Flu season is in full swing, and pharmaceutical companies are producing more vaccination doses than ever. According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, last year 17 million vaccine doses were produced, and this year that number increased to 150 million. While the vaccine has been proven effective in warding of influenza, Dennis Cunningham, M.D. who works in the Infectious Diseases at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, reported that many people choose not to receive the inoculation due to common myths surrounding it.
One of these non-truths that many people have come to believe, according to Dr. Cunningham, is that you should wait until its cold outside to get your vaccine. This is based on the belief that it will wear off by the time the temperature drops. The truth is that the inoculation will be effective throughout the entire flu season, even if you choose to get it in August.
Another common myth is that the vaccine can give you the flu itself. This is grounded in the fact that the shot is actually nothing more than a small dose of the flu virus, so, you may experience mild side effects.
“This is probably the most common myth out there, but it’s simply not true,” said Dr. Cunningham. “The vaccine can give you some mild symptoms, you may feel a bit achy and your arm may be a little tender where you first get the shot. But that’s actually a good thing and shows that the vaccine is working. It tells us your body is responding appropriately to the vaccine.”
Dr. Cunningham also reported that more people end up in the urgent care centers and the emergency room during flu season, but many of them could have prevented themselves from being sick by taking the necessary precautions.
According to the Mayo Clinic, these precautions include frequently washing your hands for 15 seconds with soap or using alcohol-based sanitizer. You can also reduce your chances of contracting the flu by avoiding crowded areas.
In addition, the source recommended teaching your children sanitation techniques so they don’t bring home germs from school or infect their classmates. Give them sanitizer and tell them to use it before they eat snacks, and you should also tell them to keep their hands away from their eyes and mouth.
Another vital measure for staving off the flu is to keep your immune system strong. Harvard Medical School (HMS) recommended exercising regularly, while maintaining a diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The source also noted that vitamin D plays a role in a healthy immune system. You can find vitamin D in many breakfast cereals, orange juice, margarine and soy beverages. You can also supplement your diet with a Sublingual D-3 supplement from Dr. Newton’s Naturals.
HMS also reported that maintaining a healthy weight and normal blood pressure levels plays a role in keeping your immune system strong. According to the University of Maryland (UMD), you can help regulate blood pressure by frequently exercising. Movement helps stimulate nitric oxide, which is made by endothelial cells, and helps open blood vessels. Low levels of nitric oxide are linked to plaque buildup in the arteries, which causes the heart to work faster, and in turn results in high blood pressure.
In order to keep your blood pressure in check, you also may want to eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids. UMD reported that several clinical trials have indicated that omega-3 fatty acids help lower blood pressure in individuals. They also also may be useful to lower cholesterol, treat depression and reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. You can get omega-3 fatty acids from hemp milk, chia seeds and flax seeds. You may also want to take an omega-krill supplement from Dr. Newton’s Naturals.