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21 Sep

By Mathew Lyons

Published:  20 September, 2019

Climate change has transformed wine production globally, according to the latest edition of the World Atlas of Wine.

The most immediate impact is on the wine harvest, which is now on average up to four weeks earlier than it was 20 or 30 years ago in both the northern and southern hemisphere.

The Bordeaux harvest now often starts in August, whereas it traditionally began in late September or early October. At Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the Rhône, the harvest has been brought forward by a month since the 1940s.

A secondary effect of climate change is the spread of wine making into latitudes where it was formerly impractical. The book highlights the beneficial impact this has had on wine production in England, Germany and Canada, in particular, and notes the establishment of commercial wine industries in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden.

Wine production methods have also been forced to adapt. Vines in established vineyards are being planted both at higher elevations and in wind-exposed areas to slow the ripening process. Likewise, many winemakers now need to protect their crops from over-exposure to the sun, whereas traditionally, they would have been attempting to give their vines as much sunshine as possible.

Plantings of grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon are increasingly being replaced with hardier varieties that are better adapted to high temperatures.

Other new features of the book include a focus on emerging wine regions such as the Lebanon, Israel, Uruguay and Brazil.

The eighth edition of The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson is published by Mitchell Beazley on 3 October.

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01 Sep

This handy chart provides information regarding Tmax, T1/2, sleep latency, sleep efficiency, percent of stage N3, percent of stage R, stage R latency, morning sedation, and motor restlessness for more than 50 prescription and over-the-counter drugs that your patients may be consuming.

Many medications can impact sleep parameters in various ways. When interpreting polysomnograms, it is important for sleep specialists to understand the basics of these effects.

Drugs used to treat mood disorders and insomnia generally have a greater impact on sleep than any other class of medications. This is due mainly to their influences on serotonergic, noradrenergic, GABAergic, and histaminergic systems, as well as other more minor influences.

James MacFarlane, PhD, FAASM

Although the rate of absorption (reported as Tmax) and the rate of elimination (reported as half-life or T1/2) of these medications may specifically influence sleep each night, changes in sleep architecture may still be altered after some medications are discontinued, even after several months (for example, fluoxetine). Likewise, rebound phenomena may be obvious immediately after the discontinuation of some medications, especially those that tend to suppress a specific sleep stage. Stage R (REM) sleep rebound is one of the most obvious examples, often related to withdrawal from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). So, you should ask patients if they have recently discontinued any medications, as well as documenting the ones they are currently taking.

A greater understanding of these medication effects—such as those provided in this table—may aid in the scoring and interpretation of sleep studies.

Medications Impact SleepMedications Impact Sleep

James MacFarlane, PhD, FAASM, is assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto and director of education for the MedSleep network of clinics.


1. Brunton LL, Hilal-Dandan R, Knollmann BC, eds. Goodman & Gilman’s: The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. 13th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2017.
2. Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties — CPS (2018), Canadian Pharmacists Association, National Library of Canada.

Table values also derived from multiple peer-reviewed articles.

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29 Aug

Nutritionists get the question all the time: Can drinking apple cider vinegar help with weight loss? But think about it for a sec: If chugging ACV daily and magically dropping two sizes sounds like BS, well, that’s because it is. Sure, if you’re using ACV to replace a calorie-bomb condiment like mayo, then it might help you lose ~some~ weight, says Leslie Bonci, dietician and the owner of Active Eating Advice. But that’s the case with any vinegar, not just apple cider.

“Apple cider vinegar is not this magical elixir that’s going to solve all of our problems,” says Amanda Baker Lemein, a dietician. There’s not much in the way of actual evidence that ACVcomes with any of the major health perks that some celebs (cough Kourtney Kardashian cough) swear they’ve experienced by drinking it. While consuming ACV has been touted as a positive health practice that can aid weight loss, regulate blood sugar, and lower cholesterol, it also can cause serious digestive distress in some, says dietician Eliza Savage.

If you still insist on seeing what all the buzz is about, adding a daily dose of ACV to your diet probably isn’t dangerous. Here’s what you can (and can’t) expect to happen to your bod according to three registered dietitians.

