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Will Our Time on Earth Be Preserved in Chicken Bones?




With each passing year, humans have a greater impact on the environment than the year before. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of contaminated waterways in India more than doubled and by 2015 more than half of the nation’s rivers were polluted.

Plastics are polluting the oceans and waterways, and even the micro fibers and microbeads in clothing are increasing the potential for catastrophic environmental and biological consequences.

Every year an estimated 80 billion pieces of clothing are sold worldwide and each year Americans alone throw out 15 million tons of clothing.1 Animal waste from factory farms also pose a significant risk to public health.

Communities near hog concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) have higher mortality rates from anemia, kidney disease, tuberculosis and septicemia. CAFO animals are routinely fed antibiotics, which promotes drug-resistant bacteria.

Poultry products are frequently contaminated with bacteria, including Salmonella, and have even tested positive for drugs that are banned or restricted in U.S. meat, including chloramphenicol, ketamine, phenylbutazone and nitroimidazole.

Geological Passage of Time Marked by Changes to the Earth

A paper in the Royal Society2 proposes we may have geologically entered the age of the chicken.3 In 1669, Nicolaus Steno described two basic geological principles becoming the foundation of an idea that geological processes are uniform in frequency and magnitude.4 This led to the development of a geological time scale, separated into eras, periods and epochs.

Today we are in the Cenozoic era, Quaternary period and Holocene epoch5 — that is until scientists announced the impact humans have had on the Earth has been so profound that a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, must be declared.6

An official expert group presented the recommendation to the International Geological Congress at Cape Town, determining the new epoch should begin in 1950, as it was during this time radioactive elements dispersed across the planet by nuclear bomb tests could define an array of other signals of change.

These signals of significant impact on the Earth included plastic pollution, soot from power stations and the bones left by the global proliferation of the domesticated chicken. The Holocene era marked 12,000 years of steady climate since the last ice age.

However, with striking acceleration of emissions and rising sea levels, experts argue this marks the end of this geological time period. Additional changes include the global mass extinction of species and the transformation of land by deforestation.

Experts continue to argue7 whether we have officially entered the Anthropocene epoch and humans have permanently changed the planet.8 However, despite the argument of whether the name should change, the fact remains humans have made an indelible and infamous mark on the Earth, especially with the industrialization of food manufacture and supply.

Mind-Boggling Number of Chickens Tell a Disturbing Tale

With a combined mass of 23 billion, the global chicken population is nearly three times the human population of the world.9 Nearly 65 billion chickens are consumed each year, and scientists believe this signature fossil of the modern epic may be what the future remembers about humans living today.

As archaeologists sift through the remnants of these years, it might be the broiler chicken that stands out, determining who we were and how humans shaped the world. At any given time, the population of chickens is at least 10 times more than any other bird. The second largest population of birds has an estimated number of 1.5 billion.

However, it isn’t just the mind-boggling number of chickens that will speak to the history of this time, but also the animals’ shape and genetic changes bred specifically for food. Carys Bennett, an honorary fellow at the University of Leicester and one of the authors of the essay, comments,10 “We have changed the actual biology of the chicken.”

Chickens were domesticated nearly 8,000 years ago, simultaneously in China and India. They reached North and South America in the 1500s with the Spanish explorers, but ancient Egyptians were among the first to master artificial incubation, allowing them to raise a larger number of eggs for food.

Prior to the 1920s, poultry was raised for fun in the U.S., mostly as a hobby. Henneries became commercialized operations following World War I and saved the day for thousands of farmers in the Midwest who suffered crop failures, labor shortages and price drops.

By the 1940s the chicken population in every American city was roughly half of the human population, leading to the current factory farms. It has become a sad state of affairs for an animal once revered by the Roman armies and affectionate enough to make a great pet.

Factory farming has represented the chicken’s final step as a protein producing commodity when as many as 20,000 to 30,000 broilers are crowded together in a windowless building. Selective breeding has made the broiler so docile even when given access to the outdoors, they prefer hanging out at a mechanized trough for the next delivery of feed.

Today the modern broiler chicken has an average life span of 5 to 9 weeks, and has nearly five times the mass of its ancestors. A genetic mutation has been bred into the animal to make it eat insatiably in order to rapidly gain weight.

However, this rapid weight gain makes the animal subject to numerous bone ailments and, in combination with a diet heavy in grains, the bones have a distinct chemical signature.

