaves of the tea tree plant (Melaleuca alternifolia), a member of the myrtle tree family, which is native to Australia and New Zealand. The name was coined by British explorer Capt. James Cook in the 1770s when he saw native Australians brewing tea using leaves from the tree.1

The tea tree was highly prized by primitive Australian communities for its unique healing ability. With regard to some of tea tree’s uses, The Australian Tea Tree Industry Association states:2

“The indigenous Bundjalung people of eastern Australia are believed to have used tea trees as a traditional medicine for many years in a variety of ways, including inhaling the oil from the crushed leaves to treat coughs and colds and applying the leaves on wounds as a poultice, as well as brewing an infusion of the leaves to make a tea for [the] treatment of sore throats, or applying [it] on the skin for minor wounds, abrasions and insect bites and stings.”

It was only in the 1920s and 1930s that tea tree oil’s medicinal properties became more widely known, thanks to the efforts of researcher Arthur Penfold, an Australian state government chemist, who published a series of papers on the oil’s antimicrobial properties.3 He rated it as 11 times more active than phenol. The author of a 2012 review on tea tree oil stated:4

“The commercial tea tree oil industry was born after the medicinal properties of the oil were first reported by Penfold. Production ebbed after World War II, as demand for the oil declined, presumably due to the development of effective antibiotics and the waning image of natural products.

Interest in the oil was rekindled in the 1970s as part of the general renaissance of interest in natural products. Commercial plantations were established in the 1970s and 1980s, which led to mechanization and large-scale production of a consistent essential oil product.”

Tea tree oil contains more than 100 components, but it is mostly made up of terpene hydrocarbons: monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and their alcohols.5 Through modern distillation methods, manufacturers are able to produce tea tree oil with a clear to very pale golden or yellow color, and a pungent camphor-like scent.6

Tea Tree Oil Works Wonders on Cold Sores


Authors of lab-based experiments performed by a research arm of the Australian government found tea tree oil to be effective in the treatment of cold sores. They concluded:7

“TTO (tea tree oil) may be a potentially useful alternative treatment for cold sores which is relatively inexpensive, acceptable to patients and which does not have the capacity to induce resistance to systemic antiviral agents. A larger study is required to further evaluate TTO as a topical treatment for RHL [recurrent herpes labialis, also known as cold sores].”

Research published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy8 indicates tea tree oil has shown broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity in vitro, including activity against herpes simplex virus (HSV), the etiological agent of RHL. In this research, patients aged 18 to 70 years participated in a randomized, placebo-controlled study.

Participants presented as soon as possible after onset of a cold sore outbreak and were randomized to receive either 6 percent tea tree oil in an aqueous gel base or a placebo gel, both of which were applied five times daily. The median time to re-epithelialization after treatment with tea tree oil was nine days, compared with 12.5 days for the placebo group.

The study authors stated, “Tea tree oil may be a potentially useful cheaper alternative, acceptable to patients and which poses little threat of inducing resistance to systemic antiviral agents.”9

A study published in the journal Microbiology and Immunology10 evaluated the impact of 12 essential oils, including tea tree oil, on HSV type-1 (HSV-1) in vitro. The researchers noted tea tree oil had previously been shown to have antiviral activity against HSV-1 and HSV-2, along with eucalyptus essential oil. They said:11

“It is well-known that TTO has strong antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activity. The antiviral activity of tea tree against HSV-1 and -2 has been reported; however, the results in the present study demonstrated that because tea tree possessed antiviral activity against HSV-1 at a concentration of 1 percent, but not at a concentration of 0.1 percent, lemongrass showed the stronger antiviral activity than tea tree.”

As you can see, when it comes to treating cold sores, you have more than one option when applying essential oils. The good news is, if you have a sensitivity to tea tree oil, you might also try either eucalyptus essential oil or lemongrass essential oil. The video above provides a couple of additional ideas on how to treat cold sores naturally.

Use Tea Tree Oil to Remove Warts


Warts come in all shapes and sizes, and tea tree oil has been shown to be effective in treating warts found on the genitals, hands and feet. The treatment for each type of wart is similar: Simply apply one drop of tea tree oil to a cotton ball and press it over the wart.

If desired, you can apply a bandage or piece of tape over the cotton ball to keep it in place. Clean the area well and repeat the oil treatment daily until the wart disappears — usually in one to four weeks. Alternately, you can apply a drop of tea tree oil directly to the affected area once daily until the condition improves.

Research published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice12 highlights the successful topical treatment of hand warts for pediatric patients using tea tree oil.

