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To Flu-shot or not?
That is the real question...
This is such a complex question to answer and I want to make sure that you become properly educated on what your options are, before you make the choice to get the flu shot – or not.
What is the efficacy of the flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine contains inactive components of the pharmaceutical company’s, and what I am assuming to be, their “best guess” viral strain for the season. When inoculated, the body will create a memory response to these components so if it is exposed to them again, the immune system can then fight them quickly and you can recover faster.
Health Canada states that,
“In healthy children, a systematic review and meta-analyses showed that efficacy of influenza vaccine against laboratory confirmed influenza ranged from 59% to 82%, efficacy against serologically-confirmed influenza ranged from 54% to 63% and efficacy against clinical illness ranged between 33% to 36%. ”
Bottom line, the flu vaccine does not significantly protect your child against the flu.
What other ingredients are found in the flu vaccine?
This is the most controversial question: What exactly is getting injected into the body? The Ontario and Health Canada websites both list these following items as ingredients in the flu vaccine, and some of which we need to watch for , :
Thimerosal (ethyl mercury) – used as a preservative for the vaccine. In fact, this is on the only vaccine used in children that contains mercury . Mercury is a neurotoxin has been linked to behavioral disorders, such as autism, in children .
Formaldehyde – used to kill the virus and thus make it inactive. This chemical can also be toxic to the nervous system and the developing brain.
Aluminum – used as an adjuvant which makes the vaccine ‘work better’ once inoculated in the body. For some, aluminum can also act as a neurotoxin and has been linked to neurological diseases and mood disorders.
Egg protein – Used to help grow the virus. For those adults or children with egg allergies, please be weary about injecting the vaccine. Health Canada states that it is safe for those with a mild allergy but those with a severe allergy need to be monitored at the hospital or doctors office for 30 minutes post-inoculation.
What are the risks if I do get my child vaccinated?
If your child is healthy, and/or rarely gets sick, then the flu vaccine may not be a problem for him/her. The stats from the Health Canada website show that most of the children that were hospitalized or died because of the flu were already immune-compromised or developed a secondary infection as a side effect from the flu.
Never ever get a vaccination if your child is already showing signs or symptoms of an illness. Always get vaccinated in your healthiest form in order to prevent complications after. If you do get your child vaccinated, be sure to make note of the lot number on that vaccine so if a negative side effect does occur, you can properly report it.
Side effects can vary from minor-to-moderate flu symptoms such as headaches and rash, to very severe-like lethargy, seizures or even paralysis.
Is going natural a viable option?
Remember that getting sick is good for the immune system. Just like anything else in life, you need to practice to get good at something. If your immune system is never challenged with the occasional bacteria or virus, it will become lazy and if you do get sick, it will then take a lot longer to recover.
My advice is to weigh your options before you choose. It is very possible to support the immune using all-natural therapies like echinacea, goldenseal, cordyceps, vitamin C and probiotics. If the flu rears its ugly head, then you just pummel your body with these nutrients and you should be right as rain in a few days.
In addition, in my office we can provide all-natural herbal “flu shots”, for example. These shots are a blend of herbs most commonly used to support the immune system and are provided completely orally – no needles required! The process itself has shown to be very successful at warding off infections during the cold & flu season, and fight any infections quickly if they do arise. It’s also safe for infants, toddlers and pregnant women. •
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Dr. Andrea Maxim is a Naturopathic Doctor practising in Burlington and Caledonia, author, speaker, and presenter, and creator of “The Maxim Movement” program for better health. To learn more please visit her website: www.TheMaximMovement.com
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– By Dr. Andrea Maxim, N.D.
We are right in the heart of cold and flu season. Every pharmacy, doctor’s office, TV and radio station are boasting the most common advertisement of the year, “Get your flu shots today! No appointment necessary!”
The question is, should you get the flu shot and should you give it to your children?