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An Integrative Medicine Doctor's Thoughts On The Swine Flu (H1N1 Virus) Vaccine

Lissa Rankin's picture

 

Hiya Pinkies, and Happy Healthy Thursday!

Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock for the past 5 months, you’ve heard all the crazed, paranoid, panicked fuss about the H1N1 influenza (Swine Flu) virus and corresponding vaccine. So let me just start by saying, PLEASE! Don't panic. This is just the flu. While it can be deadly, it does not appear to be any more so than the seasonal flu, so RELAX. This is no time for conspiracy theories, anxiety, paranoia, and fear. Take a deep breath. IN OUT (don't you feel better already?) Educate yourself from reputable sources, and trust that you will be just fine.

To add further chaos to the mix, the swine flu vaccine will soon be available, and in some cases, mandatory. Whew! You wanna get Americans up in arms? Tell them something in mandated. We cringe all the way back to our British roots, and it brings out the rebellious child in all of us. Don’t be messing with our freedom.

So what’s all the fuss about and what’s a Pinkie to do about it? It’s all so confusing. Who can you trust? Does the government really have our best interests at heart? Unfortunately, these are questions I won’t be able to answer for you. But I wanted to at least make an attempt to collect some of the data for you so you can make up your own minds.

In the integrative medicine world, many oppose vaccination in general. I don't tend to agree with blanket statements. My analytical mind prefers to look at data and analyze what we know, integrating it with what my gut feels and what I think. In the case of the Swine flu vaccine, my approach leaves me feeling baffled, so I can only imagine how confused the rest of you Pinkies must feel.

In this post, I will attempt to answer some of the questions you Pinkies have asked Owning Pink. (We received hundreds of questions about this over the past few months, so forgive me if we fail to answer your exact question. Bear with us, Pinkies. It's all for the sake of the greater good, I swear!). Later, I'll offer some Pink Tips to stay healthy this flu season, vaccine or no vaccine. Here we go.

Deeeeeep breath...

Who is at high risk for swine flu (H1N1) infection?

According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC):
  1. Children less than 2 years of age
  2. Individuals >65 years of age (but this risk factor is tricky. Although the elderly are at higher risk of influenza complications, they do not appear to become infected as easily as younger people, perhaps because this age group has already developed immunity to some related viral strain that young people have not.)
  3. Individuals <19 who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and might be at risk for Reye syndrome after influenza infection
  4. Pregnant women
  5. Individuals with chronic medical conditions requiring ongoing medical care, including:

  • Chronic pulmonary disease, including asthma (particularly if systemic steriods have been required during the past year)
  • Cardiovascular disease (with the exception of isolated high blood pressure)
  • Cancer
  • Chronic renal insufficiency
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hemoglobinopathies such as sickle cell disease
  • Immunosuppression, including HIV infection, organ or stem cell transplantation, and conditions requiring immunosuppressant medication
  • Individuals who have any condition that can compromise handling of respiratory secretions (eg, cognitive dysfunction, spinal cord injuries, seizure disorders, neuromuscular disorders, cerebral palsy, metabolic conditions)
  • Children with an underlying metabolic disorder who are unable to tolerate prolonged fasting

tamiflu
 

 

If I might have been exposed to swine flu, should I take Tamiflu

Most healthy individuals who develop an illness that may be swine flu and appear to be recovering do not need medication. The majority of people recover completely without treatment. So who needs drugs? Here’s what the CDC has to say:

  1. Anyone with suspected H1N1 influenza who is not getting better or develops complications such as pneumonia
  2. Anyone who is hospitalized for H1N1 infection
  3. Antivirals should be given as prophylaxis to anyone in the high risk group above who has been exposed to a case of suspected or confirmed H1N1 infection.
  4. Health care workers who were not using proper precautions and came into close contact with an infectious patient

The CDC does not recommend antivirals for healthy children and adults who may have been exposed in the community. Why don’t they want to protect us? Because most healthy individuals will recover just fine and, in the face of a pandemic, drugs need to be reserved for those who need them most. If you or your loved one winds up in the hospital seriously ill, you want to be sure there’s enough medication around.

