Spring.Summer.Fall. Winter. These are the four seasons that are taught to us in schools, but if you listen to the news they try and tell you that there is a fifth season. A dreaded, horrible season that none of us can escape and overlaps a festive chilly time of year. The “flu season”. There are a lot of factors that increase our chances of getting the flu this time of year: excess refined sugar from Halloween treats/ holiday goodies, poor sleep from daylight savings time/getting up early for Black Friday “deals”, holiday stress of finances, in-laws, and getting that perfect gift, less sunshine = less vitamin D production, the list goes on.
What the media doesn’t tell you is that you can get the flu during any of the seasons. What is so magical about this time of year that causes people to flock to the local pharmacy to get injected with a virtually non-effective vaccine(23% in 2014-2015)?¹ If you received a 23% on an exam, I bet you wouldn’t feel too good about it! But it is still promoted and toted as “the best thing you can do to stop the flu”. What great marketing. If your car only started 23% of the time wouldn’t you be looking for a new car pretty quick?
Is it really the best thing you can do? Three things that you should consider and research before you declare it the best: 1. Cost 2. Benefit/effectiveness and 3. Potential harmful outcomes. I can tell you right now that there are other safe, effective, and cheap ways to help protect against the flu. Some of them are common sense such as washing your hands, keeping your fingers out of your eyes and mouth, getting good sleep, and reducing your stress load. We can all agree that those methods are safe and cheap but it’s kind of difficult to measure their efficacy.
There are other things that you can do to help improve your chances of not getting the flu too. I talk to my patients of the benefits of eating garlic, getting good probiotic sources, and checking their vitamin D levels. One of the most overlooked things you can do to protect against the flu is to get regularly checked and adjusted if needed by your chiropractor!
This is where you say, ”Hold up Doc, everything you told me up till now makes sense but getting adjusted helping me with colds and sickness? Sounds to me like you just want me to come in.”
The truth is I do want you to come in, but it’s for YOUR health or YOUR family’s health or even just for the community’s health! Let me show you some things that back up what I have to say.
Chiropractors have historical evidence backing efficacy against the flu. In 1917-1918 there was a widespread flu outbreak that is known as the most devastating epidemic recorded in world history. Worse than the black plague. Its estimated that 675,000 Americans died from it…in one year!² Sound like what we face today? During that outbreak, Chiropractors were rock stars! “In Davenport, Iowa, 50 medical doctors treated 4,953 cases with 274 deaths. In the same city, 150 chiropractors including students and faculty at Palmer School of Chiropractic, treated 1,635 cases with only one death…National figures show that 1,142 chiropractors treated 46,394 patients for influenza during 1918, with a loss of 54 patients- one out of every 886.”³ Chiropractic helped keep a lot of people alive during one of the world’s deadliest flu outbreaks.
This is where you say,” That’s great Doc, that there is old dusty scrolls showing how well chiropractic did back in the day but how does that even work?” I agree that it’s tough to accurately gage how effective and correct the historical info is but there is recent science that may shed some light on why chiropractic is so awesome with helping with the flu. New research shows that the chiropractic adjustment gets our body’s immune system ready to fight the flu or any outside invader. The adjustment helps the body to significantly release extra anti bodies (IgG and IgM for you nerds out there)⁴. Those antibodies are how the body combats and prevents infections like the flu! The adjustment might be a missing part of your health regimen this season that could tip the scales in favor of your health!
If you are like, then you hate being sick. I’m miserable, can’t function and just plain not nice to be around. I try and do what I can to avoid getting sick and that includes getting adjusted regularly along with the other cheap and safe ways to stay healthy. I hope this blog helps point out a few things you might be missing to help you be as healthy as possible during this “flu season”. Get checked and if needed adjusted! Express life!