Tag: homeopathy

Alternatives to Getting Vaccinated

Are there any alternatives to getting vaccinated?

Sure. You can read about them all day long from holistic “experts” and on anti-vaccine websites.

Are there any good alternatives to getting vaccinated?

No. At least not if you want to be truly protected from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Alternatives to Getting Vaccinated

Kids who are born with immune disorders don't have to live in isolation bubbles any more, but they still need protection.
Kids who are born with immune disorders don’t have to live in isolation bubbles any more, but they still need protection. Photo by Baylor College of Medicine

Unfortunately, some folks don’t have other options and they need to look at an alternative for protection from vaccine-preventable diseases that doesn’t include vaccines.

These are the folks with contraindications or true medical exemptions for vaccines.

What do they do?

It depends on the specific circumstances, but in most cases, except for live vaccines or any other specific vaccine that is contraindicated, they usually get vaccinated.

Extremely few people can’t get at least some, if not most, of their vaccines, even if they do have contraindications to some others. And many exemptions are temporary.

“Parents need to balance the need of the immunoreconstituted child (post-transplant SCID) to be protected from exposure to infection from live vaccines and close contact–transmitted vaccine-derived infection with the need of the child to integrate into society and develop social and learning skills in group environments.”

Medical Advisory Committee of the Immune Deficiency Foundation

They also try to avoid people who are sick and  try to make sure that everyone around them is vaccinated to help maintain herd immunity levels of protection.

Neither is always possible though.

Post-Exposure Prophylaxis

Post-exposure prophylaxis is another option that is available to help prevent some vaccine-preventable diseases. For example, if your unvaccinated child is exposed to measles, they can often receive immune globulin to help them avoid getting measles.

Regimens for post-exposure prophylaxis are also available for:

  • chicken pox – varicella zoster immune globulin or immune globulin
  • diphtheria – antibiotics
  • hepatitis A – immune globulin
  • hepatitis B – hepatitis B immune globulin
  • influenza – oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir
  • meningococcal disease – antibiotics
  • pertussis – antibiotics
  • rabies – rabies immune globulin
  • tetanus – tetanus immune globulin

When possible, immunization typically accompanies these post-exposure prophylaxis regimens.

There is one big problem with these types of post-exposure prophylaxis regimens though. You are not always going to know when your child is exposed to someone else with a vaccine-preventable disease. While some exposures might be obvious, like if your child steps on a rusty nail or is bitten by an unvaccinated dog who has rabies, you might miss some others.

Bogus Alternatives to Getting Vaccinated

What other alternatives to getting vaccinated are out there?

Unfortunately, there are none that work.

Many bogus alternatives to getting vaccinated are pushed by those opposed to vaccines as ways to boost your immunity, and they can include:

  • breastfeeding – while breastfeeding is great and always encouraged, the passive immunity it provides will not protect your baby from most vaccine-preventable diseases, as it contains IgA antibodies, not the IgG antibodies you would need to prevent diseases like measles, tetanus, chicken pox, and Hib, etc.
  • homeopathic vaccines – nosodes are homeopathic vaccines that have been diluted so much that they are supposed to retain a memory of the original substance. Even if they did – that’s not how immunology works.
  • herbs – neither echinacea, goldenseal root, nor elderberry syrup is going to boost your child’s immunity
  • vitamins – unless your child is severely vitamin deficient, taking vitamins isn’t going to boost their immunity, whether they are taking extra vitamin C or extra vitamin D
  • foods – Japanese mushrooms, kale, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, avocados, ginger, black currants, graviola, green veggies, onion seeds, and berries might all be great to eat, but they aren’t going to boost your immunity
  • probiotics – they may help prevent antibiotic associated diarrhea, but there is not much evidence that taking them regularly does anything else
  • essential oils – they sometimes smell nice, but they aren’t going to boost your child’s immune system
  • chiropractic adjustments – not going to work
  • sun exposure – in addition to the worries about skin cancer, not only does extra sun exposure not boost your immune system, the WHO reports that “Several studies have demonstrated that exposure to environmental levels of UV radiation alters the activity and distribution of some of the cells responsible for triggering immune responses in humans. Consequently, sun exposure may enhance the risk of infection with viral, bacterial, parasitic or fungal infections, which has been demonstrated in a variety of animal models.”
  • fermented cod liver oil – this is not going to boost your child’s immune system, but folks should also know that there have been reports that the products that people have been buying and using for years were rancid and actually making them sick! There are much better ways to get vitamin D and vitamin A in your diet than taking fermented cod liver oil each day.

