Strengthening your immune system can help you during flu season no matter what you decide
Each year as the weather cools and “flu season” nears, the great American flu shot campaign begins. Prevailing medical wisdom presents us with a multiple-choice question that sounds something like this:
Should I get a flu shot?
a) Get a shot and be safe
b) Do nothing and be sorry
Like most things in life, whether or not to get a flu shot is not a black-and-white issue. For some people, the aftermath of a flu shot – an achy, feverish, flu-like syndrome – is as bad as the flu itself. Further, the efficacy of flu shots in reducing mortality is not clear. For example, even though the vaccination rate of people over 65 has increased from 15% in 1989 to more than 65% as of 2009, the rate of flu season mortality in this age group has increased during the same time period. Here’s a superb article considering the evidence: www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/11/does-the-vaccine-matter/7723/
When someone asks me whether they should get a flu shot, I respond with a different multiple-choice question, one with more options:
Should I get a flu shot?
a) Get a shot that may or may not protect you and may cause side effects
b) Do nothing and worry
c) Get a shot, but greatly improve your odds of staying healthy by proactively supporting your immune health
d) Don’t get a shot, but greatly improve your odds of staying healthy by proactively supporting your immune health
I suggest these choices with confidence because natural medicine offers a wide array of methods for prevention of flu and other winter ailments. A natural immune system “tune-up” can not only improve your ability to fight off the flu and other viruses – it can improve your general health and energy as well. Call me today and we’ll start with these “common sense” measures that go a long way in preventing illness:
• Get enough rest: a tired body is a stressed body, and stressed bodies are more susceptible to illness. If you have trouble sleeping, let me help!
• Wash hands often with soap and water: simple, frequent hand washing is remarkably effective at reducing the chances of flu and colds, even after exposure.
• Fight bugs with bugs: probiotic supplementation is always a good idea, even more so during cold and flu season. Probiotic bacteria in our systems reinforce our immune barriers, keeping bad “bugs” from establishing a foothold. Probiotic supplements vary widely in quality and it’s important to choose one that’s effective. Beware of “probiotics-added” products that are also loaded with sugar! Refined sugars weaken the immune system and override the benefit of the probiotics. I am happy to provide you with high quality probiotics that truly make a difference.
• Optimize your vitamin D level: There is increasing evidence linking low vitamin D levels to flu susceptibility. Vitamin D is naturally produced in the body when the skin is exposed to the sun’s rays, but in the often sun-deprived northwest, low vitamin D levels are common. Let’s test your vitamin D level and determine the appropriate supplemental dose for you.
If you’ve found yourself catching every bug that comes along, you’ll need additional natural preventive measures to keep you perky right through the winter. Don’t lose workdays or be stuck in bed when you could be skiing or mingling around the fireplace – come in for your immune tune-up today!