Currently the CDC is warning of an alarming scenario if swine flu mass vaccinations fail. However many people who are informed about natural health issues find the prospect of being forced to take a newly prepared untested vaccine even more alarming. Some remember what happened in 1976 with the last swine flu vaccine which permanently paralyzed and even killed hundreds of people. Others simply point to the absence of good studies that show that taking a flu vaccine prevents the flu. Vaccines are only useful against the specific virus that was available at the time of their manufacture. But flu viruses mutate quickly, and as the CDC points out, the real concern with H1N1 swine flu is that it will combine with seasonal flu in the fall, creating a new, deadly strain that will not have an available vaccine. Also most people who die from the flu die from pneumonia, and it has been shown that the flu vaccine is totally ineffective against pneumonia. Others feel that they prefer to not be used as a guinea pig for a vaccine production that was “rushed” and never tested on humans. And some simply prefer to not have the “adjuvants” mercury and aluminum forcibly injected into their bodies. On the other hand if Swine Flu turns into a lethal pandemic having the vaccine may be the better choice despite the risk of Guillan Barre paralysis.

There are however simple steps that you can take to decrease your risk of contracting swine flu without taken an unproven vaccine. Most important is Vitamin D which bolsters the immune system. Good research exists which shows that Vitamin D has antimicrobial properties – that is it can act like an antibiotic! Antimicrobial peptides are produced in numerous cells in the human body where they efficiently destroy the cell walls of viruses and bacteria, including tuberculosis. Furthermore, it was recently shown that adding vitamin D to serum dramatically increased production of these naturally occurring antibiotics. A study in the 1940s with a different strain of swine flu that showed that mice with low levels of vitamin D in their diet were much more susceptible to infection. Vitamin D also has an effect on mortality. In another current study all patients in an ICU with undetectable Vitamin D levels died, while only 16% of those with sufficient Vitamin D levels expired ( some have suggested that mandating Vitamin D supplementation would slash the number of patients requiring ICU care and help make Medicare more solvent). In another study done in a prison during a major flu outbreak no prisoners on a ward where everyone was given 2000 IU Vit D supplementation contracted the flu.

The best way to know how much Vitamin D to take is to have your levels measured by your doctor. Although “normal” is said to be between 20 and 100 ng/ml, healthy is 50ng/ml or above. It has recently been shown that 70 percent of children are deficient in Vitamin D (below 30 ng/ml) with the rates higher in darker skinned children. And of course swine flu is said to be more deadly for the young? Could there be a correlation? And why for heaven’s sake is the government not introducing a massive campaign to increase Vitamin D supplementation for the upcoming flu season? Could it be that there is no money for big pharma in Vitamin D supplementation. But I digress :_) Reasonable levels for supplementation of D3 (not synthetic D2) during the winter are 2000IU for children, 5000IU for adults and 10,000IU for adults over 300 pounds. The risks of Vitamin D toxicity at these levels are minimal. Of course getting sunlight for half an hour a day, without any sunblock, is free.

Colostrum, which is the immune rich pre milk that a mother makes for feeding her newly born infant, has been found in a recent published study to be three times more effective than receiving the flu vaccine in preventing flu!!! Colostrum was actually four times more effective than doing nothing during flu season. Colostrum, of course, has many other benefits and almost no side effects. Colostrum is not milk. It contains none of the major milk proteins or lactose and should not produce a milk allergy when ingested. A good dosage is 1000 to 2000 mg a day.

Sleep is one of your most important defenses against colds and flu. Getting fewer than six hours of sleep each night increases your risk of contracting colds (such as influenza) by a whopping 300 percent. During sleep your body repairs and detoxifies the day’s toxins. Without that downtime your body falls behind in its housekeeping and viruses are able to gain entry.

So the best preparation for this declared pandemic is enhancing your body’s own natural ability to heal and protect itself. That and being vigilant about hygiene should give you a leg up during the upcoming flu season.