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Consider a Natural Approach to Fight the Flu this Winter



The flu vaccine is one of the most common vaccinations given each year to people all around the world, from expectant mothers to babies and the elderly.

The flu vaccine is supposed to keep you from getting the flu or at least a milder version of it, but in reality, it’s effectiveness is far less than would be expected.

According to the CDC, during the 2014-15 flu season, the vaccination was only 19% effective. During the 2015-16 season, the vaccines effectiveness was 47%, followed by a 48% effectiveness in 2016-17. The latest numbers, from the 2017-18 season, show only a 10% effective rate.



Every February, the Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices makes a decision about which flu virus strains will go into the vaccine. There are three strains that are chosen. This vaccine will then be sold beginning in September of the same year to “protect” people during the upcoming flu season. The committee’s decision as to which flu virus strains to include is based on information from over 100 countries where influenza monitoring centers conduct surveillance of circulating viruses and which ones are making people sick.

The flu vaccine itself is an inactivated influenza vaccine. Meaning the vaccine is made up of flu viruses that have been inactivated and are no longer infectious. It is very difficult to match virus strains from the previous year to the upcoming year’s virus strains. This is the main reason for the overall ineffectiveness of the flu vaccine. In order for it to work well the virus strains have to be an exact match.

Individual factors such as age or immune status also play a large part in the vaccine effectiveness.



Have you heard the story about a person getting the flu shot and then getting very sick as a result? The flu shot can actually cause your body more harm than good.

  • According to the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA), each consecutive year you get the flu shot, the protection afforded by the vaccine appears to diminish. This means that every year you get the flu vaccine, it works less and less to keep you from getting sick.
  • Those children who receive the influenza vaccine have a three times higher risk of hospitalization due to influenza than those children who do not receive the flu shot, according to the American Thoracic Society.
  • The flu shot and other vaccines wreak havoc on your immune system, meaning they suppress it. Worse than that, it may take weeks and perhaps months for your immune system to return to normal, leaving you more vulnerable to contract other illnesses that your body may have otherwise been able to fight off.



The flu vaccine also contains several dangerous toxins that have negative health effects. 

Thimerosal, for example, is a vaccine additive that contains mercury. When injected into the body heavy metals cause many health problems, because they are damaging to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) resulting in nerve inflammation and decreased brain function. The flu shot is quite high in aluminum, another toxic heavy metal that also has negative immune and neurological effects.

Glyphosate is a toxic herbicide that is found in the flu shot. This chemical has been linked with diseases such as autism, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, gluten sensitivity, allergies, and is a suspected carcinogen. Preservatives include; formaldehyde, carbolic acid, the disinfectant betapropiolactone, and ethylene glycol, also known as antifreeze.

Getting the flu vaccine will put your body through an incredible amount of work to flush these toxins out and in many cases, they are never fully eliminated and build up in the body.

Be sure to do your homework before making the decision to get a flu vaccine, as there are other more effective ways to protect yourself from the flu without all those toxins.



Fortunately, there are many ways you can protect yourself from getting the flu without having to get a flu shot:

  • Optimize your vitamin D levels. Having the appropriate level of vitamin D in your body is the single best way to avoid and fight infections. You can ensure you are getting enough vitamin D by taking a natural and pure vitamin D supplement. Optimal range is (50-70) on a standard blood test.
  • Get adequate sleep. If you are feeling run down put yourself to bed early. Your body rebuilds and restores at night.
  • Sugar consumption lowers immune function for up to four hours at a time. Avoid cane sugar and processed foods, you can ensure that your immune system is ready to fight off any infections that may come your way.
  • Increase your intake of oregano and garlic. These foods have strong antibiotic properties and can boost your body’s ability to fight off harmful bacteria and viruses.

Check out our Immune boosting handout at the end of this post for specific tips and tricks to use when fighting off viruses, bacteria and any germs that may fly your way.



