The flu vaccine – to vaccinate or not?

Many of our patients ask us whether they should get a flu shot for themselves or their family members. With scary headlines in the news regarding serious illness related to the flu, it is understandable that people are concerned.

Whether or not to vaccinate is a personal decision that should be researched carefully before making a decision. Patients certainly should not feel “bullied” into getting flu shots, and it is important that patients know the vaccines are not without risk. Injecting a substance into your body is rarely accomplished without side effects.

Those most susceptible to complications from the flu include the very young, the very old, and those with impaired immune systems. The most common misconception is that receiving a flu shot will almost certainly protect an individual from the current season’s flu virus. In fact, a 50% accuracy rate when determining the seasonal flu has been considered successful in the past. In 2015, the accuracy rate has decreased even further and has been estimated by the Center of Disease Control to be just 23%!

Concerns from those opposed to generalized vaccination include the breeding of “superbugs” that are more difficult to recover from. Bacteria and viruses are very good at doing what they need to in order to survive, and that means evolving. Just as with the excessive antibiotic use that has decreased our immune systems and increased the resistance of many types of bacteria, there is concern among many in the medical community that viruses may become stronger as well.

What can you do to protect yourself? As my own medical doctor advised, stay away from people with the flu! You can also make sure you are maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, including plenty of rest, and don’t forget supportive chiropractic care to keep your immune system as strong as possible. A healthy spine allows your nervous system to function at an optimal level, and a happy nervous system makes a happy immune system.

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