Flu, Vitamin C, and Vaccination

Yesterday the girls and I came home from school sniffling and sneezing, with our throats itchy and hoarse. We must have caught a flu virus somewhere. I quickly rummaged through the medicine cabinet for our Vitamin C tablets.

Of course, there’s no scientific study that shows definite proof of vitamin C’s ability to arrest an infection. After all, Dr. Linus Pauling’s Vitamin C philosophies are still controversial, and the medical profession remains skeptical towards them. But, well, as a mom, Vitamin C (along with water) had become part of my weaponry.

Each time a cold or cough looms in any family member, I double/triple the Vitamin C dose, with dosages spread throughout the day. I learned in Physiology class (more than a decade ago, hehe) that the body absorbs a certain amount of vitamin C at a time; whatever exceeds that amount is excreted through the urine. Because of this, I give our Vitamin C tabs in divided doses.

The percentage of a single dose absorbed decreases with increasing amounts. For example, only 16% of a single dose of 12 grams is absorbed. Maximum vitamin C absorption of large doses is attained by ingestion of several spaced doses throughout the day rather than by a single large dose.” (Source)

You’d be shocked at the mega-doses suggested by other doctors, in hundred-thousand milligrams! I’m not too keen on going that far.

So last night, I popped a 500-mg tablet and my kids took their own chewable Cees (in addition to what we had in the morning). As they always ask me to when they feel sick, I massaged their legs and back with Vicks. I’m not sure whether Vicks is effective at all. But it does make them feel better. And a little bit more of mom-and-‘babies’ bonding time surely goes a long, long way.

I woke up feeling better. Patch felt okay and was able to go to school. VGood, however, was feverish, so she is home now nursing a flu. *sigh* I forgot to mention that Nate is still recovering from an earlier viral infection. I hope he does not catch this new infection going around our home. *sigh, sigh, sigh*


Flu Vaccination

I used to work in the pharmaceutical industry, several years for a vaccine company. So, yes, with all the PK (product knowledge) inculcated in me, I do believe in vaccines. I think vaccines are one of the greatest discoveries in the medical world. Now, if only they could be made more affordable, then not just the class A-B markets will be saved from possibly life-threatening diseases. Vaccines, as sold by the companies, are already expensive. Unlike generic drugs, much research (therefore, funds) goes into the development of vaccines. But I find the profit margins by doctors horrendous, reaching as much as 300% for certain shots! But that’s another topic for another day… let me go back to my topic.

With all the viral infections coming in and out of our home, I’m thinking it’s time for flu vaccination. Actually, we are late. Flu season starts when the rains come, so my kids should have gotten their shots last month.

Recently, CDC released an update on guidelines for flu vaccination. Some of the new things I read are the following:

  1. the importance of administering 2 doses of vaccine to all children aged 6 months-8 years if they have not been vaccinated previously at any time on the basis of accumulating data indicating that 2 doses are required for protection in these children;
  2. children aged 6 months-8 years who received only 1 dose in their first year of vaccination receive 2 doses the following year;
  3. The 2007-2008 trivalent vaccine strains are A/Solomon Islands/3/2006 (H1N1)-like (new for this season), A/Wisconsin/67/2005 (H3N2)-like, and B/Malaysia/2506/2004-like viruses. (Being in the Northern Hemisphere, the Philippines is covered by these strains. Learn more about how flu vaccine strain recommendations are made here.)

The Philippine Pediatric Society, as confirmed by our Pediatrician, follows recommendation #1. (See the complete Childhood Immunization Schedule for 2007 in the Philippines here.) Bakit kaya? Eh hindi naman tayo sakop ng CDC? Hmmm…

Since I buy my vaccines directly from the Medical Representative, I will save about 70% on vaccine cost. But I will still be spending a lot, because Nate And VGood will get two shots (given one month apart), Patch one shot, and I think I will get my dad one too.

So, Miss J (my medrep-friend), order ako ng 6 boxes. 😛 (That is, after we all recover from flu!)

19 thoughts on “Flu, Vitamin C, and Vaccination

  1. Hi Chats!! My kids have been getting their annual flu shot since they were ready for it. Sometimes nga lang nadedelay kasi may mga new strains of flu daw na nadiscover and the vaccine isn’t readily available. As for me, I haven’t gotten around to get my shot yet.

