Its about that time of year again”flu season”

Published 3:29 pm Friday, October 22, 2010

During this time of year, theres a refreshing nip in the air. Theres also a familiar, but unwelcomed sign that Winters not too far off.&bsp; Flu season. The peak of flu season usually occurs anywhere between November and March.

Flu (Influenza) is a respiratory illness whose symptoms include cough, fever, runny nose, gastrointestinal distress (upset stomach, cramps, vomiting, or diarrhea), sore throat, body aches, headache and chills.

Each year in the U.S. alone, over 200,000 people are hospitalized with flu related symptoms, and about 36,000 die from those same symptoms. Influenza is usually spread one of&bsp; two ways.

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One way is by respiratory droplets that are propelled from person to person through coughing or sneezing (by the way, these droplets can travel up to 3 feet from a cough or sneeze).

The other way is by touching these respiratory droplets from an infected person, either on another person, or on an object, and then touching ones own nose, mouth, or eyes. I personally recommend that most healthy folks take the seasonal influenza vaccine.

Heres a list of those who should take the vaccine, and those who should not.

Those who should: Pregnant women, all children over the age of 6 months, people 50 years and older, people any age with chronic health conditions, people who live in long term care facilities, like nursing homes, and people who are in contact with and care for others who are at high risk for complications from flu, like healthcare workers and care givers to children, and the elderly.

Those who should not take the influenza vaccine: People who have had a severe reaction to the vaccine in the past, people who are allergic to chicken eggs, those who have developed a condition called&bsp; Guillian-Barre Syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting&bsp; the vaccine, children less than 6 months of age (not approved for children less than 6 months), and people who are ill with a fever (they should wait until they recover).

Some people worry that theyll get the flu from the flu vaccinethey cant, because the flu vaccine contains killed viruses. The nasal flu vaccine contains weakened viruses, but cant give the flu to a healthy individual. It does take about 2 weeks for a person whos had the flu vaccine to be protected, so if exposed to the flu from someone else, within that time, one could still get the flu.

Now while its true that I do recommend&bsp; to take the seasonal influenza vaccine, it is equally true that I am even more an advocate of naturally boosting ones own immune system. A strong immune system is by far and away the best way to fight off the numerous microbials that attack our bodies every minute of every day.&bsp; Diet or fitness question? Email me at or visit

David Crocker of Landrum has served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., strength coach, S.C. state champion girls gymnastic team, USC-Spartanburg baseball team, and Converse college equestrian team. He taught four semesters at USC-Union. David is also a regular guest of the Pam Stone Show. David also served as lead trainer to L.H.Fields Modeling Agency.