1/ You could have serious stomach issues

“Because vinegar is acidic, some people don’t tolerate it all that well,” says Bonci. Not everyone will experience this, but if you have ulcerative colitis, inflammation in your digestive tract, or are just prone to stomach aches, you’ll probably want to steer clear.

The bottom line: Bonci says vinegar — any vinegar — is a great option for adding flavour to food without skewing its caloric value. But it’s not a magic potion — so don’t expect a major transformation.

READ MORE: 5 Reasons Why Apple Cider Vinegar Baths Are Actually Really Good For Your Skin

2/ You may experience significant changes in your BMs

BM, as in bowel movements. We’re talking poop, people. Because ACV is made from fermented apples, it contains pectin, “a soluble dietary fibre that acts as a natural gelling agent,” says Savage. Translation: The pectin in ACV can help to bulk up your stool, promote growth of good bacteria in the gut, and reduce inflammation. Sounds amazing, right?

But people that consume too much ACV could experience diarrhoea. “The ACV may pull water into the bowel,” says Savage. This means that your stool will come out watery and more frequently in the form of diarrhoea. Needless to say, a not-so-pleasant bathroom experience could await.

3/ You could compromise your kidneys

Another big Q about ACV is whether apple cider vinegar can hurt your kidneys. Well, Lemein cautions people with pre-existing kidney issues from consuming ACV. “There has been some research to show that if you do have any sort of weakened kidneys or immunocompromised kidneys, then consuming anything that is highly acidic is not going to be advised,” says Lemein.

The key is portion control. “Start with 1 to 2 teaspoons of diluted ACV with a glass of water and progress up to 1 tablespoon mixed with a glass of water,” Savage says. “ACV should always be diluted.”

READ MORE: Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar To Cure A UTI?

4/ You could experience uncomfortable bloating

If you bloat during your period, then you know just how uncomfortable a swollen tummy can feel. And if you’re not a fan, then the ACV diet might not be for you.

“Consuming apple cider vinegar delays stomach emptying,” says Savage. This reduces the rate at which food leaves the stomach and enters the lower digestive tract, meaning you’ll feel fuller longer. At times delayed stomach emptying can cause temporary weight loss, Savage says. But it can also cause some serious bloating, gas and nausea. 10/10 would not recommend.

“A healthier diet alternative would be to increase water intake and choose more high fibre non-starchy vegetables,” says Savage.

5/ You could worsen your acid reflux symptoms

“Anyone who has acid reflux will want to be cautious of overly acidic foods,” says Lemein. This includes ACV, which falls between a 2 and a 3 on an acidity scale of 0 to 7 (zero being the most acidic).

“I would argue that most people find that introducing more acid into their diet negatively affects their previously occurring issue,” says Savage.

More ACV equals more stomach acid. And more stomach acid can actually heighten or increase the burning sensation for people who already experience heartburn or reflux.

6/ You may feel extremely weak

At the risk of sounding painfully obvious here, if you try to subsist mainly on ACV drinks, you’re going to get too few calories to function. “It really creates that sense of imbalance, big time,” says Bonci.

If you want to start consuming more ACV, Bonci suggests instead of having vinegar as part of a meal that also incorporates vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates, ideally as a replacement for a heavier dressing or seasoning. That way, your body will still get the fuel it needs — and you’ll save yourself a few unnecessary calories in the process.

READ MORE: True Or False: Apple Cider Vinegar Can Treat A Yeast Infection

7/ Your immune system may actually get worse

There is evidence to suggest that probiotics and healthy gut bacteria translate to a strong immune system. ACV is a fermented liquid, and fermentation holds probiotic properties, so it could be an immunity booster…right? Probably not, says Bonci.

Fermented foods can help increase good bacteria in your gut, she says, and some — like sauerkraut — do come in a vinegar base. But the vinegar alone probably isn’t going to pack the probiotic punch that you need to make a difference in your immune system. And Bonci says that if you go nuts with the ACV, you could push out other nutrients from your diet, which is actually bad for your immune system. Womp womp.

