Get flu vaccine, naturally boost immune system

Published 10:29 am Friday, October 14, 2011

During this time of year there’s a refreshing little nip in the air.
There’s also a familiar, yet unwelcomed sign that winter’s not too far off – flu season.
The peak of flu season usually occurs anywhere between November and March. Flu (Influenza) is a respiratory illness that’s symptoms can include cough, fever, runny nose, gastrointestinal distress (upset stomach, cramps, vomiting or diarrhea), sore throat, body aches, headache and chills.
Each year in the United States alone, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized with flu related symptoms, and about 36,000 die from those same symptoms.
Influenza is usually spread one of two ways.
One is by tiny 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 object, and then toughing one’s own nose, mouth or eyes.
I personally recommend most healthy folks take the seasonal influenza vaccine.
Here’s a list of those who should take the vaccine, and those who shouldn’t.
Those who should: Pregnant women, all children over the age of 6 months, anyone 50 years and older, people any age with chronic health conditions and those who live in long term care facilities like nursing homes.
People who are in contact with and care for others who are at high risk for complications from flu, like healthcare workers, and caregivers to children and the elderly should also make a point of getting the vaccination.
Those who should not take the influenza vaccine: Those who’ve had a severe reaction to the vaccine in the past, people who are allergic to chicken eggs, those who have developed a condition called  “Guillian-Barre Syndrome” (GBS) within six weeks of getting the vaccine, children less than 6 months of age (the flu vaccine is not approved for children less than 6 months) and people who are ill with fever.
Some worry that they’ll get the flu from the influenza vaccine … they can’t, because the flu vaccine contains killed viruses.
The nasal flu vaccine contains weakened viruses, but can’t give the flu to a healthy individual. Remember, it takes about two weeks for a person who’s 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 it’s true I recommend taking the seasonal influenza vaccine, it’s equally true that I’m even more an advocate of naturally boosting your 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.
Diet or fitness question? Email me at or visit
David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist for 24 years. He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the S.C. state champion girls gymnastic team, USC-Spartanburg baseball team, Converse collage equestrian team, lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency, and taught four semesters at USC-Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.

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