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.
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 an 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.
Since 2016, Health Canada has required nosode products to have the following statements 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?
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!
Note: this blog post was originally published on November 24, 2015. It has been updated to reflect the current regulatory environment.