To flu shot or not...
The CDC has just issued a statement:
"Influenza viral characterization data indicates that 48% of the influenza A (H3N2) viruses collected and analyzed in the United States from October 1 through November 22, 2014 were antigenically "like" the 2014-2015 influenza A (H3N2) vaccine component, but that 52% were antigenically different (drifted) from the H3N2 vaccine virus. In past seasons during which predominant circulating influenza viruses have been antigenically drifted, decreased vaccine effectiveness has been observed. However, vaccination has been found to provide some protection against drifted viruses. Though reduced, this cross-protection might reduce the likelihood of severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death."
So what does this mean?
Basically, each year flu shots are created based on a prediciton of what they think will be the most virilent strains of flu the following year. This year, the flu virus that was thought to be the most common strain has mutated, and is not affected by the flu vaccine at all. While there are other strains that the vaccine will protect against, the vaccine has proven to be at least 52% ineffective.
So what can you do?
Well, obviously acupuncture and herbal medicine are great tools to help fight (and prevent) the flu. Regular acupuncture treatments will keep your immune system strong and ready to fight off any incoming viruses quickly and effectively. In addition, once you are sick, your acupuncturist can help you kick that virus out of your system quickly!
If you feel that you are on the verge of getting sick, and can't get in to see your acupuncturist rigt away, I recommend taking a large dose of elderberry syrup 3 times a day. Elderberry is great for kids as well! If you already have the flu, traditional medicinals herbatussin tea is great at helping to quell symptoms, and a strong echinacea tincture is a natural anti-viral that will kill that bug in your system! All of these products can be easily purchased at your local natural grocery store.
Other preventative measures to consider this flu season include increasing the probiotics in your diet (such as eating sourkraut or making this awesome beet kvass), staying warm and dry, and washing your hands freequently.
Stay Healthy my friends!!