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Should I Get A Flu Vaccine Before Traveling?

Getting a flu shot is your decision. Going to the places that give the shot, where other people were most likely sick and breathed out right where you are sitting as you get the shot…is your decision. If you've gotten shots in the past, I would probably just keep on going with them. The body's defense system is used to getting the pointers in the right direction. If you've never had a shot, read on and make up your own mind.

I was thinking about going on another cruise this winter. But then I started to think about it being in the middle of flu season. Making me rethink my plans. If it was just me, I'd still go in a heart beat. But I have family to consider when I plan some but not all of my trips. Last year there only a handful of flu cases by mid-October. This year, we already have thousands. Although 40,000 people die in a normal flu season, this one is the first bug in decades that has the same flu strand going around the world. It is unusual. The media glare is harsh. The numbers will be blown up, inflamed and sent up like a balloon without a boy. A thousand deaths from something with a name is more threatening than many thousands that fall under the same old yearly statistic. We need catchy names. We need dates. We need slogans. We need enemies to get excited.

Car accidents? eh. Drunk drivers? eh. Heart disease? eh. Cancer? eh. Boring. No one pays attention.

Bird flu! Swine flu! Death panels! Much better. Maybe just attach a animal or brand name to it.

Transformers crash! Camel drivers! Valentines disease! Crocodile bug!

This particular flu is different in that it targets younger people more so than older people. The said reason is that people who were born around 1950 and before may have antibodies from a previous swine flu outbreak. Because it's been so long, younger people haven't been exposed to it or developed any defense.

The flu by itself is not killing people. In most cases that have been publicized, something comes in behind the flu after it has weakened the immune system. So it is a contributing a factor but it's not a single fatal gun shot.

Should I Get The Flu Vaccine Before Traveling?

I'm getting asked this quite a bit by email and comments on other posts so I thought I'd stick my neck out and give my take here. I also add my own twisted look at the stats and sheets put out by the US government below.

I personally don't care for vaccines. What seems great now so often turns out to be a bad thing later. We decided that putting Mercury in our teeth was not such a good idea. Why do we still need it in our vaccines? They put things in vaccines so they last longer on the shelf and save the producers money, not necessarily just what is good for people.

I'm not going out and getting a vaccine before traveling. But I will choose where I go and who I am spending time with inside a ten foot radius. Ten feet is said to be the airborne range of this flu. This does mean that most forms of public transportation, workplaces and education facilities put you at an increased risk. If you have other health problems, you have an increased risk. But then you also risk getting the side effect symptoms of the shot and should keep that in mind.

What do I do as I travel often?

I try to get good sleep. I try to eat organic and minimize my pesticide intake. I try not to eat much junk food, otherwise known as the majority of the things in a normal American grocery store. Other countries don't have nearly as much dangerous food on the shelves so many of you are okay. I mix up and drink Emergen-C every day. I take extra zinc every day. I use hand sanitizer after touching public surfaces. I wash my hands often but I use my very own towel. Sharing a towel with anyone else, even in your family, after washing your hands no longer makes sense to me. Germs love moisture and they live on a damp towel longer.

Enough of this junk, what about the vaccine!?

Here is what the FDA says about the approved H5N1 bird flu vaccine (pdf). There is some controversy right now on how much this was modified for the version that just came out. It is up to you how much you trust everything agencies and for-profit companies (yes there is huge money in the flu and vaccines) tell you.

Influenza Virus Vaccine, H5N1, is a clear and slightly opalescent suspension formulated to contain 90 μg hemagglutinin (HA) per 1.0 mL dose of the influenza virus strain A/Vietnam/1203/2004 (H5N1, clade 1). Porcine gelatin (500 μg/dose) is added as a stabilizer. Thimerosal, a mercury derivative, is added as a preservative. (Some people believe this has increased rates of autism. Some people don't believe it.) Each 1.0 mL dose is formulated to contain not more than 98.2 μg thimerosal (approximately 50 μg mercury/dose). Each dose may also contain residual amounts of formaldehyde (not more than 200 μg), Polyethylene Glycol p-Isooctylphenyl Ether (not more than 0.05%), and sucrose (not more than 2.0%).

Thermosal Q & A

Pigskins are in it

Acid pretreatment is invariably used for porcine gelatin. Pigskins are first dehaired, usually by a combination of steam, rubber paddles, and flame. The pigskins may then be degreased by various methods, such as centrifuged in a rotating drum heated with steam to temperatures between 60° and 65° C. or approximately 150°-160°F.

Nonoxynol-9 is in it

This is an agent used in cleaning products, cosmetics and contraceptives. nonoxynol-9 has been shown to increase the risk of HPV cancer infection.

This is all from the CDC and FDA. ( Can be fact checked here )

Signs of 2009 H1N1 can include (may last several days to a week):

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Sore Throat
  • Muscle Aches
  • Chills
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Some people also have diarrhea and vomiting .
  • Reported reactions to the vaccine (may last a couple to several days):

  • runny nose, nasal congestion or cough
  • fever
  • headache and muscle aches
  • wheezing
  • abdominal pain or occasional vomiting or diarrhea
  • sore throat
  • chills
  • tiredness/weakness
  • headache
  • Any similarities in these lists? I put them in purple to make the matches easier to spot. If you get the vaccine, you get the added bonuses of mercury, formeldahyde, pig skin and Nonoxynol-9. No wonder funeral home directors order a fraction of the chemicals they used to order in the 1960s. We are preserving ourselves. Maybe they can create a flu shot that clears up the wrinkles on the face at the same time. Call it flutox. Our children can have asthma, autism and Alzheimers but they'll look great.

    The media talks about flu shots, shortages, where to get them, etc but rarely do I see any in depth information about who and who should not get a shot. Instead we have CDC sheets like this that most people will never see. The shot is okay for some people but the nasal version of the same vaccine is NOT okay? Look at the following CDC sheet data.

    Groups recommended to receive 2009 H1N1 shot vaccine FIRST:

  • Pregnant women
  • People who live with or care for infants younger than 6 months of age
  • Health care and emergency medical personnel
  • Anyone from 6 months through 24 years of age
  • Anyone from 25 through 64 years of age with certain chronic medical conditions or a weakened immune system
  • As more vaccine becomes available, these groups should also be vaccinated:
  • Healthy 25 through 64 year olds
  • Adults 65 years and older
  • 2009 H1N1 LAIV should NOT be given to the following groups:

  • children younger than 2 and adults 50 years and older
  • pregnant women
  • anyone with a weakened immune system
  • anyone with a long-term health problem such as
    - heart disease – kidney or liver disease
    - lung disease – metabolic disease such as diabetes
    - asthma – anemia and other blood disorders (huge percentage of people are on this list?)
  • children younger than 5 years with asthma or one or more episodes of wheezing during the past year
  • anyone with certain muscle or nerve disorders (such as cerebral palsy) that can lead to breathing or swallowing problems
  • anyone in close contact with a person with a severely weakened immune system (requiring care in a protected environment, such as a bone marrow transplant unit) (health care personnel?)
  • children or adolescents on long-term aspirin treatment.
  • With a Little Cynicism Sprinkled Over the Top

    Okay, you can tell I'm not a huge fan of vaccines. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm right. I've never had a flu shot and I've never had the flu. So many of today's health issues have come to the forefront after we've messed with vaccines, our water and our food. As long as the shadow of soulless stock market profit is involved with our vitals of survival, there is no easy solution.

    Adam | Oct 20, 2009 | Category: General

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