It’s that time of year again! The season where the temperature drops dramatically, snowfall is inevitable, and your chance of getting sick is at its highest. And while providing natural immune boosting health solutions throughout the year is our specialty here at Del Immune, we know that when it comes to staying healthy during the cold winter months, it’s crucial to take the extra steps to save yourself from the most common sickness of the season: the flu.
So to learn more about flu prevention, and specifically, what one should do to actively prevent and avoid the flu, we asked 30 health and flu prevention experts to answer this question:
“What’s the #1 most effective way for people to prevent or avoid the flu this winter?”
We’ve collected and compiled their expert advice and tips into this comprehensive guide to protecting yourself from the flu this winter. See what our experts said below
Meet Our Panel of Health & Flu Prevention Experts:
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Harry Leider, MD, MBA, FACPE is the Chief Medical Officer and Group Vice President of Walgreens, the nation’s largest drugstore chain with more than 8000 locations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and America’s online pharmacy serving your needs for prescriptions, health & wellness products, and health information. In his role, Harry is responsible for ensuring enterprise-wide health and wellness service offerings and outcomes that provide customer value and improve patient lives. He has more than 20 years experience as a physician executive in a variety of innovative healthcare organizations.
While there are preventative steps we can make during the cold and flu season, the #1, most effective way for people to prevent or avoid the flu this winter is…
Getting a flu shot. It is the best protection you can get to ward off the virus.
During the last two flu seasons, we’ve seen a growing numbers of people who’ve waited until December or January – or until flu activity becomes more widespread – before getting their flu shot. With the lack of Americans actively getting vaccinated before the flu season strikes, this has been one of the notable contributors to more severe flu seasons each of the last two years. Because of this increase, the CDC recommends that vaccination should occur before the onset of flu activity and shortly after the vaccine becomes available.
And if your first thought is “I don’t have time to get a flu shot,” with Walgreens on almost every corner, we offer the greatest convenience and access to flu shots and a broad range of immunizations – with shots available at any Walgreens pharmacy any day, without an appointment. Walgreens offers a standard seasonal flu vaccine, as well as FluMist, a needle-free nasal alternative; Fluzone HD, a high-dose influenza vaccine for those over age 65; and Flulaval, a quadrivalent vaccine (protects against four strains of influenza).
Vaccinations are offered on a walk-in basis, and those interested in appointments can schedule one online at our website for any Walgreens or Healthcare Clinic.
Nancy R. Capelle is a Connecticut State certified Emergency Medicine Technician and a volunteer EMT with the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps. She is also an American Healthcare Association certified EKG Technician and an American Heart Association certified BLS Instructor. Nancy is also the Founder and Owner of Cardiac Companion, LLC, through which she conducts private CPR instruction and certification for children, adults and healthcare professionals and leads cardiac education workshops. Recently, Nancy joined the Westport Weston Wilton Medical Reserve Corps with whom she is spearheading a large-scale, multi-city bystander CPR/AED training and implementation of technology to facilitate bystander response to cardiac arrest emergencies.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by…
Getting a flu vaccine each year.
Even if you don¹t think that the Flu Vaccine will do much or anything for you, do it for your family, your friends, your work colleagues, your neighbors, because it means that you will be less likely,¬ actually, unlikely ¬to pass the Influenza virus on to others and make them sick.
Dr. Ron Ragan is the Dean of High Point University’s School of Pharmacy. Prior to his current leadership role, Ron gained years of experience as a hospital and community pharmacist.
The most effective way to prevent the flu is…
A combination of good personal hygiene (hand washing primarily) and receiving a flu shot.
Elancheliyan Ambalavanar, MD, CCFP is a Medical Doctor specializing in Family Medicine at Cloud Care Clinics in Toronto.
There are a couple of steps one should take to effectively prevent or avoid the flu…
The most obvious answer is to be sure to wash your hands often with soap and water, or use alcohol hand rubs. However the best option is to get the flu vaccine every year.
For people age 65 years and older, experts suggest a high-dose version of the flu shot, if it is available. In older people, the high-dose version works a little better than the standard dose version.
For healthy children ages 2 to 8 years, experts recommend the nasal spray version of the vaccine instead of the shot, if it is available. If not, the shot works well, too.
Dr. Natasha Withers is an accomplished physician with expertise in all aspects of primary care, as well as extensive training in osteopathic medicine, who is member of One Medical Group. She uses the biopsychosocial model for health and wellness to treat each patient as a whole individual. With an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Middlebury College, Natasha earned her DO from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine and continued on to complete her residency at Beth Israel Medical Center, where she served as chief resident. She is certified with the American Board of Family Medicine and the American Osteopathic Board of Family Medicine.
The best way to protect yourself against the flu is…
To get the flu shot.
The CDC recommends that anyone older than 6 months get the vaccination as soon as possible – even if you got the shot last year. Also, remember that by getting vaccinated, you’re protecting those around you, especially those too young to get the flu shot themselves.
