The CDC (The Centers for Disease Control) says that 36,000 people die each year from flu. They say they have no idea if the death toll will be higher this year with little or no vaccine. I guess we’re all going to find out.

Personally I have very mixed feelings about the flu vaccine shortage. I remember a year not so long ago that one of the local hospitals gave out flu shots for free. I myself gave hundreds of shots that year. Later that same year the vaccine was linked to an unusually high incidence of Gulliain-Barré Syndrome, a life-threatening illness that causes paralysis, respiratory arrest and death. A few years before, my flu shot made me sicker than I had been in years and I haven’t had one since, and I seem no worse the wear for not having had them. Needless to say my personal and professional experience with flu vaccines has not been the best.

The part that rankles me is the usual spin by the powers at be. The drug companies imbued with an overwhelming desire to make money (once called avarice and greed, now called Western style capitalism) blame the shortage on everyone but themselves. When in reality the shortage has very little to do with anything other than the fact that there is no money in making and marketing inexpensive vaccines, forget that it may save lives, illness and loss of productivity. Don’t be surprised if next year your inexpensive flu vaccine has doubled, tripled or more in cost especially if we have a particularly hard flu season this year.


• Use zinc lozenges whenever you think you may have been exposed to flu or colds, if you are frequently in crowds (airplanes, trains, buses) or crowded offices, overly tired or stressed. Bathing the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat with zinc prevents virus replication. If the virus cannot replicate it cannot make you sick.

• Use vitamin C – 1,000mg or Ester C 500mg daily to boost immunity.

• Use these herbs to strengthen the immunity naturally – ginger, garlic, ginseng and elderberry.

• If you are over the age of 65, suffer from a chronic illness or poor immunity and cannot get a flu shot, talk with your doctor about receiving the pneumonia shot. Most flu that ends up killing or becoming a serious illness requiring hospitalization may have started out as flu and then advances to pneumonia which is what usually makes it debilitating or deadly.


Stay home and rest quietly in bed

• Double your fluid intake

• Keep track of your temperature – higher temperatures indicate more than just viral infection – SEE YOUR DOCTOR.

• If not using other medications use these herbs – white willow bark for low grade fever, echinachea, goldenseal, garlic and ginger to help address the viral infection

• Continue the use of zinc lozenges

One last thought, right now our country has become fearful over too many things that may never happen. You may not even get the flu. Being sick once a year with some kind of cold or flu is not out of the norm. The natural order of things predicts that some viruses when suppressed long enough will rear their ugly heads causing illness and death regardless of vaccines. Make a plan to stay well and stick to it.

Till next time, Rebecca.