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Should You Get A Flu Shot?

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 12:14 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family, In The Workplace
Tags: Influenza, Flu Shot, FDA and Prescription Drugs

Should you get the flu shot? Here is some information to make your decision.



IMAGE SOURCE: ©iStockphoto/ handwashing/ author: melhi 

Join The Conversation

*Are you getting a flu shot and why/ why not?


Some Food For Thought 

It's a good question and most people feel strongly one way or the other as seen following this Washington Post Blog today.

In fact, the comments provide more information and counterpoints than the article, which is strictly from a pro-vaccination point of view that ignores other pertinent information that’s surfaced from the alternative, public health, and complementary medical field, some of which is contained here.


Everyone Agrees

Last year the flu shot was not a good match for the sort of influenza that ended up circulating the globe. The formulation is largely a guessing game, as the CDC will tell you.

In July, the CDC issued its best guess for the upcoming season as well as the updated advisory on immunization practices.

Flu season peaks in January or February and runs from October to May.  This year a record amount, 145 million doses of the flu vaccine are available.

The CDC suggests that 261 million Americans could receive the vaccine.

Everyone agrees, the flu is far worse than a cold, and will send you to bed with a high fever and body aches for at least a week, possibly up to a month. Most who have suffered through the flu, vow they will never get it again.

The flu vaccine is made up of different viruses that are collected by health experts around the world. Using statistics and projections, the influenza vaccine is recreated every year, hoping to match the more virulent strains predicted to be on the horizon.  

A virus continually mutates to survival, as survival is its purpose in life, so it’s virtually impossible that the vaccine will be a perfect match to fight the flu.

Among influenza vaccines is a live virus and a dead virus formulation. Only healthy, non pregnant people with no underlying health conditions should receive the live virus from ages 2 to 49.

Washing your hands and wearing a mask will reduce the spread of the virus.


Older Americans

Older Americans who have long been considered to be a vulnerable population may still get the flu even with a shot.

It’s estimated that there are 36,000 deaths from the flu every year, though those numbers are disputed, and as some say are “wildly overestimated” in that influenza-like illnesses can be confused for the flu. Also health compromised elderly people may actually die from an unrelated cause. 

In an earlier study, people over the age of 65 who had the shot had the same risk of contracting pneumonia as those who did not have the flu vaccine.

A growing number of health experts say the vaccine probably does not work well in people over the age of 70 who account for three-fourths of all influenza deaths.



73 children reportedly died from the flu during the 2006-2007 flu season and there was more than five-fold increase in complications.

A government report indicates that the children who died also had staph infections, though they had been healthy before they got the flu.  The flu is thought to make people more susceptible to bacterial infections such as staph.  

Last October, the CDC recommended expanding the use of nasal influenza vaccine, FluMist to include healthy children ages 2 to 4. It’s recommended that children six months to 18 years receive a flu shot.


Pregnant Women

Pregnant women who get the shot, share that protection with their babies.

However, some flu shots contain the mercury based preservative, thimerosal. Ask your doctor if he/she knows whether your formulation contains it.  Multi-dose vials will contain a preservative.

FluMist does not, however it carries the live virus making you an active carrier of the virus, potentially spreading it to others. Others medical professionals say it does not replicate at body temperature, but even the CDC reports that FluMist has a potential for transmission of these viruses from vaccinees to other persons. 

Concerning thimerosal - you may have to ask the see the vial yourself, as many doctors only assume they know.  The Institute for Vaccine Safety has the latest information on all vaccines and the amount of thimerosal they contain.

The Federal Vaccine Court protects vaccine makers and forces consumers to stand in line to have their case heard for compensation following injury.

Thimerosal is linked to autism, though not conclusively by science, but by many parents who’ve experienced direct anecdotal evidence that has convinced them there is a link between vaccines and autism.


Does the shot give you the flu?

Some people say getting a flu shot made them sick and they swear they will never get another.  There are two formulations – the live virus LAIV (live attenuated influenza vaccine) and the dead virus, TIV (trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine).

The body may not be able to deal with an assault of either type of virus dumped into the blood stream. That’s may be why many people report developing flu-like symptoms after receiving the vaccine.  

Also, many people report extreme pain in the arm that receives the shot, as well as a lack of mobility that continues well past what might be expected from normal inoculation pain.


Other Options

Wash your hands!  Constantly, often, religiously.  Carry alcohol based hand wipes as an alternative, though not as good as warm water and soap. 

Cover your face when you sneeze, sneeze instead into your elbow crook. Ask the same of others as well as request they wash their hands.  Though most people are reluctant to speak up, you can always ask politely.  

Homeopathic flu remedies are developed from recent flu strains each year, might offer an alternative. A flow chart tells you how to choose.

Interestingly, with vitamin D in the news lately as an immune booster, Dr. Joseph Mercola (who is a medical doctor) notes that influenza occurs in the season when vitamin D absorption is low. 

On his web site, the largest natural health site on the web, he talks about the flu vaccine and prevention to “annihilate the flu”. The site has many footnotes.  #


Anonymous User
Posted by sandy
Thursday, October 23, 2008 3:27 PM EST

people can have low grade fever, soreness at injection site, and mild fatigue after receiving a flu shot. this is not because the body can't handle the amount if virus, but because the vaccine elicits an immune response - that's how you know it's working. so your body's immune responses include low grade fever, soreness, and fatigue.

Anonymous User
Posted by Stephen Cole
Thursday, October 23, 2008 5:59 PM EST

Received the flu shot on Tuesday at 12:00 noon, over lunch. By 8pm that night felt tired, a bit sore all over, and just in need of a good sleep. Went to bed early, and awoke at 1am not feeling well. Had water, went back to sleep and by 6am felt normal again.

Anonymous User
Posted by Ala
Monday, November 03, 2008 11:25 AM EST

I felt sick 1 hour after receiving the flu shot (nausea, a splitting headache, a sore throat and stuffed nose). I was sick for several days and I'm still not 100%. Prior to this, I had been well for over a year. I was feeling just fine going in. This is the last time I get a flu shot.

Anonymous User
Posted by Kate
Thursday, November 06, 2008 1:24 PM EST

I just got my flu shot yesterday at 11 am. At 9pm I had awful nausea. Nothing seemed to help. Then today, I am extremely fatigued, my head hurts and a little achy. But ever through all this, I will always get one because this doesn't feel nearly as bad as the flu itself.

Anonymous User
Posted by Carol
Monday, November 10, 2008 9:34 PM EST

Me and my two sons recieved the flu shot on Friday @ 3 pm, My arm was burning bad on the way home, My oldest son was so dizzy and had nausea bad all weekend.On Monday he missed school and we both feel like we have been beat, sore all over,sore throat, and no energy.However my seven year old seems fine.

Comments for this article are closed.

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