8/ You could lose weight — but only temporarily

That’s because any weight you’ve “lost” is primarily water weight, says Bonci. “So when you replace that water, your weight will come back on.”

If you do slim down on an ACV diet, it would be similar to any crash diet — so that rapid weight loss might end up slowing your metabolism and making it harder to shed pounds in the future, Bonci says.

9/ Your appetite might actually increase

Word on the street is that ACV is an appetite suppressant (FWIW, our writer who tried drinking it daily reported that she didn’t notice a change in how hungry she was). In fact, Bonci says people who drink a lot of diluted ACV might actually end up hungrier because vinegar is so low-cal.

“You feel full for the moment that you’re having it, because you’ve just consumed a gallon of water, but when you pee that out, you’re going to be hungrier, sooner,” she says.

This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com 

READ MORE ON: Weight Loss Weight Loss Tips

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25 Jul

If you’ve been hanging out in your Clicks’ vitamin aisle lately, you’ve probably bumped into the newest cool kid on the block: biotin. Sellers of this beauty supplement make some pretty big promises. People claim it can give you hard-ass nails, hair that’s sleek AF, and flawless skin that could only otherwise be achieved by a Snap filter.

It’s cheap and easy to access over the counter (plus celebs like Kylie Jenner post #ads for biotin for hair on IG), so it comes as no surprise that women are popping biotin in droves.

But is this supplement really the godsend it claims to be? And are there any biotin side effects you should know about? Your guide, ahead.

What is biotin, anyway?

Biotin (a.k.a. vitamin B7 or H) is a B-complex vitamin that’s found in many foods, including eggs, milk, nuts, and grains, says Shaemah Khan, a diplomate of the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians and a clinical associate of family medicine at University of Chicago Medicine. “One of the effects of biotin is that it helps turn the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the food you eat into the energy you need.”

Because it’s water-soluble (meaning it dissolves in water), excess biotin isn’t stored in your body; it actually just flushes right out of you when you pee. But if you follow a healthy, balanced diet, it’s likely you already get all the biotin you could possibly need, anyway.

But do you really need a ton of biotin to, ya know, live well? “Biotin deficiency is extremely rare because our bodies require only a very small amount, which is easily achieved if you’re eating a relatively normal diet,” says Dr Kimbre Zahn, a family medicine physician at Indiana University Health. “Additionally, our gut bacteria create biotin that gets absorbed systemically, [or throughout the body].”

Aside from being touted as a magic remedy for thinning hair, brittle nails, and dry, itchy skin, biotin supplements can sometimes be prescribed by doctors for other reasons too, like easing disabilities brought on by multiple sclerosis, alleviating diabetes and diabetes-related nerve damage, or encouraging baby growth and development during pregnancy, according to the National Library of Medicine.

READ MORE: How To Tell Which Supplements You Should Be Taking

Tell me: Does biotin work for hair growth?

Don’t get toooo excited. A few studies point to biotin as an effective supplement for hair growth, but the cold, hard truth is that there isn’t much scientific proof to show just how effective it really is at treating any of these health conditions — or whether there are long-term benefits to the dietary supplement.

“While there are some preliminary studies that may suggest a benefit [to taking biotin supplements], overall there is a lack of evidence to support these claims,” says Dr Zahn.

READ MORE: The Truth About Digestive Enzyme Supplements, According To Nutritionists

Does biotin have side effects?

Truth is, you’re most likely never going to hear about someone ODing on biotin. It almost never happens. “Side effects from having a high dose or overdose of biotin are rare,” says Dr Khan. “Because it is so easily excreted in urine and faeces, the body can simply get rid of any excess.”

However, hair, skin, and nails supplements do come with one warning: Even in small amounts of biotin, one of the side effects is that it can sometimes totally screw with your lab test results. This is especially true if you’re testing for issues with your thyroid or hormone levels, cardiac troponin levels (used to diagnose heart attacks), or vitamin D levels. This could lead to bogus results and misdiagnosis, which could potentially be dangerous or lead you to worry or spend money on medical procedures or meds unnecessarily.

