To Get a Flu Shot or Not?

CDC doctors strongly support it, but others wonder if it can target the wrong flu strains and do no good or create side effects. What do you think?

It's one of those debates that come around this time of the year. Should you get a flu shot to stave off a potentially unpleasant illness or—as many people say—does the flu shot create risks?

According to FOX Atlanta and some medical researchers, less than 50 percent of the U.S. population receives a flu shot every year. That trend is bolstered by the growing distrust that vaccinations like flu shots can be ineffective.

Much of the resarch says that it's in the public's best interest to get a flu shot, according to the mainstream medical community.

In fact, Dr. Tom Skinner with the Centers of Disease Controls, a world renowned Atlanta organization, said the vaccinations "are the single most important thing people can do to protect themselves" during the flu season.

Doctors also promote washing hands frequently during cold and flu season as this can be one of the main causes of transmission for a host of infections, including different strains of cold an flus.

The AJC's Cyntia Tucker, a political commentator, has this to stay about the immunization controversy; not necessarily limited to just the flu:

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, Americans were grateful for immunizations. I remember standing in line at my elementary school to get my oral polio vaccine, brought to us by private foundations and government-sponsored (gasp!) health clinics. No one complained. My parents’ generation remembered polio, which crippled and killed.

But times have changed. Few alive today remember the devastation of an epidemic; mistrust of big institutions, including government, has grown; and the Internet and 24/7 cable news casts have brought us more rumors and half-truths than reliable information. So some health care workers are in a tizzy because their employers are requiring them to get vaccinated against either seasonal flu, swine flu or both.

An alternative line of thought warns against taking flu vaccines. The trend's been on the rise for several years. Some opponents of the commonly administered medical procedure claim that vaccines, including the flu vaccines, can lead to can lead to ineffective innoculation and unknown side effects.

What do you think? Are you headed to get your flu shot this season or are you skipping out due to unanswered questions about their safety. Or a too-busy schedule?

The push behind not receiving the vaccine isn;t to be takn lightly, suggest those in the alternative medical community. After all, vaccines like the injection for flu prevention include a shot containing an inactivated flu virus.

Some people suggest that's not safe, or at least counterproductive. Anne Marie Hemenstine, with a chemistry PHD, argue that flu vaccines, which is produced each flu season, is a broad-spectrum solution that target flu strains that are considered to be the most common and serious for that season.

The thinking goes, if the vaccine is administered to people with uncommon flu strains, a patient can still get sick from the ailment or reap no benefits from the vaccine, she said. She advises that there are no reasons to accept innoculations on the flu virus for strains that you are not prone too. Inert materails in the vaccine can lead to other problems.

How exactly do you determine which strain you have? Better leave that to a professionals, and—if needed—a blood work, experts say.

Leave us a comment below. Have you taken your flu shot this season? Do you avoid it because you feel ill effects afterward? Or are you afraid that the flu shot presents more danger than it is worth?

Meanwile, there are a variety of local retailers such as Rite Aid, CVS, and Wal-Mart in Dunwoody that allow walk-in appointments.

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