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Flu Shot Scare Fuels Scams

Fearful of the flu virus, people are turning to anything and everything.


"People have the idea that fever is not good for them," he tells WebMD. "It's not good for young children who can get seizures, or for people with very, very bad lung or heart disease. But for most people, having a fever does no harm and may help them recover faster. I'm not saying don't take anything, but don't be afraid of fever."

Chiropractic Care: Can "an adjustment" help boost immunity and fight a flu virus, as some chiropractors have advertised? No, say the experts.

"The goal of chiropractic care is to restore functionality of joints and the spine, and to favorably impact nerve function. ... But there's no real evidence that the immune system is strengthened as a result of chiropractic care," says Jerome F. McAndrews, a chiropractor and national spokesperson for the American Chiropractic Association in Arlington, Va.

However, over the years, some kids with inner ear infections have gotten better after a chiropractic treatment, he says. Other accounts have suggested that chiropractic care helps the immune system to better fend off a cold or flu virus, McAndrews says. It's all what's known as "anecdotal evidence" -- individual stories -- but nothing based on research, he tells WebMD.

Disinfectants: The Kleenex people have a new Anti-Viral tissue on the market. The tissue's middle layer has active antiviral ingredients that break down the protective coating over the flu virus, killing it.

Indeed, sneezing into a tissue -- or your sleeve -- keeps flu virus droplets from landing on your family, friends, and co-workers and infecting them, he adds. But you don't need specially treated tissues, any tissue will do," Baracco says. Keep in mind, though, using the tissues won't help you get well any sooner.

If there's a lot of flu virus around, here's what Baracco advises:

  • Stay away from people who are coughing and sneezing.
  • Stay out of public theaters, the mall, sporting events.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Keep your fingers out of your nose and eyes.

Hand sanitizing lotions help prevent transmission of colds from one person to another. But flu virus is not primarily transmitted that way; it's spread through droplets in the air. That's why covering your mouth and nose helps protect others while you're contagious.

Healthy Living: Taking care of yourself year-round is what helps most against a flu virus. Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and plenty of sleep, reducing stress, washing hands often - those are your best protection against the flu, says Baracco.

"Healthy people do get sick, but they are able to fight off the virus much easier, faster," he tells WebMD. "They have stronger bodies. That in itself will prevent illnesses that predispose you to complications like chronic lung disease and heart disease. It's like trying to prevent getting old. You can't do it, but you can be healthy and old."

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