Flu shot, or not? - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Flu shot, or not?

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Aimee Schmidt's never gotten her flu shot. Her two children, both teens, haven't either.

"I just don't find them necessary," she said. "I honestly can't remember the last time any of us have had the flu."

Instead, Schmidt relies on stores like Brighter Day Natural Foods off Bull Street and exercise to keep illnesses, like the flu, away from her family.

"We believe in eating a healthy diet," Schmidt explained. "We take our supplements every day. During flu season, we take higher doses of vitamin D."

Which health experts at Brighter Day say will help combat flu and cold viruses, plus boost your immune system. They say Elderberry extract works too. They're natural remedies Schmidt says feels more comfortable taking instead of prescribed medications.

"The side effects that you hear about with pharmaceuticals concern me," she explained. "I feel like when you're taking things grown in nature that I believe God put on this earth for a reason, I should utilize them that way."

But Dr. Ben Spitalnick, a pediatrician with Pediatric Associates, says the flu shot is the only proven way to not get sick.

"The flu is the number one vaccine preventable cause of death in the United States," he explained. "There's always going to be fear of vaccines. There's always going to be fear of medicines. That's understandable. But keep in mind, the vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu. Better than hand washing, better than hygiene."

Dr. Spitalnick also said if there's ever a year to get the vaccine, 2012 is it. The flu season has started early this year, and is hitting the area hard. Dr. Spitalnick's already had to hospitalize some of his young patients because of it.

"The flu vaccine prevents influenza, which is a virus," he explained. "People say oh, it's just a virus. Well, there are bad viruses and the flu is one of them."

Even so, Schmidt says no shots for her. Her family's regimen has worked so far so they'll stick to vitamins and supplements.

"It's not something that I am concerned about," she said. "I just try to keep a healthy environment and healthy diet for my children."

Some people said they believe the flu shot can make them sick. Health experts say while there are strains of the flu inside the shot, it's not enough to make them ill.

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