Aside from vaccination, the best way to avoid getting the flu is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water and avoid close contact with those who are sick. Also, anyone who is sick should stay home until they feel better, as this will prevent spreading the virus to those around them.
Olin Idol, N.D. is Vice President of Health for Hallelujah Diet, a comprehensive, preventative system empowering people to take charge of their health by activating the body’s self-healing powers. He earned his ND degree from Trinity School of Natural Health, and is a Certified Nutritional Consultant (CNC) designation by the American Association of Nutritional Consultants. For more information visit www.MyHDiet.com.
One of the most important things we can do to naturally prevent and avoid the flu is…
Avoid refined sugars (high fructose corn syrup and sugar substitutes).
Sugar is one of the leading toxins that impairs the immune system. Agatha Thrash, M.D. tells us that when 12 teaspoons of sugar (some 12 ounce soft drinks contain this much sugar) are consumed the ability of the white blood cells to destroy bacteria is reduced by 60%! If that is increased to 24 teaspoons of sugar, the white blood cells are impaired by 92%. (http://www.lifestylelaboratory.com/counseling-sheet-pages/sugar-cs.html)
A large soft drink and a sugar laden desert (one slice of apple pie) can easily supply that much sugar in one serving. Is it any wonder the average person on the SAD (Standard American Diet) succumbs so readily to the viral and bacterial influences they are exposed to on a daily basis?
The detrimental impact sugar has on the immune system is so critical that it deserves one further emphasis. According to the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Revised 2nd Edition), ‘consuming 100 grams (roughly 4 ounces) of carbohydrates in the form of glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey, or orange juice can significantly reduce the ability of white blood cells to destroy foreign particles and microorganisms…The negative effects start within thirty minutes, last for over five hours, and typically include a fifty percent reduction in the ability of white blood cells to destroy and engulf foreign particles at the peak of inhibition (usually two hours after ingestion).
My advice: Avoid those fruit juices like the plague when the immune system needs peak performance! Keep hydrated with raw vegetable juices, green smoothies and purified water.
Dr. Kenneth Redcross is a board-certified Internal Medicine physician. Patients of his concierge practice include entertainers, athletes and business leaders, spanning from Los Angeles to New York City. His background includes training at the prestigious Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and practicing at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills. In 2006, the NAACP Youth Council honored him with the Man of Valor Award for excellence in medicine. Dr. Redcross has made several appearances on major television networks, including “The Doctors,” “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Insider,” and written articles for sites such as Everyday Health. Learn more about Dr. Redcross and his work at Facebook.com/KenRedcrossMD.
There are a couple of steps I would advise to help prevent the flu…
Between proactive steps like washing your hands frequently and taking a multivitamin, and waiting until you’re “sick enough” to mask symptoms with heavier medications, there’s Oscillo. It’s important to act quickly against those crucial early symptoms.
While Oscillococcinum isn’t a preventative, the latest study published in a British scientific journal found that when patients took Oscillococcinum within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms nearly 63 percent showed “clear improvement” or “complete resolutions” within 48 hours. It’s meant to be taken at the first sign to nip symptoms in the bud. In general the clinical studies show that Oscillo shortens both the severity AND duration of flu and flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, headache, fever, chills, body aches & pains.
It’s a perfect first line defense since there are no drowsy side effects and it won’t interaction with other medications or supplements. The sooner you start treating flu-like symptoms, the better chance you have for a quick recovery and getting back to what you need to do.
Aunna Pourang, MD is a Board Certified Family Physician, Author, Health Coach and Speaker. She believes that true health comes from a balanced integration of the mind, body and spirit. Dr. Pourang is dedicated to empowering others to live a healthy and happy life, and can be reached at her site www.draunna.com.
With the flu season around the corner, many of us are trying to figure out how to stay healthy and “flu-free.” Most people think that the influenza vaccine is all they need, but according to the CDC, the influenza vaccine is only 60% effective. The most effective way to prevent the flu, and many other diseases, is…
With a healthy immune system.
Our immune system has special cells and chemicals that recognize and fight pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria. Young children, the elderly and people with other illnesses have a higher risk of becoming very sick and developing complications from the flu. This is because their immune systems are not as strong as an otherwise healthy adult’s immune system.
The influenza virus is transmitted through air droplets and symptoms may not appear for up to one day after being infected. While frequent hand washing and avoiding contact with others sick with the flu are effective ways to prevent infection, it’s still possible that you may come in contact with the virus. A healthy immune system, however, can stop the virus before it can spread throughout the body.
A healthy balanced diet, regular physical exercise, adequate sleep and stress management are simple, yet incredibly effective ways to boost the immune system and prevent many other diseases. The influenza vaccine is just another way to help build our immune system’s resources, but won’t be effective if our innate healing mechanism isn’t functioning properly.
Make sure to maintain a healthy lifestyle all year round and discuss the best flu prevention options for you and your family with your healthcare provider.