“The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) further warns that the biotin effect on the monitoring of cardiac troponin has resulted in at least one death due to falsely reported low results,” says Dr Michelle Galant, a dermatologist at Stanford Health Care.

If you do take the vitamin, keep this in mind the next time your doc orders a routine lab test. “It’s best to disclose to your doctor and dietitian which supplements you are taking to avoid misdiagnosing a medical condition,” says Sandra Arévalo, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Association for Diabetes Educators, and director of nutrition services outreach for the community paediatrics programmes at Montefiore Hospital.

There’s no hard evidence that says exactly how long biotin stays in your system after you take it, so your doctor might recommend you stop taking the supplement a few days before you head to the lab.

Another potential side effects? While it’s supposed to strengthen hair, skin and nails, it could cause a skin rash if you’re taking large amounts of biotin. See your doctor if you develop a rash after taking biotin or increasing your dose. It should resolve itself if you lower the amount of biotin you’re taking or stop taking the supplement altogether.

Should I even bother taking biotin?

Honestly, probs not. Thanks to its lack of scientific backup and its reputation as a lab test saboteur, biotin isn’t generally recommended by most doctors. But if you still want to take it anyway, just make sure you’re buying a reputable brand and are aware of the side effects.

In terms of how much biotin you need, the recommended “adequate intake” (AI) level for biotin is up to 30 micrograms (mcg) for women 19 years old and up, says Arévalo. “Pregnant women should consume 30 mcg; 35 if nursing,” Arévalo adds.

But remember: If you are eating a healthy diet that includes meats, seeds, nuts, and vegetables, you are most likely reaching this intake already, and the biotin side effects might not be worth it. “If you are skipping certain foods or food groups, it will be good to talk to a registered dietitian to help you find which nutrients you might be deficient in, and whether you need to supplement or just eat more of other foods,” says Arévalo.

This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com

READ MORE ON: Health Health Advice Supplements

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03 Jul

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have learned that the effect of exercise may differ depending on the time of day it is performed. In mice they demonstrate that exercise in the morning results in an increased metabolic response in skeletal muscle, while exercise later in the day increases energy expenditure for an extended period of time.

We probably all know how important a healthy circadian rhythm is. Too little sleep can have severe health consequences. But researchers are still making new discoveries confirming that the body’s circadian clock affects our health.

Now, researchers from University of Copenhagen—in collaboration with researchers from University of California, Irvine—have learned that the effect of exercise may differ depending on the time of day it is performed. Studies in mice reveal that the effect of exercise performed in the beginning of the mouse’ dark/active phase, corresponding to our morning, differs from the effect of exercise performed in the beginning of the light/resting phase, corresponding to our evening.

‘There appears to be rather significant differences between the effect of exercise performed in the morning and evening, and these differences are probably controlled by the body’s circadian clock. Morning exercise initiates gene programs in the muscle cells, making them more effective and better capable of metabolizing sugar and fat. Evening exercise, on the other hand, increases whole body energy expenditure for an extended period of time,” says one of the researchers behind the study, Jonas Thue Treebak, PhD, MSc, associate professor from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research.

Morning Exercise Is Not Necessarily Better than Evening Exercise

The researchers have measured a number of effects in the muscle cells, including the transcriptional response and effects on the metabolites. The results show that responses are far stronger in both areas following exercise in the morning and that this is likely to be controlled by a central mechanism involving the protein HIF1-alfa, which directly regulates the body’s circadian clock.

Morning exercise appears to increase the ability of muscle cells to metabolize sugar and fat, and this type of effect interests the researchers in relation to people with severe overweight and type 2 diabetes.

On the other hand, the results also show that exercise in the evening increases energy expenditure in the hours after exercise. Therefore, the researchers cannot necessarily conclude that exercise in the morning is better than exercise in the evening, Treebak says.

“On this basis we cannot say for certain which is best, exercise in the morning or exercise in the evening. At this point, we can only conclude that the effects of the two appear to differ, and we certainly have to do more work to determine the potential mechanisms for the beneficial effects of exercise training performed at these two time-points. We are eager to extend these studies to humans to identify if timed exercise can be used as a treatment strategy for people with metabolic diseases,” he says.