What about natural immunity?

While natural immunity can in some ways be more effective than vaccine induced immunity, it often comes at a price. You have to recover from the disease, hopefully without any long term consequences, to develop natural immunity.

What to Know About Alternatives to Getting Vaccinated

People who truly can’t be vaccinated rely on herd immunity, because in most cases, there are no effective alternatives for vaccines.

More On Alternatives to Getting Vaccinated

Homeopathic Vaccines Don’t Work or Why You Shouldn’t Take Immunization Advice from a Homeopath

Get your gourmet coffee on aisle 4 and homeopathic 'medicines' on aisle 3 at your favorite grocery stores or pharmacies.
After you get your gourmet coffee, hop over one aisle and get a homeopathic remedy for sleeplessness (Coffea cruda 3X to 30X – 3C to 30C HPUS) at your favorite grocery store or pharmacy.

Most parents who follow a non-standard, parent-selected, delayed protection vaccine schedule do at least give their kids real vaccines.

Does that mean that some don’t?

Yes, homeopathic vaccines are a thing.

Homeopathy 101 for Parents

Many parents get their first introduction to homeopathy when they go to the pharmacy to buy over-the-counter medicines when their baby is teething or has their first cold.

However, since there aren’t any real symptomatic medicines for infants and younger children to treat coughs and colds or even teething, that leaves parents to buy stuff like Hyland’s Baby Teething Tablets, Boiron Cold Calm, or Similasan Kids Cough & Fever Relief.

Most don’t really understand that they are buying homeopathic products – pharmacies, and the pharmacy section of grocery stores, typically sell homeopathic products right alongside real medicine.

“They are nothing but placebos, magic potions based on prescientific notions and with “active ingredients” that are often diluted beyond the point where any original substance is likely to remain. Homeopathic products are therefore literally nothing. Further, clinical trials have consistently shown that they do not, in fact, work.”

Steven Novella

Hopefully, this first introduction will end up being the last time they try homeopathy.

Using principles of shaking and “like cures like” and “the law of the minimum dose,” homeopathy doesn’t work and is not even regulated by the FDA.

Ironically, Samuel Hahnemann, the doctor who made up homeopathy, used Jenner’s smallpox vaccine as an example of his “like cures like” principle. And Hahnemann seemed to support Jenner’s vaccine!

Homeopathic Vaccines Don’t Work

What about homeopathic vaccines, or so called nosodes?

Some parents wanting to skip or delay their child’s vaccines are going so far as to not just look for an alternative immunization schedule, but a complete alternative to standard vaccines.

Should they try homeopathic vaccines?

“Nosodes are essentially diseased tissue or pus diluted out of existence and then the resulting water given to prevent the disease from which the tissue originates. It’s witchcraft.”

Steven Novella

Homeopathic vaccines don’t work.

Of course, when you look at the science, it is biologically implausible that they would. How would ultra-dilutions of the saliva from a rabid skunk (like cures like) prevent or cure rabies?

And of course, it has never been shown that nosodes work.

One can certainly see the appeal of a homeopathic vaccine schedule though.

No shots.

And no side effects, since your baby is basically drinking water (or sometimes alcohol) or eating a sugar pill (can they cause cavities?).

Unfortunately, there is also no protection from any vaccine-preventable diseases either.

That’s why you shouldn’t take immunization advice from a homeopath. They are not immunization experts…

What To Know About Homeopathic Vaccines

Homeopathic vaccines or nosodes do not work and will not provide any protection for your children against any vaccine preventable diseases.

More on Nosodes and Homeopathic Vaccines

Homeopathic Vaccines

Homeopathic vaccines will not prevent any vaccine-preventable disease and are not a substitute or alternative for FDA approved vaccines on the CDC immunization schedule.

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