Dr. Michael Kaplan is National Medical Director for NextCare Urgent Care. Dr. Kaplan joined NextCare Urgent Care as the East Region Medical Director in August 2011 and assumed his current role in October 2012. Prior to joining NextCare Urgent Care, Dr. Kaplan spent 7 years in private practice as owner of Lake Area Urgent Care in Montgomery Texas. Dr. Kaplan received his Bachelor’s in Biology from Virginia Wesleyan College and obtained his medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School. Dr. Kaplan is board certified in Family Medicine, and holds medical licensure in Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Arizona.
Although seasonal influenza prevention comes in many forms, the No. 1 method of protection is…
Influenza vaccination is administered by the traditional ‘flu shot,’ high dose ‘flu shot’ (ages 65+), nasal mist (ages 2-49), along with other options that may contain additional strains of protection (Quadrivalent vaccine).
Despite common myths associated with the ‘flu shot'(or nasal spray), it CANNOT cause the influenza illness. Uncommonly, side effects may occur after vaccination, which are typically no different than that experienced from other routine vaccines or which may occur when beginning a new medication. Fortunately, the majority of these symptoms are mild, including pain at injection site, headache, and body aches.
Influenza vaccination should begin as soon as possible each season, upon local availability of vaccine. Adoption of a strategy of delay until a local or regional ‘outbreak’ occurs is strongly unadvised. Because of the time required for our immune system to produce antibodies after vaccine administration, protection from influenza virus infection typically requires approximately two weeks to become effective. In addition to the obvious benefits vaccination offers for preventing catching the ‘flu,’ vaccination can also prevent serious illness in healthy individuals and those with chronic diseases, avoiding potential serious hospitalizations.
Currently, influenza vaccination in the US is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older, unless certain allergies and/or other medical conditions exist. Additionally, recently updated Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for the 2014 – 2015 influenza season recommend that healthy children ages 2-8 years receive the ‘nasal mist’ form of vaccination. This recent recommendation is based on studies, which indicated the ‘nasal spray’ form of vaccine prevented 50 percent more influenza cases than traditional influenza vaccine (‘flu shot’) in this age group. Details regarding this and all other childhood and adult influenza vaccine recommendations can be found at www.cdc.gov or from your local healthcare professional.
Peter Bedard, MA, C.Ht. is a Health Coach and Hypnotherapist who specializes in addiction recovery, anxiety, and chronic conditions. After healing himself of chronic issues, he developed a unique program that allows his clients to connect with their own healing abilities to overcome any obstacle. He has drawn from his own experience to help thousands of people heal and find their personal path to living their highest potential. His thriving private practice based in Los Angeles, CA is a center for growth and development. Additionally, as a staff therapist in addiction treatment, Peter uses his talents to guide people away from their addictive/compulsive behaviors to find a meaningful life. CreateYourHealth.com is Peter’s online TV show on which he interviews holistic/alternative health practitioners. The site features 60+ videos about alternative methods of healing, their uses, and how they work. Learn more about Peter’s work at Convergence Healing.
There are a several natural ways to prevent the flu that I would advise…
One is building a strong immune system:
Most people think what we call the “Immune System” is a single entity when in fact it’s a whole system within our bodies and even several systems that all work together to create what we call a state of wellness. Building and maintaining a strong immune system can be fun and even funny. It involves nurturing all parts of the person…the entire system including the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels of the individual.
Simple and fun day of immune system boosting experiences can consist of eating pumpkin seeds while sunbathing, drinking a digestive blend of turmeric, cinnamon and other spices, while watching hilarious cat videos just before pole dancing and afterwards giving thanks with a heart of gratitude for surviving another day!
Another way is through physical activities, such as Dance:
Dance Therapy and good ‘ole healthy movement in general develops a positive body image, improves self-esteem, reduces stress, anxiety, isolation, chronic pain, and body tension, it increases communication and feelings of well-being. Each of these experiences effects the systems of the immune system from thought to actual feelings to physical range of motion which all contribute to a strong immune system.
Yet another way is getting enough sleep, and taking naps when necessary:
Sleep is a crucial element when focusing on boosting the immune system, which then protects against the flu. Sleep deprivation creates a state of deep stress and even inflammation in the body. Naps help restore the body’s resilience, increases alertness and returns leukocyte counts (which become elevated with the lack of sleep) to normal baseline levels.
Dr. Thomas Safranek serves as the Medical Director of Total Wellness. Dr. Safranek is a state certified Epidemiologist who specializes in internal medicine and infectious disease. His experience includes training at the National Institute of Health and he currently works closely with the CDC assisting the deputy director. Dr. Safranek graduated from Georgetown University Medical School and has over 27 years of experience.
Public health and infectious disease experts agree: the best way to prevent influenza this winter is…
To get an influenza vaccine.
Other measures are helpful: hand washing and hand sanitizers remove the virus from the hands so that when we touch our faces we don’t inoculate ourselves. Avoiding individuals who show signs of influenza also helps.
