In this video, I wanted to talk about the flu shot. Especially during this COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been asked a lot of times should I get the flu shot or not? Now, one of the first things I want to mention is that as a functional medicine doctor talking about vaccines, I understand this is like putting my head in a guillotine. So, before you make any kind of anti-vaccine comments or pro-vaccine comments, please just watch the video through because I understand that this is a controversial topic and every patient has their right to decide what they want to do. This video is designed to be an informative video. I’m not selling anything. I’m not necessarily promoting anything. This video is designed to help you decide whether you should take the flu vaccine or not.
So, one of the important things about the vaccine movement is that there are two sides to this story. One side is true. The other side is true. But neither side is the truth. You really have to take both sides of this to come up with the truth. So, if you want to understand the dangers of vaccines, then you want to go look at what the anti-vaxxers are saying. If you want to understand the benefits of vaccines, then go to more of the conventional medicine side of things and understand why they’re saying that you should get the vaccines. And then, the truth is somewhere in between that. Let’s use our noggin, guys, and come up with what works best for you.
So, vaccine disclaimers. It seems to be talking about vaccines is basically like talking about politics and religion, you just don’t do it. So, I’m breaking the ice. I’m talking about vaccines and here we go. So, you are allowed to have an opinion. I’m allowed to have an opinion. Just because it’s my opinion doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Just because your opinion doesn’t mean it’s wrong. So, might want to keep your opinions to yourself.
You are allowed to make your own choice. It is your body. It is your family. You get to decide whether you have a flu vaccine or not. And you don’t need to dictate whether others do it or not. In fact, you should be on board with others taking the flu vaccine, because if they get it, then they’re less likely to spread it to you. And you don’t have the risk, but you got the benefit. So, you should make an informed decision. You should not decide that you’re not going to get the flu vaccine because you read one article about how vaccines are bad and vaccines are toxic. And you also, on the flip side, should not get a flu vaccine just because someone told you, you should. You need to understand that to every benefit there is a risk. That is everything we do in medicine there’s risks and benefits. And you’ve got to determine what’s right for you based on your situation.
And you should never listen to one side of the argument. If you Google, how many people die of water, drowning every year, you’d find out that water is terrible. Water kills tons of people. But we also know that we survive on water. So, it depends on what you’re Googling, and your friend circle, and what social media is putting down your throat. That may not be the entire side of the argument. So, look at the other side of the argument in order to understand the entire picture.
So, there are pros and cons to any vaccine. So, this is just kind of generic, but I’ve tried to gear it towards the flu. So, the pros of vaccine, the good reasons to do a vaccine is you’re less likely to miss work. You’re less likely to miss school. And that’s a big deal. If you want to use your sick days for being sick, instead of going on vacation or something, then that’s up to you, that’s your option. The other deal with the flu vaccine is, of course it reduces the burden of disease. So, even if you still get the flu, you’re less likely to get complications.
And I don’t know if you know about my story, but earlier this year, I was hospitalized with two tubes in my chest in order to drain the fluid. And it was thought to be a complication of the flu virus, questionably COVID, but my antibodies were negative. So, this is prime in my mind because I did not get the flu vaccine last year. And it’s very possible that if I had gotten the flu vaccine, I would not have developed that complication. I would not have spent five days in the hospital with a tube in my chest. And six weeks of fevers and weight loss, and everything that went along with it, if I had maybe gotten the flu vaccine, true story.
Reduces likelihood of hospitalization. It reduces complications from the flu, which is what I just talked about. And then, of course, it prevents death. If you’re less likely to get hospitalized, you’re less likely to die.
So, what are the cons? These are real, we need to talk about these. It’s potentially a toxic exposure. So, in the vaccines they have preservatives, they have other chemicals. I don’t know how they’re manufacturing. So, no telling what’s all in it. A vaccine always triggers an inflammatory response. That’s what it’s supposed to do. In fact, they put adjuvants inside the vaccine in order to get you to have an inflammatory response, because the problem is, if you don’t have an inflammatory response, then you don’t actually get immune to the vaccine. And that’s the whole point. So, frequently, they put immune stimulating triggers with the vaccine, called adjuvants, in order to trigger that immune response.
Number three is it can cause autoimmunity. Vaccines are very heavily linked to triggers of autoimmunity. They can hurt, but not that bad. We need to get over that. And, of course, the vaccine can be ineffective, meaning you could get the vaccine, but still get the flu. It’s not perfect, but they certainly try to pick the best they can. And then, of course, drug companies can make money. That’s kind of silly because anything in this world that’s selling a product should make money. I’m a business owner. I’m a physician yes, I make money off of seeing patients. And if I expect someone to create a good vaccine, I expect them to make money on it because I want someone, if they’re going to make a better vaccine that they deserve to make more money off of it. It’s expensive to do these drug trials and create these things. So we can’t demonize someone just because they make money off of it.
