Flu Prevention ... Not Flu Shot
Isn't it strange that the same type of viruses may not have the same affect on
everyone? Some get very sick, some may die, while others only experience minor
flu-like symptoms and recover quickly. The answer may be found within our
individual bodies immune defense system. The immune system is one of the most
complex parts of the human body, protecting us from colds, flu, and a host of
other viral and bacterial pathogens.
Dr. Ray Sahelian, M.D.,the country's leading expert on nutritional science and
author of numerous nutritional books including, Mind Boosters, Finally The
Common Cold Cure and Saw Palmetto Nature's Prostate Healer, describes the
strategy of the immune system and how it functions:
The function of the immune system is to defend the body against invaders.
Microbes (germs or microorganisms), cancer cells, and transplanted tissues of
organs are all interpreted by the immune system as nonsales against which the
body must be defended. Although the immune system is intricate, its basic
strategy is simple: to recognize the enemy, mobilize forces, and attack.
Understanding the anatomy and components of the immune system makes it possible
to see how this strategy works.
The immune system maintains its own system of circulation-the lymphatic
vessels-which permeates every organ in the body except the brain. The lymphatic
vessels contain a pale, thick fluid (lymph) consisting of a fat-laden liquid
and white blood cells.
Along the lymphatic vessels are special areas-the lymph nodes, tonsils, bone
marrow, spleen, liver, lungs, and intestines-where lymphocytes* can be
recruited, mobilized, and deployed to appropriate sites as part of the immune
response. The ingenious design of this system ensures the ready availability
and quick assembly of an immune response anywhere it is needed. This system can
be seen at work when a wound or infection in a fingertip leads to an enlarged
lymph node at the elbow, or when a throat infection causes the lymph nodes
under the jaw to swell. The lymph nodes swell because the lymphatic vessels
drain the infection by carrying it to the nearest area where an immune response
can be organized.
* Lymphocytes: The main cell of the lymphatic system, further categorized as B
lymphocytes (which produce antibodies) and T lymphocytes (which help the body
distinguish self from nonsales).
Flu Shot "Totally Worthless" at Reducing Death Rate in Elderly
Influenza vaccination has no significant effect on death rates among the
elderly, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of
Alberta, Canada. Previous studies have concluded that getting a flu shot
reduces an elderly person's risk of dying from any cause by 50 percent, a claim
that other scientists have challenged as unlikely.
"Over the last two decades in the United Sates, even while [flu] vaccination
rates among the elderly have increased from 15 to 65 percent, there has been no
commensurate decrease in hospital admissions or all-cause mortality,"
researcher Dean T. Eurich said. "Further, only about 10 percent of winter-time
deaths in the United States are attributable to influenza, thus to suggest that
the vaccine can reduce 50 percent of deaths from all causes is implausible in
Researchers compared rates of influenza, pneumonia and death among 700 people,
85 percent of them over the age of 64. Half the participants were given a flu
shot, while half were not. The researchers found that prior to adjusting for
any confounding factors, 15 percent of those in the unvaccinated group died,
compared with only 8 percent of those in the unvaccinated group - consistent
with the previously reported 50 percent mortality reduction. However, once
researchers adjusted for other predictors of mortality such as overall health
and socioeconomic status, the difference between the two groups disappeared.
This suggests, the researchers said, that the previously observed decreases in
mortality from flu vaccination merely come from the so-called "healthy-user
effect" and have nothing to do with the vaccine itself. "The healthy-user
effect," said lead researcher Sumit Majumdar, "is seen in what doctors often
refer to as their 'good' patients - patients who are well-informed about their
health, who exercise regularly, do not smoke or have quit, drink only in
moderation, watch what they eat, come in regularly for health maintenance
visits and disease screenings, take their medications exactly as prescribed,
and quite religiously get vaccinated each year so as to stay healthy." It is
thus the healthy habits that reduce the risk of death, the researchers
suggested, and not the flu vaccine.