flu shot

The CDC is doing its best to scare you. The public health experts want you to rush out and get a flu shot. The headlines have been designed to motivate: For example, The Chicago Tribune reported “Flu killed more Americans last season than car crashes and drug overdoses. But Chicagoans can protect themselves.”  Fox News reported: “Flu season last winter killed the most people since the 1970s, CDC says.” CNBC warned: “Summer just ended, but CDC officials are already urging people to prepare for another potentially nasty flu season”

Last Year’s Warning:

A year ago we wrote an article titled: Should You Be Rushing To Get Your Flu Shot?

Should You Be Rushing To Get Your Flu Shot?

We warned you that the 2017-2018 flu season “could be worse than usual.” That’s because we were paying close attention to Australia. They are six months ahead of us when it comes to influenza.

The Aussies were slammed last winter. That was in part because the H3N2 influenza virus was especially nasty. And sadly the flu shot didn’t work all that well. A report in the New England Journal of Medicine (Nov. 29, 2017) reported that the vaccine was only about 10% effective.

Good News About this Year’s Flu Season?

If Australia is any predictor, this year’s flu season may not be as bad as last year. The preliminary reports from the southern hemisphere are that the flu season has been much less severe. We don’t know if that will mean an easier flu season for us, though. Only time will tell.

In the meantime, here is a link to some shocking information about influenza prevention and treatment.

Flu Myths and Misconceptions about the Vaccine

Flu Myths and Misconceptions about the Vaccine

Reader Stories :

Laurie in Cottonwood, Arizona offers her perspective:

“I have not had a cold or flu in many years and have been exposed to both. I have been using elderberry, probiotics and anything I can find to build up my immune system. I have never had a flu shot. I am 80 years old.

“My best friend’s daughter and her husband had the flu shots and died from the flu. The stores here have sold out of elderberry. But you should do what you feel is best for you.”

Marta in Washington State has a different viewpoint:

“After several bouts of the flu during the 1990s I started to get the shot annually in 1998. Since then the only time I have caught the flu was during the 2009 swine flu pandemic when there was not enough appropriate H1N1 vaccine available.

“Last January my 75-year-old husband, who is rarely sick, came down with influenza. (He never gets a flu shot.) Though miserable for about 2 weeks he eventually recovered, after being feverish, achy, fatigued and without any appetite. He coughed a lot and otherwise certainly spread the virus about the house. Meanwhile I never became sick. So I’m a definite believer! (We do both take daily vitamin C and D3 supplements.)”

Share your own experience with influenza in the comment section below.

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  1. Cindy
    Seattle, WA

    I’m one of those who almost never get sick. If I do I’m over it in 3 days. I’ve never had a flu shot and never gotten the flu. I consider this a “barometer” of the strength of my immune system, and if I got a flu shot then that benefit would be compromised. Someone said just today, though, that you can “have the flu” but “not have any symptoms” and yet still pass the flu on to someone else? I’ve never heard of this, and of course I wouldn’t want to do it if that’s really true (which I doubt). Any comments?

  2. Jane

    I have heard that SLEEP is an important factor in the efficacy of some vaccines. The better your sleep around the time you get a vaccination, the more effective the shot is. I would like to suggest The People’s Pharmacy do some research on this and spread the word.

  3. Patricia

    I am an optometrist. Unless I kiss my patients, I simply cannot get any closer or more exposed to their germs. When refracting (“which is better one or two”) I often smell their breath. I have had patient come in and tell me they got sick with the flu that morning, called in sick to their job, and later decided to come in for an eye exam. I have gotten flu shots every year since 1986. Especially when my premature daughter was young, I did not want to bring the flu home. I also take 500 mg vitamin C and other supplements (but not elderberry). I think I have had a mild case of the flu once or twice.

  4. MFK

    I believe that we each must do what feels right…it is your body and your job is to care for it. After many years of trying multiple approaches to health, I have chosen to focus on prevention. I eat well, I move my body, I wash my hands before fixing or eating food–and after using the bathroom! I take supplements (10-strain probiotic, vitamins, and herbs.) I have ways to reduce the stress that life brings–chronic stress reduces our immunity, which is a big “welcome” to infection. I have learned to let go of things I can’t change so I can focus on what is within my power to change (me!)–change my way of dealing with a difficult situation. I sleep well most nights.

