Cold and Flu Remedies or Get a Flu Shot?
- Publish Date: 2009/04/26 - (Rev. 2018/03/16)
- Author: Patsy Hamilton
Outline: Whether to take natural herbal cold and flu remedies or risk an adverse reaction to flu shots.
Many people are interested in natural and herbal cold and flu remedies...
The reasons vary. Some people are aware that an individual may experience an adverse reaction to flu shots. Other people just prefer to use herbs and botanicals as opposed to chemicals and drugs.
True stories abound about individuals who have had an adverse reaction to flu shots. But, many health care professionals maintain that flu shots are completely safe and that stories about adverse reaction to flu shots are myths. It is hard to know who to listen to. One thing is certain, there are cold and flu remedies that are completely safe and natural. No one has ever reported an adverse reaction to echinacea.
Possibly the most severe adverse reaction to flu shots ever reported came during and immediately after swine flu vaccinations in 1976.
People who were hoping to prevent the need for cold and flu remedies took the shots and developed a condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome, a disease in which the body damages it's own nerve cells, resulting in muscle weakness, paralysis and sometimes permanent nerve damage. It may be a combination of factors that causes adverse reaction to flu shots in some people.
Health care workers, in particular are strongly advised to have flu shots and other vaccinations and are sometimes not allowed to perform their duties until the vaccinations are complete.
There have been more than 14 cases of adverse reaction to flu shots reported by health care workers, including onset of chronic fatigue syndrome, post viral syndrome, chronic viral infections and Epstein Barr virus. In cases where vaccinations are required, it may be that a complete medical history is not taken and that flu shots and other vaccinations are given too freely. It is believed that health care workers should not rely on cold and flu remedies, because they can be contagious before symptoms appear and they may be caring for high risk patients. They are also more likely to be exposed to cold and flu viruses and undoubtedly hospitals and other employers are hoping to prevent absenteeism by preventing the flu.
Most of the cases of adverse reaction to flu shots were reported in the late eighties, early nineties.
So, some experts believe that there is no cause for concern now and that if you want protection from the flu, rather than cold and flu remedies, they recommend that the best form of protection is a flu shot. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) as well as other health organizations makes that recommendation. But, they are also quick to point out that if you have had an adverse reaction to flu shots in the past, then you should make your doctor or other health care professional aware of this fact, before you take the shot this year. It may be that in some cases cold and flu remedies are better choices than prevention by vaccine.
The most recent reports of severe adverse reaction to flu shots are possibly the saddest of all.
Children who had received the flu shot or whose mothers had received the flu shot while they were pregnant developed Autism at an alarming rate. Children are considered to be at high risk for developing complications of the flu and parents are therefore encouraged to have there children vaccinated, rather than relying on cold and flu remedies. It is believed that the presence of thimerosal, a mercury based preservative, in flu shots led to Autism in the children. Thimerosal and mercury are known to be toxic to the nerve cells of the brain. Because of the adverse reaction to flu shots with thimerosal, New York has banned the use of thimerosal in flu shots and other vaccines to be given to children and pregnant women. But, other states are still allowed to use flu shots with thimerosal, so if you decide to take a flu shot this year, be sure to ask for preservative free.
If you are concerned about possible adverse reaction to flu shots, then skip it.
Many people do not take flu shots (this author included) and do not get colds or flu bugs. There are many natural and herbal cold and flu remedies that are not believed to be linked to any chronic diseases. Products like andrographis paniculata, ginseng, green tea, beta glucans, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese and zinc can all help your body fight off colds, flu bugs and other viruses by boosting your immune system.