WebMD Medical Reference
The most effective preventive measure against influenza is to be immunized every fall against strains that have developed since the previous outbreak. If you are vaccinated against one or more type A and B strains, you may still come down with flu, but your symptoms are likely to be milder than they would have been had you not had a vaccination.The immune system is the body's defense against infectious organisms and other invaders. Through the immune response, the immune system attacks organisms and substances that invade our systems and cause disease. The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body. Boosting the immune system will greatly effect the bodies ability to combat the flu virus to the extent of even controlling the illness.
Influenza vaccine is available through physicians and public-health facilities and many companies provide flu vaccines on-site for their workers. Because influenza is a serious threat, the CDC recommends vaccination for everyone over 50; babies ages 6 months to 2 years old; nursing-home residents and employees; anyone whose immune system is compromised by AIDS, cancer, or other chronic ailments like diabetes, heart disease and respiratory diseases like asthma and COPD; and people who work in medical facilities. All of the diseases listed are dramaticlly improved through nutrition, vitamin and herbal supplements. Most people taking the natural products approach to their health find the need of flu vaccinations as a last resort when the immune system is not suppressed with chemicals.
Influenza is best dealth with through a strong body defense, taking vitamins and herbs to strengthen the immune system. Keeping chemicals out of the body leaves the bodies defenses ready and able to battle invading viruses. A body battliing chemicals will not defend itself against viruses efficiently. This incredibly important health mistake most people make in effect causing the bodies slow response to invading viruses until the body is overwhelmed with the flu, fever and aching pains.
The vaccine is available in two forms. One is the injectable vaccine made from an inactivated virus. This form is usually given as a single injection and is approved for people 6 months of age or older. The other form is given as a nasal spray called FluMist. This form of the vaccine is a live and weakened form of the flu and is approved for all healthy people 5-49 years of age who are not pregnant. If you are pregnant you can only receive the injectable form, preferably in your second trimester, and make sure your doctor approves of the vaccination. Both vaccines are given as a single dose, although children less than 9 may receive two. Some people develop low fever and muscle aches as side effects of the vaccine. Because the vaccine is grown in chicken embryos, it should not be given to people allergic to eggs. Side effects of vaccine are sometimes fatal but most experience just a mild form of the flu and can get on with there lives quickly.
All four of the medicines mentioned at the end of the conventional medicine section can be used to help prevent influenza, but only Relenza and Tamiflu can prevent both influenza A and B. It takes at least two weeks for the vaccine to take effect, so if you are in the midst of an outbreak during the two-week period after getting the vaccine, it may be worth taking one of these medications.
Here are more preventive measures you can take during flu season: