Should I Get The Flu Shot?
That's the Number 1 question that people ask every year. Whether you get the flu shot or not is a personal choice. Just because other people choose not to get the flu shot is not a good enough reason for you to not get the flu shot.
Most of us choose not to get the flu shot for 4 reasons:
(1) There are proven super foods and other natural methods to strengthen the immune system in order to slow down, deactivate and/or kill the flu virus.
(2) Drugs and vaccines actually weaken the immune system, which would make me more susceptible to the flu virus.
(3) The flu vaccine over-activates the humoral (antibody) portion of the immune system while creating a weak immune response from the very (killer) cells* that are designed to kill the virus! e.g. macrophages, NK cells.
(4) Understanding how the flu virus is structured and how it attacks, enters and uses our own cells to replicate and spread inside our bodies provides insights into how to leverage the weaknesses of the flu virus in order to help the immune system slow down, deactivate and/or kill the virus.
*The killer immune cells actually "eat" (absorb) and kill the virus!
Under normal circumstances, viruses and other pathogens enter your body via your nose and mouth, not your arm. When a pathogen enters your nose, there are macrophages and other killer immune cells that attack and kill the pathogen.
But, the vaccine bypasses these cells when the vaccine is injected directly into the bloodstream via your arm. This creates a strong Th2 antibody response and a weak Th1 killer cell response.
To make matters worse, the flu vaccine produces antigen-specific antibodies for a specific flu viral strain that does not align with the actual flu viral strains that end up ravaging the country.
So, instead of telling you whether to get the flu shot or not, our flu class (or the flu ebook and this web page, if you can't attend the class) will educate you about the super foods, how the immune system protects you, how the flu virus attacks you, and what the flu vaccine does and does not do. And, more importantly, we will explain how you can strengthen your immune system to slow down/kill the virus and prevent you from becoming a victim of the virus.
And, even if you should get the virus, there is no need to panic -- we will show you how to shorten the duration and lessen the severity of the virus. Then, and only then, will you be able to make an informed decision about whether you and your family members should get the flu vaccine.
This web page will explain this in more detail, but, in a nutshell, you must strengthen your immune system. Whether you get the flu shot or not is a mute point. Either way, you still have to strengthen your immune system. A bunch of drugs such as antibiotics, pain relievers, decongestants, fever reducers, vaccines, steroids, antivirals, aspirins, etc. aren't going to help you! In fact, too many of the wrong drugs will actually weaken your immune system and make matters worse!
However, there are a multitude of super foods, herbs and compounds with antiviral properties and a proven track record that can help you strengthen your immune system. Some examples include: homemade chicken soup with garlic, broth, echinacea, hot herbal tea with raw honey, ginger and turmeric; elderberry syrup or tea, coconut water, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and zinc.
Be Prepared, Son
So, what should you do? At the minimum, be prepared and do your own research -- don't just listen to us.
And, if, you still decide to get the flu shot, then, perform a periodic detox to limit the side effects of the flu vaccine. In addition, make sure that you include some of these super foods and herbs as part of your nutritional program so that they are always on hand.
By doing so, you will be prepared to ward off the flu before it takes hold in your body. There's nothing worse than starting to feel a cold or the flu coming on and you don't have any garlic, raw honey, lemon, elderberry, etc. on hand -- so you have to run to the store or quickly order online.
If you do your homework (research), you'll know to have these super foods available, so you will be prepared and you will be healthy. If you don't do your homework, you will not be prepared and you will not be healthy -- it's that simple.
"Be prepared, son. That's my motto. Be prepared." [Quote from Bruce Willis in The Last Boy Scout] ☺ [Ref: http://bit.ly/be-prepared-audio]
Bottomline: Eat and drink foods, herbs and compounds with antiviral properties. It is the best way to be prepared and be able tokill and destroy the flu virus.
Use the instructions in the PowerPoint slide (below) as a guide. For more details about flu prevention and natural remedies, review the other sections on this page.
Flu Prevention and Fighting Tips 🙆
Eat super foods with antiviral properties that strengthen and balance the immune system, including bone broth, ev coconut oil, oregano oil, other herbs, fermented foods, garlic, Manuka honey, wild salmon, vegetables, mushrooms, raw juices, lemons, turmeric, wholefood Vitamin C (e.g. camu camu berry, avoid most ascorbic acid -- it's not Vitamin C!).
If you get the flu, drink lots of fluids, with antivirals, filtered water, green juices, herbal tea, etc. Drink a cup of hot tea with three or more of the following: lemon, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, raw honey, echinacea, elderberry, zinc, selenium, etc.
Have a bowl of homemade chicken soup with somebroth and garlic.
Avoid processed foods incl. sugar, wheat, flour, grains, cereal, milk, other dairy, coffee, soda. These foods, especially sugar, cause inflammation, oxidation and can reduce your immune system function by as much as 50% to 75%!
Perform a periodic detox to remove toxins and other chemicals.
Avoid most drugs, if possible. Drugs weaken your immune system!
Wash hands frequently. Avoid touching face with your hands. Clean doorknobs, light switches, refrigerator door, sink, car door handles, computer, telephone, and other places that family members touch frequently.
Avoid sick people. But, keep in mind that sick people don’t show flu symptoms for 2 to 3 days!
Go for a walk and breathe deeply to get more oxygen into your cells.
Get 7-8 hours of quality sleep. Avoid stressful situations. Read a good book like “Death to Diabetes”. ☺
Warning Tip: If you feel a tickle in your throat or a slight body chill, quickly gargle with a glass of warm water and sea salt or eat 3 cloves garlic -- bite each clove in half to release the allicin, then, swallow the clove. Also, take 1-2 Tbsp. elderberry syrup and 1 tsp. cod liver oil. Use herbal spray/nebulizer to help nasal immune cells.
Note: For more details about fighting the flu, refer to the Natural Remedies section (below).
Types of Influenza (Flu)
A virus is a microscopic organism of genetic DNA/RNA material that can grow only within your living cells.
Viruses cause disease by destroying or damaging the cells they infect, damaging the body's immune system, changing the genetic material (DNA) of the cells they infect, or causing inflammation that can damage an organ.
Viruses cause many types of diseases, such as flu (influenza), cold sores, chickenpox, measles, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV),and some types of cancer.
The flu is caused by a group of viruses known as influenza viruses, which can be very virulent; and, are caused by the flu virus.
The flu virus is an RNA-replicating virus that is responsible for influenza, which is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system — your nose, throat and lungs.
There are three types of human influenza or flu viruses: A, B, and C. Human influenza A and B viruses cause seasonal epidemics of disease almost every winter in the United States. Influenza A has been associated with widespread epidemics and pandemics, while Influenza B has been infrequently implicated in regional epidemics. Influenza C infections generally cause a mild respiratory illness and are not thought to cause epidemics.
Influenza A viruses are divided into subtypes based on two proteins on the surface of the virus: the hemagglutinin (H) and the neuraminidase (N). There are 18 different hemagglutinin subtypes and 11 different neuraminidase subtypes. (H1 through H18 and N1 through N11 respectively).
The hemagglutinin (HA) is the viral protein that attaches to the host cell receptors. The HA also plays an important role in the release of the viral RNA into the cell, by causing fusion of viral and cellular membranes.
As essential as the binding of the influenza virus is its cleavage from the binding site at the host cell. Cleavage is the functional role of the neuraminidase (NA) viral protein. The virulence of the influenza virus depends on the compatibility of the NA protein with the HA protein. A virulent virus which has undergone mutations in the hemagglutinin needs compensatory mutations in the neuraminidase to maintain its virulence.
Influenza A viruses can be further broken down into different strains. Current subtypes of influenza A viruses found in people are influenza A (H1N1) and influenza A (H3N2) viruses, which have proven to be virulent because of their mutating capabilities.
The Influenza A virus subtypes that have been confirmed in humans, ordered by the number of known human pandemic deaths, are:
-- H1N1 caused "Spanish Flu" and the 2009 swine flu outbreak
-- H1N2 is currently endemic in humans and pigs
-- H2N2 caused "Asian Flu"
-- H3N2 caused "Hong Kong Flu"
-- H5N1 is "bird flu", endemic in avians
-- H7N7 has unusual zoonotic potential
-- H9N2, H7N2, H7N3, H10N7
Influenza B viruses are not divided into subtypes, but can be further broken down into lineages and strains. Currently circulating influenza B viruses belong to one of two lineages:
Although Influenza B viruses cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide, and significantly impacts adolescents and schoolchildren, fortunately, this virus mutates at a rate 2 to 3 times slower than Influenza A.
Influenza A and B both cause disease, and are both capable of undergoing antigenic drift (meaning that they both mutate because of point mutations). Influenza A is also able to drastically alter its genome, because it is capable of undergoing antigenic shift. This means that influenza A is capable of undergoing genetic recombination between viral stains. This can, and has, led to major worldwide pandemics.
Influenza C viruses commonly infects children, but is not a major cause of disease at this time.
Symptoms of the Flu
The symptoms of the flu may include the following:
- Dry cough
- Ear pain
- Fever (abrupt)
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle ache (general body pain)
- Runny/stuffed nose
- Sore throat
- Watery eyes
Note: Not everyone who gets the flu has a fever. Also, it is not necessary that you have all of these symptoms when you have the flu.
These symptoms may last for about four to seven days, but the cough and tiredness may last a while longer. All symptoms are usually gone within a week or two. The incubation period is generally one to four days.
However, if you have one or more of these major warning signs, contact your doctor immediately or go to the hospital emergency.
Meanings of the Flu Symptoms: What Your Immune System Is Actually Doing
There is actually some rhyme and reason as to why you feel so lousy when you have the flu. Flu symptoms aren’t just annoyances that can keep you home from work or in bed. They actually indicate what your immune system is doing to fight off the flu virus.
Runny Nose/Nasal Congestion: A runny nose helps to wash germs from the nose and sinuses.
Mucus: produced by mucous glands, is designed to trap offending bacteria and viruses, which are expelled from the body through coughing and sneezing.
Coughing and Sneezing: is triggered by the immune system to efficiently and quickly expel the dead bacteria and viruses from the body (after getting trapped by mucus).
Fever: Because viruses are sensitive to temperature changes and cannot survive above normal body heat, the immune system notifies the hypothalamus to raise your body temperature to help destroy the viruses.
Muscle Aches and Pain: The muscle soreness you may experience with the flu is due to the immune system pulling protein from muscles, leaving your muscles achy.
Watery eyes: help to wash away various bacteria and viruses.
So, you see, all of these uncomfortable symptoms are actually ways in which your body works to eliminate waste products and/or help your body get through the flu. It's fine to use over-the-counter pain medication if your discomfort becomes intolerable or if the medication can help you get a good night's rest.
But, it's best to avoid medications that aim to suppress helpful processes such as fever, coughing, and a runny nose.
The Structure of the Flu Virus
A virus is a bit of DNA/RNA genetic material packaged in a protective coat called a capsid. Not only does it protect the delicate nucleic acid inside, but the capsid also helps the virus infect host cells.
In general, viruses consist of two or three main parts: a helical molecule, a protein coat and sometimes a viral wrapper. All viruses have genes constructed from either deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) or ribonucleic acid (RNA) — long helical molecules that carry genetic information.
All viruses have a protein coat that protects these genes, and some (like the flu virus) are wrapped in a viral envelope of fat that surrounds them when they are outside a cell.
The complete virus "particle" - nucleic acid, capsid and envelope (if it has one) - is called a virion.
The following diagram depicts the structure of a flu virion at the microscopic level.
Each flu virus or virion is a spherical envelope of proteins with the outer layer being a lipid membrane which is taken from the host cell in which the virus replicates. Inserted into the lipid membrane are about 500 spikes or protrusions which are glycoproteins known as HA (hemagglutinin) and NA (neuraminidase).
About 80% of the spikes are HA viral proteins and the other 20% are NA viral proteins.
These two protein spikes determine the antigenic properties of the flu virus and allow the virus to attach, invade, and escape our cells after replication. More specifically, the HA protein spike plays the critical role of attaching the virus to the host cell. The NA protein spike helps the newly made influenza virions to easily escape from the host cell so they can infect others.
Also, these two proteins determine the subtype of influenza virus (A/H1N1, for example). The HA and NA are important in the immune response against the virus as our immune cells make specific proteins called antibodies to combat these virus virions.
Beneath the lipid membrane of the virus is a viral protein called M1, or matrix protein. This protein, which forms a shell, gives strength and rigidity to the lipid envelope.
Within the interior of the virion are the viral RNA segments – 8 of them for influenza A viruses. These are the genetic material (RNA genome) of the virus which code for one or two proteins. Each RNA segment consists of RNA joined with 4 proteins: B1, PB2, PA, NP. These RNA segments are the genes of the influenza virus.
Influenza B virions also have four proteins in the envelope (HA, NA, NB, BM2) and 8 RNA segments.
Influenza C virions also have four proteins in the envelope (HA, NA, NB, CM2) but only 7 RNA segments.
Note 1: As you can see, the flu virus is not a living cell with a nucleus like a bacterium. This is one of the reasons why antibiotic drugs don't work against viruses.
Note 2: Influenza is not the same as stomach "flu" viruses that cause diarrhea and vomiting. For most people, influenza resolves on its own. But sometimes, influenza and its complications can lead to more serious health issues such as pneumonia.
Epidemic vs. Pandemic | Transmission of the Flu
The flu is contagious and spreads when virus-infected droplets are coughed or sneezed into the air. People who are infected are contagious from a day before they feel sick until their symptoms are gone (about a week for adults, but this can be longer for children).
The flu usually happens in small outbreaks, but when the illness spreads rapidly and affects many people in an area at the same time, this is known as an epidemic. Epidemics, which tend to happen every few years, often peak within 2 or 3 weeks after the first cases are reported.
Epidemics tend to occur during the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere, and during the summer months in the Southern Hemisphere. Every year, they are a major cause of death among the elderly and the immunocompromised.
When a flu epidemic spreads on a worldwide scale and infects a large proportion of the world population, this is known as a pandemic. In contrast to the seasonal flu epidemics, these pandemics tend to occur on an infrequent basis.
During the last 300 years, there have been about 9 flu pandemics. Pandemics can cause high levels of mortality, with the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic being the worst in recorded history. This pandemic was estimated to be responsible for the deaths of approximately 50–100 million people.
There have been about three influenza pandemics in each century for the last 300 years, the most recent one being the 2009 flu pandemic.
How the Flu Spreads
An infected adult can infect other people beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days. Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you exhibit symptoms and know you are sick!
When an infected person sneezes or coughs more than half a million virus particles can be spread to those close by. In otherwise healthy adults, influenza virus shedding (the time during which a person might be infectious to another person) increases sharply one-half to one day after infection, peaks on day 2 and persists for an average total duration of 5 days—but can persist as long as 9 days.
Children are much more infectious than adults and shed virus from just before they develop symptoms until two weeks after infection. In immunocompromised people, viral shedding can continue for longer than two weeks.
