Do you choose to have the flu jab in winter? - I don't. - And that is despite the fact that I had pulmonary TB for years as a child and adolescent.
I've been taking vitamin D3 supplements for a couple of years now because I was deficient in Vitamin D, and while I have been taking it I've not caught a cold or flu or any other infection. Making sure you get enough vitamin D is a very good way to reduce the risk of respiratory infections. It is widely reported that most people in this country are not getting enough Vitamin D, and this is obviously even more of a problem in the winter months when there are more respiratory infections like colds and flu about, and no summer sun to garner vitamin D from by its action on the skin. So you may like to consider whether you are perhaps in need of vitamin D supplementation.
A few mornings ago Justin Webb (one of my bêtes noires...(o:) was interviewing someone about the fact that in the winter months there are more deaths of older people than there are in the summer months. I think his interviewee was a spokesman for Age UK. This man was explaining that when it is very cold, deaths from respiratory and circulatory problems increase. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I remember correctly he was drawing attention to the inadequate heating in the homes of many old people. You can read about this on The Poverty Site, where you will see that "Older people occupy much of the substandard housing in Britain, and the link between ill health and housing is strong for this group. This is particularly important because many older people spend such a lot of time at home. Respiratory diseases are often caused or made worse by damp and cold conditions at home. Inefficient heating and insulation are factors driving the high level of winter deaths in Britain: there are 30,000-40,000 more deaths in winter than summer months, and old people make up the vast majority of that excess. 1 The indicator used here is the 'number of excess winter deaths' amongst older people."
Unfortunately, this important point was obscured by Justin Webb butting in to say that it is important for older people to have the flu jab to protect them from catching flu - implying that the flu jab would reduce the extra deaths of old people when it's very cold.
No, Mr Webb; that is not true. - There is no evidence to support the view that the flu jab protects the over-65s from flu. See this article in The Lancet. It is entitled "Efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines: a systematic review and meta-analysis". Personally I'd far rather hear what the interviwer has come on a programme to talk about, than have Justin Webb coming in with his uninformed twopennath!