The Flu – To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate?
This time of the year, we start to get clients asking if we think they should have a flu shot. Some people definitely should have a flu vaccine, but the majority of people may be better off without them.
The guidelines from the Federal government are that those who should have a flu shot are people over 65, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over 15, pregnant women, and those with medical conditions predisposing to severe influenza, such as heart disease, lung disease, immune disorders such as HIV, etc. Certainly, if catching a cold or the flu could put your life at risk, then you must have one!
But if you are a generally healthy person, without any serious health condition, a flu vaccine may make your health worse instead of better.
- Your immune system is like a muscle- the more that it gets used, the stronger it becomes. Every time you are exposed to a new virus, the immune system has to work out what antibodies to make to get rid of it.
- Over time, your immune system builds up a data-bank of what antibodies to use for different viruses, so it becomes faster and more effective at producing the best antibodies to get rid of a new virus. Research has shown that children who attend Day Care Centres are much less likely to develop asthma than those that don’t, as their immune systems are stronger from being exposed to plenty of viruses and germs. And an Australian flu expert, Professor Robert Booy, stated that “human swine flu was, in the main, being transmitted in Australia by students and young adults and not those older than 50, who appeared to have some natural protection.” So having a strong, experienced immune system is your best defence.
- Flu injections may provide some short-term resistance, but tend to disrupt the immune system, and so make you more likely to get a cold or flu in the future. A review of a number of studies from British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario suggests that people who received a seasonal flu shot were about twice as likely to catch the swine flu, compared to people who didn’t. (Cold and flu tablets or syrups that suppress the symptoms of a cold or flu also disrupt the immune system. And having a great immune system is one of the best things you can do to lessen the risk of developing cancer.)
So please give some thought to whether you need to have a flu shot this year, or if you are better off without it. Consider boosting your immune system instead, by taking plenty of vitamin C and zinc, sunshine, having plenty of rest, and reducing your stress levels. To really give your immunity a boost, powerful treatments and supplements are available at the clinic. And if you do come down with a cold or flu, we have naturopathy products that, if done straight away, can often get rid of it almost immediately.