Influenza statistics are in from last year.  2009 turned out the fewest cases of the flu in about ten years.  Also of note was that the flu shot saw its lowest buy rate in the last ten years, most likely due to the tough economic times.  So, you may also find it interesting that this year has seen the most wide spread marketing campaign to date for the flu shot.  Even in airports, they are doing flu shots.  I feel like I cannot throw a rock without hitting a place that is selling a flu shot. 

I have a couple of nurses that are patients in the office and I like to share stuff like the above with them to make sure I keep challenging them to think differently amidst their daily mega-dose of pharmaceuticals.  Upon sharing the flu shot stats with one of said nurses, I was told that they make flu shots mandatory for hospital staff.  If you don't get your flu shot, then you'll lose your job.  Get the flu shot or hand us your resignation.  Wonderful options, huh?

As of this writing, several nations abroad are banning flu shots for kids because of the numerous adverse affects associated.  One little girl died from complications following a flu shot and over 750 others reported severe side effects ranging from narcolepsy (falling asleep at random) to violent illness.  Numerous investigations are being launched, as a result.  So, ask yourself the following question: if it's being banned for kids, why are we so anxious to take it?  And why is it that it's a fireable offense if you choose to be the one that does the research, understands that it is far from necessary, and decides against getting it?

The flu shot is compromised of the 3 most common strains of flu virus from the previous year.  You might be interested to know that no three strains have ever repeated as most common from one year to the next.  Your getting immune to strains of flu that aren't likely to be around; your getting last year's flu.  What good does that do?  Old, expired milk doesn't do your body good does it?  Why would old flu?

I've mentioned in the past that the best way to combat any virus - flu or other - is to keep your immune system strong.  Viruses aren't predators.  They don't fly around the air attacking people at random.  They are more like scavengers; they only attack people that have immune system's weak enough for them to be able to proliferate and thrive.  When your immune system is not firing on all cylinders, so to speak, then you're a target for viruses like blood in the water is to a shark.

Some would argue that the primary reason for the increased marketing campaign for flu shots is that it's a cash cow.  Flu shots make pharmaceutical companies a lot of money every year.  Last year, profits were down.  This year, spend more advertising dollars, make the shot more readily available, and hope that profits return to normal.  I'm not one to normally come right out and write that big pharma is more concerned about the bottom line than what is healthy for you, but I was recently sent the following quote:  "I want to sell drugs to everyone.  I want to sell drugs to healthy people.  I want drugs to sell like chewing gum."  That is a quote from CEO Henry Gadsden of top pharmaceutical company, Merck, from about 30 years ago. 

Food for thought...

Thinking good things for you,

Dr. Chad