Should I Get the Flu Vaccine in Lyme Disease?

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Flu vaccine in a Lyme disease treatment image from Marty Ross MD

Flu Vaccine in Lyme

It is not always a good idea to get the flu vaccine in Lyme disease. In this video and written article I describe the risks and benefits of getting the vaccine so a person can make the best choice for their health. I also describe treatment alternatives at the first sign of the flu. 

It is my observation from when I practiced in Seattle, that after the flu vaccine in Lyme disease there is often a decline in the health of the person receiving the vaccine. I hypothesize that this has to do with immune suppression against the Lyme germ, although there are no studies that I am aware of that confirm this. As an alternative to the vaccine, consider keeping thymic protein A and olive leaf extracton on hand to stop or limit the flu. For more on this see Keep This Cold and Flu Package On Hand for Fast Results.

Marty Ross MD Discusses the Flu Vaccine in Lyme Disease

This Lyme Byte was recorded during Conversations with Marty Ross MD in November 2016 when Dr. Ross practiced in Seattle, WA.

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Background on Flu Vaccine in Lyme Disease

Studies about the effectiveness of the flu vaccine show it may only work 60% of the time when the vaccine and the strain of the flu virus for the year are correctly matched. However, some years the flu vaccine is not correctly matched with the flu virus of the year and the success rates are actually lower. Each year there is a different strain of the flu virus. Scientist predict what the strain of the year will be to figure out what the vaccine of the year should be.

So in deciding about vaccines a person should consider the possible benefit versus the possible harm as I have outlined above. If it appears that during the flu season that it is a "killer" year, then the flu vaccine may be warranted.

One other note, most even with Lyme will get over the flu without any adverse outcome. However, there are some more high risk groups for having marked complications with the flu. These groups are people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and those 65 years of age or above.

I am still baffled as to why we are vaccinating as a national policy those under 65 who are otherwise healthy. In making the consideration about recommending flu vaccines for all, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did a cost benefit analysis. On economic terms, due to improvements in days lost at work, the vaccine was recommend. However, the long term effects of vaccination have not been adequately studied. There are some theories regarding vaccination in general that when one gets an illness, the immune system may develop immunity to other infections as well. Thus vaccination against one germ, may cause the body to be more susceptible to others.

Flu Vaccine Alternatives

Generally, for the reasons described above, for many with Lyme the flu vaccine is not a good idea. As an alternative keep on hand thymic protein A and olive leaf extract. These two supplements taken at the very beginning of a viral syndrome can limit the duration of or even stop the illness in its tracks.


The ideas and recommendations on this website and in this article are for informational purposes only. For more information about this, review the sitewide Terms & Conditions. 

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About The Author

Marty Ross, MD is a passionate Lyme disease educator and clinical expert. He helps Lyme sufferers and their physicians see what really works based on his review of the science and extensive real-world experience. Dr. Ross is licensed to practice medicine in Washington State (License: MD00033296) where he has treated thousands of Lyme disease patients in his Seattle practice.

Marty Ross, MD is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine and Georgetown University Family Medicine Residency. He is a member of the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS) and The Institute for Functional Medicine.

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