    Regarding vitamin c, ganun din kami. We either double of triple the amount taken when we have the sniffles. As much as 2000 mg. for me. Fern-C is a good brand daw. It’s not acidic. Haven’t tried it though.

    Hope you guys are feeling better now 🙂

    Hi Cookie! Every year in February, WHO releases the new strain recommendation for the Northern hemisphere (kasama Phil.) to be used by vaccine manufacturers for the remaining 1-year period (that is, until Feb the following year). So a good time to get the vaccine is around April or May, or as soon as the new strain is out/reaches the Philippines. Make sure you get the new strains listed above, otherwise sayang lang if you’re given the previous year’s strain.

  2. they dont really recommend vitamins here in germany, i was surprised when i asked them. but since the kids take one tablespoon of honey everyday and they eat a lot of fruits and drink bottles of water/juice daily — the pedia said that would be enough. get well!

    Hi raquel! Yes, of course plenty of fruits and fluids… But when the kids are sick, I feel they need more vitamin C supplements. Let’s just say I somehow believe in Linus Pauling. 😉

  3. Chats, I don’t think its good for you to double or even triple the doses of Vitamin C. This might lead to having kidney stones later unless you follow it up with drinking lots and lots of water.

    I agree with Raqgold. Eating lots of fresh fruits and drinking water and fruit juices will give you the needed amount of Vitamin C.

    I’ve heard about Fern-C. Its too expensive for a Vitamin C. And there’s no such thing as alkaline Vitamin C 🙂

    Hi Dr. Amy! Yes, I always make sure we gulp down lots of water when we’re sick and on higher Vit C doses ( 300 mg for the kids, 2000mg for me – always spread throughout the day). Of course during normal days when we’re not sick, we go back to the normal doses.
    It seems to work well for me and the kids.
    I haven’t tried Fern-C either.

  4. ((hugs)) to your VGood.
    Chats, how much is a shot? 😉

    Thanks Julie for the hugs! VGood is still feverish. I emailed you. 🙂

  5. Ay naku. The I-mom family is not feeling well. Nate okay na? So it’s vgood’s turn? Yup, maybe the vitamin supplements will work … sabi ko sa yo grape fruit juice eh … for you of course as it can taste very foul for children.

    Vicks … lotsa bloggers swear by Vicks. Apply daw sa balls ng feet (balls nga ba? not sure) and then put on socks … guaranteed daw restful sniffle-free night. I just don’t know whether this is a myth spread by the makers of Vicks. 🙂

    Sana soon out na sniffles, lagnat, amoebiasis, etc. in the imom household. Tsupeee.

    Thanks, anna, for the incantation to drive out the germs haha. Grape fruit juice, sige I will try it na nga.
    Yep, I apply Vicks sa feet but all over, not just sa balls.. so dapat sa balls lang? Is that based on reflexology?

  6. Hi Chats. Been here 2x earlier but for some reason my PC would just freeze but no need naman to restart. My fault, I keep opening many windows. Excited to visit many blogs before sleeping. 🙂

    I take 500mg Vit C everyday. I used to get sick kahit konting ambon lang. Ever since I took a larger dose of Vit C, I’m not so prone to colds and coughs anymore.

    Yohan has been receiving regular flu shots but not me and my husband. Maybe we should consider getting one too.

    I’m sorry to hear VGood is not feeling well. Hope she’ll be able to fight the virus and feel well soon. Hope Nate’s recovery will continue for the best. Wishing everyone in the family a vitamin enriched shield against sickness. 🙂

    Happy Friday morning.

    Hi Rach! Thanks for coming back again and again. Is my blog loading now with IE? I think it was caused by some code i did that was not properly closed/tagged/whatever! LOL
    the flu shots are effective, right? VGood is better, but i did not let her go to school anymore because she will be another source of virus there. Nate caught the colds, but I’m hoping it stops there. Thanks Rach, for the thoughtful wishes. you’re always so sweet! 🙂

  7. Aww, hope you guys feel better soon. Sana hindi mahawa si Nate!

    Ang mahirap dito sa bahay, kapag nagkasakit si Annika, my husband usually follows suit… tapos ako na lang ang maiiwan para mag-alaga sa dalawang baby… isang higante, isang toddler 😛

    Thanks xtn! Buti nalang strong ang body resistance mo to take care of two babies LOL

  8. Oh yeah, available ba ang <a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Airborne-Effervescent-Formula-Original-Tablets/dp/B00006G9LZ/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-8654321-6029455?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1188507221&sr=8-1″ rel=”nofollow”>Airborne tablets</a> sa Pinas? I heard they’re really effective!