When will a vaccine be available?

We expect this vaccine to be available by mid-October.

Will the H1N1 vaccine be effective?

This is a very good question, and frankly, it’s too soon to really say. The New England Journal of Medicine reported one trial of 240 adults who received 2 doses of the H1N1 vaccine. Within 3 weeks of vaccination, 97% of individuals given the lower dose and 93% given the higher dose developed antibodies. Will these antibodies actually protect you from getting the virus, given that it may mutate and evolve? No one knows.

(Reference: Greenberg, ME, Lai, MH, Hartel, GF, et al. Response after one dose of a monovalent influenza A (H1N1) 2009 vaccine -- Preliminary report. N Engl J Med 2009)

The efficacy of the regular seasonal flu vaccine depends on how much the virus mutates between when the vaccine is manufactured and when you actually get it. For example, during the 2004-2005 flu season, there was only a 5 % match between what was in the vaccine and the actual virus that spread during that flu season. As a result, that vaccine was only 10% effective. In 2006-2007, there was a 91% match, which made the vaccine 52% effective. As you can see, it’s a very imperfect science.

(Reference: Belongia, EA, Kieke, BA, Donahue, JG, et al. Effectiveness of inactivated influenza vaccines varied substantially with antigenic match from the 2004-2005 season to the 2006-2007 season. J Infect Dis 2009; 199:159.)

Will the H1N1 vaccine be safe?

Ah, the million dollar question. The truth is that nobody knows. Back in 1976, approximately 45 million people in the US were immunized against a type of swine flu, but the program was discontinued, in part because an increased incidence of Guillain-Barre syndrome was detected among those who were vaccinated. To detect a risk such as this, between 409,00 and 970,000 individuals would have to be tested in clinical trials to determine the safety of this vaccine. So while studies of very small populations do not show any significant risk, these studies are looking at hundreds, not hundreds of thousands of people, and they span only brief times.

(Reference: Evans, D, Cauchemez, S, Hayden, FG. "Prepandemic" immunization for novel influenza viruses, "swine flu" vaccine, guillain-barre syndrome, and the detection of rare severe adverse events. J Infect Dis 2009; 200:321.)

Many are rightfully concerned about the risk of vaccinating an enormous segment of our population, especially when this population includes particularly susceptible young children and pregnant women. The CDC reports that they expect a similar safety profile as they see with the seasonal flu vaccine. So what about the 1976 flu vaccine campaign that got halted? Good question.

For more, read this great article on the Guillain-Barre vaccine.
 

Will the vaccine have the adjuvants I’ve heard can cause Gulf War Syndrome and other complications?

According to the CDC, only vaccines without adjuvants will be used in the US during the 2009 season, which includes both the nasal spray vaccines and the injections. Because the safety of these adjuvants is unproven, the CDC reports that there is no plan at this time to recommend a 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine with an adjuvant. What does that say about 2010? Uh…they’re not saying.

Who should get the vaccine first?

According to the CDC, the first to be vaccinated should be:

  1. Pregnant women
  2. Household and caregiver contacts of children younger than 6 months of age (e.g. parents, siblings, and daycare providers)
  3. Health care and emergency medical services personnel
  4. Children and young adults from 6 months through 24 years of age
  5. Persons aged 25 through 64 years who have medical conditions associated with a higher risk of influenza complications

Once it is evident that there is enough vaccine, the CDC recommends that people over 65 be vaccinated.

Can I still get the H1N1 vaccine if I’m allergic to eggs?


egg

If you have a severe allergy to eggs, your doctor will help you weigh the risks and benefits. If you’re healthy and have an egg allergy, you may be better off skipping it.

If I get the H1N1 vaccine, does that mean I can skip the regular flu vaccine this year?