Antibiotics are a group of prescription drugs designed to kill bacteria. Antibiotics have been life-saving since the 1940’s when they were introduced in mass to the population.

They are used to treat a wide variety of infections or diseases, specifically caused by bacteria, such as urinary tract infections, sinus infections, ear infections, skin infections, open wounds, and respiratory tract infections (pneumonia and whooping cough). Preventative antibiotics, are also commonly used on individuals prior to dental procedures or after surgery. Antibiotics work by blocking necessary processes in bacteria which either kills them or stops them from multiplying. This process of killing and stopping the bacteria can help the body’s natural immune system to fight off the bacterial infection.

While this sounds good in theory, let’s take a closer look at how becoming reliant on antibiotics actually does more harm to our bodies than good.

Some of the antibiotics introduced in the 1940’s, have been overused and abused over the years.  Many of them are no longer effective against fighting the bacteria they once used to kill.

While antibiotics may be appropriate in certain situations, even the Center for Disease Control admits that about 1/3 of antibiotics prescribed are unnecessary; and for certain conditions like acute respiratory conditions, at least 50% are unnecessary.



As with any medicine, antibiotics have potential side effects. Some of the most common side effects are yeast overgrowth, digestive upset, and allergic reactions such as hives, fever, and breathing problems.

Additionally, antibiotics predispose us to having a reoccurring infection. For example, you may be taking an antibiotic to address a urinary tract infection. While initially the acute infection will resolve, there are bacteria left over that won’t be killed off that then have the advantage of adapting to the antibiotic and making stronger strains of the said bacteria. Then there are the side effects of the antibiotic and perhaps a yeast infection will develop that will require anti-fungal medication.

Two of the biggest problems with antibiotics are:

  1. Disruption of gut bacteria
  2. Development of Antibiotic-resistant superbugs.



Inside your digestive tract, there is a balance of good bacteria, neutral bacteria, yeast and in certain circumstances bad bacteria. Generally, the good and neutral bacteria keep the yeast and the bad bacteria from gaining traction. When we are dealing with a bacterial infection somewhere in the body we take antibiotics to kill it off. When we ingest an antibiotic, it travels through the entire body and kills all the bacteria. Antibiotics kill off all the bacteria in the digestive system.  Did you know that about 80% of your immune system dwells in your gastrointestinal tract? So, taking an antibiotic can have a damaging effect on your immune system. We do not want to get in the habit of taking antibiotics because they weaken digestive function and immune function over time.



According to the Center for Disease Control, at least 2 million people in the U.S. are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year, and at least 23,000 die as a result. This problem is slated to get worse in the coming years. It happens mainly due to the misuse and overuse of antibiotics. When antibiotics were discovered they were said to be the greatest medical development of all time. Rightfully so, antibiotics have saved millions of lives. Unfortunately, doctors and patients have come to rely much too heavily on them. Antibiotics are commonly prescribed to treat viral infections, acne, and many other conditions that are not directly related to their life saving benefits. These days antibiotics are handed out like candy.

I want to stress that antibiotics will not work against viral infections. Colds are viral, the flu is a viral infection, herpes is viral, Epstein Barr is viral, shingles is viral. Conventional medicine does not do a very good job of treating viruses. This is because of lack of funding and research in that area.

As a result of gross misuse of antibiotics and lack of respect for what they can do, super bugs have developed.

Bacteria have a huge genetic advantage over humans. Because bacteria replicate and shift so quickly they can genetically adjust to the changes in their environment to ensure survival. Bacteria are extremely adaptive. They adapt to their environment and develop ways to evade the antibiotics. Various strains of Streptococcus, one of the most virulent bacteria, are at least 50% antibiotic resistant with some strains as high as 80% resistant. This means that antibiotics no longer work against Strep. Two of the ways strep has adapted to evade antibiotic drugs are to create a slimy outer layer around them that the antibiotics cannot permeate and to use antibiotics as a food source and consume it and have it pass right through their cell walls. As a result of this not only is strep antibiotic resistant but with each round of antibiotics it comes back stronger inside someone’s body.



