Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Flu shot: Do or die... or pass me by?

It is that time of the year again: Winter in South Africa. W-e-l-l.... supposed to be autumn but it certainly doesn’t feel that way. It’s on the radio, television, brochures, posters, newspapers... just about everywhere they are advertising for people to get a flu shot.

Please note that this is not a research paper based on medical or statistical facts. This is just me saying I don’t think it is such a good idea - for adults anyway...

There are those who firmly believe that getting a flu shot is good for you. Apparently, from what I hear, it is supposed to strengthen your body’s immunity somehow by letting it create anti-bodies that is supposed to help it fight flu. And, apparently this happens by your actually getting sick. Isn’t that precisely what we are trying to avoid?

How do you know who got a flu shot? Simple! Just watch for those who are sick (in my experience).


They went to get the flu shot and within a few days they are as sick as dogs. After paying to get sick you now have to pay to see the doctor for a prescription and pay to have it filled – which nowadays could cost you an arm and a leg. Some get to stay in bed for a few days and some are not that lucky. Some refuse to and they are often the ones who stay sick all winter long. What a lot of good the injection did them? And to think that they had to pay to get sick to begin with...

From what I’ve seen it would seem that most people get the flu once during winter. Then, if the flu injection makes you sick to build anti-bodies for something you are likely to only have once anyway... then tell me again: what is the anti-bodies for? Your chance of getting the flu again is slim – even without the injection.

From where I’m standing your options – under considered normal circumstances - would be between having flu once vs. not having it at all, right? My choice is to not have it at all! Therefore – for me - it only naturally means to avoid the flu injection at all cost.

What is my game plan for the winter then? I opt to continue taking (or start taking) a nutritional supplement / multi vitamin – especially vitamin C. I usually increase my intake of citrus fruit (i.e. oranges, naartjies, etc.) – nature's own winter medicine. Isn’t it fascinating how that is the fruit for winter – precisely in the season that we need it most? How wonderful! (and certainly much cheaper than doctor’s bills and the expensive medicine that they prescribe). Drinking lots of water remains very important. I prefer water at room temperature in winter. It is cold enough as it is. Why discourage yourself from drinking water any more than you may already be? Eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Your body needs all the help it can get. And dress warm of course.

Do you believe in the flu injection and if so, why? Or have you maybe been an exception where you got it and actually did not get sick? What do you do to take care of your health during the cold winter months?


  1. I don’t ... I NEVER get one ! I feel it is important for your body to build up its immune system naturally. What if someday there were no shots (or not enough) to rely on, or too many ever changing strains ??? ... Your body becomes dependant not strong and resilient. I like your idea Liane ... the nutrition and "preventative maintenance" has always been my choice.


  2. I never get a flu shot. The only shots I like involve adult beverages straight up in a tiny little glass.

  3. Nope, had it once and got sicker than any other winter.

  4. GARETT, that is an interesting point: what if you become dependent on it and then (for some reason) it is not (sufficiently) available? We were created so wonderfully! Why not just add some brain activity to that, huh? ;)

  5. TRACY, that beats a needle and a painful bruise by far - even tastes better! :) Do you have a favorite one?

  6. Had the discussion with my cousin whom is a GP. You will get mildly sick from it for the first 2 years or so and thereafter no more flu ever if you take the yearly shots.

    One has also to consider that 500,000 people a year die from flu. had they taken their shot, they would be alive today.

  7. Well, CINDY, at least now you know exactly how your body responds to the injection. You don't have to wonder anymore :)With your adventurous food experiments you're eating so much of what is good for you all the time. Your body is lucky to have you for that, and so is your family :)

  8. WOW, SPEAR! That is a big number. Question: I'm curious about who makes up the number? Is it poor people who can't afford healthy living, let alone going to the doctor? How many of those might be homeless people who get sick because of their living conditions out in the cold? My question is whether these deaths are in people who are able to take good care of themselves and die of flu anyway, or underprivileged people who are not always able to prevent it because of their impoverished living conditions. If it is the latter then my guess is that those people can't afford the shot to begin with, and healthy people getting the shot won't prevent those deaths. Then those who can afford to get the shot won't change the number. Also, is that a worldwide figure? What are your thoughts? I love a good debate :)

  9. It probably are poor people and the figure is from the World Health Organization. That is the figure World Wide.

    One has to ask, does it matter if they are poor? Flu don't discriminate. If you don't take your shot you might become very sick and die, even if you eat helty etc. Not to say eating healthy etc doesn't work. It does help for sure.

    Especially people who are considered high risk like pregnant women, people with chronic illnesses, the HIV-positive, people over 65 and children under five should get their shots. These people get free flu shots in SA.

    To sum up, don't take it and you might be fine, but then again, you might not. Personally I never get flu and never take the shot, but I live in a hot climate here in Abu Dhabi where our winter is like summer in SA. If I were in SA, I would take the shot.

  10. No, flu certainly don't discriminate but poor could mean malnutrition and no warm home, clothes, bed or bath, which automatically makes you more vulnerable to illness. However, I didn't know that the shot was free to anyone. That's interesting! I wonder if they know it.

    Neither did I consider pregnant woman or those with weak immunity like HIV.

    Thanks for an interesting wider perspective, Spear! Hope you're enjoying the warmer weather :)

  11. No, I miss winter. We only have 2 seasons here, hot and f-ing hot. It gets too much! Today is 47 Celsius!

  12. A time and season for everything, huh? We're having min -2 and max 17 today. Hope it is not a humid 47. Stay cool, k! (and remember: lots of water ;)