No. They’re not targeting the same strains of virus. If you are high risk and choose to be vaccinated this flu season, you will need to vaccinate against both.

If I’m interested in getting the vaccine, how can I find it?

Vaccines will be allocated to health care providers shortly, so your doctor will likely receive the vaccine. If not, call your local public health department.

Is it true that the government is mandating that everyone be vaccinated?

No. But it is true that New York state has mandated that health care workers involved in direct patient care be vaccinated. Many are up in arms. But the edict is clear- get vaccinated or get fired. Are other vaccination mandates coming? I sure hope not, at least not until we know more about this particular vaccine.

I’ve heard that I can’t sue a vaccine manufacturer if something bad happens as the result of getting the H1N1 vaccine. Is this true?

Well, in this country, anyone can sue anyone, as proven by the women who took me to malpractice court for stealing her labia (no kidding. Totally true story. Only lawsuit ever brought against me. And yes, she was psycho and the case was dropped, but not until 3 years and 3 lawsuits later…but don’t get me started, Pinkies!)

But yes, the vaccine manufacturers have been granted immunity from legal liability in the US due to a law recently signed into effect.

Can we trust what the CDC has to say?

I honestly can't say. I have to say that, as a physician, I have always trusted the CDC as a reliable source of objective information. But I admit that I'm shocked at how they've handled this pandemic so far. Maybe it's my own naivety. I admit. Pandemics are not my specialty, and that's their job. But the reaction of the CDC seems out of proportion to the nature of the disease, when I hunt for how I feel in my gut. After all, it's the flu, and I live in California, surrounded by great hospitals and fabulous doctors (so maybe I'm spoiled). But seriously, people. Must we rush into a massive vaccination campaign without much data? Where's the evidence to support safety, efficacy, and necessity? It makes a thoughtful doctor/mother/writer/leader stop and pause...


What can you do to prevent swine flu, aside from getting vaccinated?

So Pinkies, is your head spinning by now? Mine certainly is. Here are a few tried-and-true Pink prevention techniques that will keep the odds in your favor this flu season:

  1. Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. (Say it three times over. This is your new Pink mantra, and it’s the number one way to avoid getting swine flu). Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, which can introduce the virus into your receptive passageways. If you cough or sneeze, use a tissue and throw the tissue away afterwards. This will help protect you and everyone else out there who is trying to avoid swine flu.
  2. Eat immune boosting foods, and steer clear of sugar. Here are five that can help you.
  3. Citrus. Loaded with Vitamin C, citrus fruits are a yummy, easy way to support your immune system. Grab a glass of OJ, or make some lemonade. Even better, mix lots of lemons into clean water with stevia (a natural sweetener) and cayenne pepper. Not only is it a zingy tasty treat filled with Vitamin C, it also alkalinizes your body, which helps it fight infection.
    Red chili peppers (cayenne). Cayenne pepper has long been appreciated for its medicinal properties and can help your body during states of emergency. So chili it up for good health!
    Garlic. Filled with immune-boosting mojo, garlic has been used to treat everything from the common cold to the Plague. So load up on garlic and give your body a fighting chance.
    Carrots. Bursting with beta-carotene, carrots give your body a leg up when you’re fighting infection. Drink a few carrot juices to get enough in your body. Sweet potatoes and spinach also contain lots of beta carotene, so eat up.
    Fish. Fish like salmon, mackeral, and tuna are filled with omega-3 fats, which support white blood cells in fighting infection. Sushi anyone?
  4. Snooze, baby, snooze! Sleep is underrated. When you’re well rested, your body fights infection more effectively. Check out these tips from naturopath Dr. Nicole Sundene.
  5. Give up alcohol and caffeine for a while. Staying sober and decaffeinated helps your body mount immune responses.
  6. Guzzle green juice instead. If you have a juicer stashed under your counter, now is the time to pull it out and load it with kale, celery, cucumber, swiss chard, lemon, spinach, ginger, garlic- whatever you’ve got around that can support your good health. Also, avoid processed foods and eat a whole foods diet.
  7. Try not to drink out of the same cup as others. And avoid sick people, if you can.
  8. Hydrate. Drink, drink, drink pure clean water. It keeps your mucous thin and helps you mucous membranes resist infection.
  9. Try not to touch your nose, eyes, and mouth.
  10. Get your exercise. While this may not be the best time to go to a crowded gym, a long hike in nature can do wonders for your immune system, your general health, and your psyche.
  11. RELAX, and don't panic. Stress weakens your immune system and makes you more susceptible to infection. Try meditation, deep breathing exercises, guided imagery, yoga, walks in nature, or whatever works to chill you out.
Supplements I Recommend to my Patients For Prevention & Treatment of Swine Flu:

