Flu Shot Scare Fuels Scams
Fearful of the flu virus, people are turning to anything and everything.
"People with chronic illness may be missing essential minerals and vitamins ... so their immune system doesn't work as well as it should," Lorber tells WebMD. Any older person might get some flu virus protection from a multivitamin, he adds.
Over-the-Counter Remedies: If you catch the flu, stay away from fever-reducing drugs, Lorber advises. "There are good things that fever does for us. Fever increases the production of interferon in our bodies, a natural substance that fights viruses."
When you take a fever-reducing drug -- whether it's DayQuil, aspirin, Motrin, or any other -- you will feel better. But you actually shed the virus for a longer period of time, which means you are contagious longer, he says. Also, "you may actually take longer to recover," says Lorber.
"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.