The Broiler Designed for an Industrial System of Meat Production

Chickens were once free to roam and peck away at the dirt for bugs and seeds, but are now completely dependent on an industrial system of meat production. Eggs are separated from the hens and artificially incubated where the chicks grow in a climate-controlled shed.

At no older than 9 weeks, the chickens are transported to a slaughterhouse. The authors write most of the chicken is used11 “where most waste products (feathers, manure, blood etc.) are recycled via anaerobic digestion, incineration and rendering into edible by-products, all technology-dependent.”

These scientists argue the greatest lasting sign of how we have changed the world will be the broiler chicken in its number and strangeness, as compared to the original animal. The authors go on to write:12

“Modern broiler chickens are morphologically, genetically and isotopically distinct from domestic chickens prior to the mid-20th century. The global range of modern broilers and biomass dominance over all other bird species is a product of human intervention.

As such, broiler chickens vividly symbolize the transformation of the biosphere to fit evolving human consumption patterns, and show clear potential to be a biostratigraphic marker species of the Anthropocene.”

Pathogens and Chemical Contaminants in CAFO Chickens

Raw chicken meat is particularly dangerous. Over the years, testing has shown chicken is particularly prone to contamination with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Testing in 200713 found 80 percent of whole chicken broilers had Salmonella and/or Campylobacter, two of the leading causes of foodborne illness.

In 2010, retesting demonstrated modest improvements but just three years later Consumer Reports 14 found 97 percent of the chicken breast tested had harmful bacteria, and half had at least one type of bacteria resistant to three or more antibiotics.

In 2018 a salmonella outbreak in 29 states resulted from chicken contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.15 A small sampling of 24 chickens from four national retailers was tested, finding 88 percent were contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.16

Bacterial Contamination Is Not the Only Challenge to Eating Chicken

In 2017 a story broke that Sanderson Farms’ so-called “100% natural chicken” was contaminated with ketamine. This is a drug used by veterinarians, psychiatrists and recreational drug users, known for delivering hallucinogenic effects.

While many chicken producers are actively taking steps to reduce antibiotic use, Sanderson Farms has not, until very recently. In the final months of 2018, the company stated it would discontinue the use of antibiotics Gentamicin and virginiamycin by March 1, 2019.17 Until this announcement they were the only large U.S. chicken producer not committed to curbing the use of medicinally important antibiotics.

However, despite their announcement they did not state whether or not they would allow an independent third-party to verify practices.18 They report they do not use any other medicinally important antibiotics beyond these two, but again do not allow third-party verification.

Sanderson Farms Continues to Push Back on Safer Policies

In 2017, Center for Food Safety and Friends of Earth took Sanderson to court alleging the company’s advertisements were false and misleading. After two previous attempts were dismissed, the court has now agreed to hear the case. Kari Hamerschlag, deputy director of food and agriculture at Friends of the Earth, states:19

“After years of misleading the public and denying the public health risks associated with overuse of antibiotics in animal production, we welcome the judges’ decision to allow our lawsuit against Sanderson Farms to continue.”

At the time the original lawsuit was filed, Sanderson unequivocally denied administration of antibiotics, other chemicals or pesticides listed in the complaint, except for penicillin prescribed to treat sick flocks.20 However, this recent announcement that they would eliminate the use of two medicinally important antibiotics is contradictory to their statement in response to the original lawsuit.

Chickens Are Bigger but Less Nutritious

Broiler chickens are larger, producing more meat, but the meat is less nutritious. Levels of healthy fats in chicken, namely beneficial animal-based omega-3s including DHA, have also changed considerably.

The London Metropolitan University study, written by Michael Crawford Ph.D., of London Metropolitan University,21 found eating 100 grams (about one-quarter pound) of chicken in 1980 would give you 170 milligrams (mg) of DHA, but the same amount of chicken in 2004 would provide just 25 mg.

Omega-6 fats, on the other hand — the kind most Americans get way too much of, courtesy of highly processed vegetable oils — increased, rising from 2,400 mg in 1980 to 6,290 mg in 2004.

Your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is important to your general health and brain development. The ideal ratio is 1-to-1, but the typical Western diet may be between 1-to-20 and 1-to-50. CAFO chicken, and for that matter CAFO anything, certainly doesn’t help anyone achieve their goal. For more information about the nutritional content in chicken see my previous article, “Big Chickens, Little Nutrition.”

