I decided to make videos regarding controversial topics in healthcare that we get asked about on a daily basis. We will present the evidence and arguments and give our recommendations. Each will have a short video followed by a blog post that will list studies and information not mentioned in the video.
- As a family physician I am supposed to recommend YEARLY vaccines to anyone over the age of 6 months
- The flu shot (influenza vaccine) is extremely controversial on the internet. My facebook page generally blows up when I merely mention the flu shot similarly to religion and politics (for some reason).
- Is there evidence that it prevents the flu in the young healthy population? There is a little bit of evidence it does (you need to give 33 – 100 vaccines to prevent 1 case of flu), but it depends on the season and how well the experts matched the vaccine with the circulating viruses (Read more at the CDC’s website).
- What about the elderly? The smart people at Cochrane seem to think there is insufficient evidence when looking at all of the studies. I reviewed a few of the individual studies and found similar findings.
- BUT….. I have personally seen about 5-10 elderly folks in the past couple weeks get hospitalized (or nearly hospitalized) due to the flu (some of which also got pneumonia). NONE of these patients got the flu shot this year and looking at the most current data it seems the experts matched the vaccine pretty well with the strains floating around (see above on how that works). Yes this is anecdotal but this kind of goes along with the mammogram arguments (I will likely post about this at a later date).
- SO….. my question is – If the side effects are pretty low AND there is CHANCE of decreasing your chance of the flu AND complications CAN come from the flu… then why not get it? At least if you are elderly and at risk for said complications? I honestly don’t know. Maybe someone can explain to me as to why not. Is it because you’re against big pharma? Is it because there is some unknown potential long-term side effect we don’t know about yet? Let me know below!
- One thing is for sure, eat well, sleep well, exercise consistently, manage your stress daily, and WASH YOUR HANDS to protect yourself from most illnesses 🙂