So Many Questions. So Few Answers.

Vaccinations. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Will I get sick? Will it do any good? Will it last? Oh, so many questions with not so many answers. Frankly, my only question is should I get it in my left arm or my right?


Yes, I do get vaccinations. I started getting my annual influenza vaccination when I was working with special needs students years ago to cut down on exposure for the kids. As I’ve never had an issue with getting the shot or a case of influenza since then, I continue getting that annually. I haven’t gotten a shingles shot or pneumonia vaccine yet as those ailments aren’t contagious to others and I feel pretty good with my herbal protocol for both. We do know that COVID-19 is quite contagious which is the primary reason I will get the vaccination - to hopefully protect both you and me. (I know there is much heated debate on this issue. Please don’t judge me if you disagree. I won’t judge you either).


Amidst all the debate about COVID-19 in general and now whether or not to get the vaccine, I thought I would share information that I’ve accumulated through the past few years about vaccinations in general.


Sleep

Be sure to get plenty of sleep for the week before getting a vaccine. According to Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep, the effectiveness of the vaccine is greatly increased if the recipient gets “good sleep” for the week preceding the shot. I don’t recall the exact research numbers, but it was impressive! (By the way, this was one of my favorite books in the past year - I highly recommend it).


Vitamin C

I do not remember where I heard this one, but supposedly taking vitamin C at the same time as a vaccination will help one’s cells to easily give up an electron to neutralize toxins that are in the vaccine. Vitamin C may also help your body make more T cells in response, making the vaccination more effective.


Do not take OTC pain relievers (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc)

I just read this week that pain relievers may reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine. I’ll let you read about it here. Very interesting!


Herbal ideas:

Obviously, we want to let any vaccination do its thing and not interfere with the intended process. But there can be uncomfortable side effects. Are there herbal options?


It is suggested to stay away from herbs that affect surface and deep immunity, such as echinacea, spilanthes, usnea, baptisia, and other herbs that exhibit a strong physical effect on the immune system. There is disagreement if this would include elderberry, so I will be avoiding that for a bit, too. Remember, we don’t want to mitigate the effect the vaccine is supposed to have in providing information to our immune systems about fighting the virus.


However, here are some ideas of herbs that may help address symptoms without going deep into the immune system.

Headache

Try skullcap, prickly lettuce, red osier dogwood, lavender, chamomile, wood betony, rosemary…


Fever

It is best to let the fever run its course as it is part of the immune response. If intervention is needed, hot tea is considered the best way for using herbs for fevers. Try some hot catnip, lemon balm, ginger and/or linden tea with a bit of licorice root added in. If you only have them as tinctures, add some drops of tincture to hot water and sip slowly. You might want to add in some lemon and honey, too.


Pain in injection site

I find that moving my arm vigorously right after getting a shot and for several minutes off and on all day helps me to avoid severe pain.

Homeopathic arnica internally or some form of topical arnica is a good option.

Many of you know prickly ash bark is my go-to for pain, but it contains salicylic acid, so I would avoid that in this situation. (Salicylic acid is the active ingredient in aspirin).


Nausea

Try ginger, fennel, and/or peppermint tea. You could do a foot soak with a strong tea if you are having issues with keeping fluids down.


Overall body ache

Calming herbs - there are many to consider such as prickly lettuce, chamomile, catnip, lavender, tulsi, lemon balm

Any favorite tea to make you feel special

Hot chicken broth

A good movie

Sleep