Choosing Safer Chicken and Eggs Reduces Your Risk

Choosing food from small regenerative farms — not factory farms — is an important health consideration. Seek out antibiotic-free alternatives raised by organic and regenerative farmers. Unfortunately, loopholes allow CAFO raised chicken and eggs to be masqueraded as “free-range” and “organic.”

Some of these issues are addressed in the Cornucopia Institute egg report22 and score card,23 which ranks producers according to 28 organic criteria. Ultimately, the best choice is a trusted local farmer where you can get your meat and eggs directly.

Alternatively, consider raising your own backyard chickens, a practice growing in popularity in many U.S. cities. Requirements vary depending upon your geographical area, with zoning restrictions limiting the number of chickens you can raise or requiring quarterly inspections.

Check with your city’s regulations before taking the plunge. You might be surprised to find your city already allows raising chickens. If you don’t want to raise your own but still want farm fresh eggs, look for high quality organic, pastured eggs raised locally. In urban areas, visit the local health food store to find high-quality local eggs sources.

Farmers markets and food co-ops are another way to meet people who produce your food. When you have face-to-face contact, you can get your questions answered and know exactly what you’re buying. Better yet, visit the farm and ask for a tour. If they have nothing to hide, they should be eager to show you their operation.

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Sweet! Here are 7 reasons to eat sweet potatoes





(Natural News) Sweet potatoes may not be as popular as regular potatoes, which is too bad — since they’re packed with vitamins and minerals. One cup of sweet potatoes can provide more than 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin A. It’s also rich in vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese. Both purple and orange varieties contain antioxidants that can protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

Eating sweet potatoes is beneficial for your health

Sweet potatoes are brimming with micronutrients and antioxidants —  making them useful to your health. Below is a list of reasons why you should incorporate sweet potatoes into your diet.

They improve brain function

The purple variety of sweet potato contains anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have revealed that anthocyanins are effective at improving cognitive function. Moreover, the results suggest that purple yams can help protect against memory loss. Antioxidants from the purple variety safeguard the brain against damage from free radicals and inflammation.

They aid digestion

Sweet potatoes are rich in dietary fiber. This macronutrient prevents constipation, diarrhea, and bloating by adding bulk and drawing water to the stool. In addition, fiber keeps a healthy balance in the gut by promoting the growth of good bacteria.

They slow down aging

The beta-carotene in orange sweet potatoes can help reduce damage caused by prolonged sun exposure. This is especially true for people diagnosed with erythropoietic protoporphyria and other photosensitive diseases. Sweet potatoes also contain antioxidants that protect against free radical damage. Free radicals are not only linked to diseases but also premature aging.

They boost the immune system

Orange and purple sweet potatoes are loaded with a good number of antioxidants that help protect the body from harmful molecules that cause inflammation and damage DNA. This, in turn, protects the body from chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.

They can prevent cancer

Eating sweet potatoes can help protect against various types of cancers. The compounds in sweet potatoes restrict the development of cancer cells. Test tube studies have shown that anthocyanins can prevent cancers in the bladder, breast, colon, and stomach.

They lower blood sugar

Despite its relatively high glycemic index, studies have shown that the regular intake of sweet potatoes can help lower blood sugar, thanks to the presence of dietary fiber. While fiber falls under carbohydrates, it is digested differently, compared to starchy and sugary forms of carbohydrates. Interestingly, insulin doesn’t process fiber (unlike other types which get turned into glucose), and it only passes through the digestive tract.

They promote healthy vision

Orange sweet potatoes are rich in a compound called beta-carotene, an antioxidant which transforms into vitamin A in the body. Adequate intake of vitamin A promotes eye health. Conversely, deficiencies in vitamin A have been linked to a particular type of blindness called xerophthalmia.

Sweet potatoes are easy to incorporate into your everyday meals. They are best prepared boiled but can also be baked, roasted, or steamed — they can even replace other carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes, and toast. (Related: Understanding the phytochemical and nutrient content of sweet potato flours from Vietnam.)

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Frostbite: What it is and how to identify, treat it





Manitoba’s temperature has plummeted to its coldest level this season, triggering warnings about the extreme risk of frostbite.

Oh, we know it’s cold. We can feel Jack Frost nipping at our noses. But what about when he gnaws a little harder — what exactly does “frostbite” mean?

People tend to underestimate the potential for severe injuries in the cold, says the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. We laugh off the sting of the deep freeze, rub our hands back from the brink of numbness and wear our survival proudly like a badge.

That’s because, in most cases, frostbite can be treated fairly easily, with no long-term effects.

