How to protect yourself from the flu
By Shannon Davis, CarePro Health Services Linn County LIVING WELL Magazine
By now, we’re all used to seeing the signs at our corner drugstores: “Flu Shot Inside! Stop in for your yearly flu shot!” While flu shots are recommended annually, there are still plenty of people who either don’t want a shot or aren’t candidates for shots when there are shortages of vaccines. Did you know that there are other ways to protect yourself from the flu? There are steps that you can take today to build a healthy immune system and keep your body strong for years to come.
Lucinda Harms, RPh, is the director of pharmacy at CarePro Advance Health. She encourages patients to consider taking certain supplements that may help to reduce your risk of getting the flu.
#1: Vitamin D
“Vitamin D can be a powerful support to your immune system,” Harms says.
By supplementing with 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily during the winter months, you can help boost your immunity against colds and the flu. In Iowa, we do not make any vitamin D in our skin from November until March because of the angle of the earth relative to the sun during those months. This can leave us with low levels of vitamin D, making us more susceptible to cold or the flu. Beginning a multi-vitamin regimen and taking a vitamin D supplement can help prevent a weak immune system and winter illnesses.
A healthy digestive tract plays a very important role in maintaining a healthy immune system.
“Lack of the good bacteria in your digestive tract can make you more susceptible to infections and illness,” says Harms.
Taking a quality probiotic supplement with a variety of healthy bacteria strains can help maintain a healthy balance in your digestive tract and decrease susceptibility to colds and flu, if it’s taken regularly during the flu season.
#3: Vitamin C
“Even if a person does receive a yearly flu shot, both men and women have shown better results to the flu shot if they have higher levels of vitamin C,” explains Harms.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is used for many things, one of which is to boost the immune system. One way to get recommended amounts of both vitamin D and vitamin C during the winter months is by taking a high-grade, multi-vitamin supplement daily.
Contact a CarePro pharmacist for assistance in choosing quality supplements that may help prevent winter illnesses. With the right care and prevention measures, you should be able to enjoy a healthy, flu-free winter.
For more information, contact CarePro at 319-363-4554.