After a friend recently asked my thoughts about the nasal flu vaccine for her Daughter, I realised that parents in the UK are not being provided with important facts about vaccinations. I am sharing this information for parents who feel unsure about that to do and are considering a different approach.

This post is by no means a criticism if you choose to go ahead with the vaccination as you know what is best for your own child. However, as the flu vaccine is only 27% – 65% effective perhaps you might like to use some of the natural approaches in addition to the vaccine.

Facts about the flu vaccine in the UK (from: http://vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/nasal-flu-vaccine)

  • The nasal flu vaccine is genetically modified.
  • It contains traces of antibiotics and monosodium glutamate which many people are sensitive to.
  • Its produced from animal cells and grown on eggs.
  • Its only 27% – 65% effective
  • The vaccine is not recommended for children with severe asthma or active wheezing at the time of vaccination because of limited safety data in these groups.

Children who have been vaccinated with the nasal spray should avoid close contact with people who have very severely weakened immune systems (for example, people receiving chemotherapy or people who have just had an organ transplant) for about two weeks following vaccination. This is because there is a very small chance of passing the weakened vaccine virus on to them.

Very common side effects (affecting more than 1 in 10 people):

  • runny or stuffy nose
  • loss of appetite
  • feeling generally unwell
  • headache

The viruses used to make the nasal flu spray are custom-made by putting together individual genes which have the right features to protect against this year’s flu strains. This makes it the only vaccine in the UK schedule to contain GMOs. The virus strains are then produced in the laboratory using animal cell strains before being grown on in hens’ eggs.”

Are children being given too many vaccinations?

According to the UK vaccination schedule, children now receive 40 vaccinations by the age of four! Many of them are administered at the same time, an immune assault which may have long term consequences. There is concern that this vaccine overload is causing serious disruptions to the immune system leading to autoimmune diseases ¹

The subject of vaccination in general has always been controversial and can spark heated debates which is not the intention of this post. However, perhaps we need to question whether all of these vaccines are really necessary and also why the subject of natural immunity being ignored.

So what are the alternatives?

We can only contract the flu if we are susceptible, so if your child has a strong constitution and a well functioning immune system, their chances of succumbing to the flu are greatly reduced. Fortunately there are many ways in which you can support your child’s natural immunity:

 

Vitamin D:

There has been an explosion of research about the health benefits of Vitamin D in recent years and it is now very well established that Vitamin D is crucial for normal immune system function.

The protective effect of Vitamin D against flu appears to be dose dependent as a recent study of 400 infants found that 1,200 IU/day of Vitamin D was a much more effective dose for flu prevention and management than 400iIU/day. The study concluded that Vitamin D (1200 IU) is suitable for the prevention of seasonal influenza as well as rapid relief from symptoms in infants who do contract the illness.²

There are many Vitamin D supplements available. Liquid Vitamin D tends to be easier for children to take than capsules:

https://naturaldispensary.co.uk/products/Vitamin_D3_Liquid_22_5ml-9999669-0.html

Or consider Higher Nature Vitamin D spray which children enjoy taking. However as its mint flavoured it should be taken at least 30 minutes away from Homeopathic medicines.

https://naturaldispensary.co.uk/products/Kids_Vitamin_D3_Spray_kids_13_5ml-11824-0.html

Use discount code TA015 to take advantage of 15% off  your total order from The Natural Dispensary.

Nutritional Supplements:

There are so many supplements available for children that it can be difficult knowing which ones to choose. Many children’s supplements are loaded with sugar and additives. I prefer to recommend products which are as natural as possible. I have researched many children’s supplements and these are some of my recommendations for immune support.

Nature’s Answer Sambucus Kid’s Formula

This supplement contains Sambucus nigra L. (Black Elder). Elderberry syrup has been used traditionally to support the immune system, especially during the winter and this is being confirmed by research. One study found black elberberry extract to be effective in vitro against 10 strains of influenza virus and it reduced the duration of flu symptoms to 3-4 days.³

Nature’s Answer Sambucus Kids Formula combines black elderberry with organic echinacea and organic astragalus for gentle enhanced immune support. It is sweetened with organic agarve nectar to give a pleasant taste and is free from artificial ingredients.

https://naturaldispensary.co.uk/products/Sambucus_Kids_Formula_Alcohol_Free_120ml-14972-0.html

Use discount code TA015 to take advantage of 15% off  your total order from The Natural Dispensary.

Terranova Green Child Sneaky Green Super Shake

This is packed full of antioxidant, immune supporting nutrients, most of which are organic. It also contains the immune supporting probiotics Lactobacillus Rhamnosus and Lactobacillus Acidpohilus. Its especially useful for children who are reluctant to eat fruit and veggies or who need extra nutritional support. Its suitable for children over the age of 4.

https://naturaldispensary.co.uk/products/Green_Child_Sneaky_Greens_Super_Shake_180g-16427-0.html

Use discount code TA015 to take advantage of 15% off  your total order from The Natural Dispensary.

Immune Supporting Nutrients:

A strong immune system is dependent upon a wide variety of vitamin and minerals, in particular, Vitamins A, C, E, zinc and selenium which can be found in the following foods:

Vitamin A: eggs, yoghurt, apricots, mangos, sweet potato, carrots, butternut squash, peppers especially red and orange, Romaine lettuce

Vitamin C: limes, lemons, sweet potatoes, berries, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, kiwis, parsley

Vitamin E: avocados, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, olive oil, eggs, tuna

 Zinc: sardines, crab, oats, brown rice, pumpkin seeds, yoghurt, pine nuts, cashew nuts, lentils, chickpeas

Selenium: cod, tuna, salmon, prawns, mushrooms, sole, mackerel , brown rice, onions, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, cashew nuts, kidney beans, oats

Other powerful immune supporting foods, herbs and spices include garlic, onions, ginger, oregano, rosemary and medicinal mushrooms such as turkey tail, maitake, shitake, cordyceps and reishi.

The effect of sugar and and lack of sleep:

A diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates such as cakes, biscuits, white breads, pasta, cereals and crisps can lower immunity by having an adverse effect of phagocytosis and the microbiome (gut bacteria).⁴

Getting enough sleep is really important for healthy immune function and research shows that lack of sleep renders us more susceptible to infection.⁵

Homeopathy:

Homeopathy can be beneficial in several ways. It can be used constitutionally to help enhance your child’s general well being and improve resistance to infections. This generally requires a consultation with a professional Homeopath. Its also excellent for speeding up recovery and easing symptoms during infections such as the flu. With a little knowledge you can prescribe the remedies for your child yourself or you can consult a Homeopath for help and guidance.

I am particularly passionate about educating and empowering parents to prescribe Homeopathic remedies for their children so please get in touch if you would like help in this area.

Homeopathy has a long and successful history of managing acute illnesses such as influenza.

“ A report to the American Institute of Homeopathy in 1921 documented the dramatic success of homeopathy in the worst flu pandemic in history. Of 24,000 flu cases treated with conventional medical care, the death rate was 28.2 percent; of 26,000 cases treated with homeopathy, the death rate was a nearly miraculous 1.05 percent” (National Centre For Homeopathy).

There are many Homeopathic remedies which may help children with flu so this is a selection of a few commonly indicated remedies. In Homeopathy we prescribe for the person with the symptoms rather than just on the disease symptoms so try to choose the remedy which most closely resembles your child’s symptoms.  If none of the following remedies seem indicated its worth consulting a professional Homeopath for guidance.

Aconite is indicated when the first symptoms are a dry, red sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, fever, intense thirst and restlessness, especially when these symptoms come on suddenly. Its often needed after being out in dry, cold weather, from draughts, shock or fright. Aconite is such a useful remedy as, taken early, it often stops colds and flu in its tracks.

Gelsemium is one of the most commonly needed remedies for flu with aching muscles, a feeling of heaviness, weakness, drowsiness, dizziness and trembling. The eyes feel achy with heavy eyelids, the face tends to be flushed and the child may have a dull headache and chills along the spine.

Eupatorium Perfolatum is indicated for flu with violent aching pains in the bones with intense restlessness. The head tends to feel really heavy and feels as if it would burst when sneezing. There can also be nausea and vomiting, hoarseness of the throat and loose cough which is worse at night. However, the leading indication for this remedy is the intense aching pains in the bones.

Bryonia is useful for flu with a bursting, splitting headache which is aggravated by the slightest movement, even just moving the eyes makes it worse. There is also a dry hacking cough which shakes the whole body and is extremely painful, making the child hold their chest. The limbs feel weak, stiff and heavy as lead. The mouth, lips, throat and tongue usually feel dry and the child is likely to be extremely thirsty.

Ossicococcinum also known as Anas Barbaraie is a homeopathic anti viral which can be given to your child if they are exposed to someone with the flu or as soon as soon as they display any symptoms. It can be taken alongside other remedies. In Europe its now sold as a flu remedy in Pharmacies.

Homeopathic remedies can also be used in a prophylactic way:

Homeopathc Influenzinum 30c may help protect against the flu. It can be taken twice daily for 2 days and then repeated once a week for a month. It is then given again if your child is exposed to anyone with flu. This remedy can be used by the whole family.

References:

¹ J. Barthelow Classen MD, Review of Vaccine Induced Immune Overload and the Resulting Epidemics of Type 1 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome, Emphasis on Explaining the Recent Accelerations in the Risk of Pre-diabetes and other Immune Mediated Diseases. J Mol Genet Med 2014, S1:025

Available from: https://www.vaccines.net/vaccine-induced-immune-overload.pdf

² Zhou J, Du J, Huang L, Wang Y, Shi Y, Lin H. Preventive Effects of Vitamin D on Seasonal Influenza A in Infants: A Multicenter, Randomized, Open, Controlled Clinical Trial. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2018 Aug;37(8):749-754. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29315160

³ Barak V1, Halperin T, Kalickman I. The effect of Sambucol, a black elderberry-based, natural product, on the production of human cytokines: I. Inflammatory cytokines. Eur Cytokine Netw. 2001 Apr-Jun;12(2):290-6 . https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11399518

Myles IA. Fast food fever: reviewing the impacts of the Western diet on immunity. Nutrition Journal. 2014;13:61. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-61. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24939238

Asif N, Iqbal R, Nazir CF. Human immune system during sleep. American Journal of Clinical and Experimental Immunology. 2017;6(6):92-96. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29348984

https://patient.info/doctor/immunisation-schedule-uk