Do You Need the Flu Shot?

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I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about the bleak flu news reports lately. How could you not? The news about it has been everywhere. News reports warn that this flu season is one of the worst in years, and it’s started earlier than in previous years according to the CDC. Such news reports then go on to warn of flu related deaths and suggest heading out to get a flu shot as the best way to prevent the flu. But is it?

Recently, a major news report has surfaced linking GalaxoSmithKline’s 2009 H1N1 swine flu vaccine, Pandemrix — which was given to more than 30 million people in 47 countries (but not the United States) — with incurable narcolepsy in people under the age of 20. In fact, some research cited in the news reports indicated that youth who received the 2009-2010 H1N1 vaccine were 13 times more likely to contract narcolepsy than those who did not.

Likewise, in October of last year, Italian authorities banned Novartis AG’s flu vaccine because of a build up of foreign protein particles in the drug. The particles, which were of unknown origin, compromised the safety of the vaccinations, causing both the Italian and Swiss governments to ban it.

Risks vs Benefits

With conflicting stories of the dangers of seasonal flu and the risks associated with the flu shot, it can be difficult to decide whether you are risking your health more by avoiding the flu shot or getting one – the same way people struggle with buying disposable diapers or not. It’s a personal choice that only you can make. The best way to make such a choice is by informing yourself and choosing based on comprehensive information. To that end, I wanted to give you a comprehensive look at the risks and benefits of the flu shot.

Risks

There are a number of risks associated with receiving the flu shot. The CDC lists a number or risks ranging from mild to severe.

  • Flu shot side effectsBecause the flu shot is a moving target (that is, the strain of flu changes from season to season, so drug companies must mock up a flu vaccine with a previous version of the flu and then change it when the strain of seasonal flu is known), there is a risk of developing unknown serious complications that won’t become clear until they show up in millions of people.
  • Some people may have a life-threatening allergic reaction to the flu vaccine.
  • A 1976 flu vaccine was linked to Guillain-Barré Syndrome. While vaccines from other years have not shown a similar causal link, there is a risk of developing this dangerous muscle disorder.
  • Flu vaccines have a host of unpleasant side effects, ranging from aches and pain to fever.
  • Children receiving the flu shot and pnemococcal vaccine at the same time are at higher risk of having a febrile (fever-induced) seizure.
  • No controlled studies exist assessing the safety of the flu vaccine for use in pregnant women.
  • The flu vaccine may contain dangerous or toxic ingredients, such as the addition of Thimerosol (a methyl-mercury containing compound used as a preservative), aluminum salts, formaldehyde, and antibiotics like penicillin.

Benefits

children flu shotAccording to the Mayo Clinic, receiving the influenza vaccine does provide some level of prevention of the flu. Because the flu can be life threatening in at-risk populations that include older adults, children, and people with certain medical complications, physicians do suggest these people get the flu shot. Complications associated with the flu include pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infection, and ear infection. In high-risk populations, these complications can lead to hospitalization or even death. Medical conditions that increase the risk of influenza complications include people with:

  • Compromised immune systems
  • COPD
  • Asthma
  • Sickle cell disease
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Kidney or liver disease

Effectiveness

It is also essential to weigh the efficacy of flu shots when determining whether the risks outweigh the benefits. Efficacy statistics use scientific studies to determine how well the flu vaccine protects certain populations from contracting the flu. From the CDC:

  • Adults 65 years or older not living in long-term care: Effectiveness is about 58 percent
  • Adults 65 years or older living in long-term care: Studies show effectiveness ranging from 34 percent to 55 percent.
  • Children: Multiple studies show results ranging from about 66 percent to about 91 percent.
  • Healthy Adults: In healthy adults, different studies show widely different results, ranging from about 18 percent to around 37 percent.

Part of the difficulty in obtaining pure effectiveness data is the result of the different strains of influenza (and thus, different types of the vaccine). In October of 2012, the University of Minnesota released the CIDRAP Comprehensive Influenza Vaccine Initiative, which mined flu vaccine data and studies and showed an overall American effectiveness of about 56 percent, which was significantly less than flu shot marketing often indicated.

I was recently in a woman’s office who felt very strongly that everyone should get the flu vaccine (she brought it up, not me). I was across the desk from her, and I think she liked it that way, so she could “barricade” herself from everyone and their germs. I let her talk as much as she wanted about how she was scared to go anywhere now because of the flu “getting her”, and smiled politely, but didn’t say much. I just didn’t want to engage. Sometimes it’s better to save your energy and choose your battles. I’m sure you know what I mean?!

Who Should Not Get the Flu Vaccine

The flu shot can trigger a dangerous reaction in people with allergies to eggs, or those who have had an allergic reaction to a previous influenza vaccine.

Preventing the Flu Naturally 

If you are in a high-risk population, it is best to work closely with your primary health care provider to determine whether the influenza vaccine is right for you. If, however, you are a healthy adult, there are a number of things you can do to prevent the flu.

  • how to prevent fluEat a healthy, balanced diet (see my blog about a balanced diet for cold and flu season. Proper nutrition can keep your immune system strong, allowing you to fight off any germs you come in contact with. The Beauty Detox System is an extremely healthy and balanced diet that can make your immune system strong.
  • Wash your hands regularly using soap and hot water (but please don’t turn into a germaphobe! See all the other bullets on boosting immunity).
  • Get plenty of rest to keep your immune system strong.
  • Avoid eating any refined sugars, which feeds germs.
  • Get plenty of exercise, which boosts immune fighting white blood cells and helps detoxify your body.
  • Take probiotics, which strengthen immunity (this is really one of the most important!)
  • Drink plenty of pure water, which can flush out toxins.
  • Drink my immunity tea, which strengthens your immune system via detoxification.
  • Take time to relax and de-stress. Stress wears your body down. Making time for yourself can help boost your immunity and keep you from getting sick.

What are your thoughts on the flu shot?

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37 Responses to “Do You Need the Flu Shot?

  1. You know, when you have no energy then usually people try
    to restrain themselves if they approach the holiday
    saying,” I can’t have dessert” they’re setting themselves up for failure and disappointment. With the torture comes a sense of accomplishment. The most obvious positive effect was being able to eat enough calories to maintain your weight.

  2. Why don’t you try eating healthy and exercising daily because I can guarantee you that dieting tips for men will only make you fatter in the long term as well as proteins. And always check How Many Calories Should I Eat One of the main differences between someone who is skinny and someone who is overweight or obese?

  3. I’m 22, I haven’t ever had a flu shot, and I haven’t had a flu since I was too young to remember it. Just my piece. I hate the thought of getting the flu shot to avoid the ridiculously minuscule chance of getting severely ill or dying from it. There’s not enough testing performed with these vaccines, and, even so, the results are usually biased one way or the other, influenced by corporations with more power than we realize. Regardless, tests performed, even on large control groups say nothing for you and you family. Make your own choice, instead of reading too far into these terrifying news reports of people dying from this flu or that flu. More people die in car accidents every day.

  4. Hi, interested in your blog. I have never had a flu shot and neither have any of my 3 children, now aged 27, 24 and 18 yrs of age. My eldest son has only ever had one course of anti-biotics when he was a baby for pneumonia. My youngest son has had no vaccines, my daughter had one set of DPT and polio, plus the first MMR. My eldest had DPT+ Polio and MMR plus TB vaccine. After TB vaccine he developed vitiligo -result of the shock from TB vaccine, he went cold all over, felt dizzy and looked greyish. My youngest son had tylenol on 2 occasions for an ear infection which I treated with a homeopathic remedy, also oral ventolin when he was about 2 months old. Other than this the children have been treated with homeopathic remedies, although infrequently as they tended not to get sick that much and coughs and colds just needed to be cleared out not suppressed.
    The problem today is that noone wants to be inconvenienced by a cold or raised temperature, so we jump too readily for medication that weakens the immune system. I live in the Middle East surrounded by the germs from all around the world but rarely get sick and neither do my children. Healthy living, eating, not allowing fear of the natural world around us i.e. germs means that you are in congruence with the world and remain healthy.
    Good luck and health to all.

  5. The flu is he body’s effort to expel mucus and pus that is created in the body from all the meat, cheese, milk and other trash that people eat. The flu is a detox process and should not be interfered with, not stopped…it is a healing event. If one gets the flu the correct treatment is stop eating and sip water all day to help flush out the mucus and pus…cured in 20 3 days this way.

  6. Kim,
    Love you, love your book, love your GGS, but I disagree with your advice about the flu vaccine. I got one, as did the rest of my family. You provided lots of good information here, and I am glad that your talked about benefits of the vaccine as well as drawbacks. I agree with the information you provided regarding taking good care of ourselves to keep our immune system in top form. However, your argument seems pretty one-sided because you neglected to provide data regarding the number of people who die from the flu every year. Yes, we all have our opinions and that is fine. Personally, I like to hear both sides of an argument and draw my own conclusions. There are side effects, there are risks. There are also risks in not getting the shot.

  7. That was very well put! Me, or my children, haven’t had a flu shot in a few years (they are 3 & 4), and we have been Very blessed the past two years to not have gotten too sick. The beauty of having added probiotics to all of our diets the past 2-3 years is that I’ve seen each year how much our immune system’s have improved. I even went through the most devastating year -an injury from a relationship gone very bad which resulted, a few months later, in a divorce – so my immune system was super worn down, but what saved me was exercising and eating raw and as healthy as possible through it all. So, when winter came around, I was in pretty good health, as were my children. I managed to avoid any serious flu symptoms (a mild fever; I didn’t even know I had the flu), and my kids had it for a day in December (laid on the couch for a day), but broke their fevers in a night -that is also because I didn’t give them tylenol or ibuprofen (just natural fever reducers), and they were playing the next day. We’ve had plenty of runny nose days, but now that we are getting more sunshine (we live in AZ) and settled (I remarried a few weeks ago -to the BEST man ever), things are looking good. No major illnesses here. My son’s chronic bronchitis barely flared up, and never a more than one night of a high fever. I’m counting our blessings! I am big on pro-biotics, and my children really don’t get sugar that often.

  8. Hello Kimberly!

    First time blogger here and couldn’t agree more with you! I haven’t gotten a flu shot in years. Just eat your fruits and veggies and you’ll be fine! I’ve been following the Beauty Detox solution for a couple years now and haven’t been sick since!! Now I am also flowing the Glowing Lean system and love it!! I am a college student in Culinary nutrition but regardless I still find time to be healthy as a young adult. Your work is great Kim, keep it up! Your such an inspiration!

    Cheers,

    Jane Horlebein :)

  9. Thank you Kimberly for the comprehensive and intelligent facts about the flu shot. I am a Health Coach and a healthy woman of 60 ish, and I have never had a flu shot and I believe it is not for everyone. However, it is difficult to find real facts about negative side affects of the flu shot, most of the “promoted info” is one-sided.

    Keep the real facts coming!
    Kate Gray CHHC,AADP

  10. I’m completely against it. For all the reasons you mentioned, and because I know people every ‘flu season’ who get the shot and still get the flu anyways. Plus all of the mercury, contaminants and preservatives are horrible, and will never be allowed in my body knowingly. Thanks for your post!

  11. I would rather fight flu a natural way than have a chemical cocktail with documented side effects injected into my body!

  12. I love reading your blog posts. You bring awareness to issues and provide ways to deal with them naturally. They are also easy to read and well researched. Love your work, Kimberly!!

  13. Fortunately, my mother keeps me well informed about nutrition and health news (since time for reading is scare lately!), and I am always happy to read your posts to learn new things too. I was happy to see the information that you’ve posted about the Flu Shot. Your non-biased approach is a great way to inform the general population without skepticism. This post just helped reinforce to me that the vaccine is completely unnecessary. Taking care of your body is always the best way to keep your immune system strong. I work with kids everyday who come in sick and I’m still going strong! Thanks for all of your hard work and research to help educate everyone.

  14. Hi Kimberly,

    My children’s pediatrician office has the flu vaccine that is sprayed in the nose. How is this different from the actual shot, in terms of toxins and/or effectiveness?

    Thank you!

  15. Hi Kimberly.
    I have never in my life had a flu shot and only have had a mild flu twice in maybe 33 years. I am on a whole-food, plant-based diet and wash hands frequently and keep my hands away from my face. That has worked for me and I hope it continues to work!
    Thank you for your wonderful book.

    Marge

  16. Love your work!!
    We have 2 girls 5 & 3 and had never and will never give our children any shots of any kind unless a super medical emergency and even then we will make sure there are not alternatives – like when our youngest split her lip open quite badly, we waited till the following day after consulting with our GP who is also thankfully a homeopath. The next day without any steri strips as they would not stick properly the hole self closed, yes she has a small scar but I think it was far better than giving a then 2yr old a general.
    People have been scared into taking these FLU shots just like the vaccinations, it is awful that people do not do proper research about what is actually in these drugs?!
    We have turned organic since I was pregnant and really do look after what we give our children. Yes they get sick but we use natural remedies such as colloidal silver, fresh juicing (which we do everyday) and rarely homeopathics.
    Keep up the great work!!
    Savannah

  17. It’s not for me. I have taken one flu vaccine in my life 1976. I too am a firm believer in a healthy life style through diet and nutrition. Thank you for a most informative article Kimberly.

    Namaste,

    Randy

  18. Here in Sweden we got lots of young people suffering from narcolepsy. Their lives are destroyed forever and even though their parents are fighting for economical compensation. The health care says that it’s not completely ensured that it is the swine flu vaccine that has caused the narcolepsy. I remembering the frightening propaganda that the government made to force almost everyone to take the vaccine, including me and my kids.
    I will never take a flu vaccine again, unless I’m really are in the risk zone of dying from it.

  19. Ingredients of the Flu Shot:

    Mercury – affinity for brain, liver, gut, marrow, and kidneys
    Formaldehyde – embalming fluid and poison if ingested
    Genmtamyicin and Polymyxin B – allergic reaction possible
    Chicken embryos – if you are allergic to eggs you can become severely ill.
    Gelatin – from selected cattle skins
    Octoxynol -10 and 9 = spermacide can cause chills, confusion, dizziness, fever, light-headedness, muscle aches, skin peeling.
    Beta Propiolactone – known cancer causer. Suspected poison to stomach, liver, respiratory, skin and sense organs.
    Polysorbate 80 – known to cause cancer in animals
    Neomycin sulfate – interferes with B6 absorption
    MSG – nerve toxin being studied for mutagenic, teratogenic and reproductive effects.

  20. Due to circumstances – some controllable, some not – I contracted influenza the day after Christmas. As a firm believer in holistic health, including homeopathic remedies for viruses such as the flu, I decided to take 3 – 5 garllic cloves (organic) and crush them into a small glass (3 or 4 oz.) of water. Within 24 hrs. after drinking this “shot glass” of nature’s most potent antibiotic – allicin – my symptoms were greatly reduced, and I was on my way to a full recovery. For otherwise healthy individuals, it is important to allow the immune system to function as it should. Humans would do well to recognize that we are fearfully & wonderfully made, and that all the systems within our bodies serve a very important and distinct purpose!.

  21. I chose not to get the flu shot myself. My husband and daughter, who live in the same residence- got one, as they were “highly suggested to” from their jobs. (Both work with the public). They both ended up getting the flu during the worst of it a month ago. Ironically, I went on a round trip (airplane) and visited two Drs offices with my grandson: so I was in highly contagious areas. I attribute my strong immune system to healthy diet, but Im not restrictive by any means, except I don’t do meat or dairy. I did supplement with Source Naturals “Wellness Formula’ during my travel as I knew I would be exposed to a lot of germs not to mention climate change. I don’t work for the company but used to work at a Health Food store and was impressed by the customers who were loyal to and swore by that product. It is a combination of immune boosting vitamins and herbs….Stay healthy everyone!

  22. I can’t say enough how correct you are about taking care of your body from the inside out. I have been doing the GGS daily for months now and can now tell a difference when I skip it . I’m not mentally awake and I feel as if I am “NOT MYSELF”. I work in an eviornment where I am around children who are not well. I have managed to dodge the bullet and stay healthy all winter.
    I won’t lie. I have days where I miss my GGS and don’t get enough sleep the night before. But I make sure its a part of my daily life.
    Thanks Kimberly :)

    grapefruit, ginger, oranges, whatever I have to give me the energy I need.
    Most of the time I

  23. I agree with you 100% on ways to stay healthy and avoid the flu. My family of 5 ages 9-48 do not get the flu shot. I always remind my kids to wash their hands as soon as we get home! Eat a variety of good foods and stay active!

  24. Hi Kim,
    I have never in my life had a flu shot and I am 63. I have had the flu maybe twice in 33 years. I have been mostly vegan that entire time. I just think it is more important to eat a good clean vegan diet and wash hands frequently and keep your hands away from your face. I always wash my hands on returning home and before eating. That has worked for me.

  25. Good information! Never had the flu shot and eating healthy and taking care of myself has left me flu free. Even working as a teacher, imagine that :)

  26. I don’t take the flu shot because whenever I have taken it, I have gotten sick and ended up with a respiratory infection. I’m not sure if the dosage of each shot is based on a person’s size, but I am small (5’2″, 105 lbs.) and so what suits a larger person is too much for me. I follow many of your tips for healthy immunity and I have been well so far this winter.

  27. Kimberly, I’m a mom of 3 school aged children and have NOT had my family get the flu shot. I live in Texas where outbreaks are at an all time high. Instead, we LIVE (literally) on your Glowing Green Smoothie! Probiotics is an absolute MUST in our home…no refined sugars or glutens. As many pure organics as humanily possible–lots of detoxing. I did get the flu unfortunately…but for me it lasted only 4 days with absolutely NO mucus or nasty green aftermath. While the flu was horrible, I never saw a doctor and lived on the whole food program. The GGS is amazing and I don’t know what I would do without it daily! My children are doing GREAT and eating tons of yummy crisp vegies, GGS, and even local honey with Apple Cider Vinegar tspoons. Im so thankful not to have the flu shot running in our systems. xo

  28. I feel the same as you in regard to the flu shot. I do your diet and it is the best prevention. Thanks for all your information.

  29. I know a woman who got the G B Syndrome from a flu shot & was in the hospital for a month on oxygen & was paralyzed. I am very afraid of getting the shot. I just don’t trust what is in it. I am a healthy adult & try to do prevention like you mentioned above. So far it works for me. Question: What brand of chlorella tablets do you take? Thank you.

  30. Love this post. I’m personally totally against the flu shot. I think it’s better to keep your immune system healty and strong naturally. I also think the media blows things way out of proportion.

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