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Flu Season


Flu season is that dreaded, head-pounding, body-aching, feverish, nauseating, coughing affair that adds up to equal parts misery and inconvenience. Flu season runs November through May; most cases usually occur in January or February.

Influenza virus spreads from infected persons to you when you make contact with contaminated surfaces and then touch your nose, mouth, or eyes. The virus is also passed by sneezing when you inhale someone else’s droplets of contaminated fluid.

Rates of infection are highest among children. Flu can cause:
• fever
• sore throat
• chills
• fatigue
• cough
• headache
• muscle aches

Influenza can lead to pneumonia and can be dangerous for people with heart or breathing conditions. It can cause high fever and seizures in children. About 90 percent of the fatalities are among the elderly.[1]


Flu shots are vigorously promoted each year, but the latest science suggests they simply don’t work very well.

The annual flu shot is a product of the educated guesses of a group of vaccine researchers. Every February, they try to predict which flu viruses will circulate the next winter. Their three top choices are put into the vaccine. The CDC claims the vaccine will be 70 to 90 percent effective against just those strains of flu.

But the virus mutates from year to year. In 2003-2004, the CDC admitted that it completely missed the virulent Fujian flu strain that hit hard that winter. In the 2005-2006 season, a strain not included in the vaccine hospitalized 31 children in Houston.[2]

One of the three strains in the seasonal flu shot for the 2010-2011season is the swine flu virus (H1N1) of 2009. The seasonal flu shot and the swine flu shot will be just one shot this year. If you got the H1N1 vaccination last year, the CDC recommends that you get it again in 2010.[3] And if your shot comes from a multi-dose vial, it will contain mercury as a preservative.[4]

There are two types of influenza vaccine:
Inactivated – vaccine made with killed virus material and thimerosal, and injected into the muscle. Usually dispensed from multi-use injectable bottles and thimerosal (mercury) is used as a preservative.

Live, attenuated (LAIV) – weakened influenza vaccine and sprayed into the nostrils. These viruses can survive in the nose and throat long enough to trigger the immune reaction that fights off flu, but will be killed by the higher temperatures in the lower respiratory tract. It does not contain thimerosal. The CDC describes this as “an option for healthy people 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant.”

People with egg allergies shouldn’t get the shot because the vaccine is manufactured using eggs. Also, the shot is not recommended for babies under 6 months. The LAIV form is not recommended for children under age 5 with asthma, pregnant women, or those with a weakened immune system (especially cancer, bone marrow transplants), nor for people with various chronic diseases - the list includes Guillain-Barré Syndrome, heart disease, and cerebral palsy.[5]

In February 2010, on the heels of the 2009 Swine Flu “pandemic,” the CDC made a new recommendation that every American over the age of six months be vaccinated for the seasonal flu each year. The effect of the policy change is that flu shots are now recommended for almost 100 percent of the population, up from 85 percent.[6] The CDC said, “This represents an expansion of the previous recommendations for annual vaccination of all adults aged 19 to 49 years and is supported by evidence that annual influenza vaccination is a safe and effective preventive health action with potential benefit in all age groups.”[7]

Meanwhile, the British government was quietly cancelling their flu immunization program for children aged six months to five years. In December 2010, senior government advisers ruled that flu shots for kids would not have significant “gain,” despite flu levels reaching a ten-year high.


Should you stand in line for your annual flu shot? Consider these findings:

• Every year only 5%-20% of the US population gets the flu. It can become serious for those with a pre-exiting condition. Approximately 175,000 people are hospitalized each year from flu complications such as pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections and other respiratory problems, or the aggravation of chronic illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, asthma, cardiovascular disease, lupus, and diabetes.

• A yearly flu vaccine has not been shown to prevent flu-related deaths in people over the age of 65, according to the 2005 and 2007 Cochrane Collaborative’s reports in The Lancet medical journal.[8,9]

“Recent excess mortality studies were unable to confirm a decline in influenza-related mortality since 1980, even as vaccination coverage increased from 15% to 65%.”

The prediction that flu vaccines reduce the mortality risk among the elderly by 50% is also being challenged by researchers of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. This challenge is based on the fact that the actual flu virus is usually cleared before secondary complications set in. When researchers from the Institute included all deaths from illnesses that flu aggravates, like lung disease or chronic heart failure, they found that flu accounts for, at most, 10 percent of winter deaths among the elderly. Dr. Tom Jefferson, head of the Vaccines Field at the Cochrane Collaboration, said:

“For a vaccine to reduce mortality by 50 percent and up to 90 percent in some studies means it has to prevent deaths not just from influenza, but also from falls, fires, heart disease, strokes, and car accidents. That’s not a vaccine, that’s a miracle.”[10]

• The CDC kicks off the annual flu shot campaign with the statistic that 36,000 Americans die from the flu every year.[11] But others find that number is propaganda, not fact. The American Lung Association’s report from April 2010, entitled “Trends in Pneumonia and Influenza/Morbidity and Mortality,” uses CDC figures and shows:[12]


The CDC’s 36,000 number is based on an estimate of cases where “seasonal influenza infection was likely a contributor to the cause of death, but not necessarily the primary cause of death.”[13] The flu is not a reportable disease and most physicians don’t do a nasal swab to determine whether the symptoms are indeed caused by influenza.