Influenza can be spread in three main ways: by direct transmission (when an infected person sneezes mucus directly into the eyes, nose or mouth of another person); the airborne route (when someone inhales the aerosols produced by an infected person coughing, sneezing or spitting) and through hand-to-eye, hand-to-nose, or hand-to-mouth transmission, either from contaminated surfaces or from direct personal contact such as a handshake.
Although a single sneeze releases up to 40,000 droplets, most of these droplets are quite large and will quickly settle out of the air. How long influenza survives in airborne droplets seems to be influenced by the levels of humidity and UV radiation, with low humidity and a lack of sunlight in winter aiding its survival.
As the influenza virus can persist outside of the body, it can also be transmitted by contaminated surfaces such as doorknobs, banknotes, light switches and other household items. The length of time the virus will persist on a surface varies, with the virus surviving for one to two days on hard, non-porous surfaces such as plastic or metal, for about fifteen minutes from dry paper tissues, and only five minutes on skin.
However, if the virus is present in mucus, this can protect it for longer periods -- up to 17 days on banknotes. Avian influenza viruses can survive indefinitely when frozen. They are inactivated by heating to 56 °C (133 °F) for a minimum of 60 minutes, as well as by acids (pH <2).
How to Prevent Spreading of the Flu
Please keep in mind that the flu virus can survive on hard surfaces for 24 hours! But, it can only survive on tissues for about 15 minutes.
Flu viruses can also survive as droplets in the air for several hours; low temperatures increase their survival in the air.
Like cold viruses, flu viruses survive for much shorter periods on the hands. After five minutes the amount of flu virus on hands falls to low levels.
Parainfluenza virus, which causes croup in children, can survive for up to 10 hours on hard surfaces and up to four hours on soft surfaces.
Of course, there is no guaranteed way (including being vaccinated) to have 100% protection from the flu. But the following practical steps make spreading the flu less likely:
Wash your hands well and often with soap, especially after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, and before eating or preparing food.
Washing for 20 seconds with soap and water, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you can’t get to soap and water, can significantly cut down on your risk of getting sick or bringing the flu home to your family.
Please don’t use antibacterial hand sanitizers as they can breed scary resistant germs and some also contain chemicals (like triclosan) that act as endocrine disruptors.
Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth – a common way we spread germs to our kids and us! It’s not that easy to do – the average person touches their face a couple of hundred times per day!
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then put it in the trash; never pick up used tissues. If a tissue isn't available, cough or sneeze into your upper arm, not into your hands.
Don't be a hero -- stay home from work! You will only spread the virus and make more people at work sick!
Also, sick children should stay home from school and childcare until they feel better and have been fever-free for at least 24 hours. Some might need to stay home longer, depending on how they feel.
Do not share items such as linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick without washing them thoroughly first. Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be washed separately. In addition, frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at home, work and school.
Clean and disinfect your house especially the bathroom, kitchen and bedrooms. But, don't forget the car, door handles, car seats, etc. -- anything that you or an infected child could have touched.
How to Clean and Disinfect Your House
You should clean the TV room, bathrooms or kitchens first, since these are the areas where most of us stay in the house.
Disinfect the toilet handle, door handle, faucet handles, shower curtains, and light switches (everyone forgets the light switches! :-)) at least twice a day. You can use homemade cleaners (by combining water, alcohol, vinegar and essential oils), or make a simple one with vinegar and water.
Vinegar, a mild acid that dissolves dirt and grime, is a strong ally for disinfecting naturally. It can be used in place of bleach, and unlike bleach, vinegar is biodegradable. Vinegar is also cheap, effective and the smell dissipates within an hour. But it doesn't kill the most dangerous bacteria, like staphylococcus. (Bleach does, though.)
For mirrors, create a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. Spray it on and wipe clean with newspaper or a cotton cloth. For tile, porcelain and chrome, mix one part vinegar and five parts water, then spray or wipe onto surfaces. Let it stand for a few minutes before scrubbing and rinsing.
For any stain removal, sprinkle baking soda on the problem area and scrub, then rinse, and repeat if necessary. And for grout, sprinkle baking soda on grout and spray with hydrogen peroxide (a disinfectant). Then scrub with a toothbrush to get it clean.
Your kitchen is one of the main social hubs in your home, and like the bathroom, it has many shared surfaces that need to be disinfected. That 50/50 water and vinegar solution you used in the bathroom can clean your cabinets, countertops and appliances, too.
On a daily basis, disinfect faucet handles, refrigerator handles, oven handles, cabinet handles, dishwasher handles and trash cans. Countertops need to be wiped multiple times a day, especially if raw meat was involved.
If your sink is full of dishes that sick people used, load them into the dishwasher and run it on the sanitize setting if you have one, or the hottest setting available if you don't. Heat kills the flu virus and other bacteria, so if you don't have a dishwasher and you're hand-washing, the hotter the water, the better.
For the floors, consider a steam mop. In a Good Housekeeping test, even the weakest mops they tested were able to get most stains of ceramic and vinyl tile, and all the mops heated their flooring to 200 degrees, which is the temperature needed to kill bacteria. And the only supplies you need are the mop and tap water.
If someone has been sick, wash their bedding in hot water and dry on hot, too.
It's not uncommon, of course, to confine a sick family member to their bedroom. To prevent the spread of those germs, door handles, light switches and bedside tables need a daily dose of disinfecting.
Bedding needs to be washed in hot water and dried on hot, too. Pillow cases should get a weekly wash — Think about all the drool, make-up and dead skin cells that get left behind on your case! However, bed sheets can stretch to every other week. (Obviously if there's an illness lurking, you may want to increase that frequency).
Also, throwing your pillow in the dryer monthly in a hot cycle for about a half hour will kill any dust mites and allergens that have settled in your pillow. If you're really ambitious, you may want to clean the mattress, too.
TV or Living Room
For the furniture, you can use the 50/50 vinegar-water solution on anything with a plastic veneer. For wooden furniture, try a homemade non-toxic dusting spray. Lastly, empty tissue-filled trash cans and open windows to let fresh air circulate.
Clean the couch: A weekly wipe-down will keep your leather sofa relatively germ-free. For plush furniture, your vacuum is your friend.
Remote controls, door handles, light switches and drawer or cabinet handles are the big germ magnets here, so disinfect those daily.
If you have a leather or otherwise wipe-able couch, disinfect it weekly. As for your plush furniture: toss your throw pillows in the dryer monthly for about 15 minutes on a hot cycle to kill any dust mites or allergens, but read the labels first. Also, vacuuming your couches and chairs helps with decreasing pet dander and dust mites.
So, if you incorporate this cleaning routine, you should be in great shape for stopping the spread of bacteria and germs, especially if someone is sick in the family.
How to Treat the Flu (General)
Usually, you will need nothing more than bed rest and plenty of fluids to treat the flu.
WARNING TIPS: If you don't have the flu, but, you feel a "tickle" in your throat or you feel a slight chill, that's the flu virus latching onto your nasal and trachea epithelial cells! Here are some killer tonics that really work to kill the virus before it takes hold and spreads.
Please Note: Most people usually feel the "tickle" in the throat or the slight chill when they retire to bed. Don't go to sleep just yet! Get out of bed and follow these instructions. If you go to bed, I promise you that when you wake up the next morning, you will have the full-blown flu. 😞
1. Quickly gargle with a glass of warm water and sea salt every hour for the next 3-4 hours. The flu virus hates salt! ☺
2. Another option is to gargle with warm water and lemon and raw honey.
3. If you can stand it, bite down on 2-3 cloves of raw garlic (to release the allicin) and swallow them. If you have a garlic press, that's even better! Garlic kills the buggers on contact!
4. Take 1-2 teaspoons of organic black elderberry syrup to alleviate congestion, deactivate the flu virion's HA & NA protein spikes and increase macrophage/cytokine activity to recruit more immune cells to fight and kill the virus; take with 1 teaspoon unprocessed cod liver oil (for the Vitamin D and Omega-3s).
5. Still, another option is to gargle with organic apple cider vinegar.
6. Drink 1-2 cups of hot herbal tea with lemon, cinnamon, Manuka honey, turmeric, and cinnamon for the anti-inflammatories, antivirals, antioxidants, and Vitamin C in order to soothe the throat and reduce the oxidative damage from free radicals.
7. Use herbal spray/nebulizer with saline/herbal solution or colloidal silver to help your nasal immune cells.
Over the years, we have found this "quick-hit" strategy along with the other natural remedies on this web page (and in our flu ebook) to be very powerful, effective and long-lasting against all strains of the flu.
Note: If it turns out that you're too late, these tonics along with the super foods identified on this web page can still help you to reduce the duration and severity of your flu.
General Tips for Treating the Flu
In the meantime, make sure that you:
Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, e.g. filtered water, raw juices, hot herbal tea, broth, homemade soup, green smoothies.
Get plenty of rest and sleep; and take it easy -- avoid stress.
Eat easily-digestible foods such as steamed vegetables, some fruits, vegetable soups, etc.
Avoid processed foods and foods that are difficult to digest such as meat, dairy (milk, cheese, margarine), sugar, flour, wheat, grains, vegetable oils, etc.
Use natural remedies such as echinacea, ginger tea, turmeric, raw honey, Vitamin C, zinc, elderberry, oregano oil, and hot water with lemon, raw honey, and cinnamon. FYI: The lemon provides Vitamin C; and, the honey and cinnamon help to prevent mucus buildup and keep you hydrated. Eat the top 10 super foods listed below.
Avoid drugs, both OTC and prescription drugs, if possible. Drugs (including vaccines) actually suppress and weaken your immune system!
Wear layers of clothing, since the flu often makes you cold one minute and hot the next. Wearing layers — like a T-shirt, sweatshirt, and robe — makes it easy to add or remove clothes as needed).
Note: For more details about treating the flu, read further below on this web page for more additional information and natural remedies for treating the flu or get the author's How to Prevent and Treat the Flu: Natural Remedies ebook.
Pathophysiology and Epidemiology
This section is for those of you who are really into the science. ☺
Part of the process that allows influenza viruses to invade cells is the cleavage of the viral hemagglutinin protein by any one of several human proteases. In mild and avirulent viruses, the structure of the hemagglutinin (HA) protein means that it can only be cleaved by proteases found in the throat and lungs, so these viruses cannot infect other tissues. However, in highly virulent strains, such as H5N1, the hemagglutinin can be cleaved by a wide variety of proteases, allowing the virus to spread throughout the body.
The viral HA protein is responsible for determining both which species a strain can infect and where in the human respiratory tract a strain of influenza will bind. Strains that are easily transmitted between people have HA proteins that bind to receptors in the upper part of the respiratory tract, such as in the nose, throat and mouth.
In contrast, the highly lethal H5N1 strain binds to receptors that are mostly found deep in the lungs. This difference in the site of infection may be part of the reason why the H5N1 strain causes severe viral pneumonia in the lungs, but is not easily transmitted by people coughing and sneezing.
Common symptoms of the flu such as fever, headaches, and fatigue are the result of the huge amounts of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines (such as interferon or tumor necrosis factor) produced from influenza-infected cells.
In contrast to the rhinovirus that causes the common cold, influenza does cause tissue damage, so symptoms are not entirely due to the inflammatory response. This massive immune response might produce a life-threatening cytokine storm. This effect has been proposed to be the cause of the unusual lethality of both the H5N1 avian influenza and the 1918 pandemic strain. However, another possibility is that these large amounts of cytokines are just a result of the massive levels of viral replication produced by these strains, and the immune response does not itself contribute to the disease.
New influenza viruses are constantly evolving and mutating in order to evade our immune systems. Mutations can cause small changes in the HA and NA antigens on the surface of the virus. This is called antigenic drift, which slowly creates an increasing variety of strains until one evolves that can infect people who are immune to the pre-existing strains. This new variant then replaces the older strains as it rapidly sweeps through the human population, often causing an epidemic.
However, since the strains produced by drift will still be reasonably similar to the older strains, some people will still be immune to them. In contrast, when influenza viruses reassort, they acquire completely new antigens—for example by reassortment between avian strains and human strains. This is called antigenic shift.
If a human influenza virus is produced that has entirely new antigens, everybody will be susceptible, and the novel influenza will spread uncontrollably, causing a pandemic.
Influenza A viruses, in particular, have a remarkable ability to undergo periodic changes in the antigenic characteristics of their HA and NA proteins. Interestingly, these changes make it difficult for the scientists to design an effective flu vaccine that will be targeted to the newly mutated flu virus!
Among influenza A viruses that infect humans, three major subtypes of HA proteins (H1, H2, and H3) and two subtypes of NA proteins (N1 and N2) are well-known for their mutations. Influenza B viruses have a lesser propensity for antigenic changes, and only antigenic drifts in the HA protein have been found. Influenza C viruses have even less changes than Influenza B viruses.
Yearly influenza epidemics can affect all populations, but children younger than the age of two, adults older than 65, pregnant women, as well as the people with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions (such as heart disease and diabetes) bear the highest risk of complications from influenza. These complications include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus, and ear infections.
The annual attack rate of influenza is estimated at 5–10% in adults and 20–30% in children. About 200,000 Americans are hospitalized every year due to the virus, and about 31,000 to 36,000 die from the flu or its complications.
In temperate climates seasonal epidemics of the virus occur mainly during the winter time, compared to tropical regions where it may occur throughout the year, resulting in much more irregular outbreaks. The epidemics caused by the influenza virus are estimated to result in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness and up to 500,000 deaths worldwide.
In some cases, an autoimmune response to an influenza infection may contribute to the development of Guillain–Barré Syndrome (GBS). This syndrome has been believed to also be a rare side effect of influenza vaccines. One review gives an incidence of about one case per million vaccinations. Getting infected by influenza itself increases both the risk of death (up to 1 in 10,000) and increases the risk of developing GBS to a much higher level than the highest level of suspected vaccine involvement (approx. 10 times higher by recent estimates).
Influenza activity continued to increase in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere while in the temperate zone of the southern hemisphere activity decreased at inter-seasonal levels. In Central America and the Caribbean, influenza activity remained low. Worldwide, influenza A(H3N2) and B viruses accounted for the majority of influenza detections.
Based on 2017 data from the World Health organization (WHO), in North America, overall influenza activity continued to increase in the region, with detections of predominantly influenza A(H3N2) viruses.
In Europe, influenza activity continued to increase, but remained low in most of the countries, with detections of predominantly influenza B followed by influenza A(H3N2) viruses.
The WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS) laboratories tested more than 127,006 specimens during November-December 2017. 62.4% were typed as influenza A and 37.6% as influenza B. Of the sub-typed influenza A viruses, 30.1% were influenza A(H1N1) and 69.9% were influenza A(H3N2). Of the characterized B viruses, 85.2% belonged to the B-Yamagata lineage and 14.8% to the B-Victoria lineage.
