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Downtown Scottsdale Chiropractor’s Answer

Sticky note reminder to get flu shotAre you a ‘yes’ to flu shots, or a ‘no’?   My answer to the question has always been ‘it depends’.

I had my first flu shot last year.  The ‘it depends’  that weighed in that direction?. I was going to be in frequent proximity to someone whose health was vulnerable.

Can you still get the flu if you have been vaccinated?

Yes. and that is partly why there is such controversy surrounding whether to get it or not.  If the strain you are vaccinated with is not the strain you are exposed to, you can get the flu. If your immune system is weak, you can still get the flu.  Proponents of the flu shot will tell you that you will get a less severe dose.  I am not sure there is research to support that view, however.  As a physician, I have not judged either way, but always ask, “Is that ALL you are going to do to  protect yourself through the winter season?”

So, the Flu Shot.

The strains of virus used to make the vaccine are selected from those strains occurring in the Southern Hemisphere, where their winter precedes ours. It is a best guess scenario.  Some years are a better guess than others.  Last year was not a good guess, according to the reports.

A concern…Flu shots contain a variety of preservatives.  The most notorious, and dangerous being Thimerosal, which contains Mercury.  There are now Thimerosal-free vaccines, so I would highly recommend going to a location that can offer this.  For most, the risk is small, but  our systems are unique to each one of us, and sensitivities vary.

If you are a ‘yes’ to the Flu Shot…  Before you go…

Make sure you are well rested and well hydrated.  Prepare with a clean diet the week before. Plenty of antioxidant fresh fruits and veggies, and a diet lower in sugar and refined carbohydrates.  Do not get the shot if you are already sick.

If you do get the shot, you are not off the hook for good preventative care.  It is not a magic shield.

If you are a ‘no’ to the Flu Shot…

You need a plan that you can commit to.  There are many options, so I suggest you hone in on a few and make them non-negotiable.

  1. Protect your sleep.  Regular sleep periods that afford you 7 ½  to 8 ½  hours of good rest.  Have a ‘bed-time’.  It worked for the kids, it will work for you!
  2. Some form of exercise that you enjoy.  A regular  20 to 30-minute brisk walk or a more rigorous regimen if you are up for it.  A class with a friend might help it happen.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the concepts of Clean Eating, and do your best.  Basically, a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, low in sugar and refined carbs, and choose clean, lean meats and fish.
  4. Add some well-chosen  supplements.  You may need  help with this.  A good start might include a Multi vitamin, Vitamin C, Fish Oil, Probiotics that include Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus, and Vitamin D.
  5. Know  your Vitamin D status.   We are more vulnerable to colds and flu during the winter when our D levels are at their lowest, and those with more robust levels appear to get fewer episodes of colds and flu.   Since most of us spend little time exposed to sun we tend to be chronically low.  Vitamin D is not known as a treatment for flu, rather you would want to have it already present going into the season.  Bottom line on this… people with adequate levels of D get fewer colds and flu.  If you don’t know your level, get tested.  Supplement if your level is below optimum. (In 2011 a study reported in the British Journal of Nutrition evaluated Vitamin D levels and respiratory illnesses.  They found that  for every 4 ng/ml  increase in Vitamin D there was a 7 percent decrease in the incidence of influenza.)
  6. Get outdoors while the weather is lovely.
  7. Spend time with those you love.
  8. Laugh often.  It is a great boost to the immune system.

If you do crash and burn…

Chicken soupMake Chicken Soup.  Seriously.  There is science behind the ingredients.  The chicken contains carnosine, which reportedly can damp an inflammatory response.  Garlic’s sulphur containing compounds appear to have antiviral properties.  Onions contain Quercetin… also antiviral.  A little fresh Ginger will up the anti-inflammatory effect…  Add some carrots and other veggies for anti oxidants and vitamin A.  Then, of course, it is nice and hot.  Researchers found that warm liquids helped move fluids through the body and chicken soup did a better job than just water or juices.

If it is made by someone who loves you… even better!

Call Powell Clinic at (480) 990-0664 to schedule your consultation today!