With the fall comes the start of school, cooler temperatures, the changing of the leaves, and of course – it’s that time of the year when the flu virus rears its ugly head! As the season quickly approaches, many people question when and if they should get the flu vaccine. Also, most importantly, how can one prevent getting it all together?
There are several ways to maintain your overall health and boost your immune system, which protects you from many viruses, including the flu. So, what can you do?
- Reduce stress. A steady cascade of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, negatively impacts the body’s ability to stay well. Findings show that reducing levels of stress through relaxation techniques, daily exercise, and coping skills helps your body maintain physical and emotional health. This is probably the most important lifestyle change you can practice to boost immunity.
- Get plenty of rest – every night! Prolonged sleep deprivation wears down immune protection, while getting adequate rest each night helps to boost your defenses. Try to aim for seven to eight hours sleep for the best immune function.
- Be happy! Take some time each day to “Stop and smell the roses.” Enjoy life’s journey and listen to your favorite tunes. Some findings indicate that listening to just 30 minutes of music increases IGA levels (your body’s natural immune fighters).
- Wash your hands. Nothing beats the potency of frequent hand washing to keep germs at bay. By washing hands thoroughly — and often — throughout the day, you can stay healthier and help your immune system protect you from the flu and other diseases.
So who should get the flu shot this year? Everyone who is at least 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine this season. It’s especially important for some people to get vaccinated, including:
- People who are at high risk of developing serious complications, like pneumonia, if they get sick with the flu. This includes people who have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
- Pregnant women.
- People 65 years and older.
- People who live with or care for others who are high risk of developing serious complications. This includes household contacts and caregivers of people with certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
- Monday, September 24th
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-Posted by Robin Donald, DO