Timeline: How the Flu Progresses Day to Day
Here is an overview of how the flu virus develops from the time a person is infected.
In the first few hours:
A person who is infected may not exhibit any symptoms for the first two days! This is why it's so important to wash your hands frequently, especially during the flu season.
When a person sneezes or coughs, at least 2,000 virus-laden droplets are expelled. If you inhaled any of those droplets (or touched a door knob coated with them, and then rubbed your nose or eyes), some of these droplets have floated through your nostrils.
At this point, the viruses are attaching themselves to your nasal and airway passages; and, are burrowing into your airway's epithelial cells. The virus infects your epithelial cells after the virus enters your cell by using your cell's machinery to replicate the virus.
When the influenza virus infects the cells of the respiratory tract, both the innate and adaptive portions of your immune system are stimulated and go into action immediately to control virus replication.
Macrophages attack and kill many of the viruses by swallowing and digesting them. Natural killer (NK) cells also attack and kill many of the viruses by injecting them with an enzyme that breaks up the virus into pieces of debris. Then, the macrophages come around and clean up the virus debris.
If you're fortunate and the flu virus is a strain that your immune system has seen before, Memory T cells kill infected cells and Memory B cells produce antigen-specific antibodies that tag the virus so that it can be destroyed by a T cell.
If the virus is new to your immune system, then, the existing antibodies cannot latch onto the new virus for tagging. So, in response to the new antigen from the new viral strain, the Th2 cells activate B cells, which cause plasma cells to proliferate and produce new antibodies.
Usually, it takes about 3 to 5 days for the plasma cells to manufacture new antibodies specific to the new viral strain. If you decide to get a flu vaccine, it will take 14 days for your immune system to make new antibodies. But, since it is highly probable that these new antibodies are not antigen-specific for this new flu virus, then, the flu vaccine won't be effective.
To make matters worse, since the flu vaccine shot is injected directly into the bloodstream, it bypasses the innate portion of the immune system. Under normal circumstances, the flu virus enters the body via the nasal and airway passages, which engages the innate portion of the immune system, namely, the macrophages and natural killer (NK) cells.
In the best case scenario, the vaccine-created antibodies provide only limited protection by first activating the antibody-mediated portion of the Adaptive Immune System. The vaccine does not activate the Innate Immune System initially as it does when the virus enters the body via the nasal passages.
When the cell-mediated portion of the immune system is finally activated, it provides a lesser response than the antibody-mediated response. In fact, studies now show that the vaccine provides a more active Th2 antibody immune response and a less active Th1 cell immune response. [Ref: http://bit.ly/vaccine-th1-th2]
So, what does that mean to you? That means that the cells that are designed to kill the virus are not as active! More specifically, there are less macrophages and natural killer cells involved in killing the virus! Sure, you have a lot of antibodies created from the vaccine, but, when the antibodies "tag" the vaccine, they expect the killer immune cells to show up to kill and destroy the viruses. But, if there are less killer immune cells, then, we become more susceptible to the flu virus!
In addition, because the antibody immune response is temporary, (due to the virus mutating), you have to get a new vaccine next year with a new viral strain. If the vaccine activated the Th1 immune response (making it external) instead, then, the vaccine would provide close to permanent immunity via the killer cells; and, there would be no need to get another vaccine next year!
For the next day or two:
While this is happening, you don't really feel any different. However, some people may feel a slight tickling in their throat or feel a slight chill all over their body. If you do, take action! Some examples include to gargle with some warm salt water, eat some raw garlic, drink some warm herbal tea with ginger/turmeric/raw honey/Vitamin C/zinc, take some elderberry syrup/tea, and/or use an herbal or colloidal silver nasal spray.
At this point, you are unaware that the virus is now using your body's cellular machinery as a copying machine. Your cells are filling up rapidly with multiplying flu viruses and begin bursting like water balloons, spewing virus everywhere.
If the infected cell does not explode, the new viruses can still be released from the infected cell after the new viruses gather into viral buds. Then, these viral buds are pinched off from the host cell membrane and break free to spread and infect again.
You are now contagious. Hence, you should always sneeze into a tissue or cough into your inner elbow; and, stay home from work!
By day four:
Unfortunately, your immune system can't keep up with the spread of the flu viruses in your nose and throat areas. By now, you begin to feel lousy. Symptoms may include: watery eyes, runny/stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, dry cough, fever, chills, headache, fatigue, and achy muscles.
Interestingly, it's not the virus that is making you feel so bad. It's your immune system that is triggering inflammation as it goes into "code red" to try to destroy and kill the viruses. Because this requires a lot of energy by your immune system, your body will feel very tired and exhausted. This is why it's a good idea to get a lot of rest and drink a lot of fluids.
In order to help remove the dead viruses, mucus is produced in your nose. Your hypothalamus raises your body temperature to kill and slow down the virus from replicating. Also, in order to keep dead cell debris from clogging up your lungs, your immune system triggers you to cough. Your throat starts to ache from the irritation, which can trigger a release of mucus. A saline nasal flush or eating some garlic might help.
It is imperative that you include the antiviral foods, herbs and compounds listed in the DTD How to Prevent and Fight the Flu with Natural Remedies ebook. Examples include garlic, elderberry, echinacea, manuka honey, lemon, and turmeric which should be part of your nutritional profile at this time. These foods specifically disable and prevent the flu virus from replicating and spreading into your lungs. So, make sure that you are eating and drinking some of the important foods.
For the next three to five days:
By now, the macrophages, natural killer cells, T cells, and B cells/antibodies are in full attack mode, locking on to their targets. If you attacked this right away (a few days ago), it may shorten the duration. Otherwise, it's going to run its course, normally 7 to 10 days. If you're really sick or fatigued, you should stay in bed and take in a lot of fluids.
Fluids are better for you because they don't require a lot of energy from your body to digest. Beneficial fluids that help your immune system include filtered/distilled water, coconut water, grass-fed bone broth, homemade chicken soup, herbal teas, raw juices, and green smoothies. Avoid fluids such as coffee, fruit juices, soda, and milk.
If you eat solid foods, eat only those foods that are easily digestible and contain nutrients that will help your immune system, such as steamed vegetables, fermented foods, grass-fed eggs, extra virgin coconut oil, unprocessed cod liver oil, raw garlic, manuka honey, wild salmon, and homemade yogurt.
Herbal and supplemental foods include cayenne, echinacea, elderberry, garlic, onions, bell peppers, ginger, turmeric, wholefood Vitamin C (e.g. camu camu berry, not ascorbic acid!), pumpkin seeds (for zinc), and Brazil nuts (for selenium).
Avoid sugar and processed foods because they will raise your blood glucose level and slow down your immune system. For diabetics, if your blood glucose rises above 120 mg/dl, this can reduce your immune system function by as much as 50% to 75%!
In addition, avoid dense foods that require a lot of energy to digest such as beef, milk, cheese, other dairy, fried foods, gluten (wheat, grains).
Note: Unlike colds, which attack the nose and throat, the flu virus can travel into the lungs and become life threatening in young infants and in elderly people.
Warning About Possible Flu Complications:
The majority of flu symptoms, although uncomfortable, are generally not dangerous. But the flu also weakens the immune system, leaving it vulnerable to more serious infections and complications, such as: dehydration; sinus problems and ear infections (primarily in children); and, bacterial pneumonia.
For some people with pre-existing medical conditions, the flu can also worsen the symptoms of conditions such as diabetes; and, heart and lung diseases, such as congestive heart failure, chronic bronchitis, and asthma.
If the virus has descended into your lungs to feed on dead cell remnants, this can put you at risk for bacterial pneumonia, especially if the alveolar macrophages and other immune cells become overwhelmed. In this case, notify your healthcare provider immediately.
FYI: Some of the best homemade and natural remedies for pneumonia include: Astragalus, Echinacea, Garlic, Ginger, Goldenseal, Holy Basil (also known as tulsi), Fenugreek tea, Oregano oil, Tea tree and eucalyptus oils. However, if you're not feeling any better, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.
After about a week:
At this point, your immune system will have destroyed and stamped out the flu virus. (Yay!) Your immune system begins to calm down, causing inflammation to slowly subside, as do your symptoms.
But, please keep in mind that you may still be contagious for a day or two more! It may take another week to feel like your normal, healthy self again.
Foods to Eat to Prevent the Flu
The following foods will help you to prevent the flu. But, if you are unfortunate to develop the flu, these foods will still help you.
Aloe vera contains enzymes that break down the proteins that we eat into amino acids and turn the enzymes into fuel for every cell in the body, which enables the cells to function properly. The enzyme bradykinase in aloe vera stimulates the immune system and kills infections.
Aloe vera is known as an immune system builder that strengthens the immune system. Through strengthening the immune system, aloe vera helps the immune system to kill bacteria and viruses; and, protect the function of our cell membranes. Aloe vera enhances the capacity of antibodies to fight bacteria and viruses. More specifically, the compound acemannan helps to stimulate the white blood cells which fight against foreign microorganisms in the body.
Aloe vera is resistant to infection and contains vitamin C, which helps in building up the immune system and fight foreign pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. It protects the body from infection and diseases caused by severe infection. Any kind of viral attack can be resisted through the use of this medicinal juice.
Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties, so it helps to reduce inflammation and fight many diseases since inflammation fuels most diseases. Arthritis, which is due to internal inflammation of the joints, can be used to help repair damaged joints. For eczema, acne and other skin condition, regular application of the aloe vera gel can soothe and repair the skin.
Aloe vera contains a high level of antioxidants which help to eliminate free radicals and reduce the damaging effects of oxidation on our cells and tissues.
Aloe vera stimulates tissue repair for most wounds and cuts, as it helps in building tissue. Aloe vera is very useful to hydrate, moisturize, soften, smooth and rejuvenate the skin when applied topically because of its high water content. In addition, aloe vera increases the elasticity of the skin, making it more flexible. The plant will also help to improve the blood flow to the skin, which helps to nourish and improve the formation of skin cells.
Aloe vera has detoxification capabilities, which helps the liver. When aloe vera is taken internally, the gel goes through the intestinal tract, absorbing toxins along the way. These toxins usually become eliminated through the colon. The fact that aloe vera alkalizes the body, the proper elimination of waste and toxins will definitely improve overall health.
Please Note: Unfortunately, the problem with aloe vera products is that the key active ingredients, the mannan sugars, are not particularly concentrated in the aloe plant, and are not particularly stable. In addition, they are easily destroyed both in the harvesting process and in the concentration process.
Zinc is also an important component in aloe vera, making it a great source to maintain immune function. Zinc helps us ward off diseases, kill bacteria and protect the function of our cell membranes. Zinc is also a key structural component for a multitude of hormone receptors and proteins that contribute to healthy, balanced mood and immune function.
Blueberries and other berries have high concentrations of antioxidants to help fight off flu viruses. Eat them raw or add them to your smoothie or salad.
Brewer’s yeast, which contains B vitamins, chromium and protein, can be used for cold, flu and other respiratory tract infections.
Brewer’s yeast stimulates intestinal enzymes to help relieve diarrhea, fights bacteria in the intestines and improves immune response to viruses that infect the lungs.
Research has found that Brewer’s yeast reduces the risk of getting a cold or the flu and helps symptoms dissipate more quickly.
Cod liver oil is an excellent source of Vitamin D and Vitamin A, both of which are critical for helping your immune system prevent or fight the flu and the common cold. However, avoid the traditional cod liver oil because it is overly processed with heat and chemicals that destroy these vitamins. Then, the manufacturer adds synthetic versions of these vitamin back in! Instead, opt for unprocessed cod liver oil -- either extra virgin cod liver oil or fermented cod liver oil.
Dark leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard and arugula, are great sources of the cold/flu-fighting Vitamin C. Some research shows that if you consistently take in adequate amounts of Vitamin C, it can reduce the duration and severity of a cold or flu.
Echinacea is an herb that can help your body fight off infections, but it is best to take it at the first sign of illness. Echinacea acts as an anti-inflammatory, which can help reduce bronchial symptoms of cold and flu. Try five to six cups of echinacea tea on the first day of symptoms, and then 1 cup a day thereafter.
However, if you have a Th1 dominant autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, this herb may cause an increase in cytokine production and worsen your condition.
Elderberry is an herb that (in syrup form) contains flavonoids which bind to a flu virion's HA and NA protein spikes, which are used to attach and gain entry into our nasal epithelial cells and replicate. The elderberry deactivates the flu virus, specifically the flu virion's spikes, keeping it from replicating and spreading.
Since the flu virus can no longer attach to our cells and gain access into our cells, this renders the virus inert.
In addition to suppressing the virus, elderberry increases macrophage and cytokine activity (i.e. TNF-α) to recruit more immune cells to fight, slow down and kill the virus.
Elderberry has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help to reduce the free radical damage, bronchitis and sinusitis in the nasal and airway passages; and, is effective against the flu strains H1N1 and H3N2 and several strains of the herpes simplex virus.
Elderberry boosts the immune system, reduces flu duration, reduces congestion and bronchial inflammation, and relieves sinus pain.
A preliminary study found that elderberry reduced the severity and length of flu symptoms when given at the first signs of symptoms.
Note: Do not eat the elderberries raw. For maximum effectiveness, make your own elderberry syrup:
- Place elderberries, water, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and cloves in a pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes to one hour.
- Remove from heat and using a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth, strain out mixture. Transfer liquid to a jar and stir in 1 cup of raw honey.
- Keep in the refrigerator sealed for 2-3 weeks.
FYI: If you buy elderberry syrup, do not buy the cheap brands! Instead, purchase quality brands with an excellent track record, e.g. Gaia Herbs, Nature's Way.
Essential oils such as peppermint and frankincense, when rubbed into the neck and bottoms of the feet, can naturally support the immune system. Also, clove oil can protect the body against infection and can speed recovery from the flu.
Fermented foods and homemade yogurt are natural probiotics that help to restore the beneficial bacteria in your gut, which can help boost your immune system considerably.
Homemade chicken soup and bone broth are excellent One theory is that hot soup raises the temperature in the nose and throat, which creates an unwelcoming environment for viruses that thrive in cool and dry places.
Research shows that homemade chicken soup has protein groups that have been shown to have anti-viral activity. More specifically, when you cook chicken, it releases the amino acid cysteine, which resembles a drug that is used to treat bronchitis.
Raw juices and green smoothies provide chlorophyll and other key nutrients to support the immune system and other systems in the body.
For example, you can prepare a juice tonic by blending ginger root, turmeric root, a peeled orange, a peeled lemon, raw honey, extra virgin coconut oil, and water. Then, mix 1 ounce of this with a cup of hot water to sip and repeat every 3-4 hours.
Another example: Blend 1 cup kale (or spinach) with 2 oranges, ½ lime, ½ cup parsley, ½ of a ripe bell pepper, 1 inch of ginger root, and 1 ripe banana.
Note: Refer to the DTD Raw Juicing & Green Smoothies book for more recipes.
Medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, shiitake and maitake have antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that make them effective in preventing and treating colds and flu. A number of studies have confirmed the antiviral effects of various medicinal mushrooms.
For example, maitake mushrooms strengthen the immune system because of its high level of beta-glucans, which can support the immune cells in protecting the body from free radicals. Maitake are also rich in minerals, amino acids and vitamins, which are essential for a healthy body in warding off intrusive germs.
Reishi mushrooms are also loaded with antibacterial and antiviral properties, making it very effective against the common cold and flu.
FYI: Many of the mushrooms valued for strong medicinal properties grow on trees, as opposed to the ground dwellers you've likely seen.
These tree fungi concentrate the unique elements that the host tree has absorbed over its lifetime, which may be ten, twenty or even hundreds of years. Many of these mushroom species play an essential role in nutrient recycling by decomposing old trees. The mushroom wraps itself around these special nutrients, capturing them in the fruiting body of the organism and turning it into a little medicinal powerhouse. Maybe it's time for us to embrace the mushroom and harness it's medicine the way the Asians have done for thousands of years.
Researchers found that the maitake mushroom significantly inhibited the flu virus from replicating, and stimulated the production of antiviral cytokines such as TNF-alpha.
Oregano oil has a powerful antiviral effect, making it effective against the flu.
Raw garlic is a powerful flu fighter. Garlic contains compounds called alliin and allicin, which have antiviral and antibacterial properties. Garlic can help destroy the flu virus before it becomes a full-blown flu in the body. Garlic also helps promote healthy gut flora, which rids the body of toxins, bacteria and viruses,
To get the most out of garlic’s flu-fighting properties, it’s best to chew a raw clove every three or four hours. If you can’t bear the taste, try cutting cloves into pieces and swallowing them down like pills. Another option is to mix crushed garlic with raw honey, which also has antiviral properties.
In addition, add a few extra crushed garlic cloves to your soup, stir-fry or salad.
Raw onions, like raw garlic, contain the same antimicrobial compounds that help to fight the flu. Eat them raw or add them to your soup, stir fry or salad.
Selenium-rich foods such as Brazil nuts, organ meats, seafood, garlic, kelp, onions and medicinal mushrooms (reishi and shitake mushrooms) help to boost white blood cells, which improves the body's ability to fight illness and infection.
Selenium augments the cellular immune response through an increased production of interferon γ and other cytokines, earlier T cell proliferation, and an increase in T helper cells.
Selenium has been shown to stimulate death (apoptosis) in tumor cells. Geographic studies have shown that people who live in areas with selenium deficient soils and have a low selenium intake, have higher cancer mortality rates.
In addition, selenium is a great detoxifier because it is required for the production and action of glutathione peroxidase in the liver. Glutathione peroxidase is an antioxidant enzyme necessary for detoxification and protection of the liver against free radical damage.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta carotene. The body converts beta carotene into Vitamin A after consumption, which is a necessary nutrient for a strong immune system.
Turmeric and other spices such as basil, oregano, cloves and cinnamon are packed with antioxidants, which help improve the function of the immune system.Try adding some cinnamon to a glass of apple juice or your morning oatmeal or sprinkle some nutmeg over a bowl of applesauce.
Vitamin C-rich foods help to strengthen the immune system and boost white blood cells in order to fight off the flu virus and the common cold. Valuable sources of vitamin C include red and green bell peppers, citrus fruits, citrus juices, berries, kiwifruit, Brussels sprouts, tomato juice, broccoli, cantaloupe and cabbage.
Camu camu berry is a super food from Brazil that is packed with more Vitamin C than any other food on the planet. However, because the berry is difficult to protect during shipment, it is available in powder form. One teaspoon of camu camu berry powder contains at least 700 mg of Vitamin C!
Because of its tart flavor, add the powder to your favorite fruit juice or smoothie instead of a glass of water.
Note 1: Five servings of the aforementioned Vitamin C-rich foods will provide only 200 mg of Vitamin C.
Note 2: Since excessive vitamin C in supplement form can cause negative side effects because it's synthetic, opt for vitamin C-rich foods and camu camu berry.
Wild Salmon provides Omega-3s and Vitamin D, which is critical for fending off colds and flu. Research has shown that those with healthy levels of Vitamin D suffered from fewer respiratory tract infections compared to those who were deficient — and felt better faster after getting sick.
Zinc-rich foods such as aloe vera, oysters, wheat germ, spinach, pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, nuts, chicken, beans, and mushrooms help to strengthen the immune system.
Zinc supports immune function and has an antiviral effect, but, it works best when taken at the first sign of illness.
Zinc keeps the immune system strong, helps heal wounds, and supports normal growth. Scientists determined in human cell culture and animal studies that a protein lures zinc into key immune cells that are first-responders against infection. The zinc then interacts with a process that is vital to the fight against infection and by doing so helps balance the immune response.
Note: If you have already gotten the flu vaccine, perform a detox (including a heavy metal detox), using some of these foods and herbs while avoiding the dead, processed foods.
The Top 10 Super Foods for the Immune System and the Flu
Along with the aforementioned foods (above), here are some of the key super foods that can help support your immune system in preventing and fighting the flu virus.
Foods to Eat After You Get the Flu
You may not feel like eating at all, but there are some foods that will help during your illness and recovery. They work for colds, as well.
A positive attitude is key: You're fighting a war against the flu virus. The flu virus is using your own cells to bring you down! Bring out the artillery: super foods, antiviral foods, lots of rest, no negative attitude, no stress, calm music, meditation, etc.
Drink a lot of fluids (but, the right fluids) to avoid dehydration and fight the virus! -- especially if you have a fever. Examples: hot tea, green juices, broth, good ol' chicken soup, etc.
With a fever, appetite is low (or gone), but it is very important to remain hydrated.
Sip on some hot herbal tea while you're relaxing -- such as green, black or white tea for the antioxidants and natural antivirals to help the body fight off the flu virus and any infections. These teas contain natural antiviral and antibacterial fighting compounds (i.e. EGCG, EGC, ECG). If caffeine bothers you, try decaf or herbal versions instead. Another option is to drink chamomile tea to relax.
Add a teaspoon of Manuka honey (if you're not diabetic) and a squeeze of lemon to soothe your sore throat. Take some elderberry syrup to alleviate congestion and disable the virus from replicating so fast.
Supercharge the tea with some turmeric and/or ginger for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties.
Breathe in the steam to help relieve your stuffy nose.
Make sure that you sip some water all day to support the body’s natural healing process and to stay hydrated. But, avoid tap water! Drink filtered or distilled water.
While water is optimal, many people don't like the plain taste when sick. If so, mix with raw juices, or add chunks of oranges, lemons, or limes to flavor. Juice alone is fine, especially fresh orange juice, grapefruit juice and cranberry juice, all rich in vitamin C. But, avoid bottled juices -- they're full of sugar. And, sugar slows down your immune system big time!
If you're not a fruit lover or if you're diabetic, try a glass of V8 or tomato juice; or, hot tomato soup. To keep your salt and water balance even (since you can lose salt with sweating/fever), choose raw green juices or coconut water for both fluids and electrolytes.
Coconut water contains more potassium than sports drinks, and more natural sources of sodium. A lot of athletes swear by it these days.
Apparently, coconut water is similar in structure to the fluid used in IV rehydration. For this reason, there are rumors it was used during the Pacific War as an IV electrolyte replacement. It makes a pretty good natural electrolyte drink on its own or with a splash of lime.
If necessary, add a teaspoon of calcium/magnesium powder.
Eat/drink antiviral foods, herbs, and compounds. Consuming natural (non-drug) antivirals is critical to control, kill and destroy the flu virus!
Unlike most antibiotics that kill bacteria, antiviral compounds generally do not destroy their target pathogen. Instead, they prevent the virus from replicating. Because viruses use the host’s cells to replicate, safe and effective antiviral compounds must be able to interfere with the virus without harming the host tissues.
Natural antivirals exist in some foods, herbs, mushrooms, plants and fruits to combat influenza, hepatitis, herpes, HIV, and other viruses that cause disease.
Examples of antivirals include coconut, colloidal silver, garlic, echinacea, elderberry, green tea, lemon, manuka honey, medicinal mushrooms, olive leaf extract, oregano oil, and turmeric.
Coconut water is hydrating and can replenish electrolytes depleted due to fever or sweating. Add in a squeeze of lemon or lime juice for extra immune-boosting Vitamin C.
Homemade chicken soup is excellent for fighting the flu. The chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine, which helps to thin the mucus in the lungs, and the hot broth helps to keep nasal passages moist, prevent dehydration, and fight inflammation in the throat. The soup’s warm liquid helps speed up the movement of mucus through the nose; and, the salt content of the soup’s broth helps to prevent dehydration.
Bone broths (grass-fed chicken or beef) and vegetable broth may also help the body kick a cold by stopping congestion and inflammation in their tracks. You can add the bone broth to your favorite soup if you don't like to drink the bone broth by itself.
Avoid or limit your caffeine intake, especially since caffeine is dehydrating and causes fluid loss.
Bland foods: if you have nausea or an upset stomach, or if you are vomiting, try flat ginger ale and some saltines crackers.
Avoid fizzy drinks. Ginger can soothe can upset stomach and flat ginger ale can be helpful. Look for "natural" ginger sodas, which have more real ginger in them.
For a hot drink, try ginger tea -- slice some ginger in hot water and soak for a few minutes.
Another option is to add freshly grated ginger to your soups or other foods to help relieve your stomachache and nausea. Some studies suggest that ginger also helps to fight inflammation.
Bland, low-spice foods are easiest on the digestive system. For when there's no appetite, plain crackers (saltines), and toast can help with stomach acid.
Many people temporarily lose their taste for protein, but if you can tolerate it, protein is important for repair and growth of body tissues. The most easily digestible protein is an Omega-3 egg (lightly scrambled is easy to eat). Yogurt is also a good source of protein.
After your fever has subsided, it is important to boost protein intake to repair and rebuild body systems. If your appetite is low -- which it often is for up to a couple weeks after the flu -- try a green smoothie or protein shake once a day as a supplement until your normal appetite is restored.
If you're having diarrhea, try the BRAT Diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast). They're bland, hydrating, and easy-to-digest. Not all have to be eaten at once, or together. One or two are fine -- and always include toast. The bananas are also rich in potassium, which is being lost during illness. The probiotics in yogurt can help an irritated digestive tract. Plain, low-fat yogurt, or Greek-style yogurt may be preferred.
Soups: Most soups, especially homemade chicken soup, are excellent for congestion and soothing your throat. And, if you add some bone broth to the soup, it's even better because of the extra amino acids that you will receive to help your gut.
However, if you live alone and don't feel like making homemade soup, then, try low-sodium soups that come in microwave packages. If you try canned soups, pour out most of the liquid to reduce the sodium content.
If you don't want to make your own bone broth, you can purchase grass-fed bone broth online from a local farm that makes its own broth and flash-freezes it to protect its nutrients.
If you feel up to the taste, add some freshly crushed garlic to your soup. Garlic contains selenium, which will help strengthen your immune system and give you slight relief from congestion.
Spicy foods: can reduce congestion associated with the flu. Try horse radish, to reduce sinus congestion. Add cayenne pepper to soups, teas and other foods, or enjoy a spicy vegetable or chicken-based curry or stir-fry dish. Since the flu can reduce your sense of taste, spicy foods may also provide greater taste potential than bland foods. Use spicy foods cautiously especially if you have nausea.
Avoid the following foods at all cost:
- Fatty Foods such as burgers and fries are high in fat and are difficult to digest; and, can trigger stomach pains as a result.
- Sugar and other sweets such as cake, candy bars and most bottled juices will suppress the immune system and cause inflammation, prolonging your illness.
- Dairy such as cow's milk and cheese can promote mucus production, which could worsen your congestion.
Note: For more healthy food ideas, refer to the Death to Diabetes Nutritional Program and DTD AIP Nutritional Program.
Natural Remedies to Prevent & Fight the Flu
First of all, when it comes to dealing with the flu, the problem is not the pathogen itself, it is the terrain in which those pathogens interact. If your body is strong, then, it can defend itself against most pathogens.
In other words, if you have a healthy and strong immune system, it can defend your body against the flu virus. But, if you are not healthy, your weak immune system will not be able to defend your body against the flu virus. And, the flu vaccine won't help you, especially if you have a weak immune system.
In order to effectively defend your body against the flu, you must use multiple natural remedies and strategies to stop the flu virus in its tracks.
And, if you are unfortunate in getting the flu, relying on antiviral foods, herbs and compounds is a more effective strategy than relying on drugs such as antibiotics, pain relievers, decongestants, fever reducers, vaccines, steroids, antivirals, aspirins, etc.
To start with, long before you ever get the flu, you should be eating healthy foods with anti-inflammatory properties such as dark, leafy green vegetables, bight-colored vegetables, lean proteins such as cold-water fish, raw nuts and seeds, and grass-fed chicken and beef.
In addition, you should eat healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin avocado oil, extra virgin coconut oil, and organic flaxseed oil.
Drink raw juices and green smoothies to help assimilate key nutrients into your cells very quickly because nutrients such as chlorophyll help to prevent and fight the flu as well as nourish and strengthen your immune system.
Drink herbal teas such as green tea, which is packed with antioxidants and has been shown to decrease the incidence of the flu.
More importantly, you should avoid foods and compounds that cause inflammation, including sugar, flour, wheat, most grains, margarines, trans fats, vegetable oils, canola oil, and most dairy. These foods cause and fuel ongoing inflammation and weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to getting the flu.
In addition, you should protect your gut, especially, since almost 67% of your immune system is in your gut! Also, if you can’t assimilate nutrients because of poor gut health or a leaky gut, you’re going to be more susceptible to getting the flu.
Make sure that you include foods that help to heal your gut or act as probiotics as part of your nutritional program. Examples include sauerkraut, homemade yogurt, fermented vegetables, kombucha, kefir, and bone broth (for the gelatin).
For nutritional supplementation, make sure that you use whole food-based supplements instead of synthetic supplements, which may contain heavy metals among other contaminants. Examples include Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, zinc, and selenium.
Now, if you should end up with the flu, you should still be eating many of the aforementioned healthy foods, with a focus on mostly fluids and easily-digestible foods.
But, in addition to that, it is imperative that you include foods, herbs and compounds with antiviral properties. such as garlic, elderberry syrup/tea, extra virgin coconut oil, lemons, raw honey, mushrooms, oregano oil, ginger, and turmeric.
In addition, you should use supplements for detox purposes such as chlorella, spirulina, and cilantro, which help to remove heavy metals and other toxins from your cells. Refer to the detox section for more details.
To further help your immune system, use herbs such as echinacea, garlic, and astragalus. They help prevent and treat infections; and, boost your immune system.
Colloidal silver has antibacterial and antiviral properties, making it effective for fighting infections. However, be careful because there is a lot of poor quality colloidal silver out there.
And, don't forget to eat the aforementioned top 10 super foods for the immune system.