    When I worked in homeless shelters, I took the flu vaccine. The probability of exposure was greater. For the past twenty years, I have not done so. In 20 years, I have been ill one time—stay-in-bed kind of ill. I use garlic, elderberry, and oil of oregano to prevent the virus or bacterium from causing symptoms, or to treat symptoms if necessary.

    This seems to be working pretty well for me. It feels like the right approach for me.

  5. Lida

    I would like to get your perspective
    Do the Graedons get flu shots?.

  6. Mary
    Wash. State

    Wouldn’t you rather feel a little sick for a couple weeks or
    very very sick for two or three weeks. I’ll take the former!

  7. mary

    Elderberry has certainly kept me from getting the flu with no flu shot for at least 40+ years.

    When working the Hospital emergency room the shot was required and most including myself got the flu. No shots since , no flu. My family still gets the shot and always has a few weeks of the flu! 2 years ago my daughter became so ill, turned into pneumonia, ended up in the emergency room on various antibiotic IVs from which she still has not recovered. Was so severe she may have residual heart complications. Antibiotics do not help the flu. But vitamin C in high doses does. Check Dr. Andrew Saul.

    I do not understand how long it will take them to ”get it”. To build up their immune system with Vitamin C, D and elderberry syrup. Often forget to keep elderberry on hand and have since found it powdered at Amazon. Long shelf life and it seems to work as well. Would like to hear from others about that. Never forget to eat onions every day, Raw best but cooked also helpful. Garlic is a must. Ginger. Turmeric. Good soups with plenty of healing herbs, good organic vegetables. Bone broth, probiotics, prebiotics.
    Supposedly mercury has been removed but what about the aluminum [epidemic of Alzheimers and dementia?] Other adjuvants?

    Keep being told I could die from the flu. Well, I could die from the shot and if do not die, impair my health perhaps permanently. Why is it so difficult for people to take the responsibility to keep their immune system healthy, to want that independence? Just thoughts and my experiences.
    To everyone’s good health whatever you choose.

    • Ed

      Mary-Thank you for the very meaningful post. While I agree wholeheartedly with your perspective, you may be discounting a set of factors that may be much more rare today than when ( I suspect) you went through your formative years leading to adulthood: Mainly growing up in an environment where you had easy access to whole foodstuffs and raw milk, and played in the dirt, or…worked with dirt by gardening. Breathing air that was not riddled with industrial carbons. Few, if any, processed sugary foods. The longer you stay in an environment like that, the healthier you are likely to be, particularly if you are moderate in your behavior, which is a given, after reading your post.

  8. jackie s
    Oregon ( urban)

    I never get a flu shot. Have not a cold in years. My husband gets one every year. Does get a cold now and then. We are careful about washing our hands, always, not just in flu season. We try to eat healthy, exercise and just stay healthy. I am 83.

  9. Marla
    Bellingham, WA

    I use Sambucol Black Elderberry Gummies. I chew 2 gummies every day which provides 100 mg Black Elderberry extract, 90 mg of Vitamin C, and 7.5 mg of Zinc. I also take 5000 IU of Vitamin D3 and 2100 mcg Vitamin K with Sea-Iodine (Life Extension). I have had no colds or flu the last few years and have never had flu shots as I react poorly to shots and prescription meds.

  10. Pat

    I tend to have delayed reactions to vaccines and even anaesthesia drugs, which have been very difficult for me. Years ago I got a flu shot and about 10 hours later had hives head to toe. Since then, I can’t even find an allergist who will give me the shot, probably because of liability and none know what I may have reacted to.

    I’ve had to take other preventative measures, elderberry, can be purchased on Amazon as a capsule, garlic pills, multi vitamins, vitamin C and lots of handwashing , not touching my eyes etc and grocery shopping at non peak hours. I’ve been very lucky. My husband and daughter did get shots and so I have a little herd immunity. I do encourage any family members who can get the shot to do so. I have a daughter who reacts like me so an unfortunate inheritance!

