You know its really fall season when the flu-shot campaign gets underway. All of a sudden there are radio news ads, paid by the government , advising the public that the local clinics are open for business. I decided it was finally time that I shared my perspective on this subject for your consideration. Along with vaccinations, flu injections have been a controversial topic for many years. While I have chosen to remain politically neutral over the years, I have made some observations from my research and experience

As a chiropractor, I have been taught certain edicts that I still believe to be true. The primary being that the body is a self healing and self regulating organism. For self healing to occur, there must be an innate immune system and repair system present. If one falls and breaks a bone, the immune system signals an inflammatory reaction by summoning blood, stem cells and bone marrow to the fracture site. From here, new bone and cartilage formation form around the break to initiate bone healing.
When a person is exposed to various germs like viruses and bacteria , it is the immune defense system that recognizes the invaders and forms the necessary antibodies to attack the bacteria. The stronger the immune response , the more successful the attempt in defeating the germ. So what makes for a stronger immune response? The same answer as to what makes a stronger muscle. By challenging it. By overcoming exposure, we challenge the immune response to become more equipped to deal with the presence of germs. When a doctor or school teacher is first starting out in their career, they often report a much higher incidence of sickness , colds and flues because of the high exposure to sick patients and children. Within a few months, repeated exposure builds a stronger immune response and years can go by without succumbing to an illness.
In my personal 26 year clinical experience in practice, I have not succumbed to the flu in over 2 decades and I have never had a flu shot. Does this mean I am advocating the same for everyone? Absolutely not!!!
Every individual has a unique circumstance and it is everyone’s responsibility to choose what is best for them.
However, my stand in this matter is that you weigh your decision with an open mindset. Vaccinations are a controversial subject for a reason. It is because compelling arguments can be made on either side. Herein lies the dilemma. We have the wondrous technological presence of the internet with unlimited access to hundreds of articles, advertisements and research on this subject. However, the search engines are designed to constantly feed you with related articles that express the same perspective. Once you read articles that profess that flu vaccinations are harmful, then you will invariably receive links to similar articles with the same conclusion. This will unwittingly pave the way for a confirmation bias that causes you to further seek additional information that reaffirms your beliefs. No matter what the research demonstrates, the opposing side will always find additional research to challenge and discredit the findings.
So where does that leave you? Here is what I recommend to my patients

1.    If you have a belief, hold onto it loosely. Be willing to challenge your inclination by looking at arguments from the other side.(there are no shortage)

2.   Consider your personal circumstances. If you are elderly and/or immunological challenged, it may be advisable to get additional assistance from a vaccination because you may not have the immunological strength to fight off a flu and may dangerously succumb to the illness. Controversial, If you are a young healthy/ child or adult, it may be worth considering building a naturally stronger immune response through repeated exposure. You may get sick once, but your defense system will always be more prepared to fight off subsequent attacks.

3.   Consider your environment. Are you in a vocation or living arrangement where you are continuously exposed to other immunological weaker individuals that may increase their probability of succumbing by your exposure to them?

4.   Don’t be swayed by one source (including mine!) There are many factors to consider and it is wise to consult doctors, health experts and family from both sides.

5.   Don’t be swayed by horror stories. There are plenty out there from both sides and that is just manipulative tactics to evoke an emotional response. Your decision should be brought about through educated reason, not fear!

If you have any additional questions or concerns on this subject please weigh in and share your experience