By Dr. Mark Stengler
So it's officially a "bad" flu season -- one where more people are supposedly getting sick and more people will continue to get sick, at least according to the latest warning from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sound familiar? Of course it does. The CDC hits the panic button every year -- but it's never about spreading information.
It's about marketing.
Specifically, they're marketing flu shots -- because every single doom-and-gloom prediction from the CDC ends in a sales pitch: Get your flu shots, or else. But whether it's a "bad" year for flu or a good one, the dirty secret about the shot is that it doesn't actually help prevent it nearly as effectively as those ads appear to promise.
Forget the marketing and just look at the numbers. Between 1989 and 1997, the flu shot vaccination rate more than doubled among seniors, from 32 percent to 67 percent.
If the shot really worked, we should see fewer sick seniors during flu season -- and certainly fewer seniors fighting for their lives with the illness in hospitals, right?
Well, it turns out that hasn't happened. In fact, overall, the flu hospitalization rate among seniors actually rose between 1979 and 2001, according to one study.
Now, it's one thing to be merely ineffective. That's bad enough, especially for a shot being marketed aggressively with your tax dollars.
What makes the shot so much worse is that it may actually cause the very flu it's supposed to prevent. People who followed CDC orders and got the 2008-2009 seasonal flu shot, for example, actually had a higher risk of swine flu the following year.
And even if the shot doesn't cause the flu, the side effects can be just as bad -- including aches, low-grade fever, and more.
If that's what passes for flu "protection," you can count me out -- and that hasn't put me at risk. In fact, I never get the flu shot, I'm exposed to sick patients daily and yet I haven't had so much as a sniffle in years.
I'm not lucky. I just have a turbo-charged immune system -- and you can do the same thing for yourself with basic nutrients you can find in any vitamin shop or even most supermarkets.
Readers of my printed newsletter, Health Revelations, got the full scoop on natural flu prevention in my December 2012 issue. If you're not a subscriber yourself, it's not too late -- sign up today, and you'll get full access in my online archives.
One more note about flu shots: Most of them still contain thimerosal, a preservative that's made from mercury. It's a toxic heavy metal that has no business being inside the human body -- yet health officials want to keep pumping it into children.