Every year, influenza injections become more and more available. You can get one at your local grocery or drug store without the hassle of going to the doctor’s office. Community centers often offer them for free on a designated day. But should you inject yourself before you do your research?
Influenza Injections: What’s in the Vaccine?
Every year, the US Public Health Service identifies three strains of the flu virus which they consider to be the most harmful to the public and most likely to spread. The viruses are grown in egg cultures, purified, and made inactive to create the vaccine. Vaccines can be administered through injection in the upper arm or as a nasal mist.
The flu vaccine not only contains egg, which will be harmful to anyone allergic to eggs, but it also contains mercury. Thimerosal is a preservative added to the vaccine to combat bacterial contamination; the mercury comes from this ingredient and is very harmful.
All government agencies and most doctors recommend the flu shot for everyone from the age of 2. Those who are especially at risk for the flu are the elderly, pregnant women, young children, and people who are already unhealthy or have compromised immune systems due to disease.
Pros and Cons of Influenza Injections
Depending on the source, the pros of influenza injections vary. People who support the flu shot maintain that the vaccine lowers your chance of getting the flu.
Government agencies, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies will argue that the flu shot reduces the risk of illness, work absenteeism, and doctor’s visits for upper respiratory problems. Other studies have shown that these effects have been exaggerated.
Also there is no decline in the flu-related deaths in elderly people that receive the flu shot. Even with the flu shot, there is a possibility you will experience flu-like symptoms.
Also the exposure to mercury is a concern. The Fluzone vaccine for infants contains 25 micrograms of mercury in each 0.5mL dose. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that mercury exposure be limited to 0.1 microgram per kilogram of body weight per day. Mercury has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and autism. This evidence suggests that the vaccine poses a danger to pregnant women and infants, yet the government still highly recommends it.
Influenza injections come with the risk of adverse reactions, just like any drug. These reactions can include:
- Anaphylactic shock
- Joint inflammation
- Guillain-Barré syndrome (a paralytic autoimmune disease).
The Best Way to Prevent Influenza
If you choose not to get a flu shot, there are other ways to prevent infection. People who are healthy are less likely to get the flu. If you eat a healthy diet, exercise, get plenty of rest, and take vitamin C, you significantly reduce your chances of contracting the influenza virus. Also, wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitizer, and disinfect commonly used surfaces like door knobs.
Whether you support influenza injections or not, it is best to do research on any drug that you take. All medications and vaccines come with risks. Discuss any treatment with your health care professional in addition to studying on your own. Making wise decisions and living a healthy lifestyle is the best way to keep from getting sick.