Helpful Tips To Fight Seasonal Flu Without A Shot

Thursday, October 15th 2009, 4:36 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Whether it's the H1N1 strain or the regular seasonal flu, doctor's offices across Green Country have patients rolling up their sleeves to avoid the virus.
But what about people who don't want to get a flu shot? Are there alternatives?

At the Akin's Natural Food Store at 51st and Memorial, many customers are stocking up on products they hope will fend off the flu.

"People are scared, and they want to take something to try to keep themselves healthy," said Mary Ann O'Dell, Akins Dietician.

Akin's registered dietician Mary Ann O'Dell says over the past four weeks, with H1N1 here and the regular flu on its way, items have been flying off store shelves. Things that claim to boost your immune system.

"Vitamin C, Zinc lozenges, Echinacea, any of those things people are interested in, anything to help support your own natural defenses," said Mary Ann O'Dell.

O'Dell says antioxidant rich foods can also be flu fighters, including mushrooms, leafy greens and basically any fruits and vegetables dark in color.

"Berries, strawberries, raspberries, pomegranates, peaches," said Mary Ann O'Dell. "Antioxidants are another thing that supports your immune system."

Dr. Jeffrey Galles with Utica Park Clinic in Owasso says diet and nutrition is important in staying healthy, but he's skeptical of many of the claims made by supplements.

"There's not a lot of evidence out there and when people ask me my opinion about immune modifying drugs or things you can get at stores, there's nothing out there in the literature that I can give them good advice, and so I tell them they're really flying by the seat of their pants," said Dr. Jeffrey Galles, Utica Park Clinic.

Galles says for people who don't get a flu shot, there aren't many options, other than the standard practices we've all heard for years -- wash your hands and avoid people who are sick.

It's important to talk with a doctor before taking any supplements. Here's some more information that could help -- experts say avoiding stress and getting plenty of sleep and exercise will help your immune system. Yogurt is also good, because it contains probiotics, the good bacteria in your system that helps in the fight against bad bacteria.

10/14/09  Related Story: Tulsa Health Department Out Of Influenza Vaccine For Adults