For a comprehensive nutritional program, refer to the Death to Diabetes Nutritional Program or the DTD AIP Autoimmune Diseases Nutritional Program.
How to Detox to Prevent/Fight the Flu
One of the key strategies defined in the Death to Diabetes Program is for diabetics (and non-diabetics) to perform a periodic detox as part of an overall wellness program. The rationale for this is due to the accumulation of toxins in our cells and tissues that come from our exposure to toxins in the food, water, air, drugs and environment.
These accumulated toxins put a tremendous load on our cells, tissues and organs, which begin to suffer under the tremendous toxic load, leading to various illnesses and diseases. Consequently, it becomes imperative to remove the toxins on a periodic basis to help diabetics stabilize their blood glucose levels; and, to help both diabetics and non-diabetics improve their health.
Similarly, when trying to prevent or fight the flu virus, it is important to perform a detox, because there are many toxins, chemicals and compounds from drugs, vaccines and food that have accumulated in the body's cells and tissues.
To make matters worse, if you have gotten the flu vaccine shot (or any other vaccine), then, it is imperative that you perform a detox to help remove the toxins associated with the ingredients in the vaccine. For example, in many vaccines, there are heavy metals such as aluminum and mercury, which are known neural toxins that can affect the brain and nervous system.
Detox Supplements & Detox Methods
In addition to eating anti-inflammatory and fiber-rich foods, you should add some of the following nutritional supplements to help with detoxification.
Chlorella is a fresh-water blue-green algae that binds to chemicals, heavy metals, and pesticides in your gut and removes them, but leaves the minerals and vitamins intact.
Spirulina: is also a fresh-waterblue-green algae that helps to remove heavy metals from the body. Use with chlorella to maximize its benefits.
Cilantro is an herb that helps the body remove heavy metals such as lead, mercury and aluminum.
Silica-rich foods such as organic brown rice, green beans and bananas help the body remove aluminum. Another option is to drink mineral water that contains silica such as Fiji artesian water.
Note: A bonus of eating silica-rich foods is that it helps the body prevent calcium from collecting in the arteries and cause hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), a precursor to heart disease.
N-acetyl Cysteine (NAC) is an amino acid which binds and removes mercury and other metals found in vaccines from the body. It also breaks down toxic substances in the liver; and, is a precursor for glutathione production.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and helps in removing heavy metals used in vaccines. Begin taking vitamin C several days prior to receiving the flu vaccine and continue to take it afterwards. But, make sure not to get ascorbic acid. Either get whole food Vitamin C (e.g. camu camu berry, acerola berry) or get a Vitamin C supplement with flavonoids.
Essential oils can also be beneficial in helping your body detox. Examples include: cilantro/coriander essential oil, cinnamon essential oil, clove essential oil, oregano essential oil.
There are a lot of herbal therapies that can help strengthen the immune system. A few of them include:
Echinacea is a popular immune stimulant. The flowers, roots, and leaves of this plant are known to both help prevent and treat infections. Studies have found that both white blood cells and spleen cells increase when echinacea is taken and also the core body temperature increases.
Astragalus is one if the top immune boosting and modulating herbs. It works similarly to echinacea. It not only boosts your immune system when you’re trying to avoid getting sick, but can also help you recover more quickly after getting sick.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a fatty acid and antioxidant found in every cell of the body that chelates and neutralizes harmful chemicals and increases the formation of glutathione which helps remove them.
Glutathione is known as the "master oxidant" and is probably the most powerful and important antioxidant. It helps with detoxification and also helps to recycle other vitamins.
Milk Thistle has been the subject of hundreds of studies and contains a substance called silymarin that is one of the most potent liver-protecting substances known to man and has proven effective against a variety of the most virulent toxins. Milk thistle is most effective when taken with lecithin and is not associated with any long-term risks or contraindications.
If you're not eating flaxseed or fatty fish such as wild salmon, make sure that you get an essential fatty acid supplement. Examples include Omega 3, Flax, cod liver oil, or borage oil. But, be careful -- many of the Omega 3 supplements are rancid and contain very little DHA or EPA.
Raw juicing and green smoothies help tremendously with detoxing, especially if you add one of the previously-mentioned herbs or supplements. Refer to the recipes in the author's Power of Raw Juicing & Green Smoothies book.
Drink filtered or distilled water. When toxins are pulled from the body, they need to be flushed out. Full kidney function is dependent upon there being enough water in the body. Avoid soda, coffee, dairy, and most bottled juices.
Detox baths and saunas encourage the body’s largest elimination organ to remove chemicals and heavy metals from the body. Baths can be done daily or weekly and it may take several baths before the body starts releasing toxins.
Before getting into the tub, brush your entire body with a skin brush. Start at the feet and work your way up. This removes dead skin and stimulates the lymph system. Then, take a detox bath with apple cider vinegar, Epsom salts, bentonite clay or essential oils.
Breathing in the steam from a bowl of hot chicken noodle soup or from a steam bath with essential oils is very therapeutic for your respiratory system. Mix hot water with 1-2 teaspoons of some essential oils or herbs such as rosemary and oregano. To intensify the herbs, cover the pan for 5 minutes with a lid, and then remove the lid and lean over the pot. Then, cover your head with a towel to hold in the steam and breathe the steam to help your respiratory system and ease any discomfort.
And, don't forget to get plenty of quality sleep. While you're sleeping, this is the time that your body has a chance to repair and recover. If you are sleep-deprived, your immune system infection-fighting antibodies and cytokines (proteins that help fight infection) are reduced.
In addition, reduce the stress in your life. Stress releases hormones like cortisol, which can weaken your immune system's response to the flu virus and other pathogens.
How the Flu Develops Flowchart
The following flow chart depicts the key steps in how the flu develops and how the immune system is activated by the flu virus.
First, the flu virus enters the body through the nasal and airway passages. Then, it attaches and enters the host cell.
Then, the virus invades the nucleus, takes over the cell's machinery, and replicates itself inside the cell.
Then, thousands of newly created viruses escape the host cell so that they can infect new host cells and spread the virus.
While this is going on, the immune system has already started its attack. In fact, as soon as the flu virus entered the body, the Innate Immune System initiated an immune response with macrophages and natural killer cells attacking and killing some of the viruses.
If the flu virus spreads and infects more cells, then, the Innate Immune System activates T cells in the Adaptive Immune System. Then, the antibody-mediated portion of the Adaptive Immune System provides an immune response with B cells and plasma cells producing antibodies to attack and tag the viruses for destruction.
In addition, depending on the specific type of virus/antigen, the cell-mediated portion of the Adaptive Immune System provides an immune response with macrophages, natural killer cells, and cytotoxic T cells to kill the virus or kill host cells that are infected with the virus.
Influenza (Flu) Pathogenesis: How the Flu Develops at the Cell Level
Here is a more detailed description of how the flu virus develops at the cellular level and how the various immune cells interact to kill and destroy the flu virus.
Note: This level of detail is primarily provided to medical and healthcare professionals who are interested in a more detailed view of how the flu develops and spreads within the human body.
This level of detail also explains the roles of the various cells of the immune system and how they use their "unique skills" to slow down, destroy and kill the virus.
Physical Defense Mechanisms Against the Virus
Your body has numerous defense mechanisms including mechanical barriers that are designed to block the flu virus and prevent respiratory tract infections.
The respiratory tract is covered with a mucociliary layer consisting of ciliated epithelial cells, mucus-secreting cells and glands. Foreign particles in the nasal cavity or upper respiratory tract are trapped in mucus, carried back to the throat, and swallowed. From the lower respiratory tract, foreign particles are brought up by the ciliary action of epithelial cells. In the alveoli (tiny air sacs in the lungs), they lack cilia or mucus, so they are dependent on the alveolar macrophages.
Flu Virus Enters Body
As depicted in the following diagram, the flu virus enters your body via your eyes, nose, and/or mouth. This usually occurs when you breathe in droplets after an infected person sneezes.
The virus can also enter your body when you touch a door knob or any other object that is covered with the virus; and, then, you touch your nose, eyes or mouth with your hand (which is covered with the virus). This is why it's so important to wash your hands frequently during the day throughout the flu season.
The first line of defense against the virus are the epithelial cells in the nasal passageways. They are lined with mucus which initially traps the virus. But, the virus uses its NA protein spikes to get out of the trap and use its HA protein spikes to attach to the epithelial cells.
Flu Virus Attaches to Host Cells
Once the virus is in your nasal and/or airway passages, the virus binds to the hair-like microvilli and cilia on the surface of the cells that line the trachea and attaches itself to the epithelial cells that line your nasal and airway passages.
More specifically, the virus's protrusions are glycoproteins (hemagglutinin and neuraminidase) that attach themselves to the host cell's glycolipid or glycoprotein receptors, which are bead-like molecules on the outside of the cell.
Then, the epithelial cells send out warning signals (cytokinesis) to recruit immune cells from the Innate Immunity System, namely macrophages and natural killer (NK) cells.
The macrophages gobble up and digest (kill) the flu virus while the NK cells inject the virus with an enzyme that breaks down the virus into pieces, killing it. Then, the macrophages clean up the debris.
Flu Virus Enters Host Cell and Replicates
Once the virus has attached itself to the host cells, it uses its very sharp (HA) protrusions to enter those cells. Once inside, the virus travels to the cell's nucleus, where it opens and releases its genetic information (RNA) into the cell's nucleus. The nucleus is where the host cell's genetic information (DNA and RNA) is stored.
The virus uses the cell's machinery to manufacture and replicate many more viruses; and, takes over the functions of the cell. The virus continues to make more copies of the virus and move to the cell membrane.
Eventually, the host-infected cell dies and explodes, releasing all of the new viruses, which seek out new epithelial cells in the nasal and airway passages and repeat the process to infect more host cells.
If the infected cell does not explode, the new viruses can still be released from the infected cell after the new viruses gather into viral buds. Then, these viral buds are pinched off from the host cell membrane using its NA protein spikes to break free to spread and infect again.
While this is happening, you don't really feel any different. However, some people may feel a slight tickling in their throat or feel a slight chill all over their body. If you do, take action immediately! Some examples of actions to take include to gargle with some warm salt water/organic apple cider vinegar, eat some garlic cloves, take some elderberry syrup or tea, drink some hot tea with raw honey/Vitamin C/zinc, or use an herbal/colloidal silver nasal spray.
FYI: When you gargle, really gargle: Take in a mouthful of warm salt water, look up at the ceiling, and gargle aggressively. You may want to tap at your throat (the Adam's apple region) with your fingers while you gargle to encourage the warm salt water to trickle deeply into your throat.
Gargle like this several times with a glass of warm salt water, and repeat as often as possible throughout the day.
Warm salt water (or organic apple cider vinegar) can remove viruses from the tonsils and adenoids that line the back of your throat region. Viruses that cause colds and flus typically get caught by your tonsils and adenoids before they spread through your body. Your tonsils and adenoids are important parts of your immune system because they are located near the entrance of your breathing passages, and they serve as a first line of defense against undesirable airborne microorganisms and substances.
This, by the way, is why it is best not to get your tonsils and adenoids removed from your throat region. Chronic swelling of tonsils and adenoids is best addressed by reducing sugar intake, adopting a minimally processed diet that is rich in fresh plant foods, and supporting immune system health by getting plenty of rest, exercise, and exposure to sunlight and fresh air.
Innate Immune System Attacks Flu Virus
Once a cell dies and releases thousands of viruses into your body, your immune system goes into action almost immediately. Immune cells known as macrophages attack the viruses and gobble them up (actually they absorb the virus via a process called endocytosis).
Once the virus is inside, the macrophage (of the Innate Immune System) uses enzymes to break down the virus into smaller particles and kill the virus. Then, the macrophage uses one of the virus particles to notify other cells by presenting the virus particle (or antigen) to the dendritic cells. If the macrophages need help, they send out signals (cytokines) to recruit more immune cells to help kill the virus and prevent it from replicating and spreading throughout the body.
If the virus starts to get out of control, a signal is sent to the hypothalamus, which raises your body temperature (fever) to slow down the virus from replicating and kill some of the viruses.
During this time, another immune cell in the innate immune system called the Natural Killer or NK cell is roaming around your body.
If the NK cell is signaled or notices a cell that does not contain the protein identifier tag called the Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) to identify it as "self", the NK cell assumes that it is a foreign invader. As a result, the NK cell attacks and injects chemicals into the invader to break it up and kill it.
Within days after infection, cells that have become infected with the virus send out cytokine or alert signals that gets the attention of the NK cell. The NK cell proceeds to kill the infected cell via lysis or apoptosis. Then, macrophages show up to clean up the debris so that it doesn't collect within your tissues.
NK cells are also recruited to the lungs and play an essential role in the immune response against influenza infection. Through interactions with the virus itself, as well as viral-infected cells, NK cells secrete a variety of cytokines and can contain viral replication by killing infected cells early after influenza infection.
However, the virus has means of evading NK cell responses, including escaping NK cell recognition through mutation of the viral hemagglutinin (HA) protein, regulating HA levels, and by directly infecting and destroying NK cells.
If the macrophages start to become overwhelmed, then, they send out cytokine signals to recruit more immune cells, such as neutrophils, eosinophils or basophils, depending on whether the invader is a virus, bacteria, parasite or fungi.
Due to the immune response, respiratory tissues swell up and become inflamed (the inflammation usually heals within a few weeks). As the virus moves through the respiratory tract and into the bloodstream, the first symptoms begin to emerge. The replication process continues for up to several days, until the body's immune system begins to fight the virus off.
As the virus spreads and gets out of control, the immune cells mount an even more voracious attack. As the attack escalates and more cytokines are produced by the various immune cells, these cytokines trigger inflammation and oxidation. This inflammation causes symptoms such as runny nose, fever, mucus, sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, headaches, muscle aches, fatigue, breathing difficulty (due to bronchial constriction), nausea, etc.
Ironically, it's not the virus that actually makes us feel so bad -- it's our immune system's response to the virus!
Adaptive Immune System Attacks Flu Virus
The macrophages also notify dendritic cells, by presenting an antigen particle of the virus to the dendritic cell. The dendritic cells are known as sentinels which are the bridge to the Adaptive Immunity System. After the macrophage presents the virus particle to the dendritic cell, the dendritic cell recruits T cells to join the battle. The dendritic cell notifies Helper T cells and cytotoxic killer T cells (also known as Tc, CKT, CTL or Killer T cells).
Depending on the type of pathogen or antigen, the dendritic cell activates various types of Helper T cells, including Type 1 Helper T (Th1 for short) and Type 2 Helper T (Th2 for short). Other Helper T cells that may be activated include Th17 and Treg or T-suppressor cells.
When Th1 cells are activated, this engages the cell-mediated portion of the adaptive immune system. This activates macrophages, NK cells and cytotoxic killer T cells to join the battle with the primary goal to absorb the viruses or kill the infected cells.
