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Fight the Flu!!!

Flu season has arrived a little early this year. It seems like everywhere you go, someone is coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose. You hope its just allergies, but then you start to hear about people being sick to their stomach!

Then one morning, you wake up coughing and sneezing. Your muscles ache and your head is spinning. Your stomach lurches and you know...

You have the flu.

So what do you do?

Don't spread it to others!

If you are sick, please call off work. You need to rest and it's no good to be getting your coworkers since. Besides, how good of a job can you really do when you have to keep putting your head down?

Wash your hands. Please! We are not children and it is just plain disgusting when people do not wash their hands. Hands should be washed after using the bathroom, before meals, and really any other time they need to be cleaned. It’s not a bad idea to wash your hands after entering your house because you were probably handling car keys, money, gas pumps… Many objects carry germs.

For those who do not know how to perform this procedure, work up a good lather with soap and sing “Happy Birthday” two times. Alcohol can also be used for disinfection.

Cover your mouth if you have to cough or sneeze. Kids in preschool are taught to cough into their elbows. If you do cough into your hands, please wash them.

Try not to touch your mouth or eyes if you are at risk of coming into contact with the flu.

Eat a nutritious diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Basic nutrition can help to prevent and treat the flu. Eating a wholesome diet provides your body with the nourishment it requires to fight the flu and enhance recovery.

Hydration is essential. Drinking plenty of water will help to keep your electrolytes balanced and help flush the virus from your body. To give your body an extra cleanse, try adding some fresh-squeezed lemon.

Food may have to be consumed to tolerance, but it is important to keep up your strength. Broth is a gentle and effective food that helps your body receive essential nutrients. Try to add some vegetables, beans, or chicken if tolerable. Barley and rice are also good additions. If you must get canned broths, try to use those low in sodium, sugar, and preservatives.

If you can tolerate them, try to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. To improve digestion, cook or steam your vegetables slightly. Garlic and onions boost immunity and combat bacteria and viruses, so add them to your diet.

Certain foods, such as dairy, should be avoided. Milk products create phlegm and can make symptoms worse. They produce excessive mucous and slow digestion. If you are worried about calcium and vitamin D, drink almond, rice, or coconut milk.

Avoid sugar. Bacteria feed off of sugar and though the flu is caused by a virus, a weakened immune system can give bacteria the opportunity to thrive.

Snuggle Up with a Cup of Tea...

Teas have so many healing properties and there are so many to choose!   There's a tea for everything! My two favorite teas for the flu are ginger and peppermint. They help soothe aches and pains, are naturally free of caffeine, and can calm an upset stomach.

Another reason I like ginger and peppermint is that they work very well with the basic principles of traditional Chinese medicine. Ginger is warming and will rev you up if you are cold, weak, and experiencing chills. Peppermint is cooling and soothes many upset stomachs as well as relieves headaches.

*Tip* Look at your tongue! If it's red, drink peppermint, and if its pale, drink ginger! 

Or Bullet-Proof Coffee!

You might want to skip this one if you have the stomach flu. But if you have a cough, sore throat, aches and pains, give it a try. Now there are many different types of "Bullet-Proof" Coffee, but the way I like mine is black with about a half teas-spoon of coconut oil.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a safe and natural method of preventing and treating the flu. Your body will be more resistant to fighting infections and better able to eliminate any pathogens that are making you sick. If you do contract the flu, you may feel a little worse after your first treatment, but your follow-up visit should alleviate the unpleasant symptoms.

If you have the flu, you may be more sensitive to needles and their insertion. Your treatment should not use too many needles, and you may want to ask for the extra thin needles.

Ask your acupuncturist about moxabustion and cupping. Moxabustion involves burning the herb mugwart over your body like incense. Moxa will nourish your body and its warmth provides relief over aching muscles. If you do have the flu, smokeless moxa may be preferable.

Cupping is a procedure involving the use of suction cups, either glass or plastic. The suction helps to draw the pathogens out of the body and increases circulation.

Chiropractic

Chiropractic care is another way to fight the flu. It stimulates the nervous system, which increases circulation, boosts immunity, and improves health. Adjustments combined with trigger point therapy can also help to break up mucous and relieve sore muscles. Your chiropractor may also provide a hot pack or light muscle work.

Don’t forget, your chiropractor is an educated physician and they do possess extensive knowledge on your anatomy and physiology. They simply rely on more natural methods as opposed to drugs to get you feeling better.

Get plenty of rest so you can stay strong!

What's the Difference Between a Cold and the Flu?

Though the symptoms are similar, colds and flus are caused by two different viruses. The common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection caused by the rhinovirus. Like the flu, which is caused by various influenza viruses, symptoms may include cough, congestion, runny nose, sore throat, chills, aches, and fatigue.

Flu symptoms tend to be intense and in severe cases can result in pneumonia and hospitalization.

The flu is transmitted through the air when someone coughs or sneezes. You can also become infected if you touch a contaminated object. The flu is contagious before symptoms appear and can continue to be spread for up to a week.

Flu Shots: A Good Idea?

To prevent the flu, a vaccination is often suggested. The CDC recommends everyone over six months should be vaccinated. But as a health care provider and lover of science, I must disagree.

Let me clarify that I am not against vaccinations. I have been vaccinated against hepatitis B and my daughter receives most of the recommended immunizations. I would rather take the risks associated with a vaccine than her getting measles or polio.

But not so much for the flu.

Flu vaccines do not prevent against all strand of the virus. And there are many different strands circulating each season. Influenza A, B, and C are broken up into various subgroups and to prevent against all of these strands would be difficult. Only a few strands of the virus are selected for immunization. Even if you receive a flu shot, you still have a good chance of catching a strand that you were not vaccinated against.

And don’t forget that viruses mutate. Even if you receive the right vaccination for the strand that you were exposed to, the virus may be altered by the time it gets into your body and you still get sick.

For many people the side effects of the flu shot produce the exact same symptoms as the virus itself. This happens because strains of the inactivated virus are injected into your body. Though the symptoms may not be as severe, they can still make you sick.

Some people may feel it is necessary to receive a flu shot. The flu shot can be a good way to prevent any serious conditions, such as pneumonia from occurring. For high-risk populations such as people with weakened immune systems and chronic lung diseases, a flu shot may be the best option. To find out more, ask your health care provider for information regarding what’s best for you.

In order to fight the flu this season, you do not need to rely on excessive medications. There are so many natural ways to prevent and treat it. Talk with your health care provider about finding the one that’s right for you.