November 4, 2020
By Christine Cheng (R.Ph) and Frederick Cheng (R.Ph)Influenza (or flu) is a viral infection that presents as a combination of fever, headache, muscle aches, malaise, sore throat and/or coughing. It is highly contagious. Despite advancement in modern medicine, this condition is still prevalent in the colder seasons and there is no effective drug that will kill the flu bug. Influenza is especially dangerous in the elderly and people with chronic illnesses.
Getting the influenza vaccine is the most effective way to reduce the incidence and severity of influenza. This year, while we are concurrently facing the risk of contracting the SARS-C0V-2 virus and its associated illnesses, it is especially important for us to get protected against an illness we can be protected against!
A vaccine is a small amount of the virus introduced purposely into the body so that the immune system produces specific antibodies against the viral antigens. The inactivated influenza vaccine is made of killed influenza viruses whereas the live-attenuated vaccines contain a weakened version of the virus. Should a massive invasion of the same virus occur subsequently, the body will be equipped with the necessary antibodies that will neutralize the virus.
Immunity from vaccination is short lasting, so yearly vaccination is recommended, particularly for the elderly and those at higher risk of complications from influenza infection. This year, the government will be providing financial coverage of different types of flu vaccines including the nasal form and high dose vaccines for the elderly living in long-term care or assisted living facilities (see immunizebc.ca/influenza for more details on the publicly funded program).
Common side effects include injection site reactions (e.g., pain, redness, swelling) for those vaccines that are administered via injection. Systemic side effects that could result from any flu vaccine include myalgia, malaise, headache, fever. All of these are self-limiting (usually resolving within about 48 hours). People who are concerned with the side effects of vaccination could take a dose of homeopathic Sulfur 30CH just before and just after the administration of the vaccine.It is not possible to contract the flu from an inactivated influenza vaccine. If you happen to feel like you are fighting the flu shortly after getting immunized, it is likely that you were already harboring (incubating) a flu virus and the manifestation of symptoms is coinciding with the timing of your flu shot.
Copious hand-washing is key to minimizing the risk of contracting the flu. Good nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, and adequate sleep will help maintain a healthy immune system that is ready to fight any infection. These tips are especially important this year as we try to prevent any COVID-19 related illnesses.We are told the flu vaccine will be available by the beginning of October. Contact us at our Pharmasave’s in Cloverdale or Steveston Village to be put on our waiting list so that we can
arrange an appointment for your flu shot as soon as we have them in store.
Fred and Christine Cheng are a passionate, charismatic sister-brother pharmacist team at their unique, family-operated Pharmasave stores in Cloverdale and Steveston, B.C. They specialize in natural remedies and compounding for both human and veterinarian use. Everything
mentioned in their article is available InStore. Articles, Q&A, blog posts and all materials submitted for publishing is the intellectual property of Cloverdale Pharmacy Ltd – reproduction in part or whole, in print or online, without written consent and permission is prohibited.