The cold and flu season has arrived. It is time to start building up your body’s natural defenses. Usually referred to as the flu, influenza is a highly infectious respiratory disease. When the virus is inhaled, it attacks cells in the upper respiratory tract, causing typical flu symptoms such as fatigue, fever and chills, a hacking cough, and body aches.
Flu Season: The U.S. flu season usually occurs between October and April. During each year’s flu season, millions of people about 5% to 20% of the country’s residents, contract the disease.
Risk: The flu is easily spread through personal contact. People with impaired immune systems, chronic medical problems, or those who are elderly are more susceptible to contracting the flu. Infection occurs when you are exposed to the upper respiratory fluids (droplets from coughing or sneezing, for example) of an infected person.
Symptoms: Typical flu symptoms tend to start very suddenly and can include chills, fever, muscle aches, cough, headache, fatigue, sweating, watery eyes and a sore throat. Symptoms usually last between three and five days and improve gradually after the first 48 hours. Occasionally, the flu can progress to pneumonia, either caused by the virus itself or by a secondary bacterial infection.
Treatment: Treatment includes getting rest, drinking liquids and taking acetaminophen for pain and fever. Avoid aspirin when you have the flu, since a link has been shown between the use of aspirin during the flu and the development of Reye’s Syndrome, which involves failure of the liver and brain swelling. Reye’s Syndrome usually occurs in children and adolescents, and in rare cases, adults.
Flu Shots: Flu Shots have been shown to be 80 percent effective in preventing influenza, and very few people experience side effects. However, people who are allergic to eggs should not get a flu shot.
1) Eat a Balanced Diet: Your diet should contain whole grain, fruits and vegetables. Cook with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial herbs and spices such as cumin and garlic. Homemade chicken soup is a favorite cure of cold symptoms.
2) Exercise: Light exercise can actually boost your immune system.
3) Get Enough Sleep: A good night sleep will build up your immune system.
4) Reduce stress: Try to reduce your stress to boost your immune system.
5) Stay hydrated: Don’t forget to stay hydrated, drink plenty of juice, tea or water. Hot ginger spiced tea, hot honey cayenne tea, hot honey chamomile tea, hot lemon tea, etc.
6) Take Multivitamins: Take your multivitamins to enhance your immune system.
7) Wash Your Hands: Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face.
Do you have any other tips or family remedies to fend off the cold and flu? Share them with us…