But it can also lead to serious injury, including permanent numbness or tingling, joint stiffness, or muscle weakness. In extreme cases, it can lead to amputation.

Bitter cold can cause frostbite in just minutes. Here’s how to recognize the warning signs and treat them. 0:59

Here’s a guide to identifying the first signs, how to treat them, and when to seek medical help.

What is frostbite and frostnip?

Frostbite is defined as bodily injury caused by freezing that results in loss of feeling and colour in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes — those areas most often exposed to the air.

Cooling of the body causes a narrowing of the blood vessels, slowing blood flow. In temperatures below –4 C, ice crystals can form in the skin and the tissue just below it.

Frostnip most commonly affects the hands and feet. It initially causes cold, burning pain, with the area affected becoming blanched. It is easy to treat and with rewarming, the area becomes reddened.

Frostbite is the acute version of frostnip, when the soft tissue actually freezes. The risk is particularly dangerous on days with a high wind chill factor. If not quickly and properly treated, it can lead to the loss of tissues or even limbs. 

Signs of frostbite

Health officials call them the four P’s:

  • Pink: Skin appears reddish in colour, and this is usually the first sign.
  • Pain: The cold becomes painful on skin.
  • Patches: White, waxy-feeling patches show when skin is dying.
  • Prickles: Affected areas feel numb or have reduced sensation.

Symptoms can also include:

  • Reduced body temperature.
  • Swelling.
  • Blisters.
  • Areas that are initially cold, hard to the touch.

Take quick action

If you do get frostbite, it is important to take quick action.

  • Most cases of frostbite can be treated by heating the exposed area in warm (not hot) water.
  • Immersion in warm water should continue for 20-30 minutes until the exposed area starts to turn pink, indicating the return of blood circulation.
  • Use a warm, wet washcloth on frostbitten nose or earlobes.
  • If you don’t have access to warm water, underarms are a good place to warm frostbitten fingers. For feet, put them against a warm person’s skin.
  • Drink hot fluids such as hot chocolate, coffee or tea when warming.
  • Rest affected limbs and avoid irritation to the skin.
  • E​levate the affected limb once it is rewarmed.

Rewarming can take up to an hour and can be painful, especially near the end of the process as circulation returns. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help with the discomfort.

Do not …

There are a number of things you should avoid:

  • Do not warm the area with dry heat, such as a heating pad, heat lamp or electric heater, because frostbitten skin is easily burned.
  • Do not rub or massage affected areas. This can cause more damage.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Do not walk on your feet or toes if they are frozen.
  • Do not break blisters.

Seek immediate medical attention

While you can treat frostbite yourself if the symptoms are minor — the skin is red, there is tingling — you should seek immediate medical attention at an emergency department if:

  • The exposed skin is blackened.
  • You see white-coloured or grey-coloured patches.
  • There is severe pain or the area is completely numb.
  • The skin feels unusually firm and is not sensitive to touch after one hour of rewarming.
  • There are large areas of blistering.
  • There is a bluish discolouration that does not resolve with rewarming.

Be prepared

The best way to avoid frostbite is to be prepared for the weather in the first place.

Wear several loose layers of clothing rather than a single, thick layer to provide good insulation and keep moisture away from your skin.

The outer garment should breathe but be waterproof and windproof, with an inner thermal layer. Retain body heat with a hat and scarf. Mittens are warmer than gloves because they keep the fingers together.

Be sure your clothing protects your head, ears, nose, hands and feet, especially for children.

Wind chill and frostbite rates

Wind chill: 0 to –9.
Frostbite risk: Low.

Wind chill: –28 to –39.
Frostbite risk: Moderate.

Exposed skin can freeze in 10-30 minutes

Wind chill: –40 to –47.
Frostbite risk: High.

Exposed skin can freeze in five to 10 minutes.

Wind chill: –48 to –54.
Frostbite risk: Very High.

Exposed skin can freeze in two to five minutes.

Wind chill: –55 and lower.
Frostbite risk: Extremely High.

Exposed skin can freeze in less than two minutes.

NOTE: In sustained winds over 50 km/h, frostbite can occur faster than indicated.

Source: Environment Canada

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Awkward Flu Jabs Attempted at Golden Globes





In what can only be described as a new level of propaganda, hosts Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh featured a flu shot stunt during the 76th Golden Globe Awards ceremony. They told the audience to roll up their sleeves, as they would all be getting flu shots, while people in white coats stormed down the aisles, syringes in hand.

