by Dr. Jessica Corbeille Harris, ND
If it seems like everyone around you is coming down with the flu again this year and you want to do anything you can to prevent getting it yourself, you’re not alone!
As Americans, we are bombarded with offers for the flu vaccine. In fact, some pharmacies will even donate food to hungry people if you get vaccinated! Some will give you $5 to spend at their store – the list goes on.
Should I get vaccinated in order to prevent the flu? Is there anything else I can do to prevent the flu?
These are controversial, but common questions that I hear from my patients. My answers are usually along these lines:
Should I get vaccinated in order to prevent the flu?
Well, the CDC’s website says that the flu vaccine is only 40-60% effective.
(1). How many things do you do when there’s only an average of a 50% chance that it will work?
Moreover, the website also states that the vaccine only really “works” when the scientists correctly predict the strain of the virus that will present for that respective year. So, if they guess wrong, the vaccine is much less effective, if at all. If they predict correctly, the flu vaccine MAY help reduce your symptoms of the flu.
Furthermore, there’s always the chance that you may actually get symptoms of the flu with just the vaccine itself – how nice!
Is there anything else I can do to prevent the flu?
Yes! Immune support, immune support, immune support! I’ll say it again – immune support! When our immune system is healthy, we may still get symptoms of the flu, but our bodies will contend with the virus faster and easier.
The flu is most detrimental to those with a compromised immune system (typically elderly folks and otherwise ill people). If you are a generally healthy person with a healthy diet and lifestyle choices, yes, you may get the flu, but it will come and go relatively unremarkably as your immune system deals with the virus.
Sometimes, when your immune system is very strong, you may come in contact with the flu virus, but it will last only hours or days, or sometimes not even at all!
So then, how do I support my immune system?
There are several vitamins and herbs that support your immune system. The most important of these seems to be Vitamin D3. Dose recommendations vary from doctor to doctor, but one article showed a reduction in the incidence of the flu when taking 1200 IU of vitamin D3 daily (2).
The other most important things to keep your immune system healthy and strong is a healthy diet, adequate sleep, and exercise including fresh air and sunshine.
Beyond this, it is best to review other flu-prevention and immune system building products and activities with your physician. If you don’t yet have a naturopathic physician, give us a call today for an evaluation of your current immune function, vitamin status, and ways to reduce your risk of getting the flu this year.
Written By Dr. Jessica Corbeille, ND, CES
Elevated Natural Health
The Doctors at ENH post to this page regularly with new health information, home remedies, and other interesting tidbits.