Yes, the drug manufacturers put all kinds of genetically modified crops, like soy and corn, herbicides like glycophosphate, chemicals, and even heavy metals into prescription medications. These toxic compounds should not be in there and they can be left out. The drug manufacturers are not interested in cleaning up the manufacturing process. Antibiotics are not the only medications that contain toxic chemicals, all medications, all vaccinations, and many foreign substances inserted into the body such as breast implants contain these things as well. You simply cannot trust a pharmaceutical company who is also a chemical manufacturer to do the right thing. Here’s the really wild thing, while man has been playing around with chemicals and drugs, bacteria and viruses have evolved over time to eat up chemicals and heavy metals and use them as a food source so that they become stronger. Incredible, isn’t it? Amazing, I know when I first learned this my jaw was hanging open. So, it isn’t just that antibiotics have adapted over time but they have also figured out how to use the antibiotics to their own advantage (as food) and become stronger as a result.

These days when I see a person stuck in a vicious cycle of respiratory infections, sinus infections or urinary tract infections it becomes paramount to understand this and start employing some alternative solutions to break the cycle. Otherwise that person will be stuck in a hamster wheel of recurrent infections, round after round of antibiotics, seeing a long list of doctors, and finally ending up in the office of the infectious disease specialist who is grasping for straws as to which medication to prescribe next. It does not have to go down like that. Natural medicine has the answers to breaking the cycle and providing you with the education to reclaim your health.

Should you become very sick and require a prescription for antibiotics, here’s what you can expect. Expect the drugs to handle 50-75% of the infection. Do not expect them to be the miracle drug they once were.  Yes, they can assist your immune system in killing off at least half of the bacterial load thereby freeing up your immune system to rally and combat the rest. You must additionally use alternative methods to boost immune function, and combat the bacteria that have developed antibiotic resistance. If you do not, then the chances are high that a few months down the road another acute infection will emerge and you will be back in the same cycle.



I am a firm believer that a strong offense is the best defense. I recommend doing things on a daily basis that help keep immune function strong. These include getting adequate rest, managing stress, eating three nutritionally balanced meals, avoiding sugar, and minimizing caffeine and alcohol.

These days cold and flu viruses circulate every six-weeks. This is because of international travel and flu season cycling yearly throughout the different continents. A person you are sitting next to today could have been in Singapore yesterday. There are times when an infection will occur no matter how hard you try to prevent it. Fortunately, there are some great natural alternatives to fighting infections and bacteria without having to resort to taking antibiotics.

Refer to the Immune boosting handout below to find out which natural supplements will best address your particular issues.

Should you go to the doctor because of an infection, ask for a culture. Culturing takes a few days because your throat or nose swab needs to be sent out to the lab to grow but it will let the doctor know which antibiotic will work the best for your specific needs.

While you wait for the test results, read through the immune boosting handout and implement the recommendations. It’s possible that your body may have resources necessary to combat the bacterial infection all on its own. Problem solved!

PS: Remember that antibiotics kill off the good and bad bacteria. Your digestive system needs those good bacteria to function optimally and prevent yeast overgrowth. After completing a round of antibiotics take a probiotic for 10 days afterwards to re-populate your body with healthy bacteria.

We hope you feel empowered to make an informed decision about the flu shot and antibiotics. Allow your body do the job it was created to do. It can fend for itself and with a little help from you with the items listed in the immune boosting handout you will be back to yourself in no time.  

Dr. Andrea Purcell

A trusted and well-respected Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Purcell has been in private practice for over twenty years. Dr. Purcell is a published author and has a women’s specialty practice for hormone balancing, weight loss, mystery illness, and gastro-intestinal concerns. Dr. Purcell assists her patients by identifying the underlying cause of disease and removing obstacles that impede the body's natural ability to heal. Drugs and surgery are used as a last resort. She believes that increasing health on the inside shines through to the outside.

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