As we embark on yet another flu season, there are some lessons learned from seasons past to better help us avoid the flu this year. Unlike previous years that focused heavily on vaccination alone, this year the focus is on flu prevention techniques by immune system building.
Vaccine is Not Enough
Unfortunately, just getting the flu shot is not enough to fully prevent the flu. The shot’s efficacy is higher than that of the nasal mist vaccine, especially in children, but neither will provide 100% protection against acquiring the virus.
But, the vaccine does help, so it’s a good idea to get the flu shot each year. Why annually? Because the virus changes slightly from year to year, so vaccines are likewise updated. However, these updates are based on scientific guesses, which are sometimes accurate and sometimes missing the mark, so the efficacy of the flu shot changes from year to year depending on the accuracy of the guess.
Just don’t rely on the vaccination alone to prevent the all-encompassing symptoms of the flu. The shot (or mist) can reduce the intensity and duration of the flu for you but it might not prevent the flu altogether. There are other methods for that.
Immune System Building
This year, more focus is being placed on immune system building for flu prevention than the vaccination alone. There are five main ways to prevent the flu other than the shot.
First, keep germs away. This one ought to be a no-brainer, but sometimes we forego better judgment in order to be polite, like hugging a loved one who is sick. If you want to prevent the flu, stay away from germs and active infections. Also, wash your hands frequently. Antibacterial soap or hand sanitizer is a must during flu season.
Third, eat immune-boosting foods. Boosting your immune system is the best way to prevent the flu, even if you’ve had the vaccine. Foods like salmon, salads, and smoothies that are packed with antioxidants are ideal for boosting your immune system and fighting off the flu.
Fourth, keep your nose and sinuses clear. Don’t be afraid to use saline, a Neti pot, or a humidifier to keep your nasal tissues moist and fluids moving. Cracked, dry tissues are more susceptible to flu infection, as is fluid that is sitting without movement in your sinus cavities.
Last, in order to prevent the flu, stay active. People who are more sedentary are more likely to get sick. So, walk, stretch, or exercise daily. This will circulate your blood and deliver nutrients to your body rapidly–keeping your immune system healthy and strong.
For this flu season, learn from previous years and prevent the flu with a combination of vaccination and immune system boosting. The flu shot alone is not enough to guarantee 100% prevention from the flu, even if it has worked for you in years past. The flu is ever-evolving, so the effectiveness of the shot will vary from year to year and can’t be predicted accurately. This is why these five tips are so important in helping you to prevent the flu this year.