By Dr. Mercola
Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) is not contagious.
It is an autoimmune disorder that develops when a person's own immune system attacks and damages the myelin sheath of the body's nerves, causing muscle weakness and paralysis.
GBS symptoms can last for a few weeks or months or can become permanent.
In rare cases, people die from GBS, usually because they cannot breathe.
In the U.S., an estimated 3,000 to 6,000 people develop GBS annually.
Some healthy people, who develop GBS, have recently recovered from a viral or bacterial infection within the previous 4-8 weeks but others have recently been vaccinated.
The inactivated influenza vaccine has been associated with development of GBS since 1976, when an inactivated "swine flu" shot given to millions of healthy Americans1 caused GBS in several hundred previously healthy Americans and there were 30 deaths.
The CDC says:2
"In 1976, there was a small increased risk of GBS following vaccination with an influenza vaccine made to protect against a swine flu virus. The increased risk was approximately 1 additional case of GBS per 100,000 people who got the swine flu vaccine. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) conducted a thorough scientific review of this issue in 2003 and concluded that people who received the 1976 swine influenza vaccine had an increased risk for developing GBS.
Scientists have multiple theories on why this increased risk may have occurred, but the exact reason for this association remains unknown."Dr. Mercola Recommends...Every "Like" Helps Support This Cause
Early symptoms of GBS include sudden muscle weakness, fatigue, and tingling sensations in the legs that can take days or weeks to spread to the arms and upper body and can become painful, eventually ending with either partial or total paralysis.
When there is total paralysis, GBS becomes life-threatening because it can impair breathing and interfere with the heart rate and cause high or low blood pressure that can lead to serious complications, such as heart attack and stroke.
It is important to recognize the early symptoms of GBS, whether you have been vaccinated or not, and seek immediate medical care.
Powerful Profile of a Vaccine Victim
While infants and young children are at greatest risk, NO ONE is exempt from the potential serious complications of vaccination, one of which is GBS.
In the video profile of vaccine injury above, Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the non-profit National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), interviews a Connecticut artist and her mother, a former professor of nursing, who developed Guillain-Barre syndrome after getting a seasonal flu shot in 2008 and today is permanently disabled with total body paralysis. This family has chosen to share their heartbreaking story to help those, who have had the same experience, feel less alone, and to educate others about what it means to be vaccine injured. What happened to this family is a potent reminder of just how important it is to make well-informed decisions about vaccinations.
Getting a Flu Shot at Pharmacy Is a Risky Proposition
While many have become used to vaccines being considered "routine," there's really nothing routine about them. Each and every vaccine carries an inherent risk of causing a reaction, injury, or death that can be greater for some individuals than others. The seasonal flu vaccine is no exception when it comes to serious health risks, both short- and long-term, for some people. This is why the trend of getting your flu shot at the local drugstore, grocery store, or other non-medical setting is so troubling.
According to a recent article in NPR:3
"In 2010, 18.4 percent of adults who were immunized received the flu vaccine at a supermarket or drugstore, just edging out workplace vaccinations for the second most popular venue, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
... [W]hile more people are going to the pharmacy, the number of Americans who get the flu vaccine each year has remained fairly constant at about 40 percent of all adults. Drugstores and supermarket pharmacies are eager to stake out a bigger piece of that market. Nationwide, the number of pharmacists trained to deliver vaccines has nearly quadrupled since 2007, from 40,000 to 150,000."
While pharmacists are trained to administer the vaccine, they're not necessarily trained to address a sudden and life-threatening health emergency that may arise after the shot is given. It's important to understand that ALL vaccines carry a risk for provoking an acute adverse reaction, such as fainting or having a seizure, which could be truly life threatening if you're driving a car or crossing a street after you have left the store, for example.
