Update, January 30, 2015: Thank you so much for your positive feedback about this post! You people rock. Due to popular demand, I have revised the blog to include more citations so that you know I am not pulling the wool over your eyes. Likewise, at the request of nutrition guru, Sally Fallon Morrell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, I have added in two more effective prevention strategies to help boost immunity, both of which are, of course, back up by science, just like all the others. Be sure to download the revised Strategy flyer!
Hold on a minute, friends.
Let’s not panic.
This whole Disneyland measles outbreak — I’m not afraid of it. You shouldn’t be either. (Unless you eat a lot of junk food. But I’ll get to that in a minute.)
Stick with me, because this is going to be a long post. I want to make sure you have all the facts.
Here’s the story.
According to the California State Department of Health, approximately 51-52 people* have come down with measles from visiting Disneyland, where someone was, unbeknownst to all, highly contagious with the illness. Originally, sources blamed the outbreak on a fully vaccinated individual who had traveled overseas and brought it back, and then went to Disneyland, apparently contaminating the whole park. However, my original source linking the outbreak to a fully vaccinated individual has since been retracted, and officials are now saying that subsequent cases are traced back to "several" individuals who visited the park in December and January. I will publish more details about this as they become available.
*Note: As of 1/29/15, the CDPH's numbers don't match. One table indicates 51 people were exposed at Disneyland, another says 52.
Unfortunately, the well-meaning but oh-so-biased Department of Health and CDC are using the outbreak as an excuse to scare people into getting vaccinated, as well as to criticize those free-thinking and highly educated parents (like me) who have chosen not to vaccinate their children against measles. However, no matter what wild hippie-orgy pictures the media paint, you need to know that the CDC and vaccine producers acknowledge that the vaccine can have serious side effects, including brain swelling, mental retardation and death. That’s why parents have to sign the consent form before vaccination — you are signing away your right to sue the vaccine manufacturers in case of vaccine reaction. (In fact, if you’re getting the vaccine as an adult, and they don’t give you a consent form to sign or tell you the risks of getting the vaccine, they are violating federal law. Just a little FYI.)
Here’s what you need to know: One doesn’t get measles because one has a vaccine deficiency.
History tells us that measles is a disease of undernourishment, particularly deficiencies in vitamins A and C. As scientists isolated these nutrients in the early 1900s, and people became more aware of the effect of nutrition on infectious disease, measles death rates dropped significantly, down more than 98% in the US by the time the measles vaccine was licensed in 1963.
(Side note: For a detailed, eye-widening account on the history of vaccines and infectious disease, you have to read Dissolving Illusions by Suzanne Humphries, MD, and Roman Bystrianyk. It will blow your mind. In a good way. You will never look at vaccines the same again. Do not even think of criticizing parents who do not vaccinate until you have read this book.)
While vaccination can offer some immunity against measles for many, it is certainly not as effective as the “natural” immunity conferred through acquiring the disease and/or for infants breastfed by mothers who have natural immunity. Women who have been vaccinated also confer benefits to their currently breastfed infants, though not as much as those with natural immunity.
This is one of the fallacies currently being spread in the fear campaign, that all infants in California and elsewhere are at risk of contracting measles. This is simply not true. Infants under 6 months of age are generally only at risk if they are not being breastfed by a mother who is immune to measles. Please note that according to the research, it is neither safe nor effective to administer the measles vaccine to a child younger than 15 months, for many reasons, including the fact that a mother’s antibodies can interfere with the vaccine. (Note: MMR manufacturer Merck's position contradicts that of the CDC.)
At the same time, don’t believe when they say that anyone who has been vaccinated against measles is “perfectly safe” from getting the disease. This is also not true. Vaccination is less than 100% effective, even if everyone has been vaccinated. A 1984 “outbreak” of 21 measles cases in Illinois occurred in a “school population with a documented immunization level of 100%.” In fact, in this current outbreak, approximately 20% of the cases have come from people who were fully vaccinated, i.e., they received at least two shots. This goes against the current belief that being fully vaccinated confers immunity in 98%-100% of the population.
That’s why everyone should follow a measles prevention strategy by strengthening their health and immune system, even if you are already vaccinated. Although I was vaccinated as a child, and the antibodies in my blood show that I likely have immunity to measles, I’m still going to follow my measles prevention strategy. Because you never know.
Here’s my measles prevention strategy.
Like all prevention strategies (including vaccination), it won’t prevent illness 100% of the time because everyone is different, but it will definitely help to strengthen and protect one’s immune system. While I prefer a customized approach tailored to each individual, these are my primary go-to's. Most of these strategies are safe for infants and children, but it's important to consult with your holistic healthcare provider to understand recommendations about what and how much to take.
- Zeolite, a mineral that can pull toxins out of cells and stimulate the body’s immune response.
- Whole food sources of vitamins A, C, D, & K such as cod liver oil, butter oil, raw sauerkraut, and Standard Process’ Congaplex and Cataplex A-C (available only through licensed and certified health care providers). Many docs consider measles a disease of vitamin A deficiency because cases are so much more severe when someone is low on vitamin A. This is why cod liver oil was so successful as a measles remedy back in the 20s, 30s, and 40s.
