Shoo, Flu, Who Needs You?

With all the attention we’ve been giving to the coronavirus, it’s understandable if the approach of the annual flu season hasn’t exactly been the biggest blip on our radar. Still, we mustn’t give short shrift to the plain ol’ flu coming down the pike. With most of the country now coping with the highest surge of Covid-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, hospitals and emergency departments are already seeing shortfalls of supplies and limited capacity. That means it’s going to be more important than ever to flatten the curve of seasonal influenza — not just for personal safety, but for the good of the public health system overall.

In addition to the usual preventive measures (handwashing, masking up, limiting contact with others — whether you’re feeling under the weather or not, since the asymptomatic early stages of Covid-19 are the most contagious) we do collectively have one up on seasonal influenza that we don’t yet for the coronavirus: a vaccine.

On October 1st, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), along with other public health and medical groups, officially kicked off the flu vaccination season, recommending once again that everyone aged 6 months or higher receive an annual flu vaccine.

The good news coming out of last year’s studies? 52% of those eligible for the vaccine received it, the highest number since the general recommendation was first made in 2010.

The not-so-good news? There’s still quite a bit of room for improvement. Since when do we applaud ourselves for getting a “C”? I don’t know about your mother, but I had one that said, “How come you got an A- when there’s an A to be had?”

Last year, the CDC estimated that vaccination efforts prevented 7.5 million infections, 3.7 million medical visits, 105,000 hospitalizations, and 6,300 deaths. These estimations come as a counterpoint to those of existing cases: 38 million infections, 18 million medical visits, 400,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 flu-associated deaths.

In a normal year, seasonal influenza is a viable danger on its own; add Covid-19 to the mix and you’re looking at a whole mess of illness. So, common sense: a flu vaccine may not keep you from catching a later strain of virus as the season progresses, but it will protect you from those strains already known or projected to be the most dangerous, and reduce the severity of symptoms should you fall ill.

And don’t forget: this year, Dr. Emmett Miller has produced two different, physiologically sound, guided meditations for dealing with viral infections — one for resisting infection and another for fighting an acquired infection.

For those who want to maintain or enhance their body’s strong, natural defenses against the flu or other viruses, there’s Guided Imagery for Resisting & Preventing Viral Infection, an audio that guides listeners to fully imagine and align with the built-in cellular protection and vigilance that operates naturally throughout the body; to counter stress and worry with deep relaxation; and to motivate and inspire healthy behavior changes that maintain maximum wellness, in spite of external threat.

Or, if you’ve already stumbled into a virus, in spite of your best intentions, Emmett’s done a masterful job of creating Overcoming Viral Infection: Guided Imagery for a Balanced Immune Response. Updated and revised to include new information from virology and immunology studies, this guided imagery and affirmations audio program is designed to help the body recover from viral infection in a safe, balanced way, without triggering unnecessary aggression or inflammation from the body’s immune system.

Still, there’s no substitute for medical care or a treatment plan from your doctor. Get vaccinated, follow recommendations from the CDC and from your primary care physician, and learn about the symptoms to watch out for in different viral infections.

Bottom line? Take good care, good people. The planet needs you. Stay strong.