From the November 2000 Idaho Observer:

Boost your own immunity for this cold and flu season

By Ingri Harkins

As we enter the cold and flu season, it may not be prudent to take the CDC's recommended influenza vaccine.

According to Dr. Kristine Severyn of the Vaccine Policy Institute, no adequate controlled studies exist which prove that influenza vaccine reduces the incidence of influenza in the elderly and other high-risk groups.

In 1993 Congress authorized $80 million per year for Medicare to provide flu shots to the elderly and other Medicare recipients. Was Congress being misled when they were told that influenza vaccinations cost less than hospitalization costs due to complications from the disease?

“According to the CDC, influenza vaccine efficacy drops to 30 percent to 40 percent among the elderly-this group being the main 'target' for flu shots. CDC attributes lack of influenza vaccine efficacy in the elderly to their 'decreased immunologic response.'

“Past studies by NH Arden, et al, of type A (H3N2) influenza vaccine in nursing home patients yielded an average of only 27 percent efficacy with four studies demonstrating vaccine efficacy at 0, 2, 8 and 9 percent. Poor vaccine efficacy can even occur when the vaccine virus is 'essentially identical' to that virus which is causing the outbreak. For influenza B vaccine, studies conducted by Arden range from 0 percent to 36 percent effective, averaging 21 percent.” [Dr. Severyn, “Are Flu Vaccines Beneficial ?” 1999]

Knowing that influenza vaccines have a very poor track record in warding off the flu, we need to explore other ways to boost our immune systems. By applying the following tips we can decrease our likelihood of “catching that bug going around.”

* Take measures to reduce the level of stress in your life.

* Make sure you get plenty of sleep and take time for relaxing activities.

* Eat 80 percent alkaline forming foods and 20 percent acid forming foods. This means consuming plenty of raw, preferably organic fruits and vegetables. You can check your alkalinity with litmus paper. If your body is alkaline, you cannot get sick.

* Make sure you are eliminating toxins from your body through your bowels. Taking a psyllium-based colon cleanser will reduce transit time and help reduce the amount of toxins in your body.

* Assist your liver and kidneys in eliminating waste by drinking the juice of a lemon with purified water first thing in the morning at least a half hour before drinking or eating anything else.

* Take one to four grams of vitamin C with bioflavinoids daily.

* Take immune system-enhancing herbs such as echinacea, yarrow, chaparral, mullein, garlic, ginger and cayenne.

* Minimize acid forming foods and drinks such as coffee, alcohol, dairy products, meat and refined carbohydrates such as white sugar, white flour and white rice.

* Drink between six and eight glasses of distilled or purified water daily.

* Don't eat on the run or bolt your food down. Taking the time to eat slowly and thoroughly masticate your food allows your saliva to further alkalinize your food and stimulates the production of digestive enzymes.

By diligently following the above tips you will be strengthening your immune system and greatly reducing the odds of getting a cold or flu bug this winter.

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