Every fall and winter we get asked by patients if they should get a flu shot. With any medical treatment, such as a flu shot vaccine, the risks and benefits always need to be considered, and you should always educate yourself before you stick a needle in your arm or agree to have a needle stuck in your child’s arm. Things aren’t always what you think they are.
So let’s look at the flu shots from an educated point of view:
- The flu shot is made up of 3 dead strains of “old” flu viruses combined with preservatives. The problem is, if this year’s flu strains don’t match the strains in the flu shot, then the flu shot will not be very effective. In fact some years the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention admits that prior year’s flu shot only worked about 40% of the time. That mean’s your chance of the flu shot working is less than the flip of a coin…not very good odds.
- In 2006, the British Medical Journal looked at the research behind flu shots and came up with some interesting conclusions:
a. The evidence shows that flu shots have little or no effect.
b. There is little comparative evidence that the flu shots are safe.
c. The authors noted a “gap” between guidelines that call for mass flu shot vaccination and the evidence to support those guidelines.
- A 2008 study of children ages 6 months to 5 years old found that the flu shot vaccine was not effective in any kids, regardless of age, where they live, or when they got the shot.
A few things you can do to prevent the flu this season.
- Get chiropractic adjustments. Getting chiropractic adjustments boosts your immune system and helps your body function better.
- Make sure your vitamin D3 levels are in optimum range. This typically means consuming 5,000 to 8,000 units of vitamin D3 a day.
- Reduce your sugar intake. Viruses LOVE sugar!
- Eat garlic regularly
- Exercise regularly and get an adequate amount of sleep
“Influenza Virus Vaccine Fluzone 2005-2006 Formula,” package insert, Aventis Pasteur. (Company name has since changed to Sanofi Pasteur MSD.) Update Feb. 14 2006
Associated Press, Feb. 15, 2008.
Brit Med J, Oct. 28, 2006;333:912-915.
Szilagyi PG, et al. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2008;162(10):943-51.