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03 Jul

The study was not designed to say whether isotretinoin treatment caused these effects, or even whether they were more common among isotretinoin patients than in the rest of the American population. As Guanglei Hong, a professor and health-statistics expert at the University of Chicago who was not involved in the study, told me in an email, the data do not “provide any insight on whether the drug increased or decreased mental health issues because this analysis did not include a comparison group.”

But Mostaghimi believes that the results are still worth considering. The drug’s “greatest burden may actually be on emotional lability and anxiety,” he says, even though those effects “weren’t things that we’ve really as dermatologists been focused on when we assess these patients.” His findings, he contends, might signal that dermatologists are overlooking major side effects.

Isotretinoin is strictly controlled through an FDA program called iPledge, which requires patients to visit their dermatologist once a month in order to receive their prescriptions. Isotretinoin can cause serious birth defects, so women capable of bearing children, have to commit to using two methods of birth control while taking the drug and submit to monthly pregnancy tests. Dermatologists also commonly require their isotretinoin patients to get a monthly blood test.

Mostaghimi hopes that dermatologists can take advantage of that monthly check-in to screen their patients for the less-acknowledged conditions that he found reported in the FDA database. “I should probably be not only looking for signs and symptoms of psychiatric disturbance and challenges, but really trying to take advantage of those meetings to try to identify patients that need help and connect them to people who can help them,” he says.

But adding more screening demands on top of the existing iPledge requirements could be a nightmare for some patients. In its current iteration, iPledge can already create significant obstacles to acne treatment. The journalist Sabrina Imbler recently described in Gay Magazine how the program can demean queer women by policing their compliance with birth-control methods they don’t need. According to Mostaghimi, the program has been grappling with how to handle the needs of transgender patients for a few years now. And a study he published in March found that nonwhite isotretinoin patients were about 50 percent more likely to end their treatment early than their white counterparts—and that patients were most likely to identify iPledge-related requirements as the reason they delayed or interrupted their treatment. (The FDA declined to comment on the new paper.)

Adewole Adamson, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas at Austin and the web editor of JAMA Dermatology, is adamant that more people should have access to isotretinoin. “Accutane is one of the most satisfying drugs to give to patients,” he told me. “It really transforms how patients feel about themselves.” Indeed, it’s difficult to argue that the medication is ineffective: In one study, more than a third of patients who go on isotretinoin never experienced an acne relapse; less than a quarter required another round of the drug. Because of that, he said, dermatologists can’t yet be sure whether adding even more hoops for isotretinoin patients to jump through will be a good thing. “We have to be careful in rushing to change practice without more rigorous studies, because of these other potential consequences of burdening patients,” he said.

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02 Jul

Forget secondhand smoke. Now you have to worry about the secondhand drinking.

One fifth of adults — or an estimated 53 million people in the United States — suffer from other people’s boozing annually, making this “a significant public health issue,” according to a new study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

“One thing to think about with the 1 in 5 number is that it is only limited to a snapshot in time of about a year. So, probably more people have actually been harmed by someone else’s drinking at other times in their life,” study author Katherine Karriker-Jaffe, a senior scientist with the Alcohol Research Group at the Public Health Institute in Emeryville, Calif., tells CNN.

Researchers analyzed responses from 8,750 adults interviewed in 2015 for the National Alcohol’s Harm to Others Survey and the National Alcohol Survey. Subjects were asked whether they experienced any of the 10 types of harms — caused by someone who had been drinking alcohol — in a 12-month period. The damages included everything from traffic accidents, physical abuse, marital problems, property damage and financial issues.

The current research, funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, analyzed the data to provide insight for potential alcohol control policies, such as taxation and pricing to reduce alcohol’s harm to persons other than the drinker.

Researchers said that 21% of women and 23% of men experienced at least one negative impact. The most common type of harm reported was threats or harassment.

“For women, the most prevalent [types of harm, after harassment] are family and marital problems or financial problems due to someone else’s drinking and a close third runner-up would be driving-related harms — so riding with a drunk driver or actually having a crash caused by someone who had been drinking,” says Karriker-Jaffe. “For men, [after harassment,] the driving-related harms were the most common, followed by property damage and vandalism.”

