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Is Hollywood encouraging flu shots?

A $60 mil flu shot commercial?

With a cast featuring Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, and Jude Law, it has the potential to become one of the biggest blockbusters of 2011. In fact, it topped the box office its first weekend out.

But is “Contagion,” which opened earlier this month, just one big commercial for getting your flu shot?

Some “experts” sure hope so. Doctors at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey are saying the movie, in which scientists struggle to stop a new strain of the flu killing people around the world, will probably scare people but that it’s “not necessarily a bad thing if it motivates them to get vaccinated.”

In fact, they’re hoping that the movie has people getting in line with their sleeves rolled up.

Of course, the same spokesperson for the university then goes on to say that the flu virus constantly mutates.

What does that mean, exactly? It means that the vaccine can’t possibly be as effective as people riding a wave of fear after seeing “Contagion” would hope.

A given year’s vaccine is always based on flu strains that struck in previous years (you can’t fight what hasn’t yet reared its head, after all). For example, this year’s vaccine contains the H1N1 strain that struck two years ago. Will that do any good? Maybe–and that’s a big maybe. Something that could fight the flu from two years ago might do nothing against this year’s variety. It’s all a big guessing game, really.

Not to mention the fact that there’s evidence that flu vaccines don’t offer adequate protection for seniors. Or that, back when the H1N1 strain was just about the only thing in the news, a group of nurses in Washington fought against a mandatory vaccine program–these experts in health and wellness just weren’t convinced by the flu vaccine marketing machine.

But these facts won’t stop people from thinking they’re doing something to protect themselves and the people around them. After all, star-studded movies can make for strong propaganda.

Protection from the flu doesn’t come from a patent medicine. It comes from a healthy immune system. And there are plenty of ways to get your immune system in flu-fighting shape before the sniffles even hit this season.

Dr. Wright has broken it down several times in the past. His recommendations for preventing and beating the flu include the following:

Vitamin D: Get plenty of sun and take 5,000 IU daily (2,000 to 3,000 IU for kids).

Vitamin C: Adults should take a minimum of 3 grams per day (kids should take less). Animals that make their own vitamin C ramp up production when they get sick–up to 10 times more than their bodies make when they’re well. Dr. Wright recommends taking the “bowel tolerance” level of C when you’re sick–take as much as your body will tolerate without diarrhea.

And that’s just the beginning. For more of his advice, check out the archive at www.wrightnewsletter.com. Try searching “flu” or “immune system.” Of course, you should also consult a doctor skilled in natural medicine to come up with optimal levels of the vitamins and nutrients that will help you beat the flu this season and every season.

Sources:
“Can a Hollywood Feature Film Convince Audiences to Fight the Flu?,” Newswise (www.newswise.com)