Kathy Gruver is the Award Winning Author of “The Alternative Medicine Cabinet” and “Conquer your Stress with Mind/Body Techniques”. She has appeared as a guest expert on over 200 radio and TV shows and is a frequent contributor to magazines and websites. More information about Kathy can be found at The Alternative Medicine Cabinet.
I have an unusual suggestion for staving off a cold or flu, but it works for me every time! It is…
Stress reduction and visualization, which has been shown to boost immune function.
When people feel like they are getting sick they often dwell on it, stress about it and do nothing but bring it up repeatedly to friends. “I think I’m getting sick. I hope I’m not getting sick. Don’t get near me, I’m getting sick…” And on and on. All that does is increase stress, which lessens the immune system.
I use affirmations of “I am healthy and well. My immune system is strong and resilient.” And visualize activation of the immune system. I picture white blood cells rushing to the area where I feel compromised. My spot is typically the throat first. The white blood cells head to that area and carry away or battle the germs/virus/bacteria, etc. Some people visualize ice melting, angels swooping in, pacman, whatever works for the individual. And it really works.
We all have our favorite soup recipes, herbal solutions and homeopathic options (I really do recommend Oscillococcinum) but stress reduction, visualization and affirmations are something we can do at any time of day, there is no prep work and no prescriptions needed. And it’s effective.
Clint Fuqua is an accomplished Certified Health Coach and Personal Trainer with over two decades of experience and specialized training in all areas of health, nutrition, and exercise. Clint has published “Personal Health Care Reform”, the first in a series of books to help everyone learn how to care for their health. Learn more about Clint and his work at www.ClintFuqua.com.
The most effective way to prevent and/or avoid the flu this winter and every winter is…
To fly south and live on the beach for 3 months.
Now for the 99% of us that can’t just hop in our private jet and vacation in our beach villa until the spring arrives you can get the same benefits of playing on the beach in your home. Exercise and Vitamin D3 are what you need.
30-45 minutes of intense exercise 3-4 days a week will both boost your immune function and work off the extra sugars that come with all the festivals of the fall. Vit D3 (the sun vitamin) will further boost your immune function and was recently clinically shown to be more effective than the flu shot for both preventing or lessening the severity of the flu.
We may not all get to have fun in the sun but we can all get the same healthy flu fighting benefits through dedicated weekly exercise and eating foods rich in Vit D3 like mushrooms, nuts, egg yolks, and RAW/organic whole milk or Kefir.
Albert Terrillion, DrPH, MEd, CPH, NCOA is the Senior Director for Clinical and Community Partnerships and Director of NCOA’s Self-Management Alliance. In his leadership role, Albert currently leads NCOA efforts to develop, strengthen, promote, and sustain partnerships between health professionals, health care providers, and community-based organizations to support older adult health and wellness.
The single best way to help prevent the flu, and what the CDC recommends as well, is…
An annual flu vaccine.
Make sure to talk to your health care provider about your risk of catching the flu and what you can do to help prevent it, including the best vaccine option for you. Older adults, who are at greater risk for flu and related complications, have vaccine options, including the traditional, standard-dose flu vaccine or a higher-dose flu vaccine. The higher-dose vaccine was developed specifically for people aged 65 and older to improve the body’s production of antibody against the flu.
People should talk to their healthcare provider about the risk of catching the flu and how it can be prevented, including the best vaccine option for them. Vaccination not only helps protect you, but also your community and your loved ones. Vaccination is the best way and first step to help protect from the flu.
Dr. Christopher Hobbs, Ph.D., L.Ac., A.H.G., is the Director at Rainbow Light, a leading vitamin manufacturer and performance leader in building a stronger state of health for their customers, who has over 30 years of experience in the health space and as a licensed herbalist. Following a “whole, simple and nutritious” diet approach, Dr. Hobbs actively motivates clients to participate in personally designed health plans while educating clients on the immense benefits of a clean diet outlook. Hobbs has authored 25 books, including “Herbal Remedies for Dummies” and “Women’s Herbs, Women’s Health”. He shares his knowledge of herbal medicine with consumers and educators all over the world through lectures, and utilized his expertise in this field to found the Institute for Natural Products Research.
Fall and winter marks one of the most important times of year to make sure we’re keeping our health in-check as the cold/flu season kicks into high gear. To keep your immune system strong and able to fend off the flu, one should…
Strive to obtain the right nutrients and ingredients will keep sickness at bay.
Believe it or not, some of the best power-packed ingredients can be found right in your kitchen! Natural herbs provide the body a myriad of health benefits, from a boosted immunity or a cured headache to glowing skin. Understanding the benefits herbs have on the body is crucial to obtaining overall health.
Sticking to food-based, natural products and diets to get the health-boosting effects possible is one of the best ways to keep you safe and your immunity high.
