How to Prevent the Flu
It's that time of year again folks and especially since the debacle of food choices that occurred over the holidays, your immune system may not be operating optimally to ward off the ever-present Influenza. Coming back to the office, you may have notice that everyone seems to have the sniffles, wads of Kleenex are everywhere, fevers are as popular as Ferbies used to be, and there is a strange plethora of food in the lunchroom with desperate coworkers trying their luck at the old adage «feed a fever, starve a cold ».Walking around in a mosquito net or with asian facemasks might not be office dresscode, but you might be desperate not to catch whatever is going around. Below we are going to look at some traditional and not-so-traditional preventative tips for stopping the Flu from getting ahold of you and making those winter blues all slimy and gross too !
First of all, let's look a little closer at that famous saying : Feed a fever, starve a cold. What truth is there to this old-wives saying ? Should we even be following this advice ? Where did it originate ? What if we got it all wrong and things should be the other way around ?
To begin with, you have to know the difference between the flu and a cold. So here we go : boogers 101. Cold and flu symptoms can be very similar, making it difficult to tell the difference between them. However, flu symptoms will usually come on a lot quicker and with a greater intensity. There are a few other things that seperate the two.
Here's what you should look out for in the flu :
- Fever (usually very high and can last 3-4 days)
- Aches and Pains
- Fatigue and weakness
- Occasional stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat (more common in a cold)
- Chest discomfort and coughing
- Complications include Bronchitis, pneumonia and it can be life-threatening, whereas the cold will often migrate into a sinus infection or earache.
It is important to note that the flu is caused by a VIRAL infection, and is NOT bacterial. Therefore, going to the doctor and loading up on antibiotics (which are only antibacterial) will only kill your natural defense systems and leave you more vulnerable to prolonged illness.
So, now that we know what we're looking at here, let's take a look again at which one you feed and which one you starve. There is good news ahead folks : it is never OK to starve either of them ! And it's not recommended ! In fact, foods that are rich in nutrients and antioxidants help the body to fight viral infections and buttress the immune system against invaders. If you're starving yourself, you're operating at a loss and making your body work harder than it needs to. Sure, if you have a fever, you don't exactly feel like eating a huge meal, but fluid intake is essential to keep your body temperature away from dangerous levels. Load up on electrolyte boosting goodies to replenish what was lost through excessive sweating to keep your heart and kidneys happy and alkalize your system so that the virus can't proliferate.
On that note, hot water with fresh lemon juice has the benefit of alkalization also, which has been clinically shown to inhibit the growth of viruses and cancer tumours. It can also be particularly soothing for a sore throat and as a demucilent for those that are hacking up a cough storm.
Other natural health helpers include the lovely anti-virals olive leaf extract, colloidal silver, and oil of oregano. I also recommend doubling up on your Vitamin D3 intake, as well as probiotics to ensure maximum immune system function. My personal favorite from the homeopathic world is the tongue twisting Oscillococcinum which contains Anas barbariae hepatis et cordis extractum 200CK HPUS to reduce the duration and severity of flu-like symptoms. These little tubes full of tasty sugar pellets are a great preventative to start with at least once a week while those around you are sniffling away.
Things to avoid include sugar, cakes, snivelly coworkers, sneezing clients, boogers in general and the flu shot which seems to cause more incidences of the flu than it prevents.
This article was written by Nakita Valerio, B.A, CSN, BMSA Technician.
Nakita is a staff contributor for the Optimum Health Vitamins blog.