Quiz: How Effective Are Flu Shots?

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Flu Shots: The Good and the Bad. Take the Quiz and Make Up Your Mind.

Quiz: Pros and Cons of Flu Shots | The Survival Doctor

Photo by sylvar on Flickr.

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

It’s as predicable as the change of the season. Come cold weather, you begin to see dire forecasts of the worst flu season.

Will millions die this year? Who knows? It’s kind of like the usual pre-hurricane warnings. Many times they’re wrong, but if they’re right and you don’t heed them, it can be the last decision, or indecision, you ever make.

I think anyone who’s worth his/her salt in preparing for disasters should take a serious look at flu shots. Know the facts. Like, how effective are flu shots? What are the alternatives? What are the downsides?

After you gather the facts, and if you think it’s worth it, get immunized. If you think the risks outweigh the benefits, prepare accordingly. But remember, one of these days, those forecasts are going to be right.

Even on an average year in the U.S., over 200,000 people are hospitalized and tens of thousands die from complications of influenza. So don’t just let it slide. Make an informed decision.

Here’s a true/false quiz, and I’ll bet you don’t get them all right. If you get them all, maybe I’ll have you write my blog posts from now on. I’ll go on an expedition to the South Pole. I hear they don’t have much flu there. By the way, it’s okay to look at the answers. That’s how you learn.

A special note to you who don’t get the flu shot because it contains the mercury preservative thimerosal (even though every study and mainstream medical organization says it causes you and your child no harm): at least read the first question and answer. Please? Then you can stop.

>> Take the quiz

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  • Dave, RN

    News story last night here onhow ineffective the flu shot has been this year.

    • http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

      Dave, I saw in the paper, this year’s was very ineffective for people over 65.

  • Laura, RN, MSN, CPNP-PC

    Got all but one, and that was the FluMist trick question ;) Watch out! I might take over your blog!! (ha, just kidding.)

    I am so happy to have stumbled upon your website – many of the health advice sites available to people are full of incorrect information that misguides parents into making decisions based upon someone’s opinion rather than the facts… LOVE the rash section, the FAQs about colds, etc. I liked this quiz – it definitely clears up some common myths and misconceptions about the flu vaccine. I do wish that you had included some pro’s/con’s for people to look at and think on – such as why it can be important for people with asthma to get the immunization or why it’s a good idea for people who are around immune-suppressed people or kids who cannot be vaccinated for various reasons to be vaccinated in order to protect those they are commonly around. I think a lot of people who choose not to receive the vaccination are considering only themselves and not the risk they may pose to others around them if they end up with the flu. Especially considering that I don’t think people understand just how communicable flu is, and have this perception that the flu is just another icky cold..

    I have noticed that in my patients who got the immunization this season but still got the flu, they don’t seem to get quite as sick, and it doesn’t seem to last as long. Have you ever stumbled across any information that could explain this?

    Thank you for taking the time to run this website and educate people based on research. You’re great!

    • http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

      Laura, thanks. I agree with all your points. Hopefully, many readers will benefit from your comments.

  • http://dtkmkihn.blogspot.com TJ

    Whoo! I only missed one question. It pays having 2 RN’s raise me :)

  • GoneWithTheWind

    I’ve had all the shots. I’m 69, spent 20 years in the military with overseas assignments and the shots that go with them. I’ve got three full shot records just from my 20 years in the service. I get the flu shot every year. The last two years they give me a “booster” or stronger shot because of my age. My theory is that although nothing is perfect and some people may have reactions from shots either you believe in science or you don’t. I do not believe that a million doctors and probably a 100,000 or so scientists working in the health field are all conspiring to poison us with flu shots or vaccinations. I’m not sure what makes some people “fear” the shot or medicine in general; could be the movies or some of the books written to scare or misinform and it could be the interent where any nut with a computer can create any crazy websight they can think up. I talk to my doctors and I listen to what they say. Between me and my doctor we will make the best decision about my health that we can. That’s all anyone can hope for.

    • http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

      Thanks, Gone.

  • Sharon

    I make my decision every year depending on the anticipated flu season but I generally do not take the flu shot. Not because I’m scared of it but because I really do not seem to be inclined to catch the flu. I’ve had the flu three times in my life. That’s about once every 20 years on average. And I worked in high contact environments most of my working life. In all three cases I was having to work extra to make up for those who were out with the flu. I got it near the end of the season when I was just plain worn out. So, take care of your immune system including decreasing stress. If you have family that are more likely to catch it, take the shot. Know your body and if you think you are coming down with it for heavens sake stay home and nurse yourself. For the sake of everyone else!

    • http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

      Thanks, Sharon.

  • old RT

    Fox News “House call” had a very informative piece this morning on the “Flu”\

    • http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

      Thanks, old RT