Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of bestselling books “Eat to Live,” “Super Immunity,” and his newest book, “The End of Diabetes,” recently sent out a letter to his mailing list offer advice on staying healthy during cold and flu, as well as the effectiveness of the flu vaccine.
To avoid any viral illness, Dr. Fuhrman recommends eating right, getting enough sleep, and keeping your hands away from your face, as it is difficult to get a viral infection if you do not put your hands near your mouth or nose when in public.
“Remember, when you are in public, such as at work or school resist the temptation to touch your face or put your hands near your nose or mouth,” he said in the e-mail. “That works, because you can’t get enough virus in the orifices of your body just by breathing the air, unless someone coughs right on you.”
He also noted the flu shot is not as effective as one might think. There are more than 200 viruses that cause the flu (influenza) and influenza-like illness, and lab test are required to tell these apart.
“Even in the best-case scenario, vaccines might be effective against only some influenza A and B, but those represent less than 10 percent of all circulating viruses,” he noted.
Each year, the World Health Organization makes recommendations on which viral strains should be included in the upcoming year’s flu vaccinations, and while this may lead to some effectiveness against specific viral strains, the match to these varies from year to year.
“Even if you are in that 10 percent of sick people with flu-like symptoms who really have influenza A or B, only about half of those vaccinated will be helped by the vaccine because the other half will have strains that were not included in the vaccine,” said Fuhrman. “And even with the best matching conditions the vaccine may diminish your symptoms somewhat, but not necessarily preclude you from catching the flu.”
He quoted a study done by the internationally renowned Cochrane Collaboration, which reviewed all the relevant studies, involving over 70,000 participants – and the authors were independent from the U.S. vaccine manufacturers and the pharmaceutical and vaccine lobby, so the results were totally unbiased.
“They assessed all trials that compared vaccinated people with unvaccinated people. The combined results of these trials showed that even under ideal conditions (vaccine completely matching circulating viral configuration), 4 percent of unvaccinated people and 1 percent of vaccinated people became infected – the vaccine had only a minor benefit,” he stated. Also, in children two years and younger, the researchers found the effectiveness of the vaccine was no better than a placebo.
“The authors disagreed with the CDC’s recommendation for universal vaccination at all ages without clear evidence of significant effectiveness and safety. Certainly the elderly, the group most vulnerable to non-pandemic flu, should benefit the most, but this also is not observed as the vaccine does not work well in the elderly because of their decline in immune function,” he said.
Fuhrman pointed out that no vaccine is without risks, and for those who do choose to get a flu shot – do not get a shot from a multi-use vial, as it contains more mercury and preservatives than a single dose vial.
For more information on Dr. Fuhrman, or to sign up for his newsletter, visit www.drfuhrman.com.