Muscle pain, fever, chills: the flu can be an unpleasant experience in cold weather. Many of you have probably already felt the unpleasant effects of the flu.
The respiratory disease can also be fatal. Michael Kinch, Ph.D., an immunologist and vaccine expert and dean of science and vice president at Long Island University in New York, told Fox News Digital that on average, 60,000 people die from the flu each year in the United States.
Kinch said: “While the flu virus can cause severe illness in all people – regardless of health or age – the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are particularly susceptible.”
Whether you’ve had the flu shot or not, there are key natural steps we can all take to protect ourselves from the flu and protect our loved ones from the fever, cough, aches and general discomfort associated with the virus.
What is flu?
Influenza is a very specific disease that causes it influenza virus,” said dr. Lisa Maragakis, senior director of infection prevention at Johns Hopkins Health System, adding that mild or severe cases can occur.
For one type of virus, called influenza A, the “classic” presentation is a sudden onset, Fishman said. People may first have a headache “more in the front of the head or behind the eyes,” and other symptoms include a fever of at least 103 degrees, chills, sweating, and body aches.
Influenza B is often less severe and resembles the common cold, but more serious cases can occur, he noted.
What do I need to know about flu prevention?
The flu vaccine “may not be perfect, but it’s the best prevention we have,” said Dr. Daniel Jernigan, Director of the Influenza Unit at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Everyone at least six months old should be vaccinated every year, the agency advises.
Not recommended for people with “severe, life-threatening” egg allergies or those who have had a severe one before a reaction to the flu vaccineJernigan said.
As for the time? If you can, get vaccinated by the end of October, the CDC says.
“It takes about two weeks after you get the vaccine to become protected,” Jernigan explained, noting that most flu seasons typically start in November.
“In general, people should start getting vaccinated now,” Fishman said, and should do so between Halloween and Thanksgiving.
There are other “more general prevention strategies” people can follow, Maragakis says. This includes washing your hands frequently, coughing and sneezing into the crook of your elbow, and avoiding people who seem sick.
I have the flu – now what?
“If it’s a mild disease, it’s generally self-limiting,” Maragakis said. If you are sick, stay home and avoid others, especially babiespregnant women and the elderly, she advised.
Jernigan encouraged people with the flu to consume plenty of fluids and nutrients. Antiviral drugs are used when people are hospitalized or have certain underlying medical conditions, he said.
These types of drugs can also be used in less serious cases, Fishman says. Other flu remedies include getting plenty of rest, eating a healthy diet and taking Tylenol or Advil, he recommended.
“None of the homeopathic remedies have really helped with the flu,” he said, noting that you should check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if “natural” products interfere. another medicines.
How effective is the vaccine?
All flu vaccines in the U.S. — including types for people younger than 65 — are quadrivalent, meaning they protect against four different strains of the flu.
“Although vaccine effectiveness (VE) can vary, recent studies show that influenza vaccination reduces the risk of influenza among the entire population by between 40% and 60% in seasons when most circulating influenza viruses are a good match for those that cause influenza. vaccines,” the CDC says online.
The agency collects viruses around the world “and determines how close they are to the virus that goes into the vaccine,” Jernigan explained.
What can I do to best prevent the flu?
- Wash your hands
- Stay hydrated
- Eat an organic, plant-based diet
- Take vitamin D supplements
- Take probiotics
- Use elderberry syrup
- Use essential oils
- Take omega-3 supplements
1. Wash your hands
One of the most effective and easiest ways to prevent the flu is to wash your hands. It’s something we should all do several times a day, preventatively or not, simply because it’s good manners. While you should wash your hands after using the toilet, you should also wash your hands after using the equipment at the gym, when you’re on public transport, when you shake hands with someone, and in other situations after contact with the public. You can never be too careful, especially during the winter months.
2. Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is important all year round, but it’s especially helpful in the winter. It’s easy to forget to drink enough water in cold weather because we don’t sweat as much as when it’s warm outside. Regularly drinking six to eight glasses of water a day can boost your immune system and keep your body strong and ready to fight disease.
like water exercise strengthens the immune system. According to naturopathic doctor Amy Rothenberg, it also improves circulation, reduces stress and offers another way to eliminate toxins through sweating. Of course, be careful not to overdo it. If you are really sick, get plenty of rest and check with your doctor before engaging in any physical activity.
4. Eat an organic, plant-based diet
Increase the amount of organic fruits and vegetables in your diet, especially those high in vitamin C, such as papaya, peppers, strawberries, broccoli and kale. You can also take a vitamin C supplement to be safe. Talk to your doctor about the best vitamin C supplements for your needs.
5. Take vitamin D supplements
Some parts of the US are plagued by grayness and gloom during the winter months. As a result, many Americans are deficient in vitamin D, especially toward the end and beginning of the year. You can check your vitamin D level with a simple blood test done by your doctor to determine if a vitamin D supplement is needed. Some doctors on the East Coast routinely recommend vitamin D to their patients. If your levels are low, consider taking a vitamin D supplement to prevent not only the flu, but a host of other health conditions—like cancer and cardiovascular diseases – which have been linked to vitamin D deficiency.
6. Take probiotics
Probiotics are “good bacteria” in the gut that have been shown to help prevent colds and flu. They can restore the balance of bacteria that we need in the body and that can be destroyed by antibiotics. Probiotics are available in pill form and the typical dosage is in the billions of CF units, but you can also introduce probiotics into your diet with yogurt, miso, tempeh, kimchi, coconut kefir, and sauerkraut.
7. Use elderberry syrup
Elderberry syrup is not only full of vitamins A, B, and C, but it also boosts the immune system, is proven to prevent colds and flu, and tastes great. Elderberry syrup can be used in tea or added to yogurt, oatmeal or smoothies.
8. Use essential oils
Essential oils they are restorative, healing and natural antibacterial agents. They also smell really good. Diffuse grade A essential oils around your home or apply them topically to your skin. Apply some oregano oil to your back, chest and bottom of your feet. In addition to being a natural antibiotic, oregano oil also has anti-bacterial properties and is a powerful antihistamine.
9. Take omega-3 supplements
Instead of fish oil for the health-giving omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, consider switching your source and using marine phytoplankton instead. There, the fish get omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids and vitamin A. Its benefits can be enjoyed by simply adding 10 to 15 drops to water or juice.