So, I just went through the pros and cons. And I actually want to kind of break down each of these topics, and help you understand why these may not be cons. Or how you can reduce the likelihood of that being a risk. So, the first one is that vaccines are toxic that’s why you would never want to do one. While that is partially true, it’s a little stretch of the truth. So, in my opinion, if one little vaccine is what pushes your toxicity over the edge in order to have some sort of detrimental side effect, then it really says that your detox pathways were already bogged down. The likelihood of the one vaccine that you got as being the inciting factor that McDonald’s and Burger King, and processed foods, and sugars and all that had on your system, I would give a whole lot more weight to poor food choices than one vaccine.
Now, once again, this is applied to the masses. So, there are children out there that have been affected by one vaccine that is true. But this video is designed to the masses. There is a risk and benefit, and you never know if you’re going to be that one person until you go through with that. So, I’m not talking about that one person that got injured. And, of course, there’s more than one but, anyway, I feel like I’m putting my head in the guillotine here. But we’re going forward. So, if you’re worried about a vaccine causing a toxic exposure, then maybe you could take detox supplements to help facilitate the detoxification of that vaccine. Maybe you could do a vitamin infusion after you’re done to try to wash those chemicals away.
Number two is autoimmune trigger. So, the idea that a vaccine can trigger an autoimmune disease. Now, that is true. And that is documented that the vaccines do trigger autoimmunity. Once, again, it’s because of that inflammatory trigger. And any time you have inflammation, you can upset an autoimmune condition. But if you have an improved gut health, if you remove inflammatory bacteria, and yeast in the bowels, if your body’s already healthy and primed, then the likelihood of getting that autoimmune trigger is less likely. I’d pay more attention to the cigarettes and cheeseburgers you’re eating to see if that’s going to set you up for a vaccine to cause an autoimmune trigger.
And then, last is inflammation. Of course, you can add in anti-inflammatory supplements. You don’t want to do too much, like you don’t want to take a whole bunch of steroids after you take a vaccine of any sort, because then it blunts your immune response. And if it blunts your immune response, then you’re less likely to get immunity to that thing you just received. So, you really don’t want to overdo the inflammatory supplements unless you’re already at risk. And if you’re already at risk, maybe you shouldn’t even do it.
So, there are some very real facts about the flu that you need to understand, especially in this COVID world where we’re talking about numbers and things. The flu annually infects 9 million at the lowest, and 45 million people at the highest. Now, keep that in mind because the population of the US, this is just US is around 327 million. That’s a large percentage of the population that’s going to get the flu. And the reason why it varies is because some strains are more virulent than others. And it hospitalizes anywhere from 140,000 to almost a million people. That is a lot of hospitalizations. And then, it kills 12,000 to 61,000.
So, those are very real numbers and very scary. So, that is one of the benefits of getting the flu shot is you’re less likely to get infected. If you’re less likely to get infected, then you’re less likely to get hospitalized and die. And even if you do get infected, you’re less likely to get hospitalized, and you’re less likely to die. That’s important.
Now, my current opinion on the numbers that we’re going to see for this year, and it’s early this is why it’s just my opinion, I have no research to back this up, but I believe we’re going to see the lowest flu rate that we’ve ever seen in years. And the reason why is because we’re wearing masks, we’re socially distant, we’re already doing things to prevent COVID-19. So, it stands to reason that the flu rates will actually be really low as well. So, you need to factor that into you making an informed decision or not, because if you’re already socially isolated, I think I have another slide for this. But if you’re already socially isolated, and you already have a low risk of getting the flu then you have a low benefit of getting the flu, which makes the risks higher.
So, let’s talk about some of the vaccine facts, more facts. It’s only effective 19 to 60% of the time. Now, if you don’t know, that’s not just a random coincidence. The way the flu vaccine is determined is what happens with the flu is it waves through the US, and then after it’s done with the US it starts spreading to the other hemisphere. While it’s in the other hemisphere, meaning it’s winter in Australia kind of deal over the summer, when it’s summer for us it’s winter there. And so, over the winter there, the flu virus is spreading there. And while it’s there, it’s mutating again to get ready to come back to the Northern hemisphere.