Adults under the age of 25 were at a higher risk to experience a broader range of issues from other people’s drinking.

The study also found that women were more likely to report harm caused by a spouse or family member who was hitting the sauce. Men were more likely to report issues that were caused by a stranger.

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29 Jun

CONCORD (KRON) — Medical marijuana is commonly used these days to treat a host of physical and mental ailments

There are some mental health professionals who question cannabis consumption being safe for people diagnosed with mental health disorders

Mental health professionals at John Muir Behavioral Health in Concord are warning about the potential risks of using today’s highly potent forms of marijuana

 “20 or 30 years ago, the average strain of marijuana had about 2 percent to 3 percent of THC. Today it can have more than 10 times that amount,” said Jeremy Taubman, director of John Muir Behavioral Health. 

Taubman is a licensed clinical social worker, certified addiction specialist and director of John Muir Behavioral Health outpatient programs in Concord. 

He explains why certain age groups are particularly vulnerable to powerful cannabis strains

“Between ages 18-to-26 transitioning from adolescence to adulthood their brain is still developing,” he said. 

He talks about the mental health disorders associated with exposure to cannabis

“There are clear links in scientific research between marijuana use and vulnerability to developing all kinds of mental illness, including psychotic disorders, mood disorders like major depressive disorders like bipolar disorders and anxiety disorders,” Taubman said. 

David Goldmen with the Brownie Mary Democratic Club on San Francisco disagrees that there’s a connection between such disorders and marijuana.  

“To assume that there is an association between using cannabis and having psychotic or schizophrenic episodes is scientifically false,” he said. 

Medical marijuana advocates Goldman and Michael Hoehn of the Brownie Mary Democratic Club of San Francisco say there is no proof linking today’s potent strains of cannabis to any mental behavioral disorders

“It’s just not true that high does cannabis causes psychosis. It’s just not true,” Goldmen said.  

Both mental health professionals and medical marijuana advocates agree however that people should consult with their primary doctor before consuming cannabis products to treat any mental health symptoms.

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26 Jun

Definitely don’t mean to sound like your mom here, but…did you get your flu shot last year? Follow-up question: Are you planning on getting one next year?

Just asking because, you know, the flu can be deadly. Up to 61,200 people died from it last season alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Just as a baseline, the flu can cause 12,000 deaths per year during a mild season, and anything over 56,000 deaths per year is considered a more severe bout, per the CDC. Eek.

Hesitant to get jabbed by a needle? We get it: The flu shot is still, well, a shot, and that’s a turn off to some. It can be kind of a crapshoot, too. Case in point: During the 2017 season, a ton of people went under the needle but got the flu anyway because of a “vaccine mismatch,” according to a commentary in The New England Journal of Medicine. In the 2017-2018 season, the flu shot was only about 36 percent effective (womp, womp).

This past year, though, things were *a bit* better.

The shot proved to be about 47 percent effective during the 2018 season, according to the CDC. To put that into a broader context, the flu shot generally provides about a 65 percent protection rate against contracting the flu, according to Dr Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

So while even *that* 47 percent figure might sound low to you, it does not mean you skip your yearly injection.

“Just because the vaccine isn’t 100 percent [effective] doesn’t mean it’s worthless,” says Dr. Adalja. “And even if you do get the flu, [if you’re vaccinated] you are much less likely to have a severe case requiring hospitalisation, less likely to have major destruction to your life, and less likely to spread it.”

READ MORE: This Is Why Sweating Makes You Feel A Little Better When You Have A Cold

Plus, there’s hope that next year’s shot will outdo its two most recent predecessors.

Since there are different flu viruses out there (and they’re constantly changing), the vaccine is reviewed and changed from year to year. The World Health Organization (WHO) has already selected what components should be a part of the 2019-2020 vaccine to best protect against next season’s soon-to-be circulating viruses, too. But again, there’s no way yet to accurately predict how bad this coming year’s flu will be as the virus is always changing.

