Flu season 2010: fearing side effects, many pass on flu shot

Many people choosing not to get a flu shot this flu season can take steps to promote natural immunity. Image: Thinkstock

If the midterm elections didn’t make you sick, sit tight. Flu season 2010 is just around the corner. Flu shots are promoted heavily at the onset of flu season, but more people are becoming wary of the needle this year. For people concerned about the side effects of flu shots, there are other ways to prevent downtime this flu season.

The 2010-11 flu season

In past flu seasons, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended flu shots only for people with the highest risk of life-threatening complications, such as the elderly. This flu season, the CDC is recommending flu shots for everyone six months and older. Dr. Susan Rehm of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases told CNN that doctors finally understand that people interact and the best way to keep flu from spreading is to give everyone a flu shot. The good news is a flu shot doesn’t have to come from a needle. Often flu shots are distributed these days with a nasal spray.

Fear of 2010 flu vaccine

The big swine flu scare that didn’t pan out last flu season has turned off a lot of Americans regarding flu shots. In a Consumer Reports poll, 45 percent of respondents said the 2009 swine flu epidemic was overblown. Of 30 percent of the respondents who said they would not get a flu shot this year, 44 percent feared side effects and 41 percent were concerned about the safety of the 2010 flu vaccine. Rationales for not getting a flu shot in the poll included not expecting to get the flu, not believing in the vaccine, relying on drugs like Tamiflu and wanting to build natural immunity.

Building natural immunity

The 2010 flu vaccine protects against three flu viruses, including the 2009 H1N1 virus associated with the swine flu. For those who want to skip a flu shot this flu season, a healthy diet rich in lean meats, fruits and vegetables can help balance the immune system. Exercise also stimulates the immune system to fight off colds. Hydration helps the body activate immunities, and humidity kills the flu virus. Drinking plenty of water and using a humidifier can keep the flu virus at bay.



Consumer Reports