All Vaccines Suppress Your Immune System
Vaccines can also be immune suppressive—that is, they can suppress your immune system, which may not return to normal for weeks to months. Here are just some of the ways vaccines can impair and alter your immune response:
- Some components in vaccines are neurotoxic and may depress your immune response or cause brain and immune dysfunction, particularly heavy metals such as mercury preservatives and aluminum adjuvants
- The lab-altered vaccine viruses themselves may also affect your immune response in a negative way
- Vaccines may alter your t-cell function and lead you to become chronically ill
- Vaccines can trigger allergies or autoimmune disorders. Vaccines introduce large foreign protein molecules into your body. Your body can respond to these foreign particles in a way that causes an allergic reaction or triggers autoimmunity, especially in persons genetically or biologically vulnerable to allergy and autoimmunity
The flu vaccine may also pose an immediate risk to your cardiovascular system due to the fact that they elicit an inflammatory response. One 2007 study published in the Annals of Medicine4 concluded that:
"Abnormalities in arterial function and LDL oxidation may persist for at least two weeks after a slight inflammatory reaction induced by influenza vaccination. These could explain in part the earlier reported increase in cardiovascular risk during the first weeks after an acute inflammatory disorder."
Mercury Is a Well-Known Neurotoxin
Thimerosal, which is 49 percent mercury by volume, is a widely used vaccine preservative.
It is present in many different vaccines used in the U.S., including the majority of seasonal flu vaccines, although there are a few million doses of thimerosal-free single dose vials of influenza vaccine manufactured by drug companies that are supposed to be reserved for infants and pregnant women.
However, if you are pregnant or have an infant and want to get a flu shot, be aware that you may have to specifically insist on getting the thimerosal-free single vial version, as many health practitioners and pharmacists are still clueless about the health risks associated with thimerosal.
Some don't even know that thimerosal is a mercury derivative!
A typical dose of thimerosal-containing flu vaccine contains 25 micrograms thimerosal. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the safe limit for human exposure to mercury is 0.1 mcg per kilo of weight per day.
Since almost half of the thimerosal is mercury, this means that each flu shot contains just over 12 mcg's of mercury, which would be considered unsafe for anyone weighing less than 120 kilos, or just under 265 pounds.
There's really no debate about whether or not mercury is a neurotoxin5. It's a well-established fact that it is. It's also well understood that mercury is particularly damaging to young, developing brains, and this is one of the core concerns about vaccines. If it's unsafe to breathe or ingest mercury6, why would it suddenly become harmless when injected directly into your body, bypassing all of your body's natural detoxification pathways?
If anything, the damage is likely to be far more profound! The following video offers a powerful illustration of how mercury literally destroys brain neurons.
How to Protect Yourself Against the Flu Without Vaccination
Fortunately, avoiding a serious case of the flu doesn't require a flu vaccine. By following these simple guidelines, you can keep your immune system in optimal working order so that you're far less likely to acquire the infection to begin with or, if you do get sick with the flu, you are better prepared to move through it without complications and soon return to good health.
- Optimize your vitamin D levels. As I've previously reported, optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best strategies for avoiding infections of ALL kinds, and vitamin D deficiency is likely the TRUE culprit behind the seasonality of the flu -- not the flu virus itself. This is probably the single most important and least expensive action you can take. Regularly monitor your vitamin D levels to confirm your levels are within the therapeutic range of 50-70 ng/ml.
Ideally, you'll want to get all your vitamin D from sun exposure or a safe tanning bed, but as a last resort, you can take an oral vitamin D3 supplement. According to the latest review by Carole Baggerly (Grassrootshealth.org), adults need about 8,000 IU's a day.
- Avoid Sugar and Processed Foods. Sugar impairs the function of your immune system almost immediately, and as you likely know, a healthy immune system is one of the most important keys to fighting off viruses and other illness. Be aware that sugar is present in foods you may not suspect, like ketchup and fruit juice.
- Get Enough Rest. Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you're tired, if your body is overly fatigued, it will be harder for it to fight the flu. Be sure to check out my article Guide to a Good Night's Sleep for some great tips to help you get quality rest.
- Have Effective Tools to Address Stress . We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. If you feel that stress is taking a toll on your health, consider using an energy psychology tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique, which is remarkably effective in relieving stress associated with all kinds of events, from work to family to trauma.
- Exercise. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads.
- Take a Good Source of Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats. Increase your intake of healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in krill oil, which is crucial for maintaining health. It is also vitally important to avoid damaged omega-6 oils that are trans fats and in processed foods as it will seriously damage your immune response.
- Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don't use antibacterial soap for this -- antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm than good. Instead, identify a simple toxin-free soap that you can switch your family to.