Another thing to note? Talk of the flu shot’s many side effects is greatly exaggerated. The flu shot can’t actually give you the flu, and while there are some possible side effects, Dr Adalja says most are rare.

For the actual side effects to just be aware of, read through this list. But then, roll up your sleeve anyway because flu season is here. And guess what? The vaccine is still your best stay-healthy defence.

READ MORE: 10 Cold And Flu Remedies That Actually Work

1. Shoulder soreness

If you receive the flu shot as an intramuscular injection (a.k.a. in your arm, typically), you have a 10 to 64 percent chance of experiencing some muscle soreness in your upper arm, according to the CDC.

That’s because the needle is injected directly into the muscle, causing microscopic damage to the cells, and is designed to cause an inflammatory immune system response. You can take an OTC pain reliever while you wait for the soreness to fade, but if the pain is very noticeable or decreasing your mobility, Dr Adalja recommends checking with your doctor.

2. Redness or swelling at the injection site

Anytime you pierce the skin and put something into the body it can cause a topical reaction, says Dr Adalja. This is just a sign that your immune system is activating.

But this redness and swelling where you get your shot is a common side effect that only typically lasts a few days. It’ll go away on its own, but if it’s really bugging you, you can take ibuprofen or acetominophen.

3. Body aches

Any vaccine can cause body aches because of the way in which they activate the immune system, says Dr Adalja.

If you’re feeling sore in places other than your arm, it’s usually nothing to worry about, though Dr Adalja notes that the flu shot does take two weeks to become fully effective — so your body aches could be a sign of the actual flu, since viral strains are probably circulating around the time you get the vaccine.

4. Itching at the injection site or a full-body rash

This would signal an allergic reaction, but “it’s very rare to have an allergic reaction to the flu shot,” Dr Adalja notes. “There are lots of myths about egg allergies and the vaccine, he explains — because most flu shots and nasal sprays are manufactured using technology that involves small amounts of egg proteins, as the CDC explains.

“If you can eat scrambled eggs, you’re not going to have a problem with the flu shot,” Dr Adalja says. If you have a confirmed egg allergy, you can likely still get the shot, per the CDC.

That said, if you experience severe itching at the injection site, a rash all over your body, or signs of anaphylactic shock, seek immediate medical attention. And if you’ve had an allergic reaction to the flu shot in the past, you are among those few groups of people who the CDC recommends skip the flu shot.

READ MORE: 12 Foods That Will Help You Survive Cold and Flu Season

5. Fever

You probably won’t get a fever because of the vaccine, but if you do, it should be low-grade (i.e. less than 38 degrees). If it’s higher than that, don’t blame your flu shot — you probably have a totally unrelated illness. “Remember that you’re getting the vaccine at the height of respiratory virus season,” says Dr Adalja. “So you may have been incubating another virus [without knowing it].”

And once again (for the people in the back!): The flu shot cannot give you the flu. While some flu vaccines contain virus strains, they’re not live strains, so they can’t get you sick. Meanwhile, some flu shots don’t contain the virus at all (they only contain a specific protein from the influenza virus), per the CDC.

6. Dizziness or fainting

This is less a side effect of the vaccine itself and more a side effect of a needle phobia, says Dr Adalja. If you think you might have a stress reaction or faint, give your health care provider a heads up so they can make sure you stay seated after the shot to prevent injury.

7. Guillain-Barre syndrome

Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) is an auto-immune disorder that’s triggered by a wide variety of things, from vaccines to viral infections.

GBS causes damage to the nervous system, resulting in symptoms like muscle weakness, numbness, difficulty walking or an odd gait, and even paralysis, says Dr Adalja. While 70 percent of people fully recover from the disorder, the recovery period can range from weeks to even years, according to the American National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

But he also says the connection between GBS and the flu vaccine has been overhyped: “People should remember that influenza itself is much more likely to cause GBS than the vaccine.”

And since no more than one or two cases per million people vaccinated will have this side effect, it’s better to take your (super small) chances with GBS than with one of the many common, severe complications that often come with the flu itself.

This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com

READ MORE ON: Colds and Flu Health Health Advice

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