Barb Dehn, R.N., M.S., N.P., also known as Nurse Barb, is a practicing Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, is an Award-Winning Author, television personality and a nationally recognized health expert. She holds a BS from Boston College and earned her master’s degree at the University of California, San Francisco. An in-demand and popular national speaker on all aspects of women’s health, she also lectures at Stanford and appears frequently as a health expert on television. She has appeared on ABC, CBS, CNN, Good Morning America Now, and NBC’s iVillageLive. Her most recent book, “The Hot Guide to a Cool Sexy Menopause” is now available on iBooks.
This is the time of year that we all need to be more vigilant about preventing the spread of germs. The #1 best way to prevent or avoid the flu is…
To get the flu vaccine, and #2 is to wash your hands and wipe down surfaces.
Now, I’m going to tell you some of the unexpected little things that you may not have thought of.
1. Everyone knows about washing their hands, but what surprises a lot of people is how important it is to shower and wash their hair too! Especially with little ones around who love to snuggle up with moms and dads up against their shoulders and nuzzle into their hair.
You know how some kids play with their mom’s hair and then suck their thumbs? Well, washing hands and showering is important because friction helps rub away the germs. When washing hands, remember to sing or recite something for 30 seconds. Some people use the “Happy Birthday” song to remind themselves to soap up and rinse for 30 seconds, others find other catchy kid friendly tunes, like “Baby Beluga in the Deep Blue Sea” or “You are my Sunshine”
2. Teach kids to sneeze and/or cough into their elbows. Little ones rarely have tissues with them or can remember to reach for them, teaching them to sneeze or cough into their elbows helps reduce the spread of germs.
3. Wipe down surfaces regularly. You’d be surprised at how many germs live on counters, doorknobs, shopping carts, fridge handles and every other surface we all use all the time. You don’t have to go crazy with expensive products, you can mix up a little vinegar and water and it also does the trick!
Dr. Jay Reubens is Founder & CEO of safeHands, an alcohol-free hand sanitizer foam that is an alternative to mainstream FDA approved hand sanitizers, and that is also non-flammable, non-drying and kills 99.99% of germs. The safeHands® brand began as a dream of Founder & CEO, Dr. Jay Reubens (known as “Dr. J” and inventor of the first touch-free dispenser) when he set out to develop a safe and effective alternative to alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Dr. J’s goal was to ensure that his foam-based hand sanitizer not only killed over 99.99% of germs – but that it helped soothe, nourish and preserve the skin’s natural oils.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on average, elementary school children get eight to 12 colds or cases of the flu each school year. A great way to prevent catching the flu is…
Getting a flu shot.
Also, we recommend washing hands often and using a hand sanitizer to keep flu germs from hand contact with someone who may have the flu.
We recommend keeping hand sanitizer in your purse, backpack or locker, in addition to all bathrooms in your house, to ensure that you keep your hands as germ-free as possible. Sometimes you can’t get to a sink for soap and water, so rubbing hand sanitizer on your hands is a great option. Kids have a tendency to constantly touch their faces with their hands, and that’s how the flu is transmitted.
Our alcohol-free hand sanitizer, safeHands, not only kills 99.99% of germs, but it moisturizes your hands, so it’s particularly great for kids and adults with sensitive skin.
Dr. Riley Minster is a Pediatrician at Lake Shore Pediatrics where he has practiced since 2002. He earned his medical degree from the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine in 1999.
The most effective way to prevent the flu is…
By getting a flu vaccine, either the traditional flu shot or the 10% more effective flu nasal spray: FluMist.
These should both be available at your healthcare provider.
Furthermore, please cover your mouth and nose when sneezing and/or coughing! Washing your hands is also and effective way to prevent flu transmission. Soap and water remove dirt and oils and antibacterial hand sanitizers kill 99% of all viruses. Also, when the outside air gets colder there’s a lot less moisture in the air and this can dry out the nose and mucus membranes, so use a humidifier or a saline nasal spray to help soothe sore noses.
Exercising is always a good idea as well as it helps to boost the immune system. Try and make sure your whole family gets plenty of sleep too!
Stephanie Lauren is a Nutritional Health & Wellness Coach, ANBF Figure & Physique Professional, and the Founder & CEO of PLYOGA. Stephanie has spent most of her life dedicated to nourishing athleticism and health both personally and professionally through her athletes, clients, and her team of Plyoga trainers. She has 15 years of competitive Gymnastics experience from youth to collegiate level, and 8 years of competitive track and field experience, including current NCAA and High School records.
The #1 way to avoid the flu this winter is…
To eat a health savvy diet, exercise regularly (releasing toxins from your body in multiple avenues) and avoid the Flu vaccine (because most of the people we know who get the vaccine also get the flu)
We work with people who are allergic to apples but can eat organic/non-gmo apples without issue. Whats my point? Our immunity is being compromised by untested practices of filling our foods with lab science genetic modifications that we will only know the results of decades from now (but limit our ability to function at our highest capacity).
We believe we are eating healthy, but we are being attacked by agents within what we consider our cleanest foods. Eat effective and responsible foods and exercise regularly.
