By Dr. Mercola
I think it’s worth reminding you that, typically, influenza is not a deadly disease. Dying as a result of the flu virus is extremely rare. Typically, the condition will improve after two to three days of bed rest, although some symptoms may persist for about a week.
The vast majority of so-called “flu deaths” are in fact due to bacterial pneumonia – a potential complication of the flu if your immune system is too weak. Other complications can include ear- or sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic health conditions.
The elderly and people with other pre existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, are at higher risk of developing pneumonia after a bout of the flu.
However, and this is important, the conventional treatment for bacterial pneumonia is an antibiotic, so taking a flu vaccine to prevent death from pneumonia doesn’t really make sense. And as you just read, study after study bears out the validity of this common-sense assertion.
If health officials were really interested in adhering to evidence-based medicine, then they would start taking vitamin D very seriously, because based on the current research, it appears the flu may be little more than a symptom of vitamin D deficiency.
Considering how widespread vitamin D deficiency is, it’s no wonder the flu is such a constant.
During flu seasons, vitamin D levels in your blood are typically at their lowest point due to lack of exposure to sunshine.
How vitamin D deficiency can cause the flu becomes easy to understand once you realize that the vitamin D formed when your skin is exposed to sunlight regulates the expression of more about 3,000 genes throughout your body, including ones that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses.
Hence, being overwhelmed by the “flu bug” could signal that your vitamin D levels are too low, allowing the flu virus to overtake your immune system. I’ve previously listed several studies that show the correlation between low vitamin D levels and increased risk of contracting colds, flu’s and other respiratory infections.
For most people the flu shot will not protect you against coming down with the flu. And it certainly does not protect you against dying from pneumonia should you get ill. Instead, it does just the opposite and weakens your immune system, which could spell serious trouble, especially if your vitamin D levels are also low.
So why not focus on wholly beneficial strategies to prevent the flu rather than taking your chances with potentially dangerous side effects from a vaccine?
Flu prevention is actually quite simple, and I strongly believe it begins with optimizing your vitamin D levels, and maintaining those healthy levels year-round.
If you follow a healthy lifestyle, you will not have to worry about getting the flu. Take it from me — I’ve never received a flu shot, and I haven’t missed a day of work due to illness in over 20 years.
The key steps that I follow to stay flu-free include: