No patient ever wants to have the flu. Anyone who has ever had it knows how terrible the symptoms can be - fever, headaches, muscle aches, exhaustion, cough, sore throat, runny nose, . If you're lucky, that's it! If you're unlucky (or young, old, or with a weakened immune system) flu can lead to pneumonia, muscle breakdown, and in severe cases even nervous system and heart problems.
Obviously, the flu is not something any of us want. So, what's the best prevention?
● Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use alcohol hand rubs
● Stay away from people you know are sick
● Get the flu vaccine every year
Facts about the flu shot:
● It takes two weeks for the immunity from the shot to develop in your body
● The vaccine generally prevents 50-80% of people who are vaccinated from becoming sick with the flu
● If you get the flu after being vaccinated, it will likely last a shorter amount of time and be milder
● The risk of complications from the vaccine is much smaller than the risk of complications from a flu infection
If you happen to know you have been exposed to someone with the flu, there are anti-viral medications that can be prescribed to lessen the chance of you coming down with it. But, these need to be started quickly after exposure!
Elderberry might help:
● A study in the 2004 Journal of International Medical Research supported 2 teaspoons 4 times per day of elderberry extract as an alternative for patients who cannot take traditional anti-viral medications
● This extract is recommend within 2 days of onset of flu symptoms and should be taken for a total of five days or until symptoms resolve
Lauren Hedde, DO and Mark Turshen, MD are Family Physicians and Founders of Direct Doctors, Inc. a Direct Primary Care Practice.