After much criticism, including a blistering editorial in the British Medical Journal, the CDC announced in 2010 that it was discarding that decades-old estimate. The agency now says that flu is unpredictable, and the number of annual fatalities ranges from 3,000 to 49,000.[14,15]

• A study in the British Medical Journal reported vaccines just don’t work too well for people of all ages:[16]

“The optimistic and confident tone of some predictions of viral circulation and of the impact of inactivated vaccines, which are at odds with the evidence, is striking. The reasons are probably complex and may involve a messy blend of truth conflicts and conflicts of interest...”

• Internationally renowned vaccine researcher Dr. Sherri J. Tenpenny found that 70-80% of the sniffles, fevers, and body aches generally characterized as “the flu” between 1999-2004 were not caused by influenza viruses, but by other organisms not covered by a vaccine.

• Between October 1, 2003 and April 9, 2004, the CDC identified 863 antigenically different influenza viruses. If you assume that flu vaccines work for the three chosen strains, the vaccines do not provide protection against the other 860 influenza viruses known to be in circulation.[17]

• Federal health officials warned in November, 2007 that risks from the flu drug Tamiflu warrant stronger warning labels. Tamiflu is prescribed for almost two million Americans a year, including almost 700,000 children. About 600 cases of psychiatric problems in Tamiflu patients have been reported; five children died in Japan after “falling from windows or balconies, or running into traffic,” the FDA stated.

• Flu vaccine is preserved with thimerosal, which is 50% mercury. So with each shot comes a dose of a neurotoxin.

• Vaccines are also grown and strained through animal or human tissue like monkey kidney tissue, chicken embryo, embryonic guinea pig cells, calf serum, and human diploid cells (the dissected organs of aborted human fetuses as in the case of rubella, hepatitis A, and chickenpox vaccines). Vaccines can also contain bits of bacteria and measurable amounts of aluminum, gelatin, polysorbate 80, MSG, and other chemicals.[18]

• Hugh Fudenberg, MD, an immunogeneticist and biologist with nearly 850 papers published in peer review journals, has reported that if an individual had five consecutive flu shots between 1970 and 1980 (the years studied), his/her chances of getting Alzheimer’s Disease is ten times higher than if they had zero, one, or two shots.[19]

• Vaccine manufacturers received federal legislation to protect them from liability.

“There is no evidence that any influenza vaccine thus far developed is effective in preventing or mitigating any attack of influenza…they are worthless.”

- Dr. J. Anthony Morris, research virologist and
former Chief Vaccine Control Officer of the FDA.

So the flu vaccine is said to be virtually worthless at best and loaded with toxic chemicals at worst. On top of that, many people come down with the flu shortly after receiving the shot. How does that happen? Because it weakens the immune system, making you more predisposed to the illness.


Good question. You are much more likely to come down with a cold. Colds and flu are both respiratory illnesses but caused by different viruses. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough are more common and intense. There are more than 200 cold viruses, they mutate a lot, and virtually everybody comes down with one from time to time. Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations.

ACHESOften severeSlight
ONSETSuddenly, 3-6 hoursSlowly, 1-2 days


Influenza is an Italian word that some historians proposed originated in the mid-18th century as influenza di freddo, or “influence of the cold.” Here some plausible ideas why winter is to blame:

• During winter, we are indoors more often in poorly ventilated buildings and this aids the airborne transmission of viruses.

• Ultraviolet light kills viruses and there is less sunlight in winter.

• People are exposed to less sunlight in winter and so their bodies make less vitamin D which nourishes the immune system.

• Colds and flu increase after Christmas when students return to schools and colleges because young people have less mature immune systems and crowded nurseries, schools and colleges provide an ideal breeding ground for viruses which then spread out into the community.

• Cold weather and sunless days can be tough on the psyche. Combined with holiday stress, our bodies are more prone to succumb to viruses in winter.

• Researchers found that flu virus is more stable and stays in the air longer when air is cold and dry. Flu viruses spread through the air, unlike cold viruses which primarily spread by direct contact when people touch surfaces. [20]



1. Wash your hands. Even the CDC tells you that hand washing is the best protection. “Rub your hands for 20 seconds - about the length of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.” Note though that colds and flu come from viruses, not bacteria, so antibacterial soap doesn’t help. In fact, anti-bacterial soaps merely invite environmental bacteria to become resistant.

2. Sneeze into your elbow, not into your hands. Ditch the old mantra to “cover your mouth” with your hands. Kids especially, when they sneeze or cough into their hands, don’t always wash their hands, and then they use their hands to touch surfaces and other people.