(We offer these at CLEAR Center of Health, where I work. Some of these may not be available over-the-counter)

  1. 10 Mushroom Formula.
  2. Thymuril.
  3. Echinacea. My favorite is Esberitox by Integrative Therapeutics.
  4. Vitamin C supplements. If you take extra, it gets excreted in your urine, so it won’t hurt you to load up.
  5. Probiotic bacteria, which alters the intestinal flora and helps your body resist infection.
  6. Viraclear, made by Integrative Therapeutics.
  7. High dose Vitamin D plus high dose Vitamin A.
  8. If you're feeling under the weather, take Elderberry syrup. It’s a natural anti-viral and can be particularly useful if your community runs out of Tamiflu and Relenza.
Will I get vaccinated? Will I vaccinate my 3 year old daughter?

Honestly, Pinkies, I haven’t decided. If a doctor doesn’t know for sure, it’s no wonder some of you may be confused. This has all happened so quickly. Am I anti-vaccination? No. Not for some things. But do I feel the need to inject a poorly tested vaccine that may or not protect me against something unlikely to cause serious complications in my healthy family? Maybe not. After all, this is not ebola we’re talking about. You’re not likely to bleed out of your eyeballs and croak when you get it.

Frankly, I think everyone needs to take a bit of a chill pill. (Or take a good long hike and start meditating!) But then no one’s asking me.

Well, no one but you Pinkies, who keep asking away.

So anyway, this is the best I can do for right now. I’ll try to keep you updated as more information comes in.

Oink oink (and big Pink love),

Lissa

p.s. For more sanity-saving, stress-reducing tips, check out this article on H1N1 by Mojo Mentors Lakenda Wallace and Simone da Rosa, Owning Pink's Get Happy! Less Stress More Life Coaches.

Comments

DESIREEAlexander20's picture

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Lissa Rankin's picture

Okay, so I broke down &

Okay, so I broke down & vaccinated my family yesterday. We were at O'Hare airport in Chicago flying home and the University of Illinois had a stand set up right next to our gate. There was no line & all of us were there, including my three year old. So I took it as a Sign from the Universe and did it. Got the nasal mist spray.

When it comes right down to it, you've just gotta weigh your risks and do what you think is right for you and your family. 1 child at Siena's school has already had it, and frankly, I just don't want to watch her suffer, even though I doubt it would put her at serious risk. Just want to protect my poor baby. And as a doc, I don't want to carry it home...

What have you Pinkies decided?

Lissa Rankin's picture

I'm still SO on the fence

I'm still SO on the fence Pinkies, but I'm leaning towards going ahead and getting vaccinated. My concern is that I am at risk of exposure because of the nature of my work. And my daughter is in preschool and EVERYONE is sick and passing everything around already. Honestly, I'm not concerned about any of us dying from swine flu. I'm just thinking of the toll on our family should all 3 of us wind up with 10 days worth of an icky flu.

Really, it's trading one risk for another. Young children have already died from this flu, but the risk is rare. Most likely, the vaccine will be just as safe as the seasonal flu vaccine has shown to be over the years. But we can't know that for sure until more data emerges. Either way, there's a risk of regret. If you choose not to vaccinate and your child gets very ill, will you wish you had done it? If you choose TO vaccinate and you experience some complication as a result, will you wish you hadn't done it?

