It’s flu season again. Each year approximately 5-20 percent of U.S. residents get the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu-related complications. Most people who get the flu feel much better within one or two weeks. But in some extreme cases, the flu can lead to death.

The seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness that spreads between people. That means if you have the flu, you’re contagious one day before symptoms develop to 5-7 days after symptoms appear. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be contagious for a longer period.

Most experts believe that you get the flu when a person with the flu coughs, sneezes, or talks and droplets containing their germs land in your mouth or nose. You can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes, or nose.

For seniors, the seasonal flu can be very serious, even deadly. Ninety percent of flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations occur in people age 65 and older. That is because as you age, your immune system weakens. This weakening makes seniors — adults 65 years and older — more susceptible to the flu.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year. The CDC states that everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated against the flu since “vaccination is the best way to protect yourself from the flu.”

However, getting a flu shot doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get the flu. In fact, the shot is only about 55 percent effective in preventing the flu. That’s just slightly better than a coin toss. Why? Possibly for several reasons. The most likely reason is that “flu experts” guessed wrong, i.e., the vaccine will not protect against the virus that is actually circulating.

Say what??? At the beginning of each year, health officials travel to China to assess circulating flu viruses in that region of the world. They try to guess which strains will reach the United States by the end of the year. Production begins, and the new vaccine is usually available by October.

The problem is that there are three main types of flu virus, and each type can mutate, or change, from year to year. Thus, there are literally thousands of possible strains. But which strains do we vaccinate against? The 2012-2013 flu vaccine is made from the following three viruses (source: CDC website):

– A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus
– A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus
– B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus

The CDC website admits that the 2012-2013 flu vaccine will not protect against the H3N2v flu, associated with exposure to swine, which resulted in more than 300 flu cases in 2011 and 2012. The 2012-2013 flu vaccine will also not protect people exposed to the virus right after getting the shot, before their immunity kicks in.

Although the CDC claims that flu vaccines are “safe,” their website warns of possible “side effects.” Signs of a serious allergic reaction can include difficulty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, swelling around the eyes or lips, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heartbeat or dizziness.

In addition, the CDC warns that people who have had a severe (life-threatening) allergy or reaction to a previous flu vaccine should not be vaccinated. After vaccination you should look for any unusual condition, such as a high fever or behavior changes. If any unusual condition occurs following vaccination, seek medical attention right away.

People who have an allergy to eating eggs should discuss flu vaccination with their doctor. Eggs??? What do eggs have to do with it? Let’s take a look at what they actually put in those flu shots (source: CDC):

– Egg proteins: including avian contaminant viruses
– Formaldehyde: a known carcinogen
– Sodium Deoxycholate: a strong detergent
– Thimerosal: mercury compound linked to autism
– Octoxynol-10: food additive used for adhesion
– Gelatin: can cause allergic reactions and anaphylaxis are usually associated with sensitivity to egg or gelatin
– Polysorbate 80 (Tween80™): can cause severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. Also associated with infertility in female mice.
– Sucrose: table sugar

Now, I’m not a scientist, but as I understand it, a flu vaccine injects foreign animal proteins and chicken DNA into your body. Not only that, but you are also getting a cocktail of mercury, formaldehyde and other chemicals that can cause cancer and other neurological disorders. I think I’d rather have the flu. How about you?

And what about your children (or grandchildren)? In a review of more than 51 studies involving more than 294,000 children, it was found there was “no evidence that injecting children 6-24 months of age with a flu shot was any more effective than placebo. In children over 2 years, it was only effective 33 percent of the time in preventing the flu.” (Source: “Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy children.” The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2 (2008)).

So why get the flu vaccine when study after study shows they really don’t work? What’s worse, some very healthy people have had very serious adverse reactions to the flu shot, including paralyzation and even death. Many studies have linked the flu shot to autism, sterility, Alzheimer’s disease, and narcolepsy.

“But Judd, my grandchild’s school requires that they get vaccinated to go to school.” THEN GET A WAIVER. Under California law, a parent or guardian may have a child exempted from required immunizations if immunization is contrary to his/her beliefs (California Health and Safety Code §120365). However, if allowed and an outbreak occurs, your student will be quickly excluded from school.

Schools have standardized procedures for parents and guardians who request a personal beliefs exemption. Unfortunately, colleges, i.e., UCs or CSUs, may refuse students who have not received one or more immunizations even with a waiver for a personal belief exemption for student housing.

In conclusion, think twice before you get that flu shot. Quite possibly, the best thing you can do to avoid the flu this season is to:

– Take vitamin D — helps human immune system.
– Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
– Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
– Practice good health habits. Get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat healthy food.
– Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
– If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

To be continued….

Judd Matsunaga, Esq., is the founding partner of the Law Offices of Matsunaga & Associates, specializing in Estate/Medi-Cal Planning, Probate, Personal Injury and Real Estate Law. With offices in Torrance, Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Pasadena Fountain Valley, he can be reached at (800) 411-0546.Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Rafu Shimpo.

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  1. This is one of the best…..common sense…informative….without the confusion medical experts purposefully add to the conversation. You have saved the readers a lot of sifting through supposed medical literature that upon inspection is often selling disillusion. Cochrane Collaboration would agree….the shots are pretty useless. I believe a Canadian report recently said the flu shot helped spread H1N1.

  2. I have gotten flu shots the past 5 years without any problem. October 2012 I got a flu shot. 2 – 3 hours laterI had a severe allergic reaction which caused an ambulance run to the nearest hospital. Hives, itching, swelling, loss of comprehension and blood pressure dropped to 74/44. Never been allergic to eggs. Scared me quite abit. Doctor at the hospital, my primary care physician and an allegy specialist all had similar commetns: “…couldn’t have been the flu shot”, Why couldn’t it? If the vaccine changes yearly perhaps some ingredient triggered my reaction. It is possible.