But the good news is that there’s a very powerful ally in the fight against catching the flu and other illnesses.
Is it that flu shot people get in the fall? Sometimes they work better than others. For instance, last year, the CDC reluctantly admitted their flu shot might have only offered minimal protection. In fact, every year, scientists, health workers, and vaccine manufacturers from around the globe meet several months before the flu season to make an educated guess about which strains of flu may be most prevalent that coming winter.
But even with their expert opinions they are just guesses. In a year where they guess right, the ensuing flu vaccine may be 60-90 percent effective in protecting against the influenza virus. Last year, it was only about 23 percent effective, according to the CDC.
So even though 40 percent of Americans, about 140 million people, got their flu shot, it might offer a low instance of help. Children under 2 and those over 65, or people with chronic health conditions like asthma are most at risk of severe illness from the flu.
So if the flu shot isn’t a failsafe, what are some ways your patients and the public can protect themselves against the flu?
According to the Center for Disease Control, doctors, and medical professionals:
1. Wash your hands often, thoroughly scrubbing with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub, especially after shaking hands or touching surfaces in public areas.
2. Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
3. Since the flu is contagious for up to a week, try to avoid personal contact with people who are sick with the flu, even if they are back at work or in public and think they are over it.
4. Manage stress as much as possible.
5. Take a supplemental Vitamin D3 with Vitamin K
6. To keep your immune system healthy, get lots of sleep, exercise regularly, drink plenty of water, and eat a healthy diet.
But one of the most important and effective tools avoiding colds and the flu is chiropractic care, which ensures your lymphatic system works optimally. Chiropractic care raises your body’s natural resistance to disease by removing serious interference to its proper function, vertebral subluxations.
For that reason, it’s important to explain to clients that their lymphatic system is basically their body’s drainage system. Lymph is a clear fluid composed of immune cells and the greater lymphatic system is made up of a network of ducts and lymph nodes that help filter out viruses, bacteria, and other harmful elements.
Remind your patients that when they go to a medical doctor and complain of a cold or the flu, the first thing he or she checks is their lymph glands, feeling for enlarged lymph nodes on the neck under the jaw. Enlarged nodes, or swollen glands as we often call them, are a sign that the lymphatic system is actively fighting an infection or imbalance.
Here’s where chiropractic care comes in: when the body is healthy and working correctly, the bad things your lymph nodes collects drains out through the lymph ducts, some of which are located along the spine and in the neck. But when the neck and spine are out of alignment from muscle tension, a musculoskeletal condition or other injury, those lymph ducts can become blocked and congested.
Fortunately, chiropractic adjustments restore the neck and spine to proper alignment, taking pressure off of the congested lymph ducts. That allows the lymphatic system to start flowing and working correctly again, naturally decongesting and helping your body’s immune system to work properly in the fight against colds, flu, and illness.
It's hard to quantify the health benefits of a strong immune system, but one recent study found that patients who had chiropractic adjustments had a 200-400% stronger immune system than those who weren’t adjusted. Another study published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research showed that regular chiropractic care resulted in a 15% average decrease in the incidence of colds and the flu.
For that reason, regular chiropractic adjustment and lymphatic massage will help keep a patient’s immune system strong and functioning optimally, and even will help minimize the symptoms and speed recovery once a patient already comes down with the flu.