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Flu Season stress you out
Newswise, October 2010 — As the weather
turns brisk and flu season begins, bad
memories of last year’s H1N1pandemic may
start surfacing. Luckily, microbiologist
John Tudor, Ph.D., professor of biology at
Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia,
anticipates a less violent outbreak of the
virus this year.
“There should be increased resistance to
H1N1due to both natural immunity for those
who were infected last year, and to
artificial immunity for those who received
the H1N1 vaccine. I also anticipate that
more people will be vaccinated this year,
which should reduce the infection rate even
more,” Tudor says.
In terms of staying healthy throughout the
colder months, Tudor cautions that stress
may increase susceptibility to influenza.
“High psychological stress levels have been
associated with an expanded vulnerability to
respiratory infections, and infected people
who are stressed may also experience more
severe symptoms,” he says.
Tudor adds that while all age groups are at
risk, both the very young and very old are
more likely to come down with the flu due to
immune systems that have either not fully
developed or have become diminished.
To better protect senior citizens, a new
vaccine was developed in late 2009. “Fluzone
High-Dose (HD) improves immune response to
influenza in people over age 65,” Tudor
says. The injection has four times the
amount of antigens, but Tudor notes that
adverse effects are the same as single
strength Fluzone. Tudor adds that both
vaccines protect against H1N1, H3N2 and a
type B influenza virus.
While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
changed its recommendations for flu
vaccinations to include all age groups,
Tudor does not see this as preparation for
an especially rough flu season. He cites a
“shift in the thinking of the CDC Advisory
Committee on Immunization Practices away
from recommending protection for the most
vulnerable to protecting all groups of
people whether they fall in the most
vulnerable category or not.”
Tudor recommends several steadfast and true
tips for staying healthy this season:
• Relax to reduce stress, but get
vaccinated. This is the best way to protect
yourself and those close to you from getting
• Wash your hands often, and try not to
touch your eyes, mouth or nose, which are
the entry areas for the virus.
• When you cough or sneeze, use a tissue if
possible, otherwise cough or sneeze into
your elbow/upper arm area.
• If you get sick, stay home to avoid
spreading illness to others.