Colder Weather Coming, Time to Fight the Flu

Courtesy Wikipedia    The mighty sneeze can give people influenza from as much as six feet away.

 

Fall is upon us and winter is just around the corner. That means it is also influenza season. Influenza, or flu, season begins in October and can last through May. 

Typical flu symptoms include: fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffed-up nose, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea. The flu virus is extremely contagious and can spread from one person to another when someone talks, sneezes or coughs, even six feet away. 

The flu virus can even survive on surfaces and spread when someone touches that surface and then their mouth or nose. Someone with the flu can infect others about one day before symptoms start and about one week after becoming ill. The flu can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

During the next few months, it is important to strengthen the immune system to prevent getting the flu. If infected by the flu, there are many things that can be done to help the body fight and get better faster. 

Here are some examples of how to prevent getting the flu and what can be done if one catches the flu: 

  • Proper hygiene: Wash hands with warm soapy water frequently throughout the day. If this is not possible, using hand sanitizer is a good alternative.
  • Avoidance: If sick, stay home from work or school. When encountering sick people at work or school, keep a distance and wear a surgical mask.
  • Cover it up: Cough and sneeze into elbows and arms, not hands.
  • Rest, hydrate and exercise: These things will help support the immune system so it will be strong to fight off infections.
  • Nutrition: Eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables. Avoid simple carbohydrates, alcohol and sugar since these foods can weaken the immune system. Avoid mucus-producing foods when sick, such as dairy, since these can increase runny and stuffy noses, as well as chest congestion. 
  • Gargle: For sore throats, gargle with salt and warm water, for 30 seconds, one to three times daily.
  • Baths: Epsom salt baths can be great for muscle aches.
  • Herbal teas: There are many herbal teas that are soothing for the throat and stomach such as chamomile and ginger. There are other teas that are great at boosting the immune system such as elderberry and peppermint. 

The above suggestions are just the basics. There are many more non-drug, natural and integrative approaches to not only mitigate the probability of getting the flu, but after getting sick, decreasing the severity and duration of the illness. Make an appointment today to discuss other strategies and options.

 

 

Dr. Mimosa Tonnu utilizes naturopathic, integrative and holistic medicines to treat the whole family. She sees patients for both acute and chronic health conditions at Born Naturopathic Associates, Inc., in Alameda. Find out more at www.bornnaturopathic.com or 550-4023.