I’m not a fan of the flu shot. I don’t like getting stuck with needles, and if I’m going to pay for something, I generally would prefer more than 25-36% effectiveness. (According to the CDC, as many as 3/4 of people who were vaccinated in this year’s study got the flu anyway.) Vaccines do carry risk — I have reacted negatively to some myself, and a family friend was paralyzed.
Disclaimer: I’m not anti-vaccine, at all! Rather, I’m pro-information, and I think everyone has a right to informed consent. (That means presentation of information, and assurance of understanding.)
But, I digress.
I did not elect to get the flu vaccine this year, and I also got the flu. The PA at the express clinic wrote me a prescription for Tamiflu, which I did not fill. My reasoning for this is three-fold:
- It’s expensive. Upwards of $50 with insurance.
- Research shows that it only reduces the length of the flu by one day. Likewise, additional research has shown that taking vitamin C has the same result, without side effects. Read more about Vitamin C here.
- Side effects of Tamiflu include nausea, vomiting, and headache — AKA flu symptoms. I’m already sick, and don’t want to pay to keep feeling sick. Other reported side effects include neuropsychiatric events (self-mutilation and delirium.) No thank you.
As a healthy, young woman, I have a lot of faith in my immune system to kick the virus and get me well. However, everyone can use some help, so I’m employing my medical knowledge and using natural home treatments to get me feeling better ASAP.
- I mentioned in a previous post that Emergen-C isn’t effective in reducing cold and flu symptoms. However, taking as much as 500 mg Vitamin C daily has been shown to reduce the length and severity of colds. I chew one of these tasty tablets each day, and I continue to do so when I’m sick, too. These are a less expensive and a less wasteful choice than Emergen-C.
- Good old fashioned R&R. Resting is the #1 thing you can do for your body when you’re sick. I did not initially take this advice, and went to my anatomy lab at school, and a work event. I probably infected a couple of my colleagues (so sorry, friends!) and I was definitely worse for wear afterwards. The main reason I elected to go to the express medical center was to get tested for the flu and have excused absences from school.
- Hydration is probably the second most important thing. Drinking enough water is important for immune function, blood circulation, and expelling waste — especially mucus. Having a fever is a pretty dehydrating process, so it’s even more important to focus on fluids.
- Oregano and Thieves Essential Oils. Speaking of research, there’s tons of it out there supporting the use of these essential oils in treating colds and the flu (respiratory infections in general.) I like to diffuse them, but I also have a necklace with a lava bead that holds the oil and “doses” me out throughout the day. I recommend against taking them internally, despite some advertising claims that it is safe to do so. Oils can irritate the lining of your gut, and reports have been made that it can trigger ulcerations and colitis.
- A good attitude. This sounds silly, but this is how the placebo effect works. If we believe we are getting better, it usually means we will! Research has proven the power of placebo: time and time again, and I’m not about to forgo a method that’s research supported. In this bout of sickness, I’ve been telling myself I’m getting better, and that my symptoms aren’t that bad. I don’t know if it’s really working, but it definitely doesn’t hurt to try.