Haims column: The flu shot is not for everyone | PostIndependent.com

Haims column: The flu shot is not for everyone

Judson Haims

While the flu shot has been proven to help fend off the flu, many people are not sold on its efficacy and safety. For these people, there are options available that can aid in reducing the chances of catching the flu.

First and foremost, the number one thing we can do to protect ourselves from a cold or flu is to wash our hands thoroughly and frequently. Unfortunately, viruses can linger on surfaces for as long as 48 hours. That means when you grabbed a shopping cart at the market, a pen at the bank or place of business to sign your credit card receipt, or got change from a purchase you just bought, a virus could be waiting to infect you. Using a hand sanitizer lotion and being diligent about washing your hands is your first line of defense.

Tips

Don’t let yourself get run down and sleep deprived. Research has proven that proper sleep is integral to helping the body’s immune system battle all kinds of invading infections.

Try using a humidifier. As the weather turns cold and dry, the tiny hairs inside your nose (cilia) become less effective at protecting foreign pathogens from entering your nasal cavities and possibly triggering an illness.

Don’t rely on vitamin C. Yep, you read that right. Experts have found little to no evidence that vitamin C is effective in preventing or treating the common cold and flu.

Supplements help

While keeping your gut healthy is essential to overall well-being and good digestion, it may also be integral in fending off the flu.

Our gut determines more about our health and emotional/mental well-being than you’d ever imagine. If the bacteria within your gut is not healthy, you will not be as healthy as you could be, and you will leave yourself open to a greater risk of health concerns.

While supplements have the potential to help keep our body and immune system healthy, it is important to make sure you get the right ones to properly help you prevent illness. If you have questions, reach out to Kent at Vail Valley Pharmacy in Edwards or Dr. Eliza Klearman in Eagle. I have found them both to be very willing to answer questions.

Seasonal and H1N1 flu

Over the past few years, seasonal and H1N1 flu viruses have made big headlines. Different strains seem to have become resistant to vaccinations and thus our ability to more thoroughly protect ourselves has become more difficult.

While it is a good idea for everyone to get the flu shot, if you are older than 65 and have a chronic disease, you are more likely to have problems from the flu. Recently, new high-dose vaccinations have come to market that are designed to specifically assist older adults whose immune defenses have become weaker. Data from clinical trials indicate that these new high-dose vaccines assist in promoting stronger antibody levels.

In addition to getting the seasonal flu vaccine, it is recommended that you consider the following steps to help protect your health:

Wash your hands frequently

Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.

If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone — unless you need to get medical care.

Keep your home stocked with a supply supplements, alcohol-based hand rubbing solution and tissues.

By practicing good health habits, you can help yourself from getting sick from the flu this winter.

Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Garfield and Pitkin Counties. His contact information is, http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns, 970-328-5526