Most of the audience looked thoroughly uneasy at the prospect of having a stranger stick them with a needle in the middle of an awards show. But perhaps the worst part of the scene was when Samberg added that anti-vaxxers could put a napkin over their head if they wanted to be skipped, basically suggesting that anyone opposed to a flu shot deserved to be branded with a proverbial scarlet letter.

The flu shots, for the record, were reportedly fake,1 nothing more than a bizarre gag that left many people stunned by the Globe’s poor taste in turning a serious medical choice into a publicity gimmick.

Flu Shot Stunt Reeks of Desperation

Whoever came up with the idea to turn the Golden Globes into a platform for a public health message probably thought it was ingenious, but the stunt only serves as a seemingly desperate attempt to make flu shots relevant and in vogue. During the 2017 to 2018 flu season, only 37 percent of U.S. adults received a flu shot, a 6 percent drop from the prior season.2

“To improve flu vaccination coverage for the 2018-19 flu season, health care providers are encouraged to strongly recommend and offer flu vaccination to all of their patients,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wrote. “People not visiting a provider during the flu season have many convenient places they can go for a flu vaccination.”3

Yet, perhaps the decline in people choosing to get vaccinated has nothing to do with convenience and everything to do with their dismal rates of efficacy. In the decade between 2005 and 2015, the influenza vaccine was less than 50 percent effective more than half of the time.4

The 2017/2018 flu vaccine was a perfect example of this trend. The overall adjusted vaccine effectiveness against influenza A and B virus infection was just 36 percent.5

Health officials blamed the flu season’s severity on the dip in vaccination rates, but as Dr. Paul Auwaerter, clinical director of the division of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told USA Today, “[I]t is also true that the vaccine was not as well matched against the strains that circulated.”6

But bringing flu shots to the Golden Globes, and calling out “anti-vaxxers,” is nothing more than “medical care, by shame,” noted Dr. Don Harte, a chiropractic activist in California. “But it was entertaining, in a very weird way, including the shock and disgust of some of the intended victims, notably [Willem Dafoe],” he said, adding:7

“This Hollywood publicity stunt for the flu vaccine is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen from celebrities. But it does go with the flu shot itself, which is, perhaps, the stupidest of all the vaccines available.”

Did 80,000 People Really Die From the Flu Last Year?

The CDC reported that 79,400 people died from influenza during the 2017/2018 season, which they said “serves as a reminder of how severe seasonal influenza can be.”8 It’s important to remember, however, that the 80,000 deaths figure being widely reported in the media is not actually all “flu deaths.”

According to the CDC, “We look at death certificates that have pneumonia or influenza causes (P&I), other respiratory and circulatory causes (R&C), or other nonrespiratory, noncirculatory causes of death, because deaths related to flu may not have influenza listed as a cause of death.”9

As for why the CDC doesn’t base flu mortality estimates only on death certificates that list influenza, they noted, “Seasonal influenza may lead to death from other causes, such as pneumonia, congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease … Additionally, some deaths — particularly among the elderly — are associated with secondary complications of seasonal influenza (including bacterial pneumonias).”10

In other words, “flu deaths” are not just deaths directly caused by the influenza virus, but also secondary infections such as pneumonia and other respiratory diseases, as well as sepsis.11

According to the CDC, most of the deaths occurred among those aged 65 years and over, a population that may already have preexisting conditions that makes them more susceptible to infectious diseases. As Harte said of annual flu deaths, “[M]ost if not all, I would assume, are of people who are already in very bad shape.12

CDC Claims Flu Vaccine Reduces Flu Deaths in the Elderly — But Does It?

Since people aged 65 and over are those most at risk from flu complications and death, the CDC has been vocal in their claims that the flu shot significantly reduces flu-related deaths among this population. The research, however, says otherwise.

Research published in 2005 found no correlation between increased vaccination rates among the elderly and reduced mortality. According to the authors, “Because fewer than 10 percent of all winter deaths were attributable to influenza in any season, we conclude that observational studies substantially overestimate vaccination benefit.”13

A 2006 study also showed that even though seniors vaccinated against influenza had a 44 percent reduced risk of dying during flu season than unvaccinated seniors, those who were vaccinated were also 61 percent less like to die before the flu season ever started.14

This finding has since been attributed to a “healthy user effect,” which suggests that older people who get vaccinated against influenza are already healthier and, therefore, less likely to die anyway, whereas those who do not get the shot have suffered a decline in health in recent months.

