Last month, the current recommendations for the flu vaccine were shared. Some questioned whether vaccines should be taken at all. It is interesting to note that when there was an outbreak of smallpox, E.G. White took the vaccine and recommended that those who worked with her also take the vaccine. (See 2 Selected Message, page 303). Should antibiotics be taken for the flu? Influenza is caused by viruses and antibiotics do not affect viruses, only bacteria! “Taking antibiotics when they are not necessary could make the flu or other viral infections worse, a new study suggests. Mice on antibiotics cannot fight the flu as well as mice that have not taken the drugs, say researchers from Yale. Antibiotics quash the immune system’s infection-fighting power by killing friendly bacteria living in the intestines, researchers report. These friendly, or “commensal,” bacteria help defend against viruses by keeping the immune system on alert for viral invaders, the team discovered. ‘There’s a lot of beneficial effects of having commensal bacteria,’ says Akiko Iwasaki, a Yale immunologist who led the study. ‘This is one that was unexpected, but makes sense.’”(Researching Health, Sunday, 27 March 2011). So please use antibiotics judiciously!