Get Protected Not Infected -

Pharmacists Paul White and Brad White discuss tips for a healthy immune system for the coming cold and flu season.

Influenza (Flu) Vaccines

The Centers for disease control estimates that for the 2017-2018 influenza season that vaccination prevented 7.1 million illnesses, 109,000 hospitalizations and 8000 deaths. The CDC recommends that children and adults should received their flu shots by the end of October. Vaccination is recommended before there is flu activity in the community. Statistically flu seasons are most likely to peak in January and February but can occur as early as October. You cannot get the flu from the flu shot. You may experience side effects like soreness at the injection site or a mild temperature or malaise which is a sign of an immune response to the vaccine.

The CDC recommends the following patients get the influenza vaccine:

  • All children aged 6 through 59 months;

  • All persons aged ≥50 years;

  • Adults and children who have chronic pulmonary (including asthma), cardiovascular (excluding isolated hypertension), renal, hepatic, neurologic, hematologic, or metabolic disorders (including diabetes mellitus);

  • Persons who are immunocompromised due to any cause (including but not limited to immunosuppression caused by medications or HIV infection);

  • Women who are or will be pregnant during the influenza season;

  • Children and adolescents (aged 6 months through 18 years) who are receiving aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications and who might be at risk for experiencing Reye syndrome after influenza virus infection;

  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities;

  • American Indians/Alaska Natives; and

  • Persons who are extremely obese (body mass index ≥40 for adults).

  • Healthcare workers

  • Caregivers

Pneumonia Vaccines

Older adults need two pneumonia vaccines separated by at least one year. Prevnar 13 (PCV13) provides coverage against 13 strains of pneumococcal bacteria and Pneumovax 23 (PPSV23) provides protection against 23 strains of pneumococcal bacteria. Both vaccines provide protection against illnesses like meningitis and bacteremia. Side effects are mild and typically do not affect daily activities. Soreness at injection site is the most common.

CDC Recommends:

  • You should receive a dose of PCV13 first, followed by a dose of PPSV23, at least 1 year later.

  • If you already received any doses of PPSV23, get the dose of PCV13 at least 1 year after the most recent PPSV23 dose.

Nutritional Recommendations

A strong immune system starts with both adequate rest and adequate nutrition. Pharmacist Brad White recommends the following supplements to support your immune system:

  • Multivitamin

  • Vitamin D

  • B-Complex Vitamin

  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil)

  • CoEnzyme Q10

  • Magnesium Chelate or Magnesium Glycinate

  • Probiotic