Will You Get The Flu Shot This Year?

September 3, 2013

Flu ShotIt’s big business. If you’ve seen a doctor in the last year, chances are they’ve nagged you to do it: “Come to our flu clinic!” “Protect yourself!” “Have you looked into it? Do the reading!”

Umm, I have done the reading. The flu shot, at it’s best (the right vaccine for the right strain in an otherwise healthy, young adult) is a little less than 60% effective. Compare that to other vaccines, for which 80-90% is the minimum. Most are in the 90s.

“But it will make symptoms so much less severe when you get it!”

Yeah, that’s pretty subjective. I haven’t actually found a study that says that (I’m sure the vaccine manufacturers have one, if I filter for what they sponsor, but I mean an independent study!).

“And you will get it!”

Eh, maybe. Last year I had a weakened immune system—so I did get sick. But it was only a little—and not because I got the flu shot (I didn’t), but because once I’d been exposed I started supporting my immune system with colloidal silver twice a day rather than once. I was sick a total of 1 day—and other than being worried about my secondary condition (the one causing me to have a weak immune system to begin with) I didn’t have many symptoms. Some fatigue, a low fever, malaise…

This year, you should expect to be pushed even harder to get the flu shot. You will definitely be seeing more ads. They’ve got a host of new products to sell you: flu shots that target strains commonly found in kids, a flu shot just for the elderly, one that doesn’t require a needle, one for those who have allergies to the nasty ingredients…

The flu shot may be a good choice for you. If you feel you have a strong immune system and you know you’ll be around sick people (you work in health care, education, or, let’s be honest, retail—those holiday shoppers can be rough!) it might be a great tool to keep you on your feet. But despite the move away from one-size-fits-all vaccines, the advice to get the flu shot remains one-size-fits-all. So weigh your options—what are your risk factors for flu? What is your personal risk for side-effects from the flu shot? Which outcome would be worse? Only you can decide!

What do you think about the flu shot?

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