Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Think twice before getting the Flu Shot

English: This is CDC Clinic Chief Nurse Lee An...Image via Wikipedia
After working a number of years at nursing homes and hospitals, it is not unusual to see doctors routinely writing orders for patient flu vaccines come fall and winter. It seems that this is the cure-all to prevent elders and those with chronic illness from suffering complications from the flu.  But is it really necessary? What are the risks involved? And, does the flu shot really work?

This post will review some information regarding the flu shot.

What researchers are finding

Even though the CDC recommends the vaccine to prevent the flu, citing stats that 70% to 90% are provided protection against the flu, recent studies and review by The Lancet suggest otherwise.  Epidemiologists are questioning those stats. For example, Tom Jefferson, researcher at the Cochrane Collaboration with headquarters in Britain has pointed out the results of several studies that confirm that there is insufficient evidence to indicate that flu vaccines reduce infection rates or mortality, even in the elderly.

The bottom line appears to be that there is a large question mark as to what degree the flu vaccines provides protection against the flu for the recipients of the vaccine.  It certainly isn't 70% to 90% as previously claimed. This is not to completely suggest that there is no protection, but there is reason to reconsider the facts, particularly as many take the flu vaccine with a false sense of security, which  can cause the patient to take unneccessary chances with her health.

In consideration of these facts, what can a patient do to protect herself from the flu?

How to protect yourself from the flu

The real key to protection against the flu and cold is to boost the immune system through health lifestyle habits, meaning eating health foods, reducing stress, exercise regularly, sleep in sufficient quantities, and getting moderate amounts of sunlight in order to receive the benefits of vitamin D protection.

Such foods include locally grown fruits and vegetables.  Avoid sugars and transfats- which are common in fast food restaurants, donuts, pastries, cookies, etc.  Cut down on meats Opt for wild caught fish-not the farm raised.  Such wild fish will bestow wonderful protection with the healthy fish oils: omega 3s 6s and 9s, which, in proper proportions, provide protection against cardiovascular disease and depression, along with protection against a host of other diseases.

What about supplements?
Speak with your health care practitioner about any additions or changes to your medication and supplement regimen.  But you might want to consider taking:

Vitamin C which is a potent antioxidant. It can also shorten the duration of colds and related illnesses.
Propolis - which is a broad spectrum antimicrobial
Goldensesal tea - which has been used for generations by naturalists to strengthen the immune system.
Vitamin A - another antioxidant that provides protection to the mucus membranes.
    Sources:

    "Flu vaccine efficacy: Time to revise public messages?"

    Do Flu Vaccines Really Work? A Skeptic's View



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