Well, here we are again right at the front of that season of the year….pumpkin pies, changing leaves, eggnog and….flu vaccines! To be sure, this can be a concern with lost time from work or school, the general misery the flu creates and more severe secondary complications like pneumonia. So we see signs and banners for flu vaccines nearly everywhere; we’re told that the flu vaccine is the most effective means at flu prevention. But is it really? In the Cochrane Database Review, probably one of the most highly regarded vehicles for reviewing scientific studies, there is substantive questions of this claim. Alternatively, very few options of a less aggressive, interventional nature are discussed.
The Cochrane Database Review published four reports each on the effectiveness of flu vaccines in both older Americans and infants and all four reviews had negative outcomes! In children, a large review of over 50 studies done in 2006 found that no evidence is present that the flu vaccine is any better than placebo in children under two years of age. Subsequently, another Cochrane review in 2008 demonstrated that little evidence is available regarding effectiveness of the flu vaccine in children under two. Remarkably, another Cochrane Database Review of studies of flu efficacy in the elderly (the population for whom this type of vaccine was orginially deveoloped), further demonstrated that “The available evidence is of poor quality and provides no guidance regading the safety, efficacy or effectiveneess of the influenza vaccines for pople aged 65 years or older.” A review of the available literature was also done to examine whether vaccinating health care workers can assist in providing protection to their older patients. The result noted “…no evidence that vaccinating health care workers prevnts influena in elderly residents in long term care facilities”.
By contrast, there are effective and safe ways to minimize flu contraction….and let’s begin in this blog with Vitamin D! If we continue to look at children and influenza, in a study from 2010 that, unfortunately, just didn’t get much attention, demonstrated vitamin D is quite an efficient way to prevent influenza. Children who took low doses were shown to be 42 percent less likely to come down with the flu! And that is at relatively low doses….we can safely surmise that elevated doses to get the levels of Vitamin D in the blood to appropriate levels would be even more effective at reducing the numbers of flu episodes!
It has been shown that Vitamin D directly effects our immune system to be more efficient and strong….with virtually no adverse reactions and next to no cost! It is truly a wonderful means to reduce the risk of influenza and other infections for the entire family. Next time your in the office, just ask and we’ll address this very important area and be sure you’re protected, too!