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Are You Surrounded and Stressed by Clutter?

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When you look around your home, is your mind sidelined by stacks of papers, piles of toys, heaps of laundry and an array of random stuff cluttering up your countertops, desk, dressers and virtually any other flat surface? Clutter is not just an eyesore but something that can have a significant effect on your mind, mood and even your productivity.

You may intrinsically feel the weight of clutter when it surrounds you, but research also bears this out, putting into more concrete terms an otherwise subjective matter. The recent popularity of Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant, and other decluttering methods is a testimony to the number of people who are affected by too much stuff — and desire to do away with it.

“Clutter is an overabundance of possessions that collectively create chaotic and disorderly living spaces,” Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago, told The New York Times.1

The truth is, though, that not everyone is affected by clutter in the same way, which is why Ferrari and colleagues questioned three groups of adults in different stages of their life to find out clutter’s effects across generations.2

Clutter Linked to Procrastination, Life Dissatisfaction

Ferrari’s study involved college students, young adults in their 20s and 30s, and older adults in their 50s. In particular, the researchers were looking at how chronic procrastination may lead to clutter, as putting off getting rid of things you no longer need or want inevitably leads to clutter.

A strong association was found between procrastination and clutter problems in all of the groups, and clutter problems also led to a significant decrease in satisfaction with life among older adults.

The results suggest that having a tendency to procrastinate enables a “lifelong pattern of responses to one’s environment that become increasingly maladaptive throughout the life cycle,” while at the same time contributes to people putting off the decision to dispose of unnecessary items. According to the study, which is published in Current Psychology:3

“Procrastination and clutter are remarkably common problems for many people. Virtually all adults have spaces in their homes filled with unused, unwanted, or neglected possessions waiting for the possessor to find an opportune time to take action, whether that action is to keep, sell, donate, give away or dispose of those objects.

Disposition of possessions can be an unpleasant task, one that if left undone can create a distressing amount of clutter.”

Clutter May Increase Stress Hormones, Especially in Women

Your home can be a peaceful sanctuary or a source of stress. Which one is dictated, in part, by perceived levels of clutter.

Researchers at University of Southern California analyzed 60 dual-income spouses’ self-guided home tours for the frequency of words describing clutter, an unfinished home, restfulness or nature.4 Those who spoke of their home more frequently as cluttered or unfinished had higher stressful home scores.

In turn, women with higher stressful home scores tended to be stressed at the start of the day, and stress levels persisted throughout the day, as evidenced by cortisol (stress hormone) levels. On the other hand, women who perceived their homes to be more restorative had cortisol levels that declined throughout the day.

What’s more, women living in cluttered homes had increased depressed mood over the course of the day. The opposite held true for women with restorative homes. Overall, women who described their homes as disorderly were more likely to suffer from depressed mood, fatigue in the evening, poor coping skills and difficulty transitioning from work to home.

Men didn’t seem to be as stressed out by clutter as women, but this could be because they didn’t spend as much time on housework after work as women did. Among men who did more housework, cortisol levels tended to be raised similarly to the women’s.5

Clutter Disrupts Your Focus, Contributes to Unhealthy Eating

Entering an environment that’s cluttered is like entering a state of chaos. The fact is, your visual system’s ability to process information from multiple objects at the same time is limited.

As researchers wrote in the Journal of Neuroscience, “Multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex, providing a neural correlate for the limited processing capacity of the visual system.”6

In other words, when you’re in an organized, uncluttered space, your brain has an easier time processing everything that’s there, which frees up space to focus on other things.

A cluttered kitchen can also make you more vulnerable to making unhealthy food choices, particularly if you’re also in a chaotic frame of mind.7 People with extremely cluttered homes are also 77 percent more likely to be overweight or obese.8

Why Do People Accumulate so Much Stuff?

Getting to the bottom of clutter requires looking into why people have so much stuff in the first place. Most experts on the topic will agree that half the battle lies in accumulating less to begin with, so make a conscious decision about whether you really need to bring a new item into your home.

