Alternative Treatments Linked to Skipping Flu Shots

Children who have been treated with certain forms of complementary or alternative medicine may be less likely to get the flu vaccine, according to a new study.

In the study, the researchers looked at information collected on 9,000 U.S. children ages 4 and 17, who took part in the 2012 National Health Interview Survey. They found that 8 percent of the kids had used a biologically based therapy, such as herbal supplements; 7 percent had used a manipulative and body-based therapy, such as chiropractic manipulation; 5 percent had used a mind-body therapy, such as yoga; and 4 percent had used an alternative medical system, such as acupuncture.

Of all the kids in the study, 43 percent had received an influenza vaccine in the previous year. When the researchers took a closer look at the data, they found that those children who had ever used an alternative medical system or received a manipulative and body-based therapy were less likely to receive the flu vaccine in the prior year compared to those who had never received those types of alternative care.

More research is needed to determine why exactly children who have received certain types of alternative treatments may be less likely to receive the flu vaccine, the researchers said.

Live Science