When Th2 cells are activated, this engages the antibody-mediated portion of the adaptive immune system. When this happens, B cells from the bone marrow are activated to cause plasma cells to proliferate and produce antigen-specific antibodies.
These antibodies are proteins that attach themselves to the specific virus in order to tag it for elimination or destruction by another immune cell such as a T cell.
More specifically, the antibodies bind the flu virion's HA receptor-binding protein, blocking it so it can't infect other cells. Another group of antibodies bind to the virion's NA receptor-binding protein to prevent the spread of further infection.
After destroying the virus, some of the B cells and T cells become Memory B cells and Memory T cells so that if the same viral strain returns, the immune system will remember and mount an attack immediately.
If Virus Reaches The Lungs
The majority of flu symptoms, although uncomfortable, are generally not dangerous. But the flu also weakens the immune system, leaving it vulnerable to more serious infections and complications, such as: dehydration; sinus problems and ear infections (primarily in children); worsening of preexisting conditions, such as asthma or diabetes; and, bacterial pneumonia.
The alveolar macrophages are the primary phagocytes within the lung area to protect the lungs. These phagocytes clear the air spaces of infectious, toxic, or allergic particles that have evaded the mechanical defenses of the respiratory tract, such as the nasal passages, the glottis, and the mucociliary transport system.
If the virus spreads beyond the nasal and airway passages, this can become problematic if the virus reaches the lungs.
If an infection develops in the lungs, the alveolar macrophages recruit other immune cells such as neutrophils and eosinophils for help. But, if the macrophages become infected and other immune cells become overwhelmed, this can lead to pneumonia, which can be life-threatening.
Pneumonia usually occurs when bacteria infect lung tissue that is already inflamed by the flu virus. In this scenario, the macrophages recruit other immune cells such as neutrophils (the first responders) and eosinophils.
Unfortunately, a lot can go very wrong once the flu virus has entered into the lungs and taken hold. The influenza virus infection can induce the production of Type I interferons (IFNs), which inhibit the recruitment of circulating neutrophils and macrophages to the lungs to fight the bacterial challenge. These IFNs also inhibit the differentiation of antibacterial T helper 17 (Th17) cells or other T helper cell types such as Th1 and Th2 cells and thereby increase host susceptibility to bacterial infection.
These IFNs (specifically IFNγ) also inhibit alveolar macrophages from ingesting and killing bacteria, allowing the infection to spread. In addition, interleukin-10 (IL-10) production by influenza virus-specific effector T cells may inhibit the ability of macrophages to ingest and kill bacteria.
Finally, the infection of innate immune cells — such as macrophages, neutrophils and natural killer (NK) cells — with the influenza virus suppresses the ability of these cells to take up and kill bacteria. This further causes the bacterial infection to spread and take hold in the lungs, eventually leading to complications such as pneumonia.
Flu Virus Mutations
The flu virus is an RNA-replicating virus that makes small errors (mutations) when it copies its genetic code during reproduction within the host cell.
But, because the flu virus is an RNA virus, it lacks the ability to repair those errors. RNA, unlike DNA, lacks a self-correcting mechanism to fix the errors. As a result, the flu virus is not genetically stable as it mutates and changes the properties of its HA and NA surface proteins. Every generation of the virus is slightly different, and those differences accumulate as time passes.
This slow deviation in the flu virus is called antigenic drift, and it is the reason why it is necessary for scientists to reformulate flu vaccine every year. Every flu season, the genetic make-up of the dominant strains from the prior year will have drifted, changing the surface structure of those strains just enough to diminish, or even destroy, the effectiveness of the previous year’s vaccine. This is why the vaccine fails more than half the time! The scientists are unable to predict the specific strain that the flu virus is going to mutate into when they design the flu vaccine.
Each winter, the research scientists make an educated guess which strains are likely to dominate in the next flu season. It takes six more months to develop and manufacture vaccines for the chosen strains. But, in some years, antigenic drift during just those six months can render the newly formulated vaccine ineffective, leaving populations more vulnerable to the newly evolved virus.
So, when the new virus enters your body, it has changed the antigenic properties of its HA and NA surface proteins. Remember, these are the two proteins that the flu virus uses to attach and enter our cells. But, your immune system's antibodies created from the vaccine do not recognize the antigen of the new strain and are unable to attach to the virus to disable it. As a result, the virus is able to replicate and spread throughout your respiratory system -- unless you have a strong immune system that can quickly create new antibodies to stop the virus and kill it.
This antigenic drift of small mutations in the HA and NA surface antigens of the virus can lead to an epidemic if the necessary precautions are not taken.
On the other hand, if there is an abrupt, major change in one or both of the virus's surface proteins (due to a genetic recombination of RNA gene segments between virus strains), this is known as an antigenic shift. If this new virus is able to spread efficiently from person to person, this antigenic shift may result in a worldwide pandemic if the necessary precautions are not taken.
FYI: Based on data from the CDC, the effectiveness of the flu vaccine ranges from 10% to 47%. Yet, every year, the CDC promises that the new vaccine will be better. Why does the CDC continue to encourage everyone to get the flu shot given such a high failure rate? [Ref: http://bit.ly/CDC-vaccine]
Hmm-mmm ... Could it have something to do with the fact that vaccines are a multi-billion dollar business?
Just to be clear about those percentages from the CDC, that percentage of effectiveness does not mean it's the percentage of effectiveness against getting the flu. It does not mean that 47% of the people who got the flu vaccine didn't catch the flu. It means that 47% of the people who got the flu vaccine were successful in getting the right antibodies, based on the strain mix in the vaccine!
But, since the strain mix in the vaccine is usually the wrong strain, that means the real success rate is closer to 0%! 😮
FYI: According to the latest report from the CDC about the 2017 flu vaccine, the flu virus is widespread across the United States.
"Flu is everywhere in the US right now," said Dr. Dan Jernigan, director of the CDC's influenza branch. "This is the first year we've had the entire continental US at the same level (of flu activity) at the same time." It has been an early flu season that seems to be peaking now, he said, with a 5.8% increase in laboratory-confirmed cases this week over last.
During some of our research, we were surprised to see the CDC admit to so many deaths from the flu virus. But, when we looked at the data, some of the numbers seemed to be inflated. Unfortunately, the CDC inflates some of their flu death statistics to "motivate" more people to get the flu shot. [Ref: http://bit.ly/CDC-fear-mongering]
According to the CDC, about 36,000 Americans die from the flu every year. This number comes up on a multitude of websites. But, that number is more than the number of deaths from the "Hong Kong flu" pandemic of 1968-1969 that killed 34,000 Americans. So, the number of annual deaths today is more than a pandemic?
Part of the reason for the inflated numbers is because the CDC groups influenza and pneumonia deaths together, even though influenza is by far not the sole cause of pneumonia. Hmm-mmm ...[Ref: http://bit.ly/CDC-inflated-flu-deaths]
p.s. If you haven't figured out why this is happening, remember -- this is a business ... and, the more people who get the vaccine, the better it is for business ...
Bottomline: If you want to successfully prevent or fight the flu, you should become proactive and begin using a nutrient-rich nutritional program that will strengthen your immune system such as the Death to Diabetes Super Meal Nutritional Program or the DTD AIP Autoimmune Nutritional Program.
Flu Vaccine Injuries and Issues
The prescription drug problem along with the vaccine problem are very complex issues. When I was diabetic, I had to take insulin to control my blood glucose, which had peaked at 1337 while I was in the hospital. Needless to say, the insulin saved my life. In my case, I believe that drugs served a purpose when I was facing an acute life-threatening situation. So, drugs are good, right?
Well, as time went on, I saw that the insulin was causing me to gain more weight, which increased my insulin resistance, which increased my need for more insulin. It was a vicious cycle with no end in sight. Even though the insulin had saved my life, it was now causing additional health complications.
I knew that, long term, I needed to figure out how to gradually wean myself off the insulin even though my endocrinologist told me that it wouldn't be possible.
Fortunately, after my mother and my daughter (Cynthia) changed my diet, I was able to wean myself off the insulin and the other drugs over a period of 4 months.
During that time, my endocrinologist told me that I would need the flu vaccine because of my weakened immune system. But, since I was getting better, I decided to further modify my diet to strengthen my immune system. My endocrinologist was not happy, but, it worked!
During diabetes classes, phone calls, workshops, etc. I am always asked whether people should get the flu vaccine. I tell them (as I will now tell you): "I cannot recommend whether you should get the flu shot or not get the shot. It's a personal decision. The best thing that I can do is to educate you about the immune system, the flu virus, and proven natural remedies that are effective against the flu.
Then, it's up to you to make the decision whether you should get the flu vaccine this year.
Let me start and say that, based on my personal experience, prescription drugs are a major problem because the drugs mask the symptoms and do not cure the disease. So, you have to take the drugs for the rest of your life and deal with the side effects of taking the drugs for an extended period of time.
In my case, these drugs caused side effects that caused more harm by further fueling the disease. As I just mentioned, when I was diabetic, because of the insulin shots, I gained more weight, which led to high blood pressure and other health issues.
So, what does this have to do with the flu vaccine? Well, to me, the flu vaccine is just another drug that provides a temporary solution. Assuming the vaccine has the right strain (which is a stretch), it provides temporary immunity against the flu virus. The flu vaccine is supposed to accomplish this by activating our immune system to produce antibodies.
Over the past several years, many of our students and diabetic clients had started out getting the flu vaccine. But, each year some of our students and diabetic clients who got the flu shot were having adverse reactions. However, the students and diabetic clients who didn't get the flu shot were not having any adverse reactions.
I realize that this is a limited sample, but, it affected enough people such that many of the people who were supportive of the flu vaccine decided to change their diet and not get the flu shot to see if it would make a difference. And, it did!
In the meantime, we began noticing that more and more people were being negatively affected by all types of vaccines, including the flu vaccine, HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine, Shingles vaccine, and MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine, and the Gardasil vaccine, just to name a few.
Unfortunately, we discovered that the flu vaccine was having a negative effect on a lot of people, especially babies, children/teens, and older adults. These groups of people tend to have the weakest or least mature immune systems.
Despite what the experts say, it appears that the flu vaccine actually weakens your immune system. [Ref: http://bit.ly/vaccines-weaken-immune-system]
A medical study conducted at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found that women who received flu vaccines had a weakened immune system response in subsequent years. Lisa Christian, PhD, the lead researcher on the study, concluded, “Growing evidence shows that those who received a flu shot in the prior year have lower antibody responses in the current year.” The study proves yet again that the flu vaccine weakens the immune system and actually makes people more vulnerable to influenza infections. [Ref: http://bit.ly/flu-shots-weaken-immune-system]
But, this should not surprise anyone. It is well-known that prescription drugs cause side effects and weaken the immune system and other systems in the body. [Ref: http://bit.ly/drugs-weaken-immune-system]
Although medical science doesn't appear to know why there is an increase in flu vaccine side effects and injuries, it appears that the dramatic increase in flu vaccine injuries is due to six primary reasons: (1) The increase in people with weakened immune systems, e.g. type 2 diabetics; (2) an increase in the toxins used within vaccines; (3) The design of Th2-dominant vaccines that bypass innate immunity; (4) The underreporting of vaccine injuries years ago; (5) the overuse of prescription medications such as antibiotics and steroids; and, (6) The increase in the constant exposure to environmental toxins.
Please keep in mind that a vaccine is still a drug. And, since we are now aware of the dangers of OTC and prescription drugs, it should not be a total surprise that vaccines are causing as many health problems as other drugs.
Some of the ingredients in the flu vaccine have been identified as toxins that may be harmful to one's health. Besides the flu strains, these ingredients include thimerosal (mercury compound C9H9HgNaO2S), formaldehyde, aluminum salts, chicken egg proteins, antibiotics, and detergent. [Ref: http://bit.ly/flu-vaccine-issue]
However, according to the CDC, these amounts are small enough such that they should not be considered dangerous.
Question: Would you swallow a ½ drop of arsenic since the amount is too small to harm your body according to the FDA? 😉
Another major concern is how the design of the flu vaccine (and its adjuvants) provides a Th2-dominant immune response where more antibodies produced. That may sound great on the surface but a Th2 response negates the more effective Th1 immune response where our killer cells would be activated to kill and destroy the virus, giving us close to permanent immunity!
Instead, the vaccine provides a temporary immunity that requires a new vaccine next year because the flu virus continues to mutate.
So, why only a temporary solution? It's part of the pharmaceutical industry's drug strategy to provide temporary solutions so that we become lifetime customers of their drugs. It's all about the benjamins ...
So, what does that mean to you? As mentioned earlier, this means that the killer immune cells that are designed to destroy and kill the virus are not as active! More specifically, there are less macrophages and natural killer cells involved in killing the virus! Sure, you have a lot of antibodies created from the vaccine, but, when the antibodies "tag" the vaccine, the killer immune cells are supposed to show up to kill and destroy the viruses. But, if there are less killer immune cells, then, we become more susceptible to the flu virus! Also, the flu virus continues to spread inside your body and makes its way down to your lungs.
And, even if the vaccine works, you have to get a new vaccine next year because the flu virus mutates, which requires a new vaccine with a new viral strain.
Ideally, a vaccine is supposed to help your immune system. In reality, since the vaccine bypasses a major portion of the immune system (the innate system), it can cause major injuries, side effects or health problems such as asthma, brain damage, blindness, deafness, fever, GBS (Guillain-Barré syndrome), MS (multiple sclerosis), headaches, narcolepsy (sleep disorder), paralysis, pneumonia, rheumatoid fever, seizures, thyroid issues, Type 1 diabetes, autoimmune dysfunction, etc.
In fact, the CDC website lists many side effects (health problems) that can result from the flu vaccine and other vaccines! [Ref: http://bit.ly/cdc-flu-vaccine-side-effects]
According to multiple studies, flu vaccines account for more vaccine injuries and deaths than any other vaccine! Although the CDC denies this level of severity, all you have to do is just read the consent form that you have to sign before getting the flu shot. A typical consent form tells you that you "release the Company and any other organizations associated with the administration of this flu vaccine from any and all liability arising from or connected with this vaccination."
So, why do you have to sign away any liability if there aren't any side effects from the flu vaccine???? If you find this difficult to believe, just read some of the CDC reports and the vaccine injury reports on their own website.
You may be asking: Why is this happening? Why haven't I heard about this?
Well, think about it. Vaccines are a major part of a multi-billion pharmaceutical drug business. And, the pharmaceutical industry has done an excellent job suppressing and hiding this information about the side effects and adverse injuries associated with all drugs, including vaccines.
The CDC helps out by hiding or destroying reports, manipulating test data. For example, the CDC manipulates the data concerning the test results associated with the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, yet death totals continue to rise. Another example: It appears that the CDC covered up a report that indicated a link between vaccines and autism. However, the CDC has denied that there is a link between vaccines and autism. [Ref: http://bit.ly/cdc-autismcoverup]
The CDC also under-reports the adverse effects of the flu virus while continuing to encourage everyone to get the flu shot. Why? Just follow the money trail ... [Ref: http://bit.ly/CDC-vaccine]
There are hundreds of reports and news articles about the adverse side effects of the flu vaccine, including some unfortunate deaths.
