Saturday, February 16, 2008

Flu Shot Mostly Ineffective This Year

Having a son with asthma can be a challenge but fortunately he seems to be outgrowing it. He used to have an attack after a common cold and so naturally the flu would be serious. As a result we all get flu shots every year. So I was thrilled this year to read that of the three flu strains in this year's vaccine, two of them are useless against the current circulating flu strains. Obviously the flu data centers are seeing an increase in deaths and illness. They are also seeing a late flu this year. And it gets better. All three strains of the vaccine will be replaced for next year's shot. What do you think that means for our chances in actually seeing this shot in time for next year's season? The vaccine isn't even developed yet and manufacturing will have to be ramped up quickly once it is. Scientists are already growing one strain but they still have a long way to go.

So what to do? In general, as a family we are very conscious of how we eat. We drink a glass of wine (not the kids of course!) every meal with dinner. Wine and grapes contain Resveratrol which is an antioxidant compound. We try and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially the colorful ones as they seem to be the healthiest, and we get as much exercise as we can. These factors alone help keep an immune system healthy.
As to the study that found that kids raised with animals such as dogs and cats are much less likely to have asthma, well we had both when Mike was born.