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Northern Star Online

Why flu shots may not be worth the risk

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Posted: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 10:10 pm

At the start of the "flu season," everyone starts to rush off to receive their flu shots. However, when going through the positive and negative effects experienced by those who choose to get the flu shot, it is hard to believe that they are actually worth it.

Yet, people are still convinced that they are not only necessary, but that they should also be mandatory.

"The societal or public health consequences of the flu are significant and I believe flu vaccines are important," said Jim Ciesla, professor of public health. "Some of the costs of the flu include time lost from work, medical expenses, costs of treating serious medical complications and even death. Flu vaccines greatly reduce the societal costs of the flu."

The problem with this statement is that you can still get sick even if you receive the flu shot. The vaccine protects you from a certain strand of the flu virus but not all of them. So if you get infected with the one that you were not protected from, you still are going to miss work and other important activities.

According to an http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/news/20101007/why-some-will-get-flu-vaccine-and-why-some-wont"> article on WebMD.com, Fifty-one percent of Americans worry about the ingredients inside of the vaccine. Considering the fact that a recent Truestar Health http://www.truestarhealth.com/members/cm_archives07ML4P1A10.html">article explains that the flu vaccine contains mercury from thimerosal, a preservative used to prevent bacterial contamination, perhaps they are right to worry.

Mercury has also been linked to an increase in the risk of Alzheimer's disease, dementia, memory loss, depression, anxiety, ADD, heart disease, hypertension and birth defects.

"I believe it is important for our children to have the flu vaccine as they are exposed to many germs in day care or school," said physician assistant Venessa Laskey. "It is mandatory at some hospitals that the staff get flu shots since they are exposed to the patients coming to the hospital that are ill; it protects the employees and their families."

According to a recent http://www.aolhealth.com/2011/01/21/flu-vaccine-infant-seizure-risk/?a_dgi=aolshare_facebook"> interview with FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess, some vaccinations may be linked to some recent cases of febrile seizures in children ages six to 23 months.

When a child starts to shake uncontrollably and lose consciousness, it sounds like this shot is more dangerous than many people realize.

Although these febrile seizures in children of this age are usually the result of common childhood illnesses like the flu, it may not actually be worth the risk to give these vaccinations to children considering that the FDA http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/ucm240037.htm"> reports that only nine out of ten thousand children ages six to 23 months are hospitalized due to flu symptoms during each flu season.

Everyone wants to stay healthy throughout the year, but flu shots just seem like an extraneous precaution that can go wrong. So really, what is the great advantage of getting the flu shot?

Personally, I will trust my body's immune system over the vaccination.

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