  11. Terry

    While I do get the flu shot every year, it is disappointing when learning that science got it wrong in picking which strain of flu to protect us from.

  12. Helen

    I have a relative who developed Bell’s Palsy after getting the Swine Flu shot many years ago. That made me extremely wary of the contents in such immunizations. I’m very cautious about getting shots, especially since there are various strains of the flu, and also from the shot side effects. Have not gotten a flu shot for decades and have stayed healthy.

  13. Ron
    Southern California

    We can get prescriptions for various strengths. Why can’t we get a smaller dose of Flu Vaccine, if we so choose? I get ill for a few days after receiving the flu vaccine. I haven’t taken the vaccine since the mid 90’s. I’ve only had one flu since, about eight years ago. Perhaps a smaller dose would be used by more people. The regular dose of numerous viruses can really hit the body and immune system hard. It sure does mine.

  14. Someone

    I think it’s stupid to take any vaccine that carries absolutely no liability at all from the manufacturer. They can put any garbage they want “made on the cheap” behind that needle and if your maimed in any way, your on your own. I personally think it’s more about population control than it is about preventing the flu!

  15. Fubara

    I find it disturbing that this is an anecdotal forum that makes it appear influenza inoculations cause the flu. This seems to be an unfortunate current trend in this country, with any form of preventative medicine and science based medicine. In Washington State, there are far too many families who feel that opting-out of traditional inoculations for their children is their right and thereby exposing the rest of the school aged children to preventable contagious disease.

    As a parent, I find this is irresponsible in the extreme and would not allow those children to attend any public school unless/until they are vaccinated with proof. I pay taxes for public schools and the safety of children from contagious disease, in the MODERN world is essential. Those who think otherwise should homeschool.

    I am over 70 and my physician had recommended flu shots as a preventative treatment after I had three contiguous seasons of bronchitis. After following her advice I have NEVER experienced another episode of bronchitis nor influenza. This was 15 years ago.

  16. Susan

    I was 31 in 1973 and got the flu, perhaps two different types at once. I was in bed for a month and have never been so sick. My husband had to stay home from work for two weeks with me and our young kids were farmed out to relatives. Then perhaps 12-15 years later (still no flue shots available) I got it again and was very sick for a shorter time.

    But this time, I ended up with a rumbling in my ears, when in a quiet room, that lasted for a year. So, when flu shot became available, I couldn’t wait to start getting them. I never got the flu again and I’m now 76. I’m otherwise healthy. I eat very well, am slim and exercise, don’t smoke and drink a little wine occasionally. Wouldn’t do without my flu shot!!!

  17. Mary

    You should be concerned about getting a flu shot instead. The flu will heal. The shot might not.

  18. Susan

    Influenza is the misery of miseries. I’ve had it twice, in 1971 and again in 1980. I don’t recall if there was a vaccine available at the time. I was a lot younger then, but still sick enough to miss a full week of work; it was a full month before I felt well again.

    There’s no way I’d risk getting the flu again, especially now that I’m over 65. I have an appt. to get the ‘high-dose’ vaccine next week.

    Also – I don’t get why people go and/or take their coughing, feverish children to public places – church, school, work, shopping…, when they’re sick with other Illnesses like upper respiratory infections. Either they don’t realize or don’t care what they’re passing along to the people around them.

  19. Juli

    I believe we each must do what we feel best.

    However, I urge every single person to think about what would happen if NO ONE got a vaccination to anything. If all vaccinations of all kinds stopped. Not just flu. Think about polio for a minute.

    Maybe ask yourself why vaccinations came about in the first place and what it is non-vaxers really want to happen. How could they be part of the solution?

  20. Mona
    Charlotte NC

    Saw a headline here a few weeks ago regarding the upcoming flu season. It was from an AP news article that headlined; over 80,000 people died from the flu last year. I suppose that was worldwide, all the same, I laughed when I read it. Scare tactics, warnings, etc. will continue to send the gullible, yet again, to clinics and the like for flu shots. But when you have a group of so many people, already walking around taking x amount of prescription drugs, it’s all they know.

