2014 Flu Shot only 18% Effective

flu shotEach autumn  the general public is urged to get a flu shot. It may be a very good idea for people who are debilitated, people with respiratory or developmental problems, and people who are prone to getting very sick and could die from the flu.  But is the influenza vaccine necessary for the rest of the population, especially when it comes with risks of certain side effects and it does not guarantee protection?

Did you know that last season’s flu shot (2014-2015) was only 18% effective?

Statistics such as this, compiled by the American Centre for Disease Control, usually apply to the situation in Canada, but not in this case. This time, the Canadian statistics were worse.

Data collected from British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, found the influenza vaccine of 2014 and early 2015 offered most Canadians virtually no protection against H3N2, the strain that was most prevalent that season.

Beyond the dubious efficacy of this vaccine, there are side effects to consider, such as soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot is given, fainting (mainly adolescents), headache, muscle aches, fever, and nausea. If these problems occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1 to 2 days.  Rare, life threatening allergic reactions may occur usually within a few minutes to a few hours after receiving the vaccine.

Dr Mark Hyman states that most of the flu shots are from multi-dose vials, which contain multiple flu shots in one little vial.  ”To preserve it, they add mercury or Thimerosal.  A cumulative dose of Thimerosal over your lifetime could have a negative impact on your health, because mercury is a known toxin.  It causes immune problems and neurologic problems like dementia, memory issues, and other issues.”

The CDC also notes that Guillain-Barré Syndrome is linked to the flu shot.

What is Guillain-Barré Syndrome?

Here is the definition the CDC gives:  Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a rare disorder in which a person’s own immune system damages their nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. GBS can cause symptoms that usually last for a few weeks. Most people recover fully from GBS, but some people have long-term nerve damage. In very rare cases, people have died of GBS, usually from difficulty breathing.

There are other options!

So what CAN you do to keep those nasty cold and flu bugs at bay without running the risk of the many side effects of the flu vaccine?  Well, you have more options than you think, the first being acupuncture, a safe pain-free way to protect yourself from a multitude of undesirable viruses!

Science shows acupuncture boosts the body’s immune system.

Acupuncture stimulates the immune system, creating a stronger defence against cold and flu bugs.   It is a natural and safe means of staying healthy during the oncoming flu seasons.

Most recently, scientists have been able to determine the role acupuncture plays in boosting the body’s immune system by enhancing the production of natural killer cells, which is the primary defence mechanism against organisms that make us sick. It also acts on a complex immune building system that regulates white blood cells directly linked to the fight against infections, allergic reactions, and even autoimmune disorders.

Studies have also shown that acupuncture helps the brain increase the body’s level of T-cells; cells which destroy bacteria and harmful viruses in the body.

Acupuncture is also deeply relaxing to the body/mind.  A course of acupuncture treatments can help calm the nervous system and reduce anxiety and stress.  Stress has been proven to lower immunity making acupuncture a valuable tool overall in fighting the dreaded flu.

Remember, the key to protection is building your immune system before the flu season strikes, so now’s the time to book your acupuncture treatment. I invite all of you to make a fall-winter tune-up appointment for sometime between now and mid-November.

In the meantime, here are 5 more things you can do on your own to keep your immune system humming!

Rosemary McDonough, Ac

Sources:

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/flushot.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1581655

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4479426/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3586443/