Fighting the flu is an annual ritual for all of us. It’s more dangerous for older adults, as we all know, so a new study has uncovered some rather unique ways that people over 65 are shielding themselves from the virus.
The study covers nine countries. Eating steamed pears, having a soothing massage, or bathing in a herbal mixture are just some of the health practices used by older people to ward off or treat influenza.
Other traditional measures discovered included being rubbed with a coin, eating cheese, yoghurt and honey, and having warm drinks made with ginger or lemon.
The study tried to see why so many people elect not to be vaccinated. As it turns out, those who don’t are more likely to rely on indigenous health practices as well as good hygiene.
Looking at attitudes of the vaccinated and unvaccinated people among participants, researchers found useful clues about what had influenced their decision. People tended to seek vaccination if they:
— Felt existing health conditions made them vulnerable;
— Viewed flu as very contagious and dangerous, having experienced complications themselves or seen it in others;
— Had no side effects from previous vaccinations;
— Recognized that it costs a country less to vaccinate than to treat people with the flu;
— Didn’t want to pass the virus onto other family members, like grandchildren;
— Were influenced by what was normal practice in their country;
— Considered it easy and handy to get vaccinated; and/or
— Received reminders that they should be vaccinated from healthcare professionals, the media or friends and neighbors.
Those who didn’t have the flu vaccine said they:
— Didn’t see themselves as vulnerable;
— Were unconvinced that the vaccine was effective and thought it may have side effects
— Felt that it was sufficient to take preventative measures, such as leading a healthy lifestyle with sufficient exercise, following a good diet, maintaining good hand hygiene, keeping warm, and staying away from germs; and/or
— Were more likely to trust indigenous health practices, such as special drinks, food or other traditional remedies.
Sometimes it’s interesting what others think about getting something like the flu shot. It is a personal decision each year, and for those who don’t, it is very important to exercise well, practice good hygiene and eat nutrient-dense foods. This allows the immune system to be tip-top when viruses are floating by…or idling on a telephone handle.