Myth One: The flu isn’t that dangerous and healthy people don’t need to be vaccinated.
Deaths from influenza is consistently in the top ten causes of death in the United States. Of the three types of flu going around this year, one of them H1N1 is known as the killer of healthy people. A variant of this flu was responsible for millions of deaths after World War 1, and tens of thousands of deaths of healthy people in 2009. We never know when this type of virus will erupt again and kill healthy people. This same type of flu has been responsible for a number of world-wide outbreaks. In 2009 the H1N1 variant was responsible for killing 30,000 Americans, most of them considered to be “healthy.”
Myth Two: The flu doesn’t cause death, it is pneumonia that causes the death.
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs- that can happen from bacteria and it can happen from influenza virus. When you die from pneumonia caused from the flu virus it is often listed as “pneumonia.” If anything- we are under reporting the number of flu deaths.
The most common cause of death from the flu is from the pneumonia it causes in some people. The viral pneumonia is as deadly as bacterial pneumonia, and can set up the lungs to be infected with bacterial infection also.
The flu is not a “gut” virus- it does not cause nausea and vomiting.
Myth Three: The flu shot causes the flu.
The flu shot contains no live virus, so it is impossible to get the flu from the shot. The nasal spray contains weak live virus so it can give a mild form of the flu. It is a shot, and many people are afraid of needles, however, it is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Myth Four: The flu has come and gone, I don’t need a shot.
There are three types of flu that are going around this year. In any given season there will be two or three waves of the flu.
Myth Five: I’ve never or rarely get the flu so I don’t need the vaccine, I have super immunity.
Twenty to thirty percent of people who get the flu do not have symptoms, but they are still contagious and can pass the virus on to those who are at high risk (children, elderly, people with immune suppression). Some people think they have a mild cold, or sniffles, or allergies, but they have the flu. It is often mistaken as another infection.
At risk people are highly recommended to be vaccinated (children from 6 months to 19 years, pregnant women, anyone over age 49). But healthy people can pass the virus on to those who are unhealthy- do you have friends or family who are children, or over the age of 49? There is a reason many hospitals are requiring their doctors to have the flu shot.
Myth Six: The vaccine contains ingredients that are harmful and can cause Alzheimers.
The old myth about aluminum causing dementia are from the 1920’s and in spite of great scientific evidence showing no correlation between aluminum and dementia, these myths persist. There is no aluminum found in the brains of Alzheimers patients. Aluminum is the third most common element in the world, and is found throughout our water supply, in breast milk, and food.
Mercury has not been shown to cause autism, hundreds of papers have shown this. The amounts of it in the vaccine are small, and most of the mercury passes harmlessly through the body in a week – even in infants. There are vaccines that have no mercury in them, for those who are worried.
Formaldehyde is used as a preservative in some vaccines. It is also made by your body as a byproduct of metabolism. The amount in the vaccine is small and easily converted to harmless chemicals.
Myth Seven: The vaccine isn’t 100 percent so I will use some herbal medicine and get some Tamiflu if I get the flu.
The flu can mutate and change to make the vaccine less than 100 per cent effective. But it still decreases the risk of flu as well as decreases the duration of flu. Tamiflu and other drugs are even less effective than the vaccine and typically reduce symptoms by only half a day. It is more effective and safer to get the vaccine.
There is no herbal remedy to prevent the flu, nor is there any “healthy” food that can boost the immune system.
Vaccines work by providing a template for the white blood cells to make antibody against the flu virus. When the come in contact with the virus particle (as a vaccine) they start to make the machinery to make antibodies. If the body becomes infected with the flu they go into high production quickly. If the body has not seen the virus before it takes much longer for the body to make enough antibodies and the person suffers the flu during that time. There is no healthy good that can mimic this or cause the body to build antibodies any faster.
Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and received his MD. Dr. Simpson, a renowned weight loss surgeon, is a leading advocate of culinary medicine. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit www.terrysimpson.com.