Recently I was shown yet another internet “expert” opinion on the dangers of the influenza vaccine.  This latest health “authority” refers to herself as “Food Babe.”  Well, consider me “Flu Babe.”

Unfortunately,  Food Babe  is only one of the many unqualified celebrities, politicians and outright wackos eager to use their fame, good looks or outrageousness  to convince you that they are medical  authorities on their many health-related agendas.

What is sad and even dangerous is many people actually make important decisions about their health and well being based upon sources like Food Babe.

Thankfully, Boxers use critical thinking skills when making decisions about getting the influenza vaccine.

Boxers get information from reliable sources like the Center for Disease Control website,  where  questions about influenza vaccine can be answered by the actual experts who study influenza & the influenza vaccine.

Unfortunately, many people find it easier to just accept media sound bites as truth, rather than evaluate the validity of the never-ending information on the influenza vaccine that is thrust upon us by the media.

The problem with Food Babe and other nonprofessional “experts” of the flu vaccine, is they raise all sorts of questions, provide unfounded, outdated and poorly researched answers and then believe they have the authority to direct others on important health-related decisions, like the flu vaccine.

These individuals often do not have the basic knowledge of how to evaluate the validity of scientific research.  Instead, they will often quote poorly constructed studies that only support their beliefs.  They don’t use  the critical thinking skills that Boxers are taught here at Pacific University.

For example, in Food Babe’s recent blog on the flu vaccine she lists “a bunch of toxic chemicals and additives that lead to several types of cancers and Alzheimer’s disease that could be lurking in the flu vaccine.

How does she determine toxicity of vaccine ingredients?  What does she mean “could” be lurking?  Either they are or aren’t.

When individuals throw out statements like that they can add whatever ingredients they want to manipulate people to continue to read their blogs or to support a hidden agenda.

They also demonstrate a recklessness and irresponsibility toward others who believe those statements.   Furthermore, Food Babe list aluminum as a flu vaccine ingredient.  Just read the drug ingredients label, Food Babe.  There is no aluminum in the flu vaccine.

Food Babe’s plan of action to avert the flu—and the flu vaccine—is to keep her immune system healthy by exercising daily, taking probiotics, vitamins, garlic and zinc.

The problem here is none of these actions prevent or treat influenza because if you breathe, you are at risk for influenza  It is a highly contagious virus that can infect anyone—no vitamin or exercise has any efficacy what so ever against it.  Certainly it helps to have a healthy immune system, which may lessen the severity of an individual’s illness.

But Food Babe seems to have either a lack of understanding of the factors that impact the immune system, or a total disregard for conditions that alter an individual’s immune system and cause significant morbidity and mortality from the flu.

I’m referring to old age, youth,  pregnancy, cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, lung disease, or conditions that require the  use of certain medications that alter the immune system, such as chemotherapy or steroids.  Food Babe states she is “not taking the flu shot. Ever,” Wake up, sister.  Influenza is not just about you.

Kerry Pioske is an Adult Nurse Practitioner who works at the Pacific University Student Health Center

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