Not only does buying stuff you don’t need have environmental consequences, but it will also end up stored somewhere in your home, where you’ll need to expend mental and physical energy cleaning it, moving it and deciding what to do with it. The latter part is harder than it sounds, and people tend to avoid making decisions about getting rid of their stuff for a variety of reasons, including:9

  • A desire to avoid wastefulness
  • Loss of self-identity associated with disposal of the item, especially those associated with personal meaning or attachment
  • Overattachment to items

“Even disposal contemplations that involve seemingly ordinary, mundane possessions can induce feelings of uncertainty and ambivalence. As adults age, they typically amass more possessions, making clutter more problematic for individuals who don’t routinely take time to purge,” Ferrari and colleagues wrote.10

Digital Clutter Is Similar to Physical Clutter

Is your email inbox in the six figures? Do you have digital files, photos and folders stored in so many different places that you’d be hard pressed to find something important when you need it?

This type of digital clutter creates much of the same anxiety and stress as physical clutter. An unorganized inbox or online photo album, for instance, drains your mental energy and time. And you may feel anxious about how to deal with all of your digital files — what should you keep? Where should you store it? What’s safe to delete?

While digital clutter doesn’t take up the same physical space as other clutter, and may be easier to detach from, since you can turn off your computer or phone and ignore it if you so choose, you should still make a point to minimize digital clutter in your life.

For starters, be very choosy about giving out your email and try to deal with emails as they come in, responding right away and then deleting. If it’s something you need to save for later, move the email to a folder you’ve created for that purpose.

Overwhelmed by Clutter? Start Small

Clutter can be overwhelming, causing you to avoid going through it and making matters worse as piles get ever larger. There are many ways to get started that will break up the monotonous task into manageable bits:

  • Set a timer for 10 minutes and declutter until the timer goes off, putting items into bags to donate or trash/recycle — if you do this daily, you’ll notice a tremendous difference
  • Choose one room, drawer, closet or cabinet and tackle that first
  • Designate several bins for the purpose, labeling them “donate,” “trash,” “put away” and “recycle” — as you see items out of place in your home, put them in the appropriate bin
  • Start by getting rid of trash
  • Give away one item each day, or fill one trash bag with items to donate once a week or month

If you tend to hold on to items because of a sentimental attachment, Ferrari recommends using a hands-off approach. “If you’re going to declutter, don’t touch the item. Don’t pick it up,” he told the Times, “Have somebody else hold the pair of black pants and say, ‘Do you need this?’ Once you touch the item, you are less likely to get rid of it.”11

Get Your Mind in the Right Place

Often, we fail to declutter out of fear that we will miss an item or find a use for it later. You may also feel like you should keep items out of obligation because you paid money for them or received them as a gift. Changing your mindset here is important, because ultimately those items are keeping you from mental peace and calm.

Let go of any items that bring you down mentally or emotionally. Using the one-year rule can help — if you haven’t used it in a year, get rid of it. It can help to visualize what you want your space to look like.

Then schedule time to declutter on your calendar so you’ll commit to the “appointment.” You may want to start with the worst, most stress-inducing spot in your home, because once it’s done, you’ll feel like you can tackle anything.

Starting with items in plain sight works well. Once you’ve cleared off countertops, nightstands and dressers, you can move to decluttering your cabinets and drawers. Be sure to designate a spot to handle incoming papers, and anything you don’t need (like junk mail) should be recycled immediately.

If you have significant clutter, hiring a professional organizer can help, but resist the urge to start out by buying a bunch of organizational bins and containers. Do the decluttering first, and then choose storage options that fit the items you have remaining. Further, it’s not necessary to have professional help — if you tackle clutter one object at a time, you’ll still reap great rewards.

For times when you feel resistant to parting with an item, and you can’t figure out why, try using the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to tap away any anxiety, fear or other negative emotions that come up when you think about clearing clutter, and live by these basic ground rules:

Handle an item only once — Once you pick it up, either put it away, give it away or throw it away. Do not simply put it back down again in the same cluttered pile.

If you buy something new, get rid of something old — If you buy a new set of glassware, donate the old set you no longer need. Likewise for new items of clothing, shoes or bedding and even computers, toys and electronics.

You only need one — You probably have multiples of many objects unnecessarily. You only need one wine opener, one set of barbecue tools, one hair dryer and so on. If you have multiple items of the same object that you don’t need, be ruthless in getting it down to one.

This applies to items you may need multiples of too, like bedsheets or towels. You may need two or three sets, but do you really need 10?

The more you tend to and remove physical and digital clutter in your life, the more space you’ll clear up to focus on what makes you happy. Removing the distracting clutter is a first and necessary step to achieving inner peace, focus and, ultimately, a more satisfying existence.

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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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