All we can do is make the best decision at the moment. My gut is leaning towards having my family vaccinated (at least me and my daughter, since my husband is at very low risk). But honestly, I'm still going back and forth. Praying for guidance....and wishing you all the best in making your own personal choice.

Lissa Rankin's picture

You're very welcome Ingrid!

You're very welcome Ingrid! Sending love & healing juju to your daughter & son in law...Be well!

Ingrid Kepler-May's picture

Lissa dear, I soo appreciated

Lissa dear, I soo appreciated you very sane and down-to-earth information that I'll send it to my daughter and son-in-law in France who are both sick with a broken leg and hemorrhaging (daughter). Can't harm to take the echinacea and vitamins. What else? I do hope they also won't get vaccinated since I don't believe in it, just healthy life style and exercise. Thanks again. Ingrid

Lissa Rankin's picture

If you overdue Vitamin C, you

If you overdue Vitamin C, you could wind up with a little diarrhea, but it won't hurt you or your baby, Jennifer.

Jennifer's picture

I am pregnant and I am taking

I am pregnant and I am taking a prenatal with vitamin C and I was wondering if I can overdue my vitamin C intake?

Shary's picture

You just helped me win the

You just helped me win the argument. Thanks!

Lissa Rankin's picture

Carolina, You're welcome. I

Carolina, You're welcome. I am a gynecologist, not a pediatrician, so I would refer you to your child's doctor on that one... Wishing you and your family wellness, Lissa

Carolina's picture

Thank you for this article.

Thank you for this article. Great source of info.

Which supplements would you reccomend for children between 5 months and 4 yrs old?

thank you

Lissa Rankin's picture

And yes, you are right about

And yes, you are right about echinacea. To date, randomized controlled trials have shown a trend towards efficacy with echinacea but without statistical significance. In one trial, 48 adults were randomly assigned to receive either echinacea (2.5 mL three times daily) or placebo for seven days before and seven days after nasal inoculation with rhinovirus type 39. There was a similar rate of microbiological infection with rhinovirus in both groups (92 versus 95 percent). There was a trend toward fewer patients treated with echinacea developing clinical colds (58 versus 82 percent, p = 0.11) But the trend was not statistically significant. Other trials have also not born out a statistically significant difference. So you're right Dori, the use of echinacea is suspect. But harmless. (Reference : Sperber, SJ, Shah, LP, Gilbert, RD, et al. Echinacea purpurea for prevention of experimental rhinovirus colds. Clin Infect Dis 2004; 38:1367)

Here is my source for the info about Guillan Barre and the last swine flu vaccine: Evans, D, Cauchemez, S, Hayden, FG. "Prepandemic" immunization for novel influenza viruses, "swine flu" vaccine, guillain-barre syndrome, and the detection of rare severe adverse events. J Infect Dis 2009; 200:321.

And yes, the Gulf War thing seems to be internet fodder, based on the concern for an adjuvant that was in the anthrax vaccine which will not be in this vaccine.

Lissa Rankin's picture

Dori, I so appreciate your

Dori, I so appreciate your advice (PInkies, Dori is my daughter's pediatrician!)

We've been meaning to contact you about your opinion and value what you think. Thank you for sharing your truth. I'll email you! xoxo

Dori's picture

Lissa, I still have no idea

Lissa, I still have no idea how you have time for all this. But while you're article is thorough, I'm bothered by a little misinformation, and especially when Em above says she's not going to vaccinate with those kids' risk factors. When I try to weed through the tons of info, I like to rely on people I trust who know the ins and outs better than I. I have a good friend in Peds ID who also works for CDC, and the head of Peds ID at Rady Children's. While I reserve the final info for when I see the vaccine in my hot little hand, from what they say I know the following: This year the H1N1 vaccine is as safe as the regular seasonal flu vaccine. Things were handled differently in the last pandemic, but the same company (Sanofi) who make the regular Fluzone and Flumist has made the H1N1 versions, so they are IDENTICAL in risks (egg allergy, usual vaccine reactions of fever, etc) and ingredients (i.e. the whole gulf war thing is just internet fodder) except for the different protein extracted, in the new case from the H1N1 virus. The way I see it, if you're going to get one flu shot only, it makes more sense to get h1N1, 'cause it's already around and the vaccine is a perfect match, while the "regular" one is a best guess of what's to come. *That* being said, last year when the flu shot didn't match the strains of flu that came, the shot was fairly useless, but the nasal spray FluMist did give some cross protection and help, as it stimulates a better immune response than the injectable.

Simone da Rosa's picture

Dr. Lissa knows best! Here is

Dr. Lissa knows best! Here is the direct link to our GoodWitchBadWitch H1N1 post:

http://goodwitchbadwitch.com/2009/09/10/swine-flu-what-the-h1n1-to-do/

Hope that helps!

Si

Lissa Rankin's picture

We'll add your link to our

We'll add your link to our post, sweetie. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. As our newest Mojo Mentors, we really care what you have to say!

Simone da Rosa's picture

Lissa, This is the kind of

Lissa,

This is the kind of article that is actually helpful — low to no hype, and high on info to help individuals make informed decisions appropriate for their situation. As Wellness/Life coaches, we had heard a lot of grumbling from people on the topic, too, and had published a post from the layperson's (also, one of us is a mother of grade school kids, and the other married to a first responder emergency worker in a major city) perspective to serve exactly the same requirements and audience. When not number one, it was high up in major search engine results, so please take a look at our down-to-earth article if you'd like more. http://GoodWitchBadWitch.com > scroll to Sept 10 post, "Swine Flu, What the H1N1 to Do?"

Thanks for all you do, Lissa. Pink on!

Si (aka BadWitch)

Lissa Rankin's picture

My friend Priscilla, who is a

My friend Priscilla, who is a nurse practitioner, just emailed me this comment, and I wanted to share it with you, because it brings up a good point:

Thanks for your input about the Swine flu vaccine. I just wanted to let you know that MOST hospitals are requiring all medical staff get the vaccine. If they “opt out” they must wear a mask all the time. Regarding safety issues, I have heard the same thing about similarities to the Gulf War vaccines but very little info about how this vaccine might compare with safety… it’s a little frightening for those of us that are being required to get it! Be well, Priscilla

If you're one of those people being required to get the vaccine, go forth in faith. No point stressing about what you can't control. Chances are that everything will be just fine for those who get the vaccine, as well as for those that don't. Don't live in fear. Let's just send up a little prayer for health and wellness for all beings on this planet and recognize that, while it's good to make educated choices, the Universe will provide...

Lissa Rankin's picture

And Andrea, big smooch to

And Andrea, big smooch to you, sister! :)

Lissa Rankin's picture

You are absolutely right,

You are absolutely right, Doris! I'm going to add that to the post right now!

Andrea Schwartz-Feit's picture

Hi Lissa, Thank you for your

Hi Lissa, Thank you for your thorough discussion of the swine flu situation/vaccine. As I read through it, my question was whether you were planning to be vaccinated, which you answered at the end. Yours must be the only MD generated swine flu post that ends with such great humor and honesty! I'm relieved to hear that even were I to contract swine flu I need not plan to be bleeding through my eyeballs and will take that under consideration when discussing this with my own doctor! XOXOX and thanks for making my morning.

Doris Jeanette, Psy.D's picture

Thanks for giving us your

Thanks for giving us your honest opinion Lisa. Very sane and helpful. I don't plan to take the flu shot but I do plan to continue my daily relaxing and loving the ole body routine--both physically and emotionally.

As an alternative, holistic psychologist, I know stress, anxiety and fear can make you sick in the first place. And anxiety can make you a whole lot sicker than you would be without anxiety. This means you need to relax and take care of yourself, no matter what happens. So, it is really important to reduce your anxiety and stop your hysteria if you want to avoid and survive the swine flu.

