Flu shots are common in western countries like the US, where people get vaccinated against seasonal influenza for short-term protection. And, given the rising number of Covid as well as influenza cases, Dr Rajesh Chawla, senior consultant, pulmonology and critical care, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi, advises who is a suitable candidate for these shots. He says, “It is important to consult with your doctor before deciding to take the flu vaccine, but the flu vaccine is generally recommended for people who are at higher risk of developing severe complications from the flu, such as young children, elderly individuals, pregnant women, and people with underlying health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease. For individuals who have a strong immunity system and they decide not to take the flu vaccine, it is important that they continue practising good hygiene techniques like washing your hands, staying home if feeling sick, eating healthy foods and taking vitamins during this season.”
Do these seasonal vaccines protect from all virus causing influenza?
Seasonal influenza vaccines are designed to provide protection against the most common strains of influenza viruses that are expected to circulate during a particular flu season. The World Health Organization (WHO) makes recommendations each year about which influenza strains should be included in the seasonal vaccine.
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However, the seasonal influenza vaccine may not provide complete protection against all strains of influenza virus. In some cases, the vaccine may be less effective against certain strains of the virus that are not included in the vaccine.
Additionally, the effectiveness of the vaccine can vary depending on factors such as the age and health status of the individual receiving the vaccine, as well as the match between the vaccine strains and the strains that are actually circulating in the community. Despite these limitations, getting a seasonal influenza vaccine is still recommended by public health authorities as the best way to reduce the risk of getting the flu and its associated complications.
Are there any immunity boosting treatments people should opt for?
Each person immune system is different therefore different techniques work different for each person’s immune system, but here are a few general tips one should follow to keep immunity levels high:
* Eat a balanced and nutritious diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
* Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
* Get enough sleep and prioritise good sleep habits.
* Manage stress through meditation, yoga or deep breathing exercises.
* Engage in regular physical activity and exercise.
* Practice good hygiene by washing your hands frequently, avoiding close contact with sick individuals, and keeping your living spaces clean and sanitised.
* Remember, there is no magic bullet for boosting immunity. It’s important to focus on overall health and wellness habits to support your immune system.
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There is no line dividing symptoms of covid and seasonal flu. How to avoid social spreading and what is the time period one should avoid other people, like till they have fever or subsiding of all symptoms?
There are some key differences between the two illnesses that can help healthcare professionals distinguish between them.
To avoid spreading either illness, it is important to practice good respiratory hygiene, including covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
You should also wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands. You should avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home if you are feeling unwell.
If you have been diagnosed with Covid-19 or the flu, it is recommended that you isolate yourself for at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms, or until you have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, and other symptoms have improved.
It is important to note that the duration of isolation or quarantine may vary depending on individual circumstances, such as severity of illness or exposure to someone with the virus. It is best to follow the guidance of your healthcare provider or public health officials.