Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Avoiding Swine Flu

I won’t be taking the swine-flu vaccine because I have better things to do than worry about the potential side effects of something that has not been thoroughly researched and tested. Even though I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist, common sense tells me that all sorts of things can go wrong with something like this: we don’t know the long-term effects, or even the short-term ones for that matter, so there could be dangerous, if not lethal, consequences to taking the injection.

There are, fortunately, alternatives to taking a shot that I don’t trust or like. The main idea is to reduce the risk of even catching the flu in the first place, which beats going through the misery of having that crap. We can all do a few things to stay as safe as possible without having to go get a swine-flu shot.

My family and I are improving our already-decent hygiene because many people pick up all sorts of germs by contact with infected surfaces and people. Mom has been stockpiling hand sanitizer as well as liquid hand soap. She has travel-sized bottles of Germ-X and Purell for our vehicles or backpacks, and larger bottles for the house. We also have the liquid soap in the bathroom as well as by the kitchen sink.

While I was doing some reading in preparation for writing this article, I came across the CleanWell company. These folks make natural hand sanitizers, which could be a good bet. I personally have never even heard of CleanWell before, much less used any of their products, so I’m asking you, readers, if you have any experience. Would this be worth checking out? I don’t have any problem using Germ-X and Purell, but it’s nice to learn something new every now and then.

Common Surfaces
We’re also more conscious of common surfaces, and what could lurk on them. When we go to the grocery store, we take the hand sanitizer with us and use it once or twice while we’re there. We touch as few things as possible, too: if we want to look at a product, we do so without touching it if we can. Who knows how many people have touched that can of beans before, and how sick they might have been when they did it?

Speaking of common surfaces: We keep the bathroom, kitchen, car interiors, etc. clean with Lysol. This is a bit pricier than a bleach-and-water solution in a one-buck spray bottle, I know, but we’re lazy. We also have the bleach and water for surfaces that it doesn’t hurt, like the stainless-steel kitchen sink. (I’ve never given this a try, but I’m fairly confident that using bleach and water inside my car would be, you know, bad for the upholstery.) Mom mixes up one tablespoon of standard-strength, household bleach per one quart of water. Inexpensive spray bottles from the dollar store, properly labeled, make it easier to spray the solution on the possibly-infected surface.

Then there’s the ol’ hermit routine: staying at home as much as possible in an attempt to avoid exposure. I do this anyway, because I don’t like being out and about in society very much. I’d really rather just stay here at The Homestead and enjoy the peace and quiet – but even so, I do have to go to school, the grocery store, church, et cetera. That’s when practicing good hygiene habits, and paying attention to common surfaces, really matters in my opinion.

However, some folks really enjoy getting out of the house, and do it a lot more often than I do. My brothers are a few of these people. When they go out, they keep their hands as clean as possible, especially when they visit places that are overloaded with germs. Movie theaters aren’t the cleanest places in the world, and you’re stuck in there with a bunch of possibly-sick strangers for two or more hours at a time. Common surfaces in fast-food restaurants might look clean, but can be infected with all sorts of germs. Shopping malls aren’t so great, either.

My family and I are also taking vitamin D3 in an effort to boost our immune systems. This is, I believe, better than taking an unproven vaccination, especially when you do some reading about vitamin D3 and the pharmaceutical industry to gain a better understanding of the situation. Frankly, I trust a vitamin a lot more than I trust the pharmaceutical industry, especially when it’s rather clear that our bodies really do benefit from the vitamins.

Ultimately, our faith in God’s protection as well as His insistence on giving us common sense, and expecting us to use it, beat taking an unproven, untested swine-flu shot. I can’t guarantee you that I’ll be flu free forever, but I couldn’t guarantee that even if I took my shots every year.

Useful Links:

Dr. Miller’s “Avoid Flu Shots, Take Vitamin D Instead” – well worth reading. He mentions that seventy percent of doctors do not take flu shots. Interesting... - the hand-sanitizer company I mentioned in this entry.

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“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
-George OrwellAnimal Farm