Alisa's picture

Thanks for the reminder to

Thanks for the reminder to eat whole foods, get rest and drink water to help stay healthy. It's easy to get tired, run down and eat what's easiest and not always the healthiest. This is a hard one for me as I have asthma and thinking of cold and flu season is always daunting. Add to this a new flu and it makes it even harder. I think I'm going to do what I can to stay healthy and wait and see on the vaccine. I appreciate your thoughtful explanations.

Lissa Rankin's picture

Thank you Jennifer, for your

Thank you Jennifer, for your feedback. As I said, I'm definitely not anti-vaccination and those who are rapidly so scare me. After all, before vaccinations, children were getting polio and dying of small pox. These diseases have been nearly eradicated.

I just question the sudden push for mass vaccination in high risk populations with so little safety data. I get the seasonal flu vaccine every season because I am exposed so frequently at work. And I have never gotten the flu. I get it largely to protect my family. But this time, I'm thinking twice about it.

Again, I haven't made up my mind. But I appreciate your feedback. Wishing you and your son health and wellness.. Lots of love Lissa

Jennifer's picture

I don't think there is any

I don't think there is any reason to believe the H1N1 vaccine will be in any way "less safe" than seasonal flu vaccine. And I trust the CDC. I have worked with them extensively and been on many CDC advisory boards.

Vaccines work to prevent the weakest in society. How do you know when you will shake hands with an immunosuppressed person? You don't.

My son with chronic heart and lung problems gets the vaccine every year and has still caught the ICU and ended up in the ICU twice. He is 6 years old. He depends on other people to stay healthy. Last year he had to take Tamiflu twice because of potential exposures.

Christina Rankin Lemmey's picture

Thank you SO much for this

Thank you SO much for this info! It's nice to have it all in one place and know that it's objective.

I've vaccinated both my kids over the years but this one and the gardasil vaccine really give me pause, I guess because they're both so new.

Keep up the great work!

Lissa Rankin's picture

Vanessa, I added that link to

Vanessa, I added that link to Dr. Nicole Sundene's site- thanks for pointing that out!

And yes, Catherine, the vaccine is made using eggs.

Catherine's picture

Just curious if that means

Just curious if that means that the H1N1 vaccine is made using eggs? I cannot eat them...but not because I am allergic. Thanks Lissa.

Vanessa's picture

Thanks for a great article

Thanks for a great article Lissa. My gut sense is a big NO when it comes to this vaccine. I came across an interesting article (I didn't watch the video part) with some fascinating statistics, a breakdown of the ingredients in the vaccine, and what to look for if you get exposed to a toxic vaccine. Check it out http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/09/19/The-Truth-about-the-Flu-Shot.aspx

Also, in your #4 suggestion about sleep, there seems to be a link missing and I'd like to learn more about those tips.

Thanks again for writing this!

Lissa Rankin's picture

It's confusing as hell,

It's confusing as hell, Jason! Many that I know either blindly follow the CDC or unwaveringly oppose vaccination. I try to approach each situation case by case with my analytic mind, mixed with a healthy portion of my gut. In this case, I'm confused.

Jason's picture

Lissa, Thanks for the

Lissa,

Thanks for the thorough unbiased article.

I too am surrounded by health care professionals and uncertain whether to vaccinate my kids or not.

Lissa Rankin's picture

Savrina, there are 5

Savrina, there are 5 different manufacturers making these vaccines, so I suspect they may all be a bit different. I have not been able to find a good source telling us what exactly is in it. I'm hoping that will be available once the vaccine is out. What I did find is that it appears that the vaccine will be available with and without thimerosol (which contains mercury).

Savrina's picture

Hi Lissa, Thank you for your

Hi Lissa, Thank you for your information and maybe you can help me find the answer to one that I have been searching for. What is the ingredients in H1N1? Do you know it or know where I may find the list?