Amesh A. Adalja, MD, FACP, FACEP is a Board Certified Infectious Disease Physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center who has done extensive media on influenza and other infectious diseases. Amesh is also is a Senior Associate at the UPMC Center for Health Security, Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Critical Care Medicine, Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine, and Adjunct Instructor in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC. He also serves as a medical branch director for UPMC’s Corporate Emergency Coordination Center and is appointed to the City of Pittsburgh’s HIV Commission. In addition to infectious diseases, he is board certified in internal medicine, emergency medicine, and critical care medicine. Read more about Dr. Amesh at his blog, Tracking Zebra.
The best means to avoid influenza this season is…
To get the vaccine.
The vaccine, which isn’t 100% effective, is really the cornerstone to control flu. This season there is wider availability of the 4-strain version of the shot, which should be the preferred form for almost everyone except the elderly.
The elderly, because they often don’t respond as well to the ordinary shot, should receive the high-dose formulation (which happens to contain 3 strains). The vaccine should ideally be administered prior to the onset of the season because it will take about 2 weeks for immunity to build but people derive benefit from the vaccine even later in the season too.
Because the vaccine is not 100% effective, there will be breakthrough infections but they tend to be less severe than in the unvaccinated.
Dr. Eduardo Dolhun isa Mayo Clinic trained family physician who developed DripDrop, the first great-tasting, Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) available to everyone over the counter. Dr. Eduardo Dolhun earned his medical degree the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. Since 2000, Dr. Dolhun has been co-director of Ethnicity and Medicine and Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor at Stanford University. Dr. Dolhun founded Dolhun Clinic in 2005, a private practice primary care clinic in the heart of San Francisco, where he maintains an active community practice. He also founded Doctors Outreach Clinics, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting primary health care and disaster relief work at home and abroad. Dr. Dolhun was a first responder in Haiti (2010), Pakistan (2010) and Philippines (2013). He was an original founding member of Team Rubicon in Jan 2010. Dr. Dolhun began thinking about improving upon the World Health Organization oral rehydration solution (ORS) in 2006. After 5 years of research and development and thousands of use-case examples, Drip Drop ORS was brought to market in January of 2011.
I have a few tips when it comes to helping prevent and avoid the flu…
Each year, between 5 and 20 percent of Americans get the flu and millions more suffer from colds. Flu symptoms include fever, chills, watery eyes, fatigue, headache, nasal congestion, vomiting and diarrhea. While cold symptoms are somewhat milder, and include nasal congestion, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, possible headache and fever.
Many of these symptoms drain the body of water and electrolytes. And if these two vital nutrients aren’t replaced, dehydration sets in. Plus, dehydration resulting from cold or flu can also worsen fatigue, headache and nasal congestion.
Common cold and flu symptoms that can cause or worsen dehydration include:
- Diarrhea and Vomiting: Both diarrhea and vomiting – which are more common symptoms for children – rapidly deplete water and electrolytes stored in the body.
- Fever and Excessive Sweating: Sweat is made up mostly of water and sodium, an essential electrolyte. Thus, excessive sweating must be offset by drinking more fluids. Fevers above 100-degrees – which are common when battling the flu – increase sweating too and also speed up the body’s metabolism, leading to greater fluid loss.
This is why I created, and continue to recommend DripDrop, for cold and flu prevention.
Built on decades of proven science, it contains a precise ratio of salts, sugars and potassium to optimize fluid and electrolyte absorption and speed recovery.
DripDrop comes in a packet that you can mix into any water bottle and contains 2-3 times the electrolytes of sports drinks and pediatric solutions and was shown to rehydrate 34% better than water alone. Available in natural lemon and berry flavors, DripDrop does not contain any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. DripDrop is recommended for everyone – including expecting moms, kids, parents, seniors, and athletes.
During Cold and Flu season, DripDrop is a medicine cabinet essential.
Dr. Charles Butler, MD, BBA is the CEO of Video Medicine, Inc., a telemedicine mobile app designed to deliver healthcare efficiently, effectively and economically to patients no matter how remote they may be from a specialist. Charles received his Doctor of Medicine Degree from the New York University School of Medicine, he is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and completed his residency in internal medicine at Rush University in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to being a passionate physician, he is also a successful entrepreneur and has founded several profitable businesses including Ultimate Skate (sports video production) and Charles Collection (fine jewelry and loose diamond sales). Before entering college, Charles was an Olympic athlete and competed in the 1998
Nagano Winter Olympic Games in ice dancing. He and his partner, Jessica Joseph, traveled the world as members of Team USA and became the first American ice dancing team to win the gold medal in the World Junior Championships. He has been featured on CBS This Morning, ESPN, NBC, Sirius XM’s Doctor Radio and in the USA Today as an athlete, doctor and innovator.