- Use Natural Antibiotics. Examples include colloidal silver, oil of oregano, and garlic. These work like broad-spectrum antibiotics against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your body. And unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, they do not appear to lead to resistance.
- Avoid Hospitals. I'd recommend you stay away from hospitals unless you're having an emergency and need expert medical care, as hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds. The best place to get plenty of rest and recover from illness that is not life-threatening is usually in the comfort of your own home.
What You Can Do to Make a Difference
While it seems "old-fashioned," the only truly effective actions you can take to protect the right to informed consent to vaccination and expand vaccine exemptions, is to get personally involved with your state legislators and the leaders in your community.
THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY.
Mass vaccination policies are made at the federal level but vaccine laws are made at the state level, and it is at the state level where your action to protect your vaccine choice rights can have the greatest impact.
Signing up for NVIC's free Advocacy Portal at www.NVICAdvocacy.org not only gives you access to practical, useful information to help you become an effective vaccine choice advocate in your own community, but when national vaccine issues come up, you will have the up-to-date information and call to action items you need at your fingertips to make sure your voice is heard.
So please, as your first step, sign up for the NVIC Advocacy Portal.
Contact Your Elected Officials
Write or email your elected state representatives and share your concerns. Call them, or better yet, make an appointment to visit them in person in their office. Don't let them forget you!
It is so important for you to reach out and make sure your concerns get on the radar screen of the leaders and opinion makers in your community, especially the politicians you elect and are directly involved in making vaccine laws in your state. These are your elected representatives, so you have a right and a responsibility to let them know what's really happening in your life and the lives of people you know when it comes to vaccine mandates. Be sure to share the "real life" experiences that you or people you know have had with vaccination.
Share Your Story with the Media and People You Know
If you or a family member has suffered a serious vaccine reaction, injury or death, please talk about it. If we don't share information and experiences with one another, everybody feels alone and afraid to speak up. Write a letter to the editor if you have a different perspective on a vaccine story that appears in your local newspaper. Make a call in to a radio talk show that is only presenting one side of the vaccine story.
I must be frank with you; you have to be brave because you might be strongly criticized for daring to talk about the "other side" of the vaccine story. Be prepared for it and have the courage to not back down. Only by sharing our perspective and what we know to be true about vaccination will the public conversation about vaccination open up so people are not afraid to talk about it.
We cannot allow the drug companies and medical trade associations funded by drug companies to dominate the conversation about vaccination. The vaccine injured cannot be swept under the carpet and treated like nothing more than "statistically acceptable collateral damage" of national one-size-fits-all mass vaccination policies that put way too many people at risk for injury and death. We shouldn't be treating people like guinea pigs instead of human beings.
Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More
I encourage you to visit the following web pages on the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) website at www.NVIC.org:
- NVIC Memorial for Vaccine Victims: View descriptions and photos of children and adults, who have suffered vaccine reactions, injuries and deaths. If you or your child experiences an adverse vaccine event, please consider posting and sharing your story here.
- If You Vaccinate, Ask 8 Questions: Learn how to recognize vaccine reaction symptoms and prevent vaccine injuries.
- Vaccine Freedom Wall: View or post descriptions of harassment by doctors or government officials for making independent vaccine choices.
Connect with Your Doctor or Find a New One That Will Listen and Care
If your pediatrician or doctor refuses to provide medical care to you or your child unless you agree to get vaccines you don't want, I strongly encourage you to have the courage to find another doctor. Harassment, intimidation, and refusal of medical care is becoming the modus operandi of the medical establishment in an effort to stop the change in attitude of many parents about vaccinations after they become truly educated about health and vaccination.
However, there is hope.
At least 15 percent of young doctors recently polled admit that they're starting to adopt a more individualized approach to vaccinations in direct response to the vaccine safety concerns of parents. It is good news that there is a growing number of smart young doctors, who prefer to work as partners with parents in making personalized vaccine decisions for children, including delaying vaccinations or giving children fewer vaccines on the same day or continuing to provide medical care for those families, who decline use of one or more vaccines.
So take the time to locate a doctor, who treats you with compassion and respect and is willing to work with you to do what is right for your child.