Unfortunately, for some people, not getting the flu shot can be just as dangerous as getting the flu shot -- especially if you don't know how to treat it. Here is a sad story of a young college girl, who did not get the flu shot and died from the flu. Unfortunately, no one knew how to help her because they didn't know that there are natural antivirals with proven track records. http://bit.ly/cnn-died-no-flu-shot
These stories are disheartening because there is no need for people to die just because they don't have the right information! How can we help people? Any suggestions?
Knowledge is power. Information is power -- but only if people have the right information ...
All of us need to pitch in and let people know that there are simple solutions for dealing with the flu virus. Please take a moment and share this information -- you may save a life!
What to do before you get the flu: http://bit.ly/flu-warning-tips
What to do after you get the flu: http://bit.ly/after-u-get-flu
The key point here that everyone needs to understand is that no matter whether you get the flu shot or not, you stillneed to know how to strengthen your immune system to fight the flu. More specifically, you need to use natural antiviral strategies to fight the flu and kill the virus.
Examples of foods, herbs and supplements with antiviral properties include: garlic, olive leaf extract, oregano oil, elderberry tea/syrup, virgin coconut oil, manuka honey, colloidal silver. Refer to the Natural Remedies section for more details.
The Drug Business & Mandatory Vaccines
On the surface it may seem like a good idea to have mandatory prescriptions drugs to help diabetics and others with various diseases. But, would this really help diabetics? No, of course not! But, it would raise a lot of money for the pharmaceutical industry.
The prescription drug business, which includes vaccines, is a multi-billion dollar industry. Getting angry and upset about this won't help you with your diabetes or other health problems. Instead of getting angry, get smarter and eat healthier, and avoid becoming a victim of the prescription drug business.
And, do not underestimate the pharmaceutical companies -- they are usually one or two steps ahead of us. They along with the CDC have paid TV networks/media to advertise their products and paid off government officials to get laws passed that would eventually make most vaccines mandatory by law to further increase their revenues and profits!
Warning! Over the past few years, I've noticed a huge increase in TV commercials about vaccines. It's the same game plan that Big Pharma used 25 years ago with various prescription drugs. And, it worked very well as drug prescriptions for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol went up more than 210%!
Concerning mandatory vaccines, we're not aware of any US federal vaccination laws, but all 50 states have laws requiring children to be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (generally in a DTaP vaccine); polio (an IPV vaccine); and measles, mumps and rubella (generally in an MMR vaccine). However, there are religious, philosophical and medical exemptions for most states. [Ref: http://bit.ly/vaccine-exemptions]
However, be aware that Big Pharma is working with lawmakers within each state to get rid of these exemptions for most of the major vaccines!
Concerning the flu vaccine, although Big Pharma has tried :-), there are no current state or federal laws making the flu vaccine mandatory. However, Big Pharma has gotten around this by using the CDC and insurance companies to convince the employers of healthcare facilities and other companies to require that their employees get vaccinated under the guise of "safety". It's their first step towards getting this vaccine made mandatory.
But, here's where the science [yay! :-)] works against Big Pharma. There are multiple issues centered around the flu virus's morphology and ability to continually mutate, combined with the documented flu vaccine's ineffectiveness and dangerous side effects. Some examples of these issues from the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) include:
- The mercury issue and its adverse side effects [Ref: http://bit.ly/mercury-flu-vaccines]
- There's no guarantee that the flu shot will work [Ref: http://bit.ly/flu-vaccine-ineffectiveness]
- Why flu mandates are ineffective [Ref: http://bit.ly/why-flu-mandates-fail]
- Flu vaccine continues to fail [Ref: http://bit.ly/flu-vaccine-fails-2015]
In addition to the documented ineffectiveness of the flu vaccine, recent studies show that if you get the flu shot in consecutive years, it reduces its effectiveness even more! So, year-to-year flu vaccines are not effective, yet, the CDC has yet to mention this to the public. Gee, I wonder why? :-) [Ref: http://bit.ly/year-to-year-flu-vaccine]
People in all parts of the country need to mount a coordinated and focused campaign to write to their government officials, have peaceful protests, provide education & awareness, and stop the onset of mandatory vaccines before it's too late ... Ironically, these mandates are spreading like a virus ...
Current Status of the 2017/2018 Flu in the US:
FYI: As of January 2018, this year's flu virus is affecting an increasing number of people nationwide with reports of multiple strains of H1N1 and H3N2. [Ref: http://bit.ly/1-2018-flu-widespread]
Here is a January 2018 report about the virulence and spread of the H3N2 strain and the ineffectiveness of the flu vaccine being anywhere from 10% to 39%: http://bit.ly/2018-flu-H3N2
Author Sidebar: I don't necessarily agree with all of the information on some of the websites referenced on this page. In addition, some of these websites may manipulate the data or the facts. That is why I always go back to the science. I have found that the more I know about the science, the easier it is to understand the controversial issues with diabetes, nutrition, prescription drugs, vaccines, and other health issues. The drug companies have assumed that since most people are not scientists, that they can trick or intimidate us (with fear tactics) into making poor decisions that damage our health while making money for the drug companies. In addition, the drug companies are very good at manipulating opposing groups to argue among themselves instead of uniting against the drug companies.
I hope this information will be educational and helpful to those of you who asked us to write about the flu and how to treat it naturally.
Hopefully, more health advocates and other people will pitch in and help to increase the awareness and the education that people need in order to understand the seriousness of the flu vaccine. FYI: Here is an example of a story that health advocate Deniece Young posted about a young mother of 3 who died unexpectedly from the flu vaccine [Ref: http://bit.ly/flu-vaccine-mother-dies]. Ms. Young sacrifices her own time to do the research and find the stories in order to make people aware of the seriousness of the flu vaccine and other vaccines and how they affect babies and young children. She also uses her creativity to develop helpful job aids such as her "birth plan" document to guide mothers during the birthing process.
Unfortunately, most of us don't find out about the dangerous side effects of a specific drug or vaccine until it happens to us or a loved one. To make matters worse, most people are unaware of what to do when they have a negative response to a vaccine (e.g. detox).
Because of the continued increase in these drug and vaccine issues, we strongly recommend that you do your own homework before you give in and get a vaccine, flu shot, allergy shot or similar shot. Don't make the mistake and assume that it won't affect you!
But, if you do decide get the flu vaccine, make sure that you are aware of how to detox your body if you have a severe adverse reaction to the flu shot.
For those of you who decide not to get the flu shot, it is imperative that you perform a periodic detox and use non-drug natural alternatives to strengthen and rebalance your immune system. Examples include super foods, raw juicing, green smoothies, herbal therapy (e.g. turmeric, garlic), sauna/salt baths, essential oils, etc. For more information, refer to the natural remedies on this web page and on our How to Strengthen Immune System web page.
Please Note: If your health has already been damaged by a specific prescription drug or vaccine, the most important thing that you can do is to educate yourself and perform a detox (including a heavy metal detox) as soon as possible to safely remove the toxins from your cells and other systems in your body.
Please Note: It is well-documented that heavy metals such mercury and aluminum are neural toxins that can cause serious damage to the nervous system (e.g. multiple sclerosis) and the brain (Alzheimer's Disease).
In addition, it is imperative that you change your diet [Ref: DTD AIP Nutritional Program] and begin eating healthier foods and, more importantly, avoid many of the foods that can trigger an autoimmune response, e.g. cow's milk, cheese, other dairy, wheat, grains, corn, vegetable oils, canola oil, cosmetics, etc.
FYI: If you take a look at any of the autoimmune disease pathogenesis diagrams on this website, you'll notice that drugs and vaccines are always listed as potential triggers or root causes of that particular disease. And, even if you don't believe that drugs and vaccines are a problem, you should still cleanse and detox to remove any accumulated toxins in your cells and tissues.
Sidebar: Given the mixed messages from the CDC, you have to ask yourselves can we trust the CDC? Given their track records, can we trust the pharmaceutical companies, the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA)?
And the fact that prescription drugs and vaccines are part of a multi-billion dollar industry, it's difficult to believe that there is no connection between vaccines and diseases and health problems such as allergies, asthma, autism, epilepsy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), multiple sclerosis, paralysis, peripheral neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis, seizures, skin rashes, and other autoimmune diseases.
Increase in Vaccine-related Lawsuits & Payouts
"I'm not a lawyer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night." :-)
My areas of expertise are engineering and science, so I tend to stay away from any legal issues associated with the healthcare industry.
As an engineer, I don't believe that you can draw a direct causal relationship between the increase in vaccine-related lawsuits and vaccines being the root cause.
However, I must admit that it is becoming a little disconcerting with the increase in vaccine-related lawsuits and the number of vaccine injuries and deaths. Even if only 10% of these lawsuits are legitimately tied to vaccines, that's still too many vaccine injuries and deaths!
Given my limited understanding of the legal side of this, here is what I uncovered with some very limited research. (Actually, all I did was google "National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act"). But, here is part of what I found [Ref: http://bit.ly/vaccine-injury-payouts]:
The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986 was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan as part of a larger health bill on Nov 14, 1986, to reduce the potential financial liability of vaccine makers due to vaccine injury claims.
By doing this, the president signed away the rights of Americans to sue vaccine makers, replacing them with a law that forces families who have suffered vaccine injury or death to sue the U.S. government instead of a pharmaceutical company.
As a result, the NCVIA led to the creation of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), which allows Americans to file a petition for compensation for vaccines injuries.
In addition, a United States Special Claims Court was set up and given full authority as judge with no jury to decide the fate of Americans who were unfortunate to be stricken by a vaccine injury — which can range from mild symptoms to chronic illnesses and even death.
Unfortunately, most people in America were not aware that they could sue for damages from vaccine injuries or that vaccines were ruled to be unavoidably unsafe by the U.S. Supreme Court (in 2011)!
But, despite that lack of awareness, vaccine injury cases are on the rise. Some examples include:
- Vaccine court settlement payouts increased in total $91.2 million in 2015, up from $22.8 million in 2014 to $114 million in 2015 — a 400% increase.
- Vaccine court settlement payments for flu shots increased the most, from $4.9 million in 2014 to $61 million in 2015 — an increase of more than 1000%, despite autumnal onslaughts every year of media/pr/advertising campaigns urging Americans to ‘get your flu shot,’ with total abandon for the statistical facts coming out of the vaccine court.
- Varicella (chicken pox) had the third biggest increase — from $0 in 2014 to $5.8 million in 2015. (No surprise shingles is on the rise among the elderly population, as recently vaccinated grandchildren continuously shed live virus to their unsuspecting elders.)
- Hepatitis B was the fourth largest increase in vaccine court settlements, increasing 321% in 2015 to more than $8 million in 2015 from $1.9 million in 2014.
- TDap/DTP/DPT and D/T shots were the fifth largest increase, leaping 75% in 2014 from $5.5 million to $9.8 million[Ref: http://bit.ly/vaccine-injury-payouts]
People who are pro-vaccine will point out that these payouts don't mean that these vaccines actually caused any injuries. That's true, but, as I mentioned earlier, even if only 10% of these cases were vaccine-related injuries, that's still too many injuries!
Flu Complications & Deaths: How the Flu Virus Kills
Worldwide, the flu results in three million to five million cases of severe illness and 291,000 to 646,000 deaths annually, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC estimates that between 1976 and 2005 the annual number of flu-related deaths in the U.S. ranged from a low of 3,000 to a high of 49,000. Between 2010 and 2016 yearly flu-related deaths in the U.S. ranged from 12,000 to 56,000.
So, how does the flu virus kill? Actually, it's not the flu virus that kills us -- it's the collateral damage to our lung tissues and other organs caused by our immune system.
After the flu virus enters our body and make copies of itself, the overwhelming viral hoard triggers a strong response from the immune system, which sends battalions of white blood cells, antibodies and inflammatory molecules to eliminate the threat.
Cytotoxic killer T cells attack and destroy tissue harboring the virus, particularly in the respiratory tract and lungs where the virus tends to take hold. Macrophages and natural killer (NK) cells attack and kill the virus directly, leaving behind its debris that needs to be cleaned up.
In most healthy adults the immune system works to rid the body of the virus, and they recover within days or weeks. But, sometimes, the immune system's reaction is so strong that it creates a lot of collateral damage, destroying so much tissue in the lungs that they can no longer deliver enough oxygen to the blood, resulting in hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and death.
In other cases, it is not the flu virus itself that triggers an overwhelming and potentially fatal immune response but rather a secondary (bacterial) infection that takes advantage of a taxed immune system.
Typically, bacteria—often a species of Streptococcus or Staphylococcus—infect the lungs. The alveolar macrophages in the lungs recruit neutrophils and eosinophils to fight and kill the bacteria. But, while fighting the bacteria, these immune cells create a lot of inflammation and oxidation (free radical damage), which leads to a lot of cell and tissue damage and, possibly, pneumonia.
Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs. The air sacs may fill with fluid or pus (purulent material), causing cough with phlegm or pus, fever, chills, and difficulty breathing.
Pneumonia can range in seriousness from mild to life-threatening. It is most serious for infants and young children, people older than age 65, and people with health problems or weakened immune systems.
The signs and symptoms of pneumonia vary from mild to severe, depending on factors such as the type of germ causing the infection, and your age and overall health. Mild signs and symptoms often are similar to those of a cold or flu, but they last longer.
Signs and symptoms of pneumonia may include:
- Chest pain when you breathe or cough
- Confusion or changes in mental awareness (in adults age 65 and older)
- Cough, which may produce phlegm
- Fever, sweating and shaking chills
- Lower than normal body temperature (in adults older than age 65 and people with weak immune systems)
- Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- Shortness of breath
Note: Newborns and infants may not show any sign of the infection. Or they may vomit, have a fever and cough, appear restless or tired and without energy, or have difficulty breathing and eating.
If the bacterial infection in the respiratory tract spreads to other parts of the body and the blood, this can lead to sepsis and septic shock: a life-threatening, body-wide, aggressive inflammatory response that damages multiple organs.
FYI: Severe sepsis is when the infection is severe enough to affect the function of your organs, such as the heart, brain, and kidneys. Septic shock is when you experience a significant drop in blood pressure that can lead to respiratory or heart failure, stroke, failure of other organs, and death.
Based on autopsy studies, it is estimated that about one third of people who die from flu-related causes expire because the virus overwhelms the immune system; another third die from the immune response to secondary bacterial infections, usually in the lungs; and the remaining third perish due to the failure of one or more other organs.
Apart from a bacterial pneumonia, the secondary complications of the flu are numerous and range from the relatively mild, such as sinus and ear infections, to the much more severe, such as inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis), muscle tissues (myositis and rhabdomyolysis), and multi-organ failure (for example, respiratory and kidney failure).