    Strengthening one’s immune system naturally would be laughable to most I just described above. I have never taken the shot; neither has my husband. We always double up on C and D3, along with washing our hands even more, during the winter months. Common sense should prevail among many, but sadly, the western medicine agenda will once again reap the rewards and benefits this year.

    • Ladyliza
      Los Angeles

      Intravenous vitamin C cures and prevents many childhood diseases, including polio. The downside to polio is that the damage is already done by the time the symptoms are noted, so that is the one shot I allowed my children to have. Vitamin C pills can be taken to prevent many illnesses but taking them throughout the day is easier on the stomach than all at once.

    • Sally

      The 80,000 figure is for deaths in the US alone. Please, if you are going to make fun of people for trying to take care of themselves at least get your stats correct.

  21. Caroline
    High Point NC

    I struggle with the decision to get a flu shot every year based on all the news reports. Since 1990, I have had the “true flu” twice. Both times I had moved to another state and had not gotten a flu shot. For the last 13 years, I worked in retail. I got the flu shot, did not get the flu, but came down with a sore throat, which turned into sinus infection, and finally acute bronchitis. It took 3 weeks to recover. This consistent sequence of events always happened once, sometimes twice a year. I have often wondered if taking antibiotics early on would have prevented the sinus infection and bronchitis. However, that is another discussion.

    I have been retired more than two years, still get the flu shot, and have not had a sore throat, sinus infection, bronchitis, or the flu. Not being exposed to the public has apparently been very beneficial for me. I still take supplements and wash my hands frequently just like I did while I was working. I made the decision to get the flu shot in September this year because I am older and don’t want risk getting sick with the flu. I believe the risk of getting sick is not worth the risk.

  22. Carol K.

    I’d like to hear more from Laurie about elderberry. How much does she take, and in what form? I think I heard of this once before, and it was on a TV show.

    • Micki

      Just a quick note. Never, ever did I take the flu shot. Never had the flu. Then, in 2016 my husband and I flew to vacation spot for Christmas. We were 77/76 old respectively. People with 2 coughing kids sitting behind us on the plane coughed, non stop. Spreading germs. We were a captive audience so the say. They had the flu and spread germs everywhere, not covering their mouths.

      You guessed it, we both came down with the flu! By the time we flew back home, we were really sick. Myself, so sick that I had no memory of any of it, ended in the hospital upon getting home. I spent 5 days in the hospital and was told I almost died. NOT A FUN EPISODE! I decided last Oct (2017) to be pro-active and we both got a flu shot. Now, (Oct 2018) we both just got our flu shot. I am a believer! 😊

  23. Gary
    Long Grove, IL

    I wonder if a severe flu season gives stronger immunity to the population, so that the following flu season is less damaging?

  24. Michael
    Chelan, Washington

    I always get a low grade something, flu or what, when I get a flu shot, and it lasts about two weeks. So for the past 5 years I just didn’t get one. Why is it becoming common that when we get something for a medical problem the side effects make it worst than the problem you had in the first place?

    • Georgia

      I was told many years ago by a nurse in my doctor’s office to always take two Tylenol within two hours of receiving the flu shot. I have done this for 25 years and I have never had any adverse effects after receiving the flu shot.

    • Mona
      Charlotte NC

      Side effects…vaccines, especially flu shots, are a million dollar industry, if not more. Follow the money trail. Immune systems are weakened by prescription drugs and shots. Toxicity and our western diet only aggravates the issue. Return customers is what big Pharma is all about.

    • Sally

      The same thing happened to me last time, was so sick within 6-10 hours after then finally subsided within about 24 hours. Was very scary… Since I’m over 65 now, think I got the stronger dose for older people…. Yuck!!!

    • Donna

      I too started getting a reaction to the flu shot now & get knocked down for several days afterward, at least.
      Have skipped it for several years and have to decide this year on whether to take a chance on it.

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