What If I Can't Take That Flu Shot? | KERA News

What If I Can't Take That Flu Shot?

Dec 7, 2012

It’s the season when doctors and health officials urge you to get a flu shot. But not everyone can.

You’re about get a flu shot when the person holding the needle asks if you’re allergic to eggs.  Certified nutritionist and pharmacy technician Mika Bradford says an allergy to eggs or other components in the shot may make it inappropriate.

"Or if an individual has previously had a reaction to a vaccine, and so with the physician, we work with them collaboratively to find ways to  boost their patient’s immune system to help them have a better chance of bypassing the infection."

Bradford says that usually means taking vitamins A, D and C.

"You know, back in the day, our grandparents and parents took cod liver oil every winter. And the reason for that is that cod liver is rich in A and D, and in the winter months, whenever flu virus is at a higher rate, our pattern of activity changes where we’re not getting exposure to the sun as much, which helps promote vitamin D production in our body."

Bradford says many nutrient-rich, immunity-building fruits and vegetables disappear from markets or become scarce and pricey, because they’re out of season. Supplements can help. But she says they’re not competing with flu shots. She also says there is the flu mist, with a weak, but live flu virus.

"And in some situations, a physician may find that the live version isn’t appropriate. So again, there are options where the individuals don’t have to utilize the injection. However, making sure the nasal spray is appropriate would be  something they would want to verify with their physician."

Statistic indicate fewer than five  percent of the population is allergic to eggs. The number is higher among children, but they often outgrow the allergy.                                    

The most recent detailed information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports those with less than severe egg allergies may be fine with the flu shot.