Shelley Scott, Flamborough Information and Community Services
Before you opt for the flu shot, be sure you are making an informed decision by considering some of the pros and cons associated with flu vaccination.
Pros: Supporters say that flu shots can greatly lower your chance of getting the flu. If the strains in the shot match the virus you are exposed to, it can prevent disease completely in healthy adults with a robust immune system. But when given to older persons and those with frail immune systems, its principle goal is to reduce severity of symptoms and help prevent complications of the flu, namely pneumonia, hospitalization and death for those who get it.
The best time to get the shot is from mid-October to mid-November, because most people get the flu in winter. The shot can’t cause the flu, but you may feel sore or weak or have a fever for a few days.
Flu shots are strongly recommended for people 65 or older, nursing home patients, people over six months old with health problems and people who are often around older people or those with health problems.
Risks: Emerging evidence suggests that flu shots cause Alzheimer’s disease, most likely as a result of combining mercury with aluminum and formaldehyde. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin.
Adverse reactions to the flu vaccine include joint inflammation and arthritis, anaphylactic shock and other life-threatening allergic reactions, Guillain-Barré syndrome and death.
Talk to your doctor before getting a flu shot if you have certain allergies (especially to eggs), have an illness, such as pneumonia, have a high fever or are pregnant.
The flu shot does not typically confer immunity in the same way other vaccines do. The influenza virus is is constantly changing. Each year’s formulation represents the experts’ best guess as to what will work.
The City of Hamilton Public Health Service is holding a flu shot clinic at Waterdown District High School, Monday, October 29 from 4-8 p.m. For information on upcoming clinics 905-546-2489.