The complications can also include Reye’s syndrome, a mysterious brain illness that usually begins after a viral infection, and Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS), another virus-triggered ailment in which the immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system. Sometimes Guillain–Barré leads to a period of partial or near-total paralysis, which in turn requires mechanical ventilation to keep a sufferer breathing. These complications are less common, but can be fatal.
The number of people who die from an immune response to the initial viral infection versus a secondary bacterial infection depends, in part, on the viral strain and the cleanliness of the spaces in which the sick are housed.
Some studies suggest that during the infamous 1918 global flu pandemic, most people died from subsequent bacterial infections. But more virulent strains such as those that cause avian flu are more likely to overwhelm the immune system on their own. It appears that virulent strains trigger a stronger inflammatory response, but, it also depends on the age group getting attacked. During the H1N1 2009 pandemic, the age group mostly affected was young adults with a lot of primary viral pneumonia.
In a typical season most flu-related deaths occur among children and the elderly, both of whom are uniquely vulnerable. Because the immune systems of children are relatively immature, they may not respond optimally. In contrast, the immune systems of the elderly are often weakened by a combination of age and underlying illness. Both the very young and very old may also be less able to tolerate and recover from the immune system's attack.
Apart from children and the elderly, those at the greatest risk of developing potentially fatal complications are pregnant women, health care workers and people with certain chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, lung diseases, asthma, and HIV/AIDS, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Warning Signs of Flu Complications
As previously mentioned, young children, adults aged 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions are among those groups of people who are at high risk of serious flu complications, possibly requiring hospitalization and sometimes resulting in death.
If you get sick with flu symptoms and are at high risk of flu complications or you are concerned about your illness, call your health care provider for advice. However, if you have the emergency warning signs of flu sickness, you should go to the emergency room.
The emergency warning signs of flu sickness include the following per the guidelines from the CDC:
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Not waking up or not interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
- Fever with a rash
In addition to the signs above, get medical help right away for any infant who has any of these signs:
- Being unable to eat
- Has trouble breathing
- Has no tears when crying
- Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
Reference (Source): CDC website
The CDC and Other Health Organizations: Conflicts of Interest | Can You Trust Them?
Don't underestimate the pharmaceutical companies -- they are usually one step ahead of us. They along with the CDC have paid off government officials to get laws passed that would eventually make most vaccines mandatory by law! People in all parts of the country need to mount a coordinated and focused campaign to write to their government officials, have peaceful protests, provide education & awareness, and stop the onset of mandatory vaccines before it's too late ... Ironically, these mandates are spreading like a virus ...
Unfortunately, the CDC, Big Pharma, FDA, AMA, some doctors, etc. all use or support fear tactics, slick marketing campaigns and misleading TV commercials to get us to believe that drugs are the best solution for our diabetes and other health problems.
According to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, speaking for the World Mercury Project, said that the CDC owns over 20 vaccines patents and its primary metric for success in all departments in the agency is vaccine sales!
in 1986 the pharmaceutical companies got Congress to remove any liability so that vaccine companies could not be sued! Ironically, it was around 1989 when various side effects associated with vaccines started, e.g. autism, narcolepsy, Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), MS, other neurological illnesses, food sensitivities, etc. [Ref: http://bit.ly/rfkennedy-cdc-vaccines]
The British Medical Journal (BMJ) reported that the CDC was claiming antivirals “save lives” even while the Food and Drug Administration was warning Roche that it could not make that claim in its marketing because oseltamivir “has not been proven to have a positive impact on the potential consequences (such as hospitalizations, mortality, or economic impact) of seasonal, avian, or pandemic influenza.”
In other words, there was no evidence the drug worked, but CDC Director Thomas Frieden was publicly claiming otherwise.
In addition, the FDA also promotes drugs based on bogus industry studies and payments from the drug manufacturers.
And Big Pharma uses a similar marketing technique with physicians by paying them exorbitant fees to endorse its products in industry papers and in speeches on behalf of its drugs at conventions. Doctors also receive kickbacks for prescribing certain drugs over others. [Ref: http://bit.ly/cdc-drug-companies]
How Conflicts of Interest Have Corrupted the CDC [June 20, 2015 Mercola.com]: Conflicts of interest have become more the rule than the occasional exception, even with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which receives heavy funding from the pharmaceutical industry.
For example, the CDC and the CDC Foundation received monies from Roche for the creation of the CDC’s “Take 3” flu campaign recommending people to “take antiviral medicine if your doctor prescribes it.” In an article titled, “Why CDC Recommends Influenza Antiviral Drugs,” the agency cites a number of studies supporting its recommendation, citing a number of studies supporting its recommendation, including a recent meta-analysis published in The Lancet. But, the problem with that is the CDC describes this study as “independent,” when in fact it was sponsored by Roche. Moreover, all of the four authors have financial ties to Roche, Genentech (both of which sell Tamiflu), or Gilead (which holds the patent). [Ref: http://bit.ly/cdc-conflicts-of-interest]
Unfortunately it is very profitable for the pharmaceutical industry to get the medical profession to promote vaccines to the general population. And since the Supreme Court decision in 2011, Bruecewitz versus Wyeth, pharmaceutical companies have been exempted from all liability regarding their vaccine products. It is important the public doesn’t forget this as it is very unlikely your physician or anyone who works for public health will remind you of this reality.
The following articles demonstrate that the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and Big Pharma have been corrupted and do not serve the best interests of the public. This has been ongoing for many years. Perhaps, since the inception of the CDC itself.
A top physician who used to work for drug giant Merck & Co., creator of the Gardasil vaccine for cervical cancer, has made some groundbreaking public admissions about the dangers and ineffectiveness of this vaccine. During a recent interview with the French magazine Principes de Sante, Dr. Bernard Dalbergue confessed that Gardasil is a worthless vaccine that not only fails to protect against cervical cancer but also puts individuals at risk of paralysis, encephalitis, Guillain-Barre syndrome and a host of other debilitating ailments.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a group of individuals hand-picked by members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends which vaccines are administered to American children. The CDC offers financial bounties to state departments of health for each “fully vaccinated” child. In a recent year, the Ohio Department of Health received $1 million in such CDC bonus payments.
Government Cover-up of a Mercury/Autism Scandal (Robert Kennedy, Jr, GlobalResearchCA.com): According to a CDC epidemiologist named Tom Verstraeten, who had analyzed the agency’s massive database containing the medical records of 100,000 children, a mercury-based preservative in the vaccines — thimerosal — appeared to demonstrate that vaccines caused a dramatic increase in autism and a host of other neurological disorders among children, including speech delays, attention-deficit disorder, and hyperactivity.
Merck, the pharmaceutical giant, is facing a slew of controversies over its Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine following numerous allegations of wrongdoing from different parties in the medical field, including two former Merck scientists-turned-whistleblowers. The MMR vaccine could be given as individual vaccines instead of together to protect adverse injuries, but, it is far more financially beneficial to combine the the vaccines. Also, it appears that Merck owns the patent for combining these vaccines? ...[Ref: http://bit.ly/cdc-who-big-pharma-articles]
This is just a few of the many examples where the CDC, WHO, Big Pharma and other health organizations have opted to take the money while sacrificing the health of the public.
Author Sidebar: Being an engineer, I had always trusted these health organizations and doctors -- until I became diabetic and almost died from a diabetic coma after taking Lipitor for years. Then, during my research, I discovered that Lipitor and other cholesterol-lowering drugs may cause insulin resistance, which is the first stage towards becoming diabetic. Sadly, I began to lose trust in my doctor.
Another situation where I lost trust in my endocrinologist was during the time when I was still diabetic and my endocrinologist yelled at me and told me that I would die if I continued to wean myself off the insulin. I will admit to you that it scared me -- a lot. In fact, I was so sure that my endocrinologist was right, that I tested my blood glucose 8 to 12 times a day, waiting for the other shoe to fall -- but, it didn't. I talked about this at a medical conference:
Fear is a powerful motivator, especially when you don't have the right knowledge. It would have been a lot easier for me to just give in to the doctor -- but, my mother and my daughter (Cynthia) wouldn't allow it. So, I was fortunate to overcome the fear ...
Pro-drug vs. Anti-drug
Everyone has to make a difficult decision concerning the efficacy and safety of taking prescription drugs; and, whether to take a drug because it is recommended by our doctor or the CDC.
Pro-drug people believe that prescription drugs are effective and safe. On the other hand, anti-drug people believe that prescription drugs are not effective or safe.
So, who's right? Who should you believe? What should you do? ... Have you figured it out yet? ...
So, which side did you choose?
Pro-drug? Wrong answer.
Anti-drug? Wrong answer.
It turns out that both statements can be true.
Given my experience with diabetes and insulin, I am proof that both statements can be true.
So, you see, choosing one side over the other is not as simple as you may think.
So, given my personal experience, it would seem to make sense that the same thing can be said for pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine people -- both sides can make a strong case for their positions.
But, with each passing day, the evidence continues to mount that there is something not right here ... Even if only 10% of the health problems and deaths are vaccine-related, that's still too many injuries and deaths!
Pro-vaxxers vs. Anti-vaxxers
Most people mean well and try to do what's right for their families and communities as both pro-vaxxers and anti-vaxxers argue among themselves. However, they fail to see how they are being controlled and manipulated by Big Pharma. If both groups looked at the big picture, they would realize two things:
(1) Big Pharma wants you to argue among yourselves -- that's how they stay in control! -- divide and conquer.
(2) Both pro-vaxxer and anti-vaxxer groups actually want the same thing: safety for all children and adults. If vaccines were safe, children and adults would be safe.
Maybe it's naive on my part, but, instead of two groups fighting each other, the groups should combine towards a common goal to have safe, effective vaccines and no more unsafe vaccines. How about a "safe vaccines" group or organization? Big Pharma knows this is the only way that they could lose control -- is for the masses to unite against them instead of against each other.
So, Big Pharma will continue to stoke the fires on both sides and keep them fighting among themselves.
THE PROVERBIAL STAND-OFF: The vaccine issue is a very complex problem that requires a balance of several areas to reach an effective solution where everyone wins. Some of the key areas include: Science, Education, Business, Politics, and Emotions (Ego/Pride).
But, the bottomline here is that there is no beneficial (financial) reason for the pharmaceutical companies to change and invest in more effective and safe prescription drugs or vaccines! So, unless they are pressured somehow or they are at risk to losing big profits, they're not going to change. Any suggestions?
FYI: Despite the power that Big Pharma wields, as I mentioned earlier, there are unselfish and caring people like health advocates Brandy Vaughan and Deniece Young, who have stepped up to help other people. This is not an easy thing to do! They sacrifice their own time to make people aware of the seriousness of the flu vaccine and other vaccines and how they affect babies and young children. Hopefully, this will forge a united movement that can bring down Big Pharma or, at least, reduce their power over the public.
Sidebar: Over the years, because of my background in biochemistry and engineering in Corporate America, I believe that I have taught a lot of people (including medical people) about disease pathophysiology, pathogenesis, cell biology, epidemiology, etiology, nutritional science, the list goes on ... But, despite everything that I've taught others about the sciences of disease, during the past year, I've learned a lot from Ms. Young. Yes, Deniece, now the student becomes the teacher. :-)
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." Winston Churchill
Immune System Structure: Innate Immunity & Adaptive Immunity
As depicted in the following diagram, your immune system is divided into two major types of immunity: Innate Immunity (yellow box) and Adaptive Immunity. And, the Adaptive Immunity is further divided into cell-mediated immunity (green box) and antibody-mediated immunity (blue box).
In terms of normal influenza pathology and pathogenesis, the flu develops when the virus enters your nasal/airway passages and infects your epithelial cells, activating the Innate Immune System. Then, the Innate Immune System's immune cells notify and activate the Adaptive Immune System and its immune cells.
Innate Immunity, which is already present in your body when you're born, is the first line of defense that is activated almost immediately when a pathogen enters the skin, blood, or tissues. Innate Immunity immediately goes into attack mode and provides a rapid response.
It does this by identifying certain chemicals in the pathogen (antigen) that triggers macrophages to attack and gobble up the intruder.
If the macrophages need help, they signal other immune cells of the Innate Immunity, including neutrophils, basophils, and eosinophils. They respond depending on the type of pathogen. For example, neutrophils respond to destroy bacteria when you cut your finger; basophils and mast cells respond to allergens that trigger an allergic response; and, eosinophils respond to fungi or parasitic pathogens.
Adaptive Immunity consists of cell-mediated and antibody-mediated immunity. This portion of the immune system is activated by macrophages and dendritic cells of Innate Immunity.
The macrophages and dendritic cells present antigen pieces of the invading pathogen to naive T cells, which decide the specific T Helper cells to coordinate the attack and to activate, based on the pathogen.
For example, T Helper cells (Th1) engage the cell-mediated portion of the Adaptive Immunity System by activating macrophages and killer cells such as Natural killer (NK) cells and cytotoxic T cells.
On the other hand, T Helper cells (Th2) engage the humoral or antibody-mediated portion by activating B cells and plasma cells to produce antigen-specific antibodies that can deactivate the pathogen or tag it to be killed later by a cytotoxic T cell or macrophage.
Then, some of the B cells and T cells become memory cells so that they will "remember" this pathogen so that if it returns, they will be able to attack it and kill it immediately.
Once the pathogen has been killed, the immune system attacks subside and the immune system returns to homeostasis and balance.
For a more detailed explanation of how the immune system responds to an attack from the flu virus, refer to the "Flu Pathogenesis at the Cell Level" section on this page.
Author Sidebar: People ask me why I provide so much detail about the science on most of my web pages. I believe that by providing more detail, you'll be able to make a more informed decision about your health. The drug companies have assumed that since most people are not scientists, that they can be duped into making decisions that are to the benefit of the drug companies financially. They also believe that they can manipulate the public to argue among themselves instead of uniting against the drug companies.
Please Note: If you're really serious about preventing and fighting the flu in the future, don't wait until you get the flu to figure out what to do! Time is of the essence especially after you get infected.
Knowing what to do during that first 24 hours can cut the duration of your flu from 7 days to as low as 1 day! Consequently, we strongly recommend that you get Mr. McCulley's How to Prevent & Fight the Flu with Natural Remedies ebook now.
The flu is nothing to be messing around with, especially if you have diabetes or some other major health problem. Get prepared and you'll be prepared.
If you have an autoimmune disease, allergies, PCOS, or thyroid issues, then, get the author's Autoimmune Diseases and Natural Treatments book/ebook.
So, depending on your health needs, get one or more of the following of the author's books:
- How to Prevent & Fight the Flu with Natural Remedies Book/Ebook
- Death to Diabetes paperback book or ebook.
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- DTD Raw Food Diet Book/Ebook
- DTD Cleanse & Detox Book/Ebook
- DTD Autoimmune Diseases and Natural Treatments Book/Ebook
And, don't forget -- this is the only program where you receive a free health coaching consultation or training session with your order.
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