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YONKERS, N.Y. Jan. 19, 2011 Consumer Reports Consumer Reports, Consumer Reports on Health, Consumer Reports

IT’S NOT TOO LATE FOR THE FLU SHOT

reports survey Consumer Reports a mix of facts and fallacies Consumer Reports

  1. I believe in building my natural immunity (60 percent)

The vaccine builds immunity, too—without the risk of disease or its complications. And since flu viruses change from year to year, the protection an individual develops one season from the disease might not help much the next, anyway.

  1. I don’t get the flu (41 percent)

That’s probably just good luck. One can also get the flu with symptoms so mild that they’re not even noticeable yet still spread the disease.

  1. Medicine and other remedies can treat the flu (38 percent)

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  1. I worry about side effects or getting the flu from the vaccine (36 percent)

Side effects are uncommon and usually limited to soreness at the injection site, aches, low-grade fever, and, in very rare cases, serious allergic reactions or possibly Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological disorder. But the shot’s benefits against illness far outweigh the risks. It contains an inactivated virus and can’t cause the flu. The nasal spray, approved for use in those ages 2 through 49, contains a weakened live virus and might cause mild symptoms but not a full-blown infection.

  1. I don’t like shots (24 percent)

The flu shot uses a small-bore needle so it causes little pain for most people. If that doesn’t provide reassurance, then people getting the shot might try looking away. People who think they might faint should lie down for the shot and stand slowly afterward. Or they should ask their doctor if they’re a good candidate for the nasal spray.

Poll highlights and tips for surviving this flu season are available online .

ARE YOU BETTER THAN AVERAGE?

Consumer Reports

  • Exercise

Average: 26 minutes for men/19 minutes for women of moderate exercise a day.

Goal: At least 150 minutes a week of moderate activities, such as biking, gardening, or walking or 75 minutes of vigorous activities, such as running.

  • Weight

Average: A BMI – or body mass index – of 28 for men and women, and a waist circumference of 39.7 inches for men, 37 inches for women.

www.ConsumerReportsHealth.org.

  • Diet

Average: Less than three for men/less than four for women of daily servings of fruit and vegetables.

Goal: At least two to four daily servings of fruit and three to five daily servings of vegetables.

  • Blood Pressure

Average: Blood pressure levels of 127 millimeters of mercury for the systolic (upper) level and 77 mmHg for the diastolic (lower) level.

Goal:  A systolic under 140 mmHg and, preferably, under 120 mmHg and a diastolic under 90 mmHg and, preferably under 80 mmHg.

  • Cholesterol Levels

Average: Cholesterol levels of 119 milligrams per deciliter for LDL (bad) cholesterol and 53 mg/dL for HDL (good) cholesterol.

Goal: An LDL under 100 mg/dL and an HDL over 60 mg/dL.

The full report, available on request, details action steps for achieving goals and explanations about why achieving those goals is important.  

MINERALS THAT REALLY MATTER

Consumer Reports

The report stressed that in the dietary battle against high blood pressure, sodium restriction gets the glory but potassium is the unsung hero.  Potassium helps rid the body of sodium and protects the cells that line blood-vessel walls.  A recent study suggests what might happen if people corrected the sodium-potassium ratio. It found that even if sodium consumption stayed high, increasing potassium to the recommended levels (4,700 milligrams a day) could reduce the risk of heart disease mortality by up to 11 percent and stroke mortality by up to 15 percent.  The report lists good dietary sources of potassium, leading off with a medium baked potato with the skin (925 mg), followed by ½ cup of avocado (585 mg) and 8 oz of plain, low-fat yogurt (575 mg).  

A copy of this report, published in the January issue of Consumer Reports on Health , is available on request.

UNTANGLING THE WEB

Marvin Lipman Consumer Reports

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A copy of this report, published in the January issue of Consumer Reports on Health , is available on request.

Laugh, sing, pray

Consumer Reports on Health Consumer Reports

A review of numerous studies has found a link between regular church attendance and a lower incidence of death from cardiovascular disease. And practicing an easy to learn form of meditation called mindfulness, in which people focus on the present while practicing measured breathing for at least 10 to 15 minutes a day, was found to reduce blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension, as well as easing depression and helping people with chronic pain. To try meditating, look for a class or a book to learn the practice.

A copy of this report, published in the January issue of Consumer Reports on Health , is available on request.

JANUARY 2011

The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for advertising or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports® is published by Consumers Union, an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves.  We accept no advertising and pay for all the products we test. We are not beholden to any commercial interest. Our income is derived from the sale of Consumer Reports,® ConsumerReports.org ® and our other publications and information products, services, fees, and noncommercial contributions and grants. Our Ratings and reports are intended solely for the use of our readers. Neither the Ratings nor the reports may be used in advertising or for any other commercial purpose without our permission. Consumers Union will take all steps open to it to prevent commercial use of its materials, its name, or the name of Consumer Reports.®

SOURCE Consumer Reports Health

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