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Q: What are the benefits and drawbacks of a flu (influenza) shot? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: What are the benefits and drawbacks of a flu (influenza) shot?
Category: Health > Medicine
Asked by: nancyb-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 12 Dec 2003 14:28 PST
Expires: 11 Jan 2004 14:28 PST
Question ID: 286471
What are the benefits and drawbacks of a flu (influenza) shot?
Subject: Re: What are the benefits and drawbacks of a flu (influenza) shot?
Answered By: crabcakes-ga on 12 Dec 2003 20:08 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello nancyb,

Another excellent if not contentious question! There are far more
documented reasons to get the vaccine (injectable or nasal spray
versions) than to refuse it, but plenty of flu vaccine controversy

?According to the CDC, there are very few side effects of vaccination.
Most common is soreness in the arm around the injection site; a few
people report other mild side effects, such as low-grade fever or body
aches, for a day or two following vaccination.
It is estimated that flu shots are about 70% effective in preventing
the flu. Even for those who are vaccinated and do get the flu, the
vaccine is said to reduce the severity of the infection.?

This risk is far outweighed by the amount of severe influenza
prevented by immunization.

36,000 people die annually because of the flu, but deaths from flu
vaccine are extremely small.

Flu kills more people than AIDS

From the Texas Arrythmia Institute, flu shots can be good for the
heart! Their studies suggest that antibody formation,  caused by the
vaccine help protect the heart by creating a non-specific immunity.

From the University of Maryland web site: "The No. 1 misconception is
that a flu shot can cause the flu," Campbell said. "There is no live
influenza virus in the vaccine so it can't cause the flu. The reason
people think that is because they get the vaccine in the fall and
winter when other viruses are circulating. People get a different
virus and assume it was the flu."


?Also not shown are the risk of death from the vaccine and the risk of
death among healthy individuals from natural infection. The MERCK
manual states that "recovery is the rule in uncomplicated influenza."

Thimerosol is a preservative containing mercury, found in small
amounts in the flu vaccine, and believed by some to be linked to
autism in children.

?A cause for significant concern is the vaccine?s most prevalent side
effects: "runny nose" and "nasal congestion." It has been documented
that the live viruses from the vaccine can be shed (and potentially
spread into the community) from recipient children for up to 21 days,
and even longer from adults. Viral shedding also puts breastfeeding
infants at risk if the mother has been given FluMist?

?An even more extensive list of at-risk people includes the untold
millions on drugs called corticosteroids. Prednisone®, Medrol®, and a
variety of similar medications are given to both adults and children.
These drugs are prescribed for dozens of conditions including asthma;
allergies; eczema; emphysema; Crohn?s disease; multiple sclerosis;
herniated spinal discs; acute muscular pain syndromes; and all types
of rheumatoid and autoimmune diseases. As much as 60% of the entire
population could be considered to be "chemically immunosuppressed." It
is important to realize that FluMist is CONTRAINDICATED for people who
are immunocompromised. People who receive FluMist and are living with
an immunocompromised person put their loved ones at risk.?

Although 1976 was the year associated with a few cases of flu vaccine
associated Guillain-Barré syndrome, an employee of mine came down with
it  in 1985. She was paralyzed for months, but made a complete
recovery. This made me a bit leery of the flu vaccine for a while, but
I have come to realize the benefits of getting vaccinated.
Guillain-Barré syndrome:

Who Should Not Get Flu Vaccine
People in the following groups should not get flu vaccine before
talking with their doctor:
?  People who are have a severe allergy to hens' eggs 
?  People who have had a severe reaction to a flu vaccine in the past 
?  People who previously developed Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) in
the 6 weeks after getting a flu shot


FluMist Nasal Spray Vaccine:
The Nasal Spray flu vaccine, recently licensed, uses the same three
strains as the injectable vaccine, but uses the live (attenuated)
form. This means the virus has been cultured in a way so as to weaken
the its virulence (disease causing potential). This new vaccine form
is recommended for healthy people, and seems to reduce the chance of
contracting the ?flu? by 92%.

To summarize, nancyb, there are good reasons to get the flu vaccine,
especially if you are over 50, diabetic, have heart or kidney disease,
live in a nursing or retirement home, are a health care worker, or
simply interested in greatly reducing your risk of contracting the
flu.  There are far more complications from the flu than the flu


Search Stategy:
Flu vaccine
Pros cons flu vaccine
nancyb-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thank you for your wonderful answer, which I referenced in Google
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Subject: Re: What are the benefits and drawbacks of a flu (influenza) shot?
From: steph53-ga on 12 Dec 2003 17:31 PST
Hi nancyb....

I'm not a researcher here but I have some knowledge on flu shots.
I have had a flu shot every year, usually in November, for the past 5 years.
I have never had any reaction so to speak except mabe for a sore upper
arm for a couple of days. AND.... I have NOT had the flu since...oh
the occasional bout of *not feeling up to par* but NOT the " wish I
could die" full blown flu.
However, flu shots are not recommended when someone is not feeling
well, has a cold or is allergic to eggs....
Here, in Canada, flu shots are free for all...and given the media
reports on recent deaths of the current strain of flu, most people and
children have had their shots.


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