Flu Facts

Flu Facts

Common Flu Symptoms

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
    (not everyone with flu will have fever)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea, although this is more common in children than adults.

Why get a flu shot?

  • Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu.
  • Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization, including among children and older adults.
  • Vaccine effectiveness for the prevention of flu-associated hospitalizations was similar to vaccine effectiveness against flu illness resulting in doctor’s visits in a comparative study published in 2016.
  • Flu vaccination is an important preventive tool for people with chronic health conditions.Flu vaccination has been associated with lower rates of some cardiac (heart) events among people with heart disease, especially among those who experienced a cardiac event in the past year.
  • Flu vaccination also has been associated with reduced hospitalizations among people with diabetes (79%) and chronic lung disease (52%).
  • Vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy. Getting vaccinated can also protect a baby after birth from flu. (Mom passes antibodies onto the developing baby during her pregnancy.)A study that looked at flu vaccine effectiveness in pregnant women found that vaccination reduced the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection by about one half.
  • There are studies that show that flu vaccine in a pregnant woman can reduce the risk of flu illness in her baby by up to half. This protective benefit was observed for several months after birth.
  • And a 2017 study was the first of its kind to show that flu vaccination can significantly reduce a child’s risk of dying from influenza.
  • Flu vaccination also may make your illness milder if you do get sick. (For example a 2017 study showed that flu vaccination reduced deaths, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, ICU length of stay, and overall duration of hospitalization among hospitalized flu patients.)
  • Getting vaccinated yourself also protects people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.

How can I boost my immune system to prevent the flu?

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
  • Try to minimize stress.

Boost Your Immunity

Have you ever wondered why some people may get sick more often than others?
It could have something to do with your diet!

This time of year when the flu and cold season is upon us, we are reminded how important it is to have a healthy immune system to help ward off unwanted bacteria and viruses in our bodies. We know it is important to wash our hands frequently to prevent the spread of illness but did you know a poor diet and stress can weaken your immune system as well?

The best way to boost your immune system is through a well-balanced diet, daily exercise, good personal hygiene and adequate sleep for starters. A good starting point is to take a closer look at your diet. If you find yourself working long days, skipping meals and going through the drive-through for dinner you are likely missing out on key nutrients to keep you healthy. A relatively mild deficiency of even one nutrient can make a difference in your body’s ability to fight infection. So make sure you are eating a variety of foods from all food groups and color your plate with a rainbow of colors to ensure you are getting a variety of nutrients to help boost your body’s defense against germs.

Among the nutrients well recognized for their many roles in building immunity includes: protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and probiotics. Others include vitamin B6, folate, selenium, iron and copper. To promote your own immunity, follow a healthful eating plan and include some new foods from the list below. These foods may help give your immune system the needed boost during the cold and flu season.

Antioxidants

  • What they do: Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. They also improve immune function and lower risk for infection.
  • Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of antioxidants.
  • There are many antioxidants (possibly thousands), but some of the more commonly described include:
    • Vitamin C—found in many fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, salad greens, strawberries, watermelon, cabbage, and sweet potatoes.
    • Vitamin E—found in soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, wheat germ, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, nuts, corn, seeds, olives, egg yolks, and liver.
    • Beta-carotene—found in deep orange as well as dark-green vegetables such as apricots, cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, broccoli and collards.
    • Selenium—found in meat, bread, and Brazil nuts.

Probiotics

  • Probiotics are friendly bacteria that live in your gastrointestinal tract that help enhance your immune system as well as aid in digestion.
  • Good sources include dairy products like yogurt and kefir. Since these bacteria are sensitive to oxygen, light, and dramatic temperature changes, make sure to look for yogurts with “live and active cultures” to be sure you are getting probiotics.
  • Fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut, and kombucha also contain probiotics.
  • If you are looking for dairy-free options try the Good Belly juices or dairy-free yogurts made with rice milk or coconut milk that have probiotics added.

Vitamin A

  • What it does: Vitamin A is important for cell growth and development, protects you from infections, helps maintain a healthy immune system and promotes good vision.
  • There are two types of vitamin A:
    • Retinol, the complete and active form of vitamin A that is found in animal products. Sources include liver, organ meats, eggs, milk fortified with vitamin A and fortified breakfast cereals and grains.
    • Carotenoids, such as beta carotene, that is found in plant foods. Our bodies convert beta-carotene from food into Vitamin A. Sources include sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, winter squash, cantaloupe, apricots, kale, spinach and broccoli. Fruits and vegetables with a deep orange and yellow color are good sources of beta-carotene as well as many dark-green leafy vegetables.

Zinc

  • What it does: Promotes cell reproduction and tissue growth and repair. Helps wounds heal and helps the immune system work properly.
  • Good sources of zinc include animal products, such as meat (beef, pork, veal, lamb, bison, elk), poultry, seafood and shellfish. Eggs and milk supply zinc in smaller amounts. Wheat germ, wheat bran, whole-grain products, beans, nuts, fortified cereals and soy products contain zinc, but it’s in a form that’s not as easily absorbed by the body.
  • Zinc deficiency is more common in adult women and vegetarians.

PREPARE FOR YOUR IMMUNIZATION

This information is not intended as medical advice. Consult with your doctor for individual advice.