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Sunday, January 5, 2014

Read This Before You Get a Flu Shot

Cold and flu season is upon us and everyone older than 6 months is being encouraged to get a flu shot even though flu shots are not effective in kids under the age of two and last year the flu shot was only 56% effective overall, only 27% effective in adults 65 years and older, and only 9% effective against the worst flu virus (type A H3N2) in seniors.

Even the CDC admits that:

  • "It’s possible that no benefit from flu vaccination may be observed"
  • "Even during years when the vaccine match is very good, the benefits of vaccination will vary"
  • "Flu vaccines do NOT protect against infection and illness caused by other viruses that can also cause flu-like symptoms. There are many other viruses besides flu viruses that can result in flu-like illness that spread during the flu season."

And according to a review of 50 flu shot studies done by the Cochrane Collaboration, an independent and not-for-profit research organization internationally recognized for its evidence-based standards, 100 flu shots would have to be given to avoid a single case of the flu.

Cochrane researchers found "no evidence" that flu shots reduce the transmission of flu viruses from person to person or prevent complications like pneumonia. What they did find was "evidence of widespread manipulation of conclusions."

Before you consider getting a flu shot, weigh the risks and benefits. We know that the benefits are questionable. Here are some of the risks:
  • Flu shots have a long list of side effects and a higher risk of serious side effects compared to other vaccines including severe allergic and autoimmune reactions
  • Ingredients vary by brand but flu shots may contain mercury, antibiotics, MSG, formaldehyde, and animal tissues including egg proteins and pig gelatin
  • People who get the live-virus nasal vaccine are contagious with live flu viruses for 3 weeks afterward
  • Widespread vaccination against influenza causes other flu strains to become more common

The flu is treatable with antiviral medications (approved for ages one year old and up) when started within 48 hours, but even without treatment, most healthy infants, children, and young to middle-aged adults fully recover from the flu without any problems.

Those who have the biggest risk for developing complications are individuals with chronic lung disease, heart problems, or immune system deficiencies. These people should get individualized recommendations about the flu shot from their doctors.

Whether you get the flu shot or not, take precautions to keep yourself healthy. The best strategies for preventing the flu include:
  • Eating a healthy diet that includes lots of vegetables and very few sweets, starches, and processed foods (or none at all)
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Taking vitamin D if you are deficient
  • Exercising regularly
  • Managing stress effectively
  • Addressing underlying health problems
  • Avoiding hospitals whenever possible
Also considering taking supplements like probiotics and multivitamins that ensure your body is getting all of the nutrients it needs to maintain a strong immune system. Ask your naturopathic doctor for individualized recommendations.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I guess I won't get the flu shot next year !