- Homemade bone broth, is high in magnesium and contains moderate amounts of calcium, two minerals which work synergistically with vitamins A, C, D & K to promote a hardy immune system. It also contains marrow, which has long been prized as a superfood among native cultures.
- Dairy products, such as yogurt and unpasteurized (raw) milk provide some of the most nutrient dense sources of calcium, which as I mentioned, is critical for the immune system. Why not pasteurized milk? Because the pasteurization process kills the enzyme, phosphatase, which is what the body needs to absorb the calcium. However, fermented milk, as in yogurt, contains the enzyme and has more calcium than milk. Both raw milk and yogurt are known for containing beneficial probiotics, which help maintain gut flora and thus the immune system. (See below.) NOTE: Do not even think about purchasing unpasteurized (raw) milk unless you KNOW YOUR FARMER. Here in California we are lucky to have multiple dairies licensed to produce raw milk, but in many other states, you have to go through a cow share or circumvent the well-meaning but misinformed system. (And no, I am NOT telling you to break the law. I would never do that.) For more information about how not all raw milk is made equally, click here.
Feed the microbes in your gut, whether through fermented foods such as plain yogurt and raw sauerkraut or through probiotic supplementation. A recent study showed that probiotics helped to prevent influenza infection in school-aged children, especially those who had not been vaccinated against the flu. Other studies indicate that probiotics can reduce the duration of upper respiratory infection. (And where does the measles virus infiltrate the body? Through the respiratory system!) The health of the beneficial microbes living in our gut is the new frontier in medicine. Our immune systems cannot work efficiently unless our gut microbes are healthy, too. Studies indicate that gut health also affects how much immunity a person can get from a vaccine. Stress, antibiotics, and many other medications have a negative effect on gut flora. And who among us isn't stressed?
- Garlic, one of nature’s most potent anti-viral plants.
- Medi-herb’s Echinacea Premium, made from the root of nature’s most potent anti-viral sisters, Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea (and also available only through licensed and certified health care providers). Among other functions, Echinacea Purpurea root has been shown to stimulate natural killer cell production in the bone marrow. Echinacea is not recommended for pregnant women or children under 2 years of age.
- Organic mushrooms, such as turkey tail, which contain beta-glucans to stimulate the immune system as well as whole-food vitamin D; my favorite source is Supergreens +D, which also contains probiotics and digestive enzymes (since 80% of our immune system is in our gut). Again, be a discerning consumer, since not all mushroom products are created equally.
- Cut down on or cut out sugar. We’ve all heard enough by now to know that sugar, in its multiple forms, hurts our bodies. If you eat a high-carbohydrate, high sugar diet of bread, pizza, pasta, soda, and sweets, you are going to make yourself more susceptible to illness, because digesting sugar distracts our body from its work staying healthy. It taxes our immune system. You cannot feed your kids sweetened cereals, sodas, candies, and other junk foods and then expect them to stay healthy, with or without a vaccine. It’s just not possible for the body to keep up.
- Don't pick your nose. Picking your nose is a great way to introduce into your body viruses transmitted by the respiratory system, such as measles. If you absolutely must get that booger out, use a tissue.
If you'd like a pdf document of our Measles Prevention Strategy, please click the button below, and we will email it to you.
If any of my children do come down with measles, it will be a huge hassle and inconvenience, no doubt. My ex and I will have to tag-team time off from work for a couple of weeks. But I’m not afraid that my children are going to die or go blind or become permanently incapacitated.
First, I will nurse them with my measles prevention strategy as well as huge doses of TLC. I will NOT use over-the-counter meds like ibuprofen and acetaminophen to reduce fever, which can make a person more contagious and sicker for a longer period of time. Fever is good! Same with antibiotics, which should never be used in cases of viruses such as influenza or measles because they wreak havoc on immunity wielding gut flora, can cause side effects like diarrhea, and won’t work to kill the virus. (Even the CDC is in agreement with me on this one.) I will give them a homeopathic remedy such as Aconitum, which has been used successfully by homeopaths for almost 200 years. And I will limit media stimuli so that they can sleep as much as possible.
I will not run them to the doctor's to get vaccinated. Oh my, no. Never vaccinate when your child is already ill.
Finally, I will be patient. Measles takes time to heal, but it also brings one’s immune system to a whole new level. If my daughters do get it, they will be able to confer that immunity on to their own babies through breastmilk when the time comes. While my son won’t be able to say the same, he’ll be able to help his own children effectively, should they ever get measles, chicken pox, or mumps.
And if I come down with measles? Ugh, that would be a HUGE inconvenience, I would likely lose money from time off work, and I might feel miserable, but I wouldn't be afraid for my own health and well-being. I’d just need my friends and family to support me through it by driving the kids to school, bringing me bone broth, and heaping on huge doses of TLC.
Now, if only I could use these same strategies when dealing with the black widows in my garage.
Update, February 4, 2015: Due to the fact that the media and government have created an all-out fear frenzy over the measles, and because of the overt nastiness being directed at anyone who expresses a reasonable argument in favor of vaccine choice, I have disabled the comments for this blog.
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