Flu Shot: Yay Or Nay?
There was an article on Minnesota Public Radio on October 25th regarding a new study from the University of Minnesota discovering that the flu shot is not as effective as previously thought. Most especially for the individuals that need it the most: the young and the elderly.
I can’t take the flu shot. It’s not because I have an egg allergy – the viruses in the vaccine are grown in eggs – but because I’m allergic to the preservative used in the shot. With my allergy to chemicals and man-made synthetics, I’m sure there’s a whole slew of things that I’ll react to!
Because of this allergy, the two times I got the flu shot, I was sicker than a dog and got the flu worse than I even thought possible!
Now, instead of getting the shot, I make sure I exercise, eat right and wash my hands often. Another thing I do is to not touch my face (i.e. eyes, nose and mouth) unless I’ve freshly washed my hands. Studies have shown that it’s not airborne contact that transmits flu and cold viruses/bacteria, but by physical transmission by touching your eyes, nose or mouth, which are gateways to your body for these germs.
Just by following these few things – healthy diet, exercise and awareness of not touching your face – will be a HUGE reduction in your risk of contracting the flu or the common cold.
It’s worked for me the past 7 years!
Now there are some people who seem to bathe themselves in hand sanitizer or use all anti-bacterial products (or both!) during the cold and flu season. I have a BIG problem with that.
If you’re continually stripping your hands/body of all germs, you will be negatively impacting your immune system, which is using germs to build up its own strength. To quote Dr. Oz:
Did you ever wonder why the kid that never played in the dirt seemed to get sick most often? If his body never got introduced to a germ then it’s very possible his body never learned how to defend itself from an invasion. And let’s be realistic, no matter how sterile you are, unless you are sanctioned in a specialized clean room, you are going to be exposed to germs. Your body needs to learn how to fight those intruders.
So, whether it’s gel or foam in a pump dispenser, squeeze bottle, or spray, instant hand sanitizer is great to have on hand for times when it is needed. However, you shouldn’t feel compelled to use it every time you walk past someone on the other side of the street. If you’ve been holding the hand rail at a movie theater and you’re getting ready to grab some popcorn, you may want to sanitize. But you probably don’t need it after every trip down the aisle in the grocery store. When you come home, wash your hands with soap and water and you’ll be as good as new.
As a kid, I played in the dirt (and manure! (I grew up on a cattle farm.)) and I was never sick with colds or flu. The two times I remember being sick in school (K-12) was when I had the chicken pox in 2nd grade and pneumonia in 7th grade. Funny enough, the pneumonia was the first indication of my antibiotic allergy!
My dad is deathly allergic to penicillin, and as a precaution, none of us kids were given penicillin in case we too had the allergy. When I had pneumonia, they gave me sulfa. In turn, I broke out in CD-sized hives all over my body. Fast forward to now and there’s one antibiotic that I *can* take – amoxicillin – and even then I only take it when I absolutely NEED to take it, lest I get an immunity to it.
Anyway, back to keeping yourself healthy. The human body is a wonderful machine and if you keep it running right, it’ll fight of most viruses and infections. Save the medicines, anti-bacterial products, hand sanitizers, and antibiotics for when you REALLY need them.
How do you stay healthy during cold and flu season?
Are you a germaphobe or do you let your body fight your battles?
Will you get a flu shot? Why or why not?