If you’ve ever had the flu, you know very well that it’s no laughing matter. In fact, you will most likely do whatever is necessary to not experience that kind of sickness again. For many this entails getting a flu jab each year, but for others this means taking other measures, including avoiding the jab each year. Why should we get the jab? Why should we avoid it?
As we are currently in the peak of a typical flu season, it can be important to remind ourselves of ways in which we can stay healthy and safe. Many of us get a yearly flu jab, as the predictions about which strains will hit the hardest change each year. This predictions process tied into flu jabs seems all too risky to quite a few people, especially when dealing with something as seemingly unreliable as a disease.
Our members seem to have their doubts about the jab, with nearly 62% not getting the jab this year. For many in this group, the issue appears not to be whether or not the jab is effective, but whether or not it is safe. Quite a few members tell us their reasons for abstaining, which largely surround their trusting in past experience or the experiences of others getting sick after a flu jab. Stephen65620 tells us, “[I] would never let someone knowingly inject some form of disease into my body. Especially as I have seen too many people get really ill after a flu jab. They can only give what's gone not what's coming.”
So, how does the flu jab work? In either nasal spray or jab form, the vaccine triggers your body’s natural immune response to fight a foreign invader by producing antibodies against it. This way, the next time your body comes into contact with a flu virus, your immune system will recognise it and be ready to fight it quickly. To do this, each year scientists around the world collect samples of flu viruses and select the three that they think will be the most prevalent in the following year. These three strains are then put into the vaccine as inactive, or dead, viruses. This means that the jab cannot give you the actual flu virus itself.
Regardless of whether or not you will get a flu jab this year, there are many things we can all do to stay healthy and keep those around us healthy as well!
We’ve all heard these before, but let’s actually do them this year!
1. Take precautions against commonly touched spaces, such as doorknobs, counter surfaces, phones, and keyboards.
2. Get enough sleep. This is the time your body repairs the damage done during the day- especially the potential damage you don’t yet know about. That includes the viruses and bacteria you encountered!
3. Make sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water every chance you get.
4. Take additional winter supplements, as necessary! In the colder months, we tend to not get enough vitamin A, D, C, E or Zinc, which help keep our immune systems strong! Check in with what you may need a little bit more of if you’re not getting it in your diet.
5. Diet: make sure you are eating more than enough in fruits and veg! These are your best friends in the winter months, though they are more difficult to find as it gets colder. Go with the darker, leafier greens and those with more colour. Kale, chard, beetroot, carrots, purple cauliflower, oranges, grapefruit- make sure your plate looks more like a rainbow than shades of brown.
6. Natural remedies: take echinacea, eat extra garlic and raw honey, get a massage, drink more herbal tea! Do what works best for your body, listen to what you need, and experiment with what makes you feel best.
7. Laugh as much as possible! Immune cells are produced by laughter and a positive attitude can take us much farther than any medication can!
Let us know your tricks to staying healthy in the comments!