The oil was applied directly to the lesions once a day for 12 days. The study authors commented, “The case highlights the potential use of tea tree oil in the treatment of common warts due to human papilloma virus.”13

25 Other Uses for Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has been long valued for its antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. It was first used in dentistry and surgery to help clean wounds and prevent infections in the 1920s and during World War II to treat skin injuries suffered by people working in munition factories.14

More recently, tea tree oil has been added to lotions, shampoos and soaps. Below are 25 anecdotal uses for this versatile oil:15,16


























Acne treatment — Add a drop of this oil to your normal cleansing routine or dab a very small amount on acne breakouts to soothe and disinfect the area

All-purpose cleaner and disinfectant — Add one drop of this oil to a cup of water and put it in a spray bottle for use as an all-purpose natural cleaner in your bathroom and kitchen; works well on most surfaces, including ceramic, linoleum, porcelain and stone

Bad breath — Add one drop of oil to 1 ounce of water and use as a gargle; do not swallow!

Bladder infection — Mix 10 to 15 drops of tea tree oil into 1 cup of Epsom salts and add to a shallow bath; soak for 10 minutes and then wash the area well with soap and water

Boils — Wet and apply a warm washcloth for a few minutes and then apply a drop or two of tea tree oil to the area, which should cause the infection to surface and be released

Bronchitis — Use for steam inhalation by adding 1 to 2 drops of tea tree oil to a pot of boiled water or massage the oil directly over your chest

Dandruff — Add 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil to your regular shampoo or massage a few drops directly into your scalp after washing

Dermatitis — Add 10 drops of oil to 1 tablespoon of a carrier oil and massage into the affected areas two to three times a day until the condition improves

Gout — Add 10 drops of tea tree oil to 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil and massage into the affected area two to three times a day

Head lice — Add 20 drops of oil to 2 tablespoons of shampoo and massage into your scalp and hair; leave on for 10 minutes and then rinse. Repeat three to four times a day until the eggs are gone.

Immune booster — Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a diffuser and diffuse it into the air or apply 1 to 2 drops to the bottoms of your feet and massage into the skin

Inflammation — Massage over any inflamed areas using gentle, gliding strokes directed toward your heart

Jock itch — Apply 10 to 15 drops of tea tree oil to 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil and apply to affected area twice daily; dust with cornstarch to reduce chafing

Laundry freshener — Adding a few drops of tea tree oil during the wash cycle will not only make your laundry smell fresher, but will also kill organisms lurking in your washer

Mosquito bites — Apply one drop of oil directly to bites and repeat daily as needed

Muscle aches and pains — Add 10 to 15 drops of oil to one-half cup Epsom salts, and dissolve in bath. Add 10 drops of oil to 2 tablespoons of carrier oil. Massage well.

Natural pest control — The strong smell of tea tree oil naturally repels ants and other insects, as well as moths. Make a natural insect repellent by mixing a few drops of tea tree oil with coconut oil or put cotton balls soaked in tea tree oil in bins of stored clothing

Sinusitis — Use as directed for bronchitis or use as a sinus rinse by adding two drops to a neti pot

Sports equipment deodorizer — Remove funky smells and bacteria from sports gear by spritzing it with the same spray formulation noted above for all-purpose cleaning and disinfecting

Stain remover — Mix a couple drops of tea tree oil with salt or baking soda to create a gentle abrasive cleaner that is great for removing stubborn stains

Sunburn — Mix one drop of tea tree oil with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and one drop of lavender; gently apply to sunburn-affected areas at least twice a day

Tattoos — Apply a few drops of tea tree oil directly to newly applied tattoos to prevent infection, or mix with a carrier oil first and then apply

Toenail fungus — Add one to two drops of tea tree oil directly to the affected nail and surrounding tissue; repeat morning and evening until the condition improves

Toothbrush cleaner — Use one drop to disinfect your toothbrush, a known breeding ground for mold and bacteria

Wound care — For minor cuts and abrasions, clean the area well and then apply a few drops of the oil directly to the affected area; use the same treatment for blisters

Adverse Reactions to Tea Tree Oil Are Relatively Uncommon but Use Caution

Undiluted tea tree oil has been known to cause skin irritation in some people, but the risk is considered low.

Authors of a 2003 study,17 involving 311 participants treated with undiluted and diluted formulations of tea tree oil, said, “Topical application of tea tree oil is associated with negligible skin irritancy. In the group of subjects studied, the risk of developing an allergic dermatitis from topical tea tree oil usage was found to be less than 1 percent.”18

That said, they also noted three subjects developed a grade 3 skin reaction when tea tree oil was applied, which is suggestive of an allergic reaction. As with all essential oils, I recommend you perform a patch test as a first step to determining if your body may have a sensitivity to tea tree oil.

Simply apply one drop to the underside of your forearm and wait 24 hours. If your skin breaks out or you have other unexplained symptoms, do not use the oil. Keep in mind that tea tree oil can be toxic when ingested in larger amounts so never use this oil orally, and do not swallow any homemade preparations containing tea tree oil.

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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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