We’re coming into the flu season and with it, the annual promotions of the flu vaccine. Is that a valid strategy? Let’s first look at health care workers and flu vaccines. The percentage of health care workers who get the flu vaccine has historically been quite low. Only 20% of physician in 2003 were getting the annual flu vaccine (1). One reason health professional flu vaccination rates are so low has been attributed to the fact that doctors and other health care workers are better informed of the risk benefit ratios with the flu vaccine.
Here is some other interesting data regarding the flu vaccines. Each year, the vaccine manufacturers must estimate which strains of flu will spread during the upcoming season. They must begin manufacturing the vaccine before they know for certain which strains will be involved. This results in some years where the flu vaccines totally miss the strains that are causing infections. This happened in “1968 and 1997, the strain of vaccines produced didn’t match the circulating viruses that season, which meant that, in effect, nobody was vaccinated those years. And yet death rates from all diseases including flu related illness did not change at all. ” (3)
The Cochran Collaborative is one of the most widely respected heath research organizations in the world. They have come out on three separate occasions saying, “there’s no evidence flu shots work effectively”(1) Also, ” the study found no credible evidence the vaccines afforded any protection against complications such as pneumonia or death but did increase the potential side effects. ” (1) This gets even worse. “Those results, as bad as they were, might actually overstate the case for vaccine effectiveness, the researchers cautioned, because many of the studies – 15 of 36 trials with funding declarations – were industry initiatives.” and ” less publicized studies funded from public sources were significantly less likely to report conclusions favorable to the vaccines.” (1)
If vaccines are not effective against the flu, what measures can be taken to help? The only way to know how to treat a disease reliably is by knowing why you are getting the disease in the first place. With some people it is because they are low in vitamin D (4), with others, vitamin C, with a third person, it is because they have blood sugar levels that are too high. Still another person will get the flu because their vitamin A levels are too low.
If the cause of your particular case of the flu is because you are low in vitamin D and you increase your vitamin C levels (another potential treatment for flu), you probably won’t experience any change in your flu symptoms or duration. You could then take lots of zinc, another remedy linked to helping with the flu, yet you get no results. Until you brought your vitamin D levels up to normal, you are likely to experience poor or no results with your flu infection compared to doing nothing.
Looking for the cause of the disease is the key. Note I am not just talking about diagnosing what you have (i.e. flu). I am talking about diagnosing why you have a disease. This is causal diagnosis. Otherwise, when you take a therapy, without knowing what is causing the disease, you are just taking a shot in the dark.
1 – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21956456
2 – http://www.vaccineinitiative.org/?p=315
3 – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/flu-shots-panacea-or-prop_b_831696.html
4 – Am J Clin Nutr (March 10, 2010). doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.29094