The flu is no fun. It keeps kids from playing out in the snow and adults from enjoying the everyday pleasures of the winter season – and it feels just plain crummy. As it takes up to two weeks to recover, that’s a lot of time spent in no-fun land. There is, however, a good way to prevent this from happening to you. The best way to avoid the flu is…
In fact, getting vaccinated.
There are other ways to help prevent the flu, and getting sick in general – washing your hands regularly, getting plenty of sleep, using a humidifier – but these are secondary defenses. All those efforts may seem to work, and them bam, you have the flu. This is because it can take several weeks from infection to actually show symptoms.
The vaccine specifically targets the actual flu virus, rendering it helpless to infect your body. That’s what makes it the most powerful ally against getting the flu this winter. It’s easy enough to get the flu shot – go to your doctor or local pharmacy and request it. Even large stores like Wal-Mart and Target administer flu vaccines. There are minor side effects to getting the vaccine, like having a sore throat, fever, or headache for a few days, but it’s nothing compared to the flu.
Anyone 6 months of age or older can get the flu vaccine. For those who don’t like needles, it’s also available as a nasal spray. For those who don’t like nasal spray, well – you may want to stock up on hand sanitizer and stay shut up in your room for the winter.
Chase Countryman is the Assistant Director of Nursing Care at Serenades, LLC, an Alzheimer Care facility for the elderly. Chase is also part of the startup company called GiveJet LLC, a private, philanthropic jet charter service and solutions company.
Working at a facility like a nursing home, it is insane to see how rapidly a disease like the flu can spread. Among the elderly the disease may be difficult to contain, but among the staff proper procedures are in place to curtail the spread of the sickness. During Flu season, we do some things that may seem irrational but are extremely effective. While of course the BEST way is to avoid contact with sick family members or coworkers and wash your hands every 30 minutes, there are some other helpful flu prevention tips:
At the nursing home and now at my home, we sterilize the toilet seats daily, the sinks twice a day, and DOOR HANDLES 3 times daily. This slowed disease propagation by 30% in our facility. I hope these tips can help keep people healthier!
Tricia Holderman is the CEO of Elite Facility Systems, a provider of infection prevention cleaning for medical, dental, and health facilities (including an NFL team); and Elite Home Services, a housekeeping service company. She has consulted and trained clients in Large 500+ bed hospitals to 3 person private practices in Europe, the Middle East, and the US for 35 years.
The number one way to prevent and avoid the flu is…
To keep surfaces and hands free of the flu germs.
As you go thru the day, you will have many opportunities to touch items that have been touched by infected people. Elevator buttons, stair rails, light switches and the worst, door handles, should all be disinfected with an appropriate cleaning product.
Since these are re-infected the first time a flu victim touches them, it is best to keep sanitizer with you and use frequently. While hand washing is important, most people do not realize you have to wash with hot water, an antibacterial soap, and prolong the washing for at least 30 seconds to be effective.
Lawrence Yakobzon is the Pharmacist and Owner of Staten Island Pharmacy in Staten Island, NY. The pharmacy is part of the Good Neighbor Pharmacy Network.
There are two simple steps to help prevent the flu virus:
1. Get your flu shot
2. Washing your hands frequently
Many of my customers ask me what they should take or do when it’s too late already. I always recommend they get the flu shot to help prevent lengthy flu symptoms and viruses.
We offer the flu shot every day without appointments to make it as convenient as possible for the customers.
Another key is to wash hands frequently since you never know who touched that handle or shopping cart before you!
Ralph E. Holsworth
Ralph E. Holsworth, Jr., D.O., is Director of Clinical and Scientific research for Essentia Water and Medical Director at Southeast Colorado Hospital. Essentia Water is enhanced water for healthy, active lifestyle; it is hydration perfected™, created using a proprietary process that results in an electrolyte-enhanced water with an alkaline 9.5 pH.
Winter flu or just being outside in the cold can quickly contribute to dehydration, particularly in children or the elderly (think steam coming off a person’s head once he or she removes his or her winter cap). The body is made up of roughly 80 percent water. It only takes a 1 percent to 2 percent drop in body fluid to experience mild signs of dehydration, which can happen in as little as a day or over several days of illness. Severe dehydration may cause fainting, unconsciousness and can eventually cause death if left untreated. That said, you can often avoid the flu altogether and certainly avoid a trip to the doctor or emergency room by…
Staying vigilant and properly hydrated.
Plus, drinking extra fluid can help flush toxins out of your body and get you on the mend a little quicker if you do succumb to the flu.
I recommend hydrating with a high-alkaline water infused with electrolytes to maximize hydration and re-hydration. It’s a much more affordable way to re-hydrate versus buying more expensive electrolyte liquids or incurring the cost of a trip to the emergency room for an I.V. In fact, I treat many of my own patients orally with functional water instead of an invasive I.V.
If you use natural options like a higher-alkaline diet, you can also help neutralize the body and restore it to a more balanced state during winter and year-round. Some examples of alkaline foods are apples, pears, cucumbers and potatoes. Proper hydration and ideal pH in the body helps to balance the digestive tract and protect the stomach lining, particularly when you are indulging on winter treats.