    I’m not sure. parang hindi pa… but it looks interesting. I will check at Greenhills…

  9. I take 500mg of vit C everyday so I’m less prone to cough/colds. Riel also takes his vit C everyday so he seldom gets sick. I attribute it too to extended breastfeeding. Our office offers flu vaccinations every year at a discounted price and we always avail it. Hope you guys get well soon. =)

    Oo nga, it could be because of breastfeeding, and I congratulate you for that. Galing naman ng company nyo… They realize flu is the leading cause of absenteeism. 🙂

  10. i hope your children are now feeling better 🙂

    ah, so the report in the internet that vaccine causes autism is not at all true. 🙂 thanks for this info 🙂

  11. Hi cess!
    I think the vaccine involved in the autism issue is MMR (measles, mumps, rubella). I have yet to read on the debate so wala ako masyadong ma-say hehe.

  12. Hi Chateau – Ohmigosh! I was so confused when I saw mybloglog with your profile and pic. Why is that? Its because I have the same pic with my youngest. As in! And with it being so small…. it looks so much like our picture! Weird. 🙂

    Hi Apples!
    Talaga? That photo was taken by my eldest, when my youngest was about a few weeks old. I like it as my avatar. hehe. It’s not a wonder why there are lots of mommy-and-child pics like this. Ang sarap silang hug eh. 🙂

    Have a great weekend!

  13. chats, i hope Vgood feels better soon. talagang nagmana saiyo si patchy, magaling kaagad.

    no one in the house takes vitamin C right now but i just recently ordered one huge bottle of vit C in powder form to use this winter.

    Hi belle! VGood is now better, no more fever! Just the colds… whew. I hope your winter health won’t be eventful 😀
    Thanks for dropping by!

  14. Hi Chats,
    I can view your site in IE at times but not all the time. I now open Firefox to view it better.

    Dito, the vaccines are free, part of the health care system. Unfortunately I do not go for the flu shots. I have this mentality that the body can establish its own immune system.

    I believe in the Vit C effects though. A good dose ceratinly helps you get over a nasty cold quicker. and yes plus TLC with vicks too.

  15. I’ve done all the basic vaccines when I moved to the US, but I’m a little hesitant when it comes to the flu vaccine. I read somewhere that all the vaccines are making viruses even more resistant kasi we are getting rid of a virus strain but then there’s other virus strains that survive the vaccine and they’re the ones that go on to multiply. That’s what I read, anyway.

  16. Hi Chats,this reminds me I have to take my flu shots this year. Ay naku, I get all those kind of sickness because of my work. Last year I even got this virus which made me lose 3 or 4 kilos, sayang the kilos returned 2x pa! Asar! Did I tell you I’ve had chicken pox first time ever about 3 years ago.. naku that was really terrible! Syempre nahawa ulit. I almost got hospitalized! Yikes. I wasn’t sickly before but only now that I have gotten old. Btw, that old high school pal, transfered to Holy Fam on her second year. Her mom was traumatized with Sci High 🙂 she thought, her daughter won’t learn anything there!

  17. Like Raquel’s Germany, the GPs here don’t recommend vitamins either (though some are available OTC). Actually even flu vaccines are reserved for “at risk” patients only. Meaning I cannot have one. If I really, really want to have one I’d have to go to a private practise where I’d be charge a higher rate!

  18. Hmm I’m reminded of the vaccines, mukhang may na-miss out ata ako para kay Lex… With symptoms of colds, we take Garlic and vitamin c. Tho of course kay baby, vitamin c lang since walang liquid garlic. Works everytime.

    BTW, pwede ba mag-administer ng vaccine ang hindi practitioner? Kasi my Mama is a medtech, and she used to administer the anti-biotic shots for Lex…

    Hi, Lisa. Thanks for dropping by. I always have the pediatrician administer vaccines to my kids (I bring the vaccines to the clinic). Vaccines vary from each other in ways of administration (IM, subcutaneous, ID). What is recommended of course is for qualified health care providers to administer them. Medtechs are great with shots (hub is one too, hehe). I think correct administration and proper vaccine storage (transport) are keys to ensuring the vaccines will work. 🙂

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