3. Find out what your vitamin D level is. Vitamin D deficiency may be the real reason people come down with the flu in winter. Dr. John Cannell of the Vitamin D Council first introduced the hypothesis in 2006 that influenza is just a symptom of vitamin D deficiency.[21,22] His papers were subsequently confirmed by a large study of 19,000 people that found that those with the lowest blood vitamin D levels reported having significantly more recent colds or cases of the flu.[23]

A Japanese study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests vitamin D is better than the vaccine at preventing flu. Researchers found that vitamin D supplementation almost halved incidence of seasonal flu or influenza A among school children given 1200 International Units per day.[24]

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is more readily absorbed by the body and more potent than vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), the form often found in multivitamins and “fortified” milk.

4. During the hectic, stressful holiday time, it is more important than ever to eat right. Conversely, this is the time of year we are bombarded with foods full of sugar which lowers the immune system. Avoid processed foods.


Out of respect from Grandma’s wisdom, we’ll put this one first on the list: Eat chicken soup. In folk wisdom, rich chicken broth - the famous Jewish penicillin - is a valued remedy for the flu. The 12th-century physician Moses Maimonides prescribed chicken broth as a treatment for colds and asthma. Modern research has confirmed that broth helps prevent and mitigate infectious diseases. Properly prepared broth contains the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate. A big dose of good nutrients is always a good thing to have on board when the body is sick. Nourishing the gut boosts the immune system.

When children run even a small a fever, adults run scared. But hold on a minute. Fevers inhibit the replication of many bacteria and viruses. White blood cells also move more quickly to the site of infection at higher temperatures. A basic fever, brought on by bacterial or viral illness, is an expression of the immune system working well. The argument can be made that children need to experience fevers to develop a strong immune system that can ward off allergies and asthma as they grow older.

At the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine, we use different forms of treatment, depending on how early in the course of the flu treatment is requested. Before the start of the flu season we recommend that you purchase Oscillococcinum, a homeopathic remedy for flu, found in any health food store. This remedy needs to be taken early, preferably on day one of symptoms. Many people swear by colonic hydrotherapy - it has been their experience that a colonic taken at the first opportunity keeps the flu from taking hold. We also recommend a couple of Chinese herbal formulae for cold symptoms - one of them, if taken at the very first sign of the cold or flu, will dispel symptoms at least 95% of the time. The other formula we use commonly is taken if the symptoms go deeper - with cough and fever. If symptoms are very severe, we recommend treatment with high doses of Vitamin C, often intravenously, and with glutathione, to oxidize and destroy the viruses from the system. We may also treat your blood by passing some of it through a device which exposes it to ultraviolet light, a well-known killer of viruses and bacteria.

[8] T. Jefferson, D. Rivetti et al. Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines in elderly people: a systematic review. The Lancet, October 2005, Volume 366, Issue 9492, pages 1165-1174
[9] T. Jefferson, C. Di Pietrantonj. Inactivated influenza vaccines in the elderly-are you sure? The Lancet, June 2007, Volume 370, Issue 9594, pages 1199-1200
[10] S Brownlee and J Lenzer. Does the Vaccine Matter? Atlantic Monthly, November, 2009
[11] Centers for Disease Control, Inactivated Flu Vaccine-What You Need to Know 2007-2008, accessed at
[14] Peter Doshi. Are US flu death figures more PR than science? British Medical Journal, December 10, 2005
[15] Julie Steenhuysen. CDC backs away from decades-old flu US death estimate. Reuters. August 26, 2010
[16] T. Jefferson. Influenza vaccination: policy versus evidence, BMJ 2006;333(7574):912
[17] Dr. S. Tenpenny. Annual Number of flu deaths: it’s a guess. accessed Jan 2008 at
[18] Dr. S. Tenpenny Questioning Vaccines is Not Fueled by Ignorance News With Views, Feb 7, 2007
[19] Hugh Fudenberg, MD, Founder and Director of Research, Neurolmmuno Therapeutic Research Foundation. Information is from Dr. Fudenberg’s speech at the NVIC International Vaccine Conference, Arlington, VA September, 1997.
[20] Gina Kolata. Study Shows Why the Flu Likes Winter. New York Times, December 5, 2007
[21] J Cannell, R Vieth. Epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect. December 2006 Dec;134(6):1129-40. Epub 2006 Sep 7.
[22] J Cannell, M Zasloff et al. On the epidemiology of influenza. Virology Journal 2008, 5:29doi:10.1186/1743-422X-5-29
[23] A Ginde, J Mansbach, C Camargo Jr. Association Between Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Level and Upper Respiratory Tract Infection in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arch Intern Med. February 23, 2009;169(4):384-390.
[24] Mitsuyoshi Urashima, Takaaki Segawa. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr, March 10, 2010 (doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.29094)
Flu Season