Feb 15, 2008

Flu Shots: Illness Inhibitor or Shameless Scam?

How many times have you been asked, "Have you gotten your flu shot yet?" Did you start to feel left out or even stupidly out of touch for not wanting to get a flu shot? Maybe you hate needles, or have been concerned about what goes into the shots. Maybe you have even questioned whether the whole flu shot thing is necessary. After all, annual flu shots are mostly U.S.-centric (with some distribution in the UK) and a product of the last 10 years or so (flu shots have been available for decades, but only recently become so readily available and so, well, promoted). Are the shots really necessary? And what's up with all the scare tactics and hype? I naturally get suspicious when I hear hype (except for coming attractions—I expect movies to be hyped—remember "Snakes on a Plane"?). So in an effort to learn more about the history and workings behind the flu shot phenomenon, here is a short course on what I found out.

Part I. What's In a Flu Shot?

Nothing that sounds even remotely good, unfortunately. According to Jeffrey Warber, D.C., M.D., these first seven items comprise the bulk of the shot, while the last is the viral part of the shot (explained further by the Centers for Disease Control).

Makes you want to just dash out and get immunized, doesn't it? But wait—it gets worse.

Look for further details in Part II.

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