Kac Young is a Health Coach, Author, a Certified Archetypal Therapist and Counselor, a Certified Meditation Teacher and a former pilot of private airplanes. She has a PhD in Natural Health, a Doctorate in Naturopathy and a Doctorate in Clinical Hypnotherapy. Using her third Doctorate Degree in Clinical Hypnotherapy, she helps people manage weight control, smoking cessation, behavior modification, stress reduction, past-life regression, and phobia management. She is the author of 10 books including “Heart Easy – The Food Lover’s Guide to Heart Healthy Eating,” “Discover Your Spiritual Genius,” and “21 Days to the Love of Your Life”. Learn more about Kac at KacYoung.com.
The number one tip for helping to prevent catching a cold or the flu this season is…
To wash your hands.
But it isn’t just a fast and casual pass through running water. There’s an art to washing your hands to ward off the bacteria and viruses that cause colds and flu.
- Use warm water.
- Use real soap.
- Sing Happy Birthday to yourself to achieve a full 20 second washing.
- Rinse thoroughly.
- Do this 20-30 times a day.
The second tip is to be aware that germs and bugs pass easily from person to person.
- Avoid touching door knobs, handles, faucets, pens or styluses used for signing credit card or debit purchases, electronic bank machines, car doors and public railings.
- Keep your hands away from your face, lips, eyes and nose.
- Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer and use it before eating food snacks or sipping on a bottle of water or soft drink.
- Carry your own pen to use for writing and signing papers, credit card slips and keep yours rubbed down with alcohol every day.
Sound like too much trouble? Not if you want to save yourself from two weeks of misery, losing productive time and being under the weather. Stay on top of it and get through the winter cold and flu free.
Dr. Lee Dennis is a licensed naturopathic physician in the state of Oregon and is an associate naturopathic physician at Namaste Natural Healing Center, Inc in Portland, Oregon where he practices family medicine and primary care. He received his naturopathic medical degree from the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon, and he is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) and the Oregon Association of Naturopathic Physicians (OANP). Learn more about Dr. Dennis at DrLeeDennis.com.
There are a multitude of things we can do to help prevent the spread of infections such as the flu and reduce our risk of getting sick. You’re familiar with many of them – wash your hands, cover your mouth when coughing & sneezing, get the flu vaccine, etc. But, one of the best ways to prevent the flu, or minimize complications if you do get the flu, is…
To get your vitamin D levels checked.
Research is showing that those who are deficient in vitamin D have a much higher risk of getting acute respiratory infections, such as the flu. Just taking a vitamin D supplement isn’t enough, though. You have to get your levels checked.
The amount you need may be very different from the amount someone else needs and vitamin D can be toxic in high doses. So, it’s important to see where your levels are before supplementing and to get them checked again after you begin supplementing to make sure you’re getting an adequate dose and not too much or too little.
Although more research needs to be done in finding the proper level of vitamin D, getting your blood levels above 38 ng/ml seems to be beneficial in regards to preventing the flu.
Benjamin Griffes, M.A., D.C. is a Chiropractor and health coach in Tarzana and Thousand Oaks, CA. Learn more about Benjamin at BenGriffesDC.com.
The #1, most effective way for people to prevent or avoid the flu this winter is to…
Wash their hands after they have been in public or interacted with other people.
The transfer of germs from hands to surface back to hands and into a person’s body can dramatically be reduced with soap and water.
Dr. Scott A. Foote is a Chiropractor and Owner of chiropractic clinic, Nashville Spine and Sport Chiropractic, in the Nashville area, which he opened in 2014. Dr. Foote earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Wellness as well as his Doctorate in Chiropractic (D.C.) from Parker Chiropractic College in Dallas, TX. He completed his clinical work at the Parker College of Chiropractic public clinic also located in Dallas, TX and was hand-picked to work with the COLDEPORTES Olympic team in Bogota, Colombia where he was responsible for treating and rehabilitating the cycling, inline skating, Taekwondo, swimming, and diving teams, along with the Paralympic teams.
It is estimated in the United States that between 5%-20% people will contract the Flu this year. This brings one of the most debated questions to date. What is the most effective way to avoid the Flu?:
Well, what fights off infection in your body? Your immune system. If we can nourish and boost our immune system we can fight off the influenza virus.
There are 3 steps to strengthen your immune system:
1. Staying active. I tell my patients “motion is life”. A healthy routine of exercise can be a vital role in fighting off the Flu.
2. Water. You should consume half of your body weight in ounces of water a day. And no, sweet tea does not count.
3. Rest. When we are tired we feel sluggish. When you don’t get enough sleep, your organs and systems also react sluggish.
Performing these 3 steps will allow your immune system to protect your body.
At some point this year you are likely to come in contact with the influenza virus. By having a healthy immune system your body can fight off this infection and you might not even realize you had the virus at all.
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