Journalist Jeremy Hammond summed up the CDC’s continued spreading of misinformation regarding the flu vaccine’s effectiveness in the elderly, as they continue to claim it’s the best way to prevent the flu:15

[T]here is no good scientific evidence to support the CDC’s claim that the influenza vaccine reduces hospitalizations or deaths among the elderly.

The types of studies the CDC has relied on to support this claim have been thoroughly discredited due to their systemic ‘healthy user’ selection bias, and the mortality rate has observably increased along with the increase in vaccine uptake — which the CDC has encouraged with its unevidenced claims about the vaccine’s benefits, downplaying of its risks, and a marketing strategy of trying to frighten people into getting the flu shot for themselves and their family.”

Death of Vaccinated Child Blamed on Not Getting Second Dose

In January 2019, the state of Colorado reported the first child flu death of the 2018/2019 flu season — a child who had received influenza vaccination. But instead of highlighting the vaccine’s failure and clear limitations, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment blamed the death on the child being only “partially vaccinated.”

“It’s an unfortunate but important reminder of the importance of two doses of influenza vaccine for young children who are receiving influenza vaccine for the first time,” Dr. Rachel Herlihy, who is the state communicable disease epidemiologist, said in a news release.16 For those who aren’t aware, the CDC notes that one dose of flu shot may not be enough to protect against the flu. Instead, they state:17

“Children 6 months through 8 years getting vaccinated for the first time, and those who have only previously gotten one dose of vaccine, should get two doses of vaccine this season …

The first dose ‘primes’ the immune system; the second dose provides immune protection. Children who only get one dose but need two doses can have reduced or no protection from a single dose of flu vaccine.”

Not only may the flu vaccine fail to provide protection against the flu, but many people are not aware that other types of viruses are responsible for about 80 percent of all respiratory infections during any given flu season.18 The flu vaccine does not protect against or prevent any of these other types of respiratory infections causing influenza-like illness (ILI) symptoms.

The chance of contracting actual type A or B influenza, caused by one of the three or four influenza virus strains included in the vaccine, is much lower compared to getting sick with another type of viral or bacterial infection during the flu season.

Does Flu Vaccine Increase the Risk of Influenza Infection, Contribute to Vaccine Shedding?

There are serious adverse effects that can come along with annual flu vaccination, including potentially lifelong side effects such as Guillain Barré syndrome and chronic shoulder injury related to vaccine administration (SIRVA). They may also increase your risk of contracting more serious flu infections, as research suggests those who have been vaccinated annually may be less protected than those with no prior flu vaccination history.19

Research presented at the 105th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego also revealed that children who get seasonal flu shots are more at risk of hospitalization than children who do not. Children who had received the flu vaccine had three times the risk of hospitalization as children who had not. Among children with asthma, the risk was even higher.20

There’s also the potential for vaccine shedding, which has taken on renewed importance with the reintroduction of the live virus vaccine FluMist during the 2018/2019 season. While the CDC states that the live flu virus in FluMist is too weak to actually give recipients the flu, research has raised some serious doubts that this is the case.

One recent study revealed not only that influenza virus may be spread via simple breathing (i.e., no sneezing or coughing required) but also that repeated vaccination increases the amount of virus released into the air.21

MedImmune, the company that developed FluMist, is aware that the vaccine sheds vaccine-strain virus. In its prescribing information, they describe a study on the transmission of vaccine-strain viruses from vaccinated children to nonvaccinated children in a day care setting.

In 80 percent of the FluMist recipients, at least one vaccine-strain virus was isolated anywhere from one to 21 days following vaccination. They further noted, “One placebo subject had mild symptomatic Type B virus infection confirmed as a transmitted vaccine virus by a FluMist recipient in the same playgroup.”22

Are There Other Ways to Stay Healthy During Flu Season?

Contrary to the CDC’s and Golden Globe’s claims that flu vaccinations are a great way to prevent flu, other methods exist to help you stay healthy during the flu season and all year, and they’re far safer than annual flu vaccination. Vitamin D testing and optimization have been shown to cut your risk of respiratory infections, including colds and flu, in half if you are vitamin D deficient, for instance.23,24

In my view, optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best respiratory illness prevention and optimal health strategies available. Influenza has also been treated with high-dose vitamin C,25 and taking zinc lozenges at the first sign of respiratory illness can also be helpful.

Following other basic tenets of health, like eating right, getting sound sleep, exercising and addressing stress are also important, as is regularly washing your hands.

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