Do you like to be proactive about your health and the health of your family? Perhaps you read product labels because what you put in or on your body concerns you. And maybe, in an effort to stay well, you complement traditional medicine practices with alternative medicines and therapies.
With flu season officially here, including two confirmed cases of the flu locally in Dufferin County, we know that you’ll likely be looking for extra protection as we head into the holiday season.
In an effort to help protect our community and prevent disease, we wanted to share some information around nosodes, an alternative medicine that might come into consideration when trying to protect the health of your family. For Public Health, nosodes are of great concern, especially ones that claim to protect you from infectious diseases like the flu, measles and mumps.
What is a nosode? A nosode is a so-called remedy made from bodily tissues and fluids such as blood, sweat, urine, feces and pus that are sterilized and diluted. Even though there is no scientific evidence that they work, some people choose to use nosodes instead of vaccines for measles, polio, chickenpox, influenza and other serious illnesses.
In a recent interview with MacLean’s magazine, our Medical Officer Health Dr. Nicola Mercer expressed her concern:
“We began to hear anecdotally about parents saying they were going to ‘immunize’ their children using this ‘alternative vaccine.’ They were using that kind of language,” says Mercer about recent reports she has received from local schools, which track student immunization rates. “And that raises a red flag.”
Health Canada has not authorized any alternative medicine, including nosodes as a vaccine alternative. In 2015, Health Canada introduced label changes that will come into effect in July 2016 to help ensure that Canadians who choose to use homeopathic products have all of the information they need to improve safe use, especially for parents trying to make the best choices for their children. Nosode products will be required to have the following statement on their packaging:
“This product is neither a vaccine nor an alternative to vaccination. This product has not been proven to prevent infection. Health Canada does not recommend its use in children and advises that your child receive all routine vaccinations.”
Public Health is concerned that decreasing vaccination rates have led to outbreaks of diseases that were previously under control. Locally, outbreaks of pertussis (whooping cough), mumps and measles occur when some parents opt out of vaccinating their children. When immunity to infectious diseases decline in our community, more people are at risk of getting seriously ill.
What you need to know
- False and exaggerated claims suggest that nosodes are an alternative to vaccines. There is no scientific basis for these claims.
- Many serious infectious diseases have been virtually eliminated because of the use of vaccines.
- All vaccines are tested and approved by Health Canada.
Not sure what vaccines you should get?
Contact our Public Health office to find out what vaccines are recommended for you and your children. Once you know, you can get immunizedat one of our clinics or make an appointment with your family physician.
My vaccinations are all up-to-date. Now what?
Making sure your family’s immunization records are up-to-date with Public Health is the final step. This is especially important for kids attending school, as it helps to ensure they can stay in school if an outbreak of an infectious disease like measles does occur.
Get vaccinated, report your immunizations and stay well!