At this time of the year, the get-your-flu-shot sales pitch is in full roar. In fact, the roar is so loud, you can only barely hear the sound of science getting bulldozed in the process.
You can reduce the risk of getting colds and influenza this winter. Unfortunately, getting a flu shot is a bad way to do it. You see, according to the research, the flu shot doesn't really work that well.
Take the elderly population, for example, who are the hardest-hit target of the vaccination sales pitch. According to the popular wisdom, this group is the most susceptible to getting the flu, and also the group most likely to die from the flu. Therefore, everyone over the age of 65 should be getting a flu shot, right?
Wrong. According to the most comprehensive study done to date, flu vaccination does not reduce mortality among the elderly. (Archives of Internal Medicine, Feb. 14, 2005) In other words, the flu shot does absolutely nothing to reduce the risk of death from getting the flu.
That's ok, you say, at least the kids should get it, right?
Well, not really. Again, let's look at the research. The second group being targeted by the drug companies for influenza vaccination are children. But according to the world-respected Cochrane Reviews, neither spray vaccines nor injected vaccines prevent the flu very well, stating that there is "no evidence that injecting children...with flu vaccines is any more effective than placebo." The study additionally noted that inadequate safety studies have been conducted on the use of influenza vaccines on children.
Do you really want your child to be part of a mass experiment?
Finally, what about healthy adults? Here again, the research is clear. As summarized by the Cochrane Reviews, "there is not enough evidence to decide whether routine vaccination to prevent influenza in healthy adults is effective."
Which is a polite way of saying don't bother.
Interestingly, in comparison, alternative medicine has a number of well-researched, well-documented ways of helping you to avoid winter's infections. To discover what they are, your best bet would be to make an appointment to see your chiropractic physician.