Thank you so much for everything you are doing. Many Blessings, Savrina

Heather S's picture

I really feel more informed

I really feel more informed now...and I just cant see myself getting a vaccine that has so little information. I am a freak when it comes to meds..I ask all kinds of questions because I want to know everything about what I am taking. I may be a little bit of a Hypochondriact but Id rather be safe than sorry..

So my Vote is NO...

Thanks Lissa for this information!!!

Heather S.

Lissa Rankin's picture

Jenny, your questions about

Jenny, your questions about the vaccine in pregnancy concerns me too. While pregnant women are definitely at higher risk if they get the flu (dehydration can lead to preterm labor and life-threatening pneumonia can ensue), it worries me to give a largely untested vaccine to a pregnant woman. The CDC is adamant in their recommendation that all pregnant women be vaccinated. It's really a balancing of risks...I have to assume that the CDC thinks it's safe- otherwise, why would they recommend something untested? But I haven't seen the data to support this yet.

And Shelley, we have Elderberry syrup at our integrative health center www.clearcenterofhealth.com, but you might be able to get it at places like Whole Foods or Pharmaca- because we have it here, I haven't asked around...

Good luck, Pinkies as you weigh your options!

Erin's picture

Oh, this post is so great! I

Oh, this post is so great! I have installed a Swine Flu filter in my brain so that I generally zone out when a news story about the vaccine comes my way. The media rarely presents a clear, concise picture of the situation, instead choosing to be all RED ALERT RED ALERT WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE. I don't need that kind of fear in my life. I do not believe I will get the Swine Flu. Call me crazy, but I believe that setting that intention will keep me flu-free.

Nonetheless, I loved reading this thoughtful, researched piece that was devoid of RED ALERT. I really appreciate you taking the time to do this. I feel way more informed now. I wasn't planning to get a vaccine, but now I will get back to making myself fresh carrot-apple juice daily for the immune boosting effects. And eating more sushi and garlic (but not together, ew).

Shelley's picture

I really appreciate your

I really appreciate your level-headed, commonsense approach to this subject.

I just recently discovered this site, and I LOVE IT!

You recommended Elderberry Syrup. I've heard of it, but never seen it before. Where can I find it?

JL's picture

I appreciate your rational

I appreciate your rational approach to this. I, too, have felt like the swine flu panic is totally out of proportion to this flu strain. Thanks for taking the time to share your sane thoughts.

Jenny Brooks's picture

Excellent post, Lissa. Very

Excellent post, Lissa. Very levelheaded and thoughtful. So far no one has convinced me that it's worth taking the risk of getting the vaccine to protect anyone in my normally healthy family of four. However, my children go to daycare and my husband works with swarms of people every day, which increases our risk of exposure. Hence my conflicted feelings.

One question, what about the risk of the vaccine to an unborn fetus? If you're pregnant and the vaccine hasn't been thoroughly tested, is it a big risk to take it? How much safer is the regular flu vaccine for fetus?

Thank you!

Em's picture

Thank you for this!! My

Thank you for this!! My 7-year-old son is borderline asthmatic with a severe egg allergy, and my 3 1/2 year old has PKU - talk about confussion.

They have already received their flu mist. They will not be receiving the H1N1 - the uncertainty is too much for me.

Luckily my pediatrician has a calm and clear head. And I'll be using your herbal recommendations for sure!

Lissa Rankin's picture

You're welcome, Karen!

You're welcome, Karen!

Karen Beijer's picture

Great topic to discuss!

Great topic to discuss! thanks for your insight...it is greatly respected and appreciated!

Lissa Rankin's picture

Thank you Martha! I'm so glad

Thank you Martha! I'm so glad it helped. That was my mission is writing it.

Martha Marshall's picture

Thank you so much for writing

Thank you so much for writing this post. A little more sanity is in order right now, and you've provided a whole huge helping of it.

I'm recommending this article to everyone I know!

Have a fabulous day,

Martha @colorpoetry

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