Disclaimer: Any views or advice in this weblog should not be taken as a substitute for medical advice or treatment, especially if you know you have a specific health complaint. Please remember that homeopathic remedies should be individually-selected to match the whole person, not just the unwelcome symptom. For chronic, severe or long-standing complaints, seek professional advice rather than self-prescribing.
The Daily Mail’s front page story today carried warnings of a more severe than usual flu season this winter. Yet it seems that the flu vaccine may not give as much protection against flu as is commonly thought, despite it being aggressively marketed and available in many high street pharmacies.
Does the flu jab work?
The flu vaccine’s creator, Dr Graeme Laver, is reported as saying of the flu jab “I have never been very impressed with its efficacy” and “It is better than nothing and I wouldn’t want to advise people not to take it, but you can’t rely on it doing any good.”
What’s in the jab?
This might come as a bit of a shock to the 15 million Britons who have the flu jab each year, and is a pretty worrying confession, given that recent flu vaccines have been reported as containing thiomersal (can lead to poor memory and confusion), formaldehyde, three different antibiotics, as well as three strains of flu virus - in my view, not ingredients to have injected into one’s body lightly!
Are there any risks?
According to the Lancet (1998; 351), the flu jab can be a trigger for asthma, and has little effect against flu, flu-like illnesses or pneumonia for older people living in their own homes (Lancet 2005; 366).
Side effects of the flu jab include flu-like symptoms, allergic reactions to the egg protein it contains, and joint or nervous system inflammation.
Flu in vaccinated people
There are many flu-like illnesses, and flu viruses are constantly changing and mutating, meaning that the strains of flu in the jab may be superseded pretty fast. At best, the jab may give three months’ protection from the flu strains included in it. Homeopathic remedies don’t have the same problem. This is because the remedies don’t have any direct effect on the virus itself.
Instead, they seem to modify our body’s response to it by enabling our defence mechanisms towards a better recognition of what needs to be fought off.
Flu treatment options
Last winter in the Phoenix clinic, two patients reported suffering flu: incredibly, both had been vaccinated against flu during the preceding month!
Dr Laver is concerned that new flu treatment medicines like Tamiflu should be made more widely available in order to save lives.
Certainly, flu needs to be taken seriously, because it can kill, and quickly.
However, given the excellent survival statistics for homeopathy in the terrible 1918 Spanish (bird) flu epidemic (at the time, homeopaths reported a 1% mortality rate, whereas conventional doctors were losing at least 30% of their patients), at home we put our trust in homeopathic remedies like Gelsemium (Yellow Jasmine), my number one homeopathic remedy for flu and flu-like illnesses (indicated where there is great weakness and heaviness of the limbs, eyes, head and body, and the patient is thirstless and has chills), Eupatorium perf (indicated for flu with bone pains as if the bones are broken, or flu where even the eyeballs are sore), or Bryonia (can help where the patient is very hot, dry, thirsty for cold drinks, and needs to lie perfectly still) .
Given the latest concerns about a flu pandemic, now might be a good time to consult a homeopath for:
constitutional treatment to address current health problems and boost immunity
specific remedies to help to prevent flu-like illnesses
acute remedies to aid recovery from fever and flu
Phoenix also has limited stocks of a free Flu Information leaflet, available to registered patients.