So, what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to study what’s the dominant strain in the other hemisphere? And then, they try to predict it for our hemisphere, for when it comes back. That’s not a perfect science. And when the COVID-19 vaccine comes out, it’s not going to be a perfect science. They’re going to try to predict the best vaccine, the best strain they can, but it’s not always perfect because it can continue to mutate. So, that’s why sometimes it’s less effective than the others. But even when it’s a less effective at preventing the infection, it still helps you fight off the infection.
The true big thing to be scared of is Guillain-Barre. So Guillain-Barre is an awful neurological condition where you lose sensation, you lose motor function, usually to the lower extremities, but Guillain-Barre has all kinds of variants. Guillain-Barre is a terrible disease, that is true. And with the flu vaccine it effects one per million, at least that’s what the studies show. And that’s most likely going to be funded by a drug company, so the number’s probably higher than that. But it’s going to be somewhere around there. Still not a ton of people, one per million. Even if you inflated those numbers, times 10, that’s still 10 in a million. That’s still not many people. So, the big scary part of getting the flu vaccine, as far as the autoimmune trigger is Guillain-Barre, and that is terrible.
Now, what’s interesting is the flu virus itself also causes Guillain-Barre. And, actually, it causes Guillain-Barre at a higher rate than the flu vaccine does. The difference there is, if you never get the flu, then you’re not at risk. But if you get the flu vaccine every year that, potentially, could be a risk 60, 80 times, depending on how many times you get it. So, that is the very real risk to consider. If you’re already someone who has neurological autoimmunity, or family member with Guillain-Barre, then maybe it’s best to skip the flu vaccine because you’re at higher risk.
More facts is it reduces the likelihood of getting infection, of course, which means there’s less sick days, and there’s less spread to your loved ones. So, especially the problem with the flu and the United States is it comes around winter time, which is our Christmas time, our Thanksgiving time. Families are getting together, so if you decide to skip your flu vaccine, and you go give grandma a hug, well, you could potentially give her the flu illness. And while it may not cause any harm to you, you just give it to grandma. And grandma’s at a different risk category. Even if she got her flu shot, remember it’s not perfect, so you could still give it to her. Of course, it reduces severity and complications in death. We already talked about that.
So next, and this is potentially the main reason to get the flu shot this year if you’re indeterminate or unsure, we do not know what happens when you mix influenza and COVID-19. So, we know that influenza is bad on lungs in a different way than COVID-19 is bad on lungs. And we know the influenza virus likes to cause a lot of inflammation inside of the breathing tubes, the bronchi, and that causes a lot of constriction, and a lot of mucus, and a lot of congestion inside of the lungs. That’s already inflammatory trigger. And we know that COVID-19 likes to affect the tissue of the lungs, actually, where the blood is flowing inside the lungs trying to take the oxygen out of the air. COVID 19 affects the tissue where the flu affects the airways.
So, the concern is that now you’ve got a really bad situation, if you’ve got the flu and COVID-19. And viruses love to run together, especially when your immune system’s already sick, or down, punished by an illness, then it’s easy to get another one. I see patients all the time, but it’s common for a patient to go like five years or 10 years without any kind of illness. And then, one season they’ll get three bronchitis infections separated by six weeks or so.
And then, they’re always like, “Well, this has never happened to me. What am I doing wrong? What’s different?” And it may not be anything that they’re doing wrong. It’s that their first punishment to the immune system set them up for the second one, set them up for the third one. An inflammatory trigger, especially the flu virus and COVID-19, they are very inflammatory viruses, that already upsets the immune system. It kind of confuses it, so it doesn’t really know what to fight. It makes it more susceptible to other things like COVID-19. So, if you’re nervous about COVID-19, and because there is no vaccine, then you don’t want to mix influenza and COVID-19. So, that might be your trigger to say, go ahead and get your flu shot.
Other things that would help you make a decision, whether you should do it or not, you should consider getting the flu vaccine if you have asthma, that’s just a big deal. The flu virus loves to kill asthmatics, elderly, infants, and pregnant ladies. I actually didn’t put pregnancy on here. So, those are the big at risk populations. But asthma is a big, big trigger for influenza. What’s interesting, it’s not as big of a trigger or a concern for COVID-19, but if you already have asthma, flu can really push you over the edge.
If you have any lung issues, really any lung issues, you have any concern in your lungs, you should really consider getting the flu vaccine because the one in a million chance of getting Guillain-Barre is not nearly as big of a deal of dying of the flu. And, once again, this was paramount to me because nine months ago, I was in the hospital, perfectly healthy, as far as I’m concerned, 38 year old male in the hospital for five days with a tube in my chest, because I didn’t get a flu shot. I got the flu in December and then, fast forward a month later, I got a bacterial infection in my lungs, which is a complication of the flu. I refused to take antibiotics because I was stubborn and thought my body could fight it. Six weeks later, I was in the hospital with the tube. So, don’t be like me, consider getting a flu vaccine, consider taking antibiotics if you need it.
