Cape Town – With around 600 000 people dying from influenza globally each flu season, members of the public are urged to boost their immune system to protect themselves from the infection.
In doing its part, the provincial department of health will be offering free flu vaccinations to patients at its primary health-care facilities.
According to the World Health Organisation, up to 600 000 people die globally each year from flu. Health expert Vanessa Ascencao suggested the public boost immunity to protect against infection. This includes regular exercise and getting enough sleep.
She said a healthy, balanced diet is essential to fuel the body and feed the immune system.
“We eat too much refined and ‘junk’ food, red meat and sugar when we should be nourishing the body with whole, natural, fibrous foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains such as brown rice and raw oats, and limited, quality, organic protein such as ethically farmed lean meat, poultry and fish, or seeds, nuts, beans and legumes.”
Ascencao said research indicated that vitamin D supplementation may cut flu risk significantly, while supplementing with vitamin C may shorten the duration of colds and may be helpful in supporting immunity, protecting cells from free radical damage and cardiovascular and chronic disease, and promoting muscle repair.
“A great source of vitamin D is BetterYou DLux oral spray because it has 40% proven absorption due to the rich vein system in the mouth.
“Also, try the new liposomal encapsulation technology in Biomax Liposomal Vitamin C which is proven to increase the bioavailability of vitamin C in the body.”
The provincial health department said that getting a flu vaccine can reduce your chances of getting the flu and also reduce visits to health-care facilities and missed work and school days.
“Although the optimal time for vaccination for the South African influenza season is around March and April each year, it is not too late to go for your flu vaccination.
“If you fall in the high-risk group who should be vaccinated, it is strongly recommended that you get vaccinated as soon as possible as you are more prone to complications if infected by the Influenza.”
The department said the flu vaccine is effective as it offers protection to all patients who receive it but it is less effective on patients older than 65 or patients with compromised immune systems.
“The vaccine, as with all vaccines, has been tested and declared safe for use, even for persons in high risk groups, including pregnant women and HIV-infected individuals.
“The vaccine cannot result in influenza infection as there is no live virus contained within the vaccine. Some people experience mild fever and local pain at the injection site. Overall the vaccine has an excellent safety record.”
Visit www.westerncape.gov.za for more info.