17. 11. 2010

The Flu Vaccine Dilema

I definitely don’t consider it my place to tell a patient whether they should get the flu vaccine or not. As a naturopathic doctor I view my role as a consultant. I provide the facts and figures, and my patient can then decide what they consider to be the best course of action for themselves. Of course I give my professional opinion, but I am well aware that I could never force a patient to exercise, eat brown rice or even take a vitamin. My personal philosophy is that patients need to be well informed in order to make the best decisions for their own health.  I think this applies to all forms of treatments, whether someone is taking homeopathic medicines or antibiotics. It’s important to know the benefits as well as the possible side effects, especially because often times the side effects can be counteracted. Using the example of antibiotics, if a patient takes “friendly” bacteria such as Lactobacilus Acidophilus during the course of their treatment, they can avoid possible unpleasant side effects like diarrhea, gas and bloating.
In the case of the flu vaccine, and vaccines in general, there is much heated debate from both sides of the argument. It is a very sensitive subject, one which is impossible to fully address in this brief blog post. I will take the opportunity however, to talk about some very important information you can research in order to make an informed decision about the flu vaccine.
1. Your child: The number one thing to consider is your child. Your child’s body is unique and how their body reacts to different substances like vaccines is also unique. Ask yourself, how was his or her previous vaccine experience? Were there any strange symptoms like incessant crying and screaming? Did your child become unresponsive, limp? Did they develop a persistent high fever (40°C)? Or sleep for excessive periods of time? If this is the case, discuss these concerns with your doctor. Trust your instinct. You know your child best!
2. Ingredients: Read the package inserts for the vaccines you plan to give your child, just as you would read the ingredient list of a packaged food item before you buy it. You can ask for the package insert from the hospital or clinic, but…
Read the original Dr. Mom blog post published in November 2010 on Beijing-kids.com here.

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