Next is if you’re a smoker, you got lung issues just admit it. Even if you’re a social smoker, you should consider the flu shot.
Obesity, so really I put obesity yes, because of the flu virus is harder on obese people. But really the bigger reason for obesity is the COVID-19 because COVID-19 loves to kill obese people. That seems to be a major at risk population. So, you don’t want to mix flu and COVID-19. So, if your BMI is over 30 and really over 35 or 40, then you definitely want to get the flu vaccine.
Next is age over 60. Now, if you notice, I put age over 60 and age under 40. So, the 40 to 60 year olds are kind of in the middle here. But if your age is over 60 it’s just natural that, over time, your immune system’s dampening, your body ages over time. Now, if you’ve been taking care of your body, there’s plenty of 60 year olds that I know that are healthier than 30 year olds. So, that’s not necessarily a for sure thing, but it’s a consideration. And then, of course, once you break 65, they want you to do that high dose flu vaccine.
And then, of course, any kind of immune suppression. So, if you’ve gotten a kidney transplant, if you’re on steroids, if you have autoimmune issues and you’re more immune suppressed, then you should consider doing the flu shot.
You may avoid the flu shot, if you’re in great health. Now, there’s a difference between thinking you’re in great health and actually being in great health. So, if you haven’t had your inflammatory markers tested, your blood sugar, your cholesterol, and the only reason you’re healthy is because you haven’t actually gone to the doctor to get diagnosed with anything, then that doesn’t really count. So, if you’re in great health and you have markers to prove it, then you can certainly skip the flu shot. If you want to take your risks, then you can certainly skip it.
And then, of course, if the age is less than 40 you’re, in general, a lower likelihood to have a complication, like myself, end up in the hospital. But, remember, you can still spread it to loved ones, even if you don’t get sick.
And then, of course, if you are socially isolated and your risk of getting the flu already is dramatically reduced there’s no reason to get it. But we still have to go out, and I do want you to go be social as much as possible and safe. So, any exposure is enough.
So, one of the things you can do to either fight the flu naturally, or have less side effects, if you get the flu shot is, of course, to get healthier. And so, on my channel, I’ve got all kinds of stuff out there and so I’m listing here. You can subscribe to my social media channel. You can subscribe to my YouTube, my Facebook, my Instagram. I’m always putting free content like this out there to help you make good decisions and get healthier.
Number two, you can take my courses. So, I’ve got online courses on my website. Just go to the website, look at the top click Courses, and you can take my nutrition course, gut courses, detox courses, and all that’s available online. And then, number three, you can become a patient. Call my office, go to my website to become a patient, and learn what that entails.
We do offer urgent care for people in Austin. I mean, we can do remote urgent cares, but there’s only so much we can do over the internet. We do have the rapid flu test, and rapid COVID-19 test, that’s the swab. This is Mimi, my nurse practitioner. So, we try to have same day appointments, if you call. The assessment can be done by a provider. Or we can just do the swab and send you on your way, and let you know your diagnosis.
If you have COVID-19, then one of the things I would recommend is a COVID-19 infusion protocol. So, I’ve designed this protocol to help dampen the cytokine storm, and reduce the immune reaction to COVID-19. So, this infusion protocol is really designed to be in the early stages of COVID-19 to prevent you from getting the lung inflammation and cytokine storm. From what we’re seeing, it really looks like by the time the cytokine storm has started that you’re already in trouble, and the vitamin fusions, although they will be beneficial, it’s almost too late. So, you really want to get those ahead of the game. The hard part with that is if you get the infusions and you don’t get hospitalized, then you have to wonder like, “Well, did that do anything?” Well, you won’t know because you don’t get to do it again, and decide, or wave your crystal ball and see if you would’ve gotten hospitalized.
And, of course, we have supplements to reduce the cytokine storm. If you go to my website, OubreMedical.com/COVID19, there’s a form you can fill out, and it’ll send you my COVID-19 action plan, nutritional goals. It’s got like several things that come with that email. So, if you sign up on our list, you’ll get our newsletters and things, of course, going forward. But main thing is you’ll get my lung tracker, our COVID-19 action plan.
And then, of course, whenever you’re taking a photo, it’s always a good idea to check your teeth. So, I’m a good boss, I checked her teeth. I don’t think she liked it. So, hope this video was helpful. Once again, subscribe to my YouTube, click the little bell, so you get alerts for my next videos. And get healthy and make an informed decision about whether you should take your flu shot or not.