The flu season is almost among us, and now is the right time to get ahead of it. Seasonal flu is a pathogenic viral infection that occurs annually in the U.S. from late fall to early spring. The flu is common within all age groups, with children infected more often. Most individuals recover without serious complications, however, some cases can result in severe illness or death. Not only is Influenza physically a burden, it takes a toll economically due to medical costs and job productivity loss. (Putri et al., 2018)
It is recommended in the U.S. that persons aged older than six months receive an influenza vaccination, but less than half the population is vaccinated each year. Common knowledge dictates that populations most at risk are children, pregnant women, adults over 50, and patients with pre-existing conditions. “Molinari et al. estimated that, in the U.S., seasonal influenza is associated with approximately 10 million individuals seeking outpatient care, 300,000 hospitalizations, and 41,000 deaths annually based on the 2003 demographic profile” (Putri et al., 2018). Putri et al. (2018) also noted that direct medical costs in the US were estimated around 10.4 billion, and productivity loss caused by illness and death at a cumulative cost of 16.3 billion.
With statistics and information such as these, why are people so hesitant to get a flu vaccine? An overabundance of misinformation and conspiracy fueled ideology are to blame. Web sites such as “Vaccine Resistance Movement” and “Anti-Vaxxer” promote hate fueled ideologies, entertaining the idea that the influenza vaccine will harm kids and adult users. These groups also declare that global elite’s plan vaccinations, attempting to dumb the population and introduce new pathogens into society. However, this belief is strongly inaccurate. Another factor into anti vaccination comes from parent social media accounts and websites. Parents meet in online groups, share stories or bad statistics, and confuse each other regarding vaccination efficacy. Groupthink blurs truth from fiction, causing parents to choose not to vaccinate their children because their online friend told them to do so. When situations like this happen, hundreds of thousands of children and elderly are put at risk of serious implications and even death.
So, preparing for flu season early on is vital, not just for your health, but for the health of others, because much like Covid-19, protecting yourself means protecting others. Vaccination efficacy is a group effort that starts with one easy decision, getting vaccinated. “ …in 2018-2019, the vaccine efficacy was 29% and only 49% of people in the US opted to receive the vaccine, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that it still prevented 4.4 million flu illnesses, 58 000 hospitalizations, and 3500 deaths. The more people vaccinated in a population, the larger effect the vaccine has, even when vaccine effectiveness is low” (Solomon, para. 2). It takes about two weeks for the flu shot to take effect, therefore early preparation is key to immediately defend yourself from flu season. (Solomon, para. 7)
However, if you are fully against vaccinations, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself and others. Consuming Vitamin D is a great way to stimulate the immune system and boost overall health. Vitamin D is a polypeptide, meaning it has antiviral and antibacterial properties. There’s also Vitamin C that also acts as an immune system booster alongside vitamin D. Another great way to prevent influenza is to regularly wash your hands and commonly touched surfaces. Much of what is being done to prevent Covid-19 can be done to prevent influenza.
The overall best way to prepare for flu season is to get your flu shot, stock up on Vitamin C and D, as well as purchase antibacterial soaps and cleaning supplies. If you’re eating well, practicing good hygiene, and responsibly preparing for flu season, you shouldn’t have much to worry about.
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Lily Ph. Nizolenko, Bachinsky, A. G., & Bazhan, S. I. (2016). Evaluation of influenza vaccination efficacy: A universal epidemic model. BioMed Research International, 2016 doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.1155/2016/5952890
Putri, W. C. W. S., Muscatello, D. J., Stockwell, M. S., & Newall, A. T. (2018). Economic burden of seasonal influenza in the united states. Vaccine, 36 (27), 3960-3966. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.05.057
Schilling, R. (2020). Fight the cold or flu with mega vitamin D3 doses. Retrieved September 15, 2020, from https://www.askdrray.com/fight-the-cold-or-flu-with-mega-vitamin-d3-doses/
Solomon, D. A. (2020). Patient Information: Seasonal Influenza Vaccination. Retrieved September 15, 2020, from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2769679