Hard to believe that flu season is upon us again. Seems like just yesterday we were disposing of our leftover flu vaccine from last season. Since I started giving flu shots back in 2009, our store has done anywhere from 1200 to 1500 flu shots per year. It is very important that people get their flu shot especially children 6 months and older, the elderly, and pregnant women. The only reason not to get the shot is if someone may have an allergy to a component of the shot.
What is the flu?
When someone has a case of the flu, they are suffering from their body being attacked by the influenza virus. The flu is responsible for many doctor and hospital visits each year. For the 2018-2019 flu season, it was estimated that over 20 million people got sick from the flu and over 25,000 died from the flu. It is especially dangerous in the elderly and young children due to complications that can occur from the flu weakening their immune systems.
The virus is passed along from person to person due to tiny droplets that are exhaled when people cough, sneeze, or talk. At times, someone may come into contact with a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and infecting themselves by either touching either their mouth, nose, or eye.
Treatment of the flu
When it comes to treating the flu, there is an abundance of over-the-counter medications that can be suggested. These range from pain relievers like Advil and Tylenol to saline nasal sprays and cough formulations such as Delsym and Mucinex. While there are also prescriptions medications to treat symptoms of the flu, there are only a few anti-viral medications to help treat and shorten the duration of the flu. The most common one I see prescribed is Tamiflu. Last October saw the approval of Xofluza. These are both used to reduce the duration of the flu and are best taken with 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.
Consult your doctor or healthcare professional before taking any of these medications.
Non-medical treatments include:
- drink plenty of fluids
- get plenty of rest
- use a humidifier
- eat foods easy on the stomach (bland foods)
- increase zinc intake
- use essential oils
- drink herbal tea
Why get the flu shot?
While the flu shot is not always 100% effective, you are increasing your chances of not getting the flu by getting the shot. If you get the shot and still get the flu, often the illness will not be as severe as if you didn’t get the shot.
If you have a family with children or elderly living with you, it is best to protect not only yourself but also your family as you wouldn’t want to bring the virus into the home.
It has become very convenient to get the flu shot. You no longer have to go to the doctor and get the shot. Most pharmacies carry the shot now and are covered %100 by most insurances. All it takes is about 15 minutes of your time to get a shot.
When to get the flu shot?
Flu season is generally said to occur during the fall and winter months. There is usually an increase in activity starting in October and November and peaking between December and February. The season sometimes can last until May.
It is recommended this year to get the shot by the end of October. In previous years, the recommendation was to get the vaccine as soon as it was available. Some pharmacies were receiving the vaccine as early as the end July or the beginning of August. This year, they no longer recommend getting the vaccine that early as it may not provide adequate protection through the duration of flu season.
How to prevent the flu?
While the obvious answer is to get a flu shot, again it is not 100%. Some measures of precaution that I recommend involve hygiene. Washing hands often is very important. As mentioned previously, the flu can be acquired by touching a surface contaminated by the virus. Having hand sanitizer handy is also a good idea. If you know someone is sick, it is best to keep away from them. If you live with them and are unable to quarantine them in the house, it is best that you both wear a mask to prevent the the spread of the virus. Tamiflu can also be taking as a preventative.
The following items I recommend to help prevent the flu. These are available at your local pharmacy or most supermarkets.
PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer Gel Infused with Essential Oils, Scented Variety Pack, 9 – 1 fl oz Travel Sized Flip Cap Bottles with included JELLY WRAP Carriers (Pack of 9) – 3900-09-ECME17
PacingMed Disposable Medical Mask – Face Mask for Dust, Flu, Mouth, Surgical Dental, Cleaning, Construction, Travel, Allergy Mask – Hypoallergenic, Antiviral Anti Pollen, FDA (50pcs, Blue)
Lysol Disinfecting Wipes 320 ct, 2 Lemon + 2 Ocean, (4x80ct),Packaging May Vary
The following items are good immune system boosters.
Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, 16 oz (1 Pack)
Onnit Vitamin D3 Spray
Read about the study done on vitamin d and flu here:
Save 10% on this and all Onnit products with code STANDUP10
They are already predicting a very bad flu season this year. There has already been one flu related death. Protect yourself and your loved ones by getting the flu shot and practicing good hygiene. Stay safe!
*Products listed on this page are recommendations I believe to be beneficial in fighting off the flu. Consult your physician or contact the manufacturer of any of the products before using.