The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging anyone 6 months or older to get a flu shot as soon as they become available this year. Even though the flu strains expected to circulate this flu season are identical to the ones that came around last year (including H1N1), immunity from last year’s strains may not be strong enough for the 2011 flu season.
The CDC says that anyone ages 6 months to 8 years old will need two shots this year if they weren’t vaccinated last year. Those who received the shot last year only need one this year.
Whether you’ve been vaccinated for the flu or not, it’s still important to have a strong immune system going into the flu season. Some proven natural remedies can also be helpful to deal with flu symptoms, if you do catch it.
Some of the things you can do to boost your health include exercising 30 minutes a day, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, having a routine blood test to check for vitamin D deficiency (and if you are deficient, taking the appropriate supplements) and cutting out processed foods. Also, clinical trials have shown that taking American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) can prevent colds and flu.
If you catch a cold or flu, coffee can provide some relief. Many cold and flu drugs have caffeine for its decongestant properties, but organic coffee doesn’t have all of the artificial coloring and preservatives found in many cold and flu relief medicines. Be careful with the sugar, though, because it can hinder the immune system. Clinical trials have also shown that using elderberry can reduce flu symptoms.
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