There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the shortage of flu vaccinations this year. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) every year in the United States, on average:
5% to 20% of the population gets the flu;
More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications
Approximately 36,000 people die from flu.
Well that is enough to scare anyone. Let’s take a closer look at the flu.
The flu or influenza is technically caused by the influenza virus. However there are other virus’ that can cause flu like symptoms. The typical influenza vaccine only protects against the influenza virus A strain. It does not protect against these other viruses. So even if you did get the vaccine, it does not mean you won’t get the flu.
Symptoms of flu include:
fever (usually high),
runny or stuffy nose,
Gastro-intestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, are much more common among children than adults.
Well, these symptoms occur in many other illnesses as well.
The Key to Health is Keeping a Healthy “terrain”
Louis Pasteur was the father of the germ theory. His theory remains strongly ingrained in our medical profession today. However, even Pasteur admitted, not long before his death that he was wrong and that it was the internal environment or “terrain” of the body that determined if you actually came down with a disease.
This flu season, given the shortages of vaccinations, the CDC is recommending the very young, those over 65, and those with compromised health get the flu shot. In other words, those with sub optimal terrain. So the key to reducing your risk of catching the flu is to maintaining a healthy terrain.
Maintaining a Healthy Terrain
As Naturopathic Doctors (ND), we believe that we must treat the whole body in order to maintain a healthy terrain. With a healthy terrain you reduced your chances of getting the flu. ND’s are the best trained primary care physicians to help you do exactly that. Make sure you work with a ND that has a four year medical degree who is trained in the natural approach to medicine.
Having said that, each person will require a different approach depending on the state of their health.
The most important things are:
1) Support the immune system- there are several things that help to build the immune system. These would include: Herbs, Homeopathic remedies, foods high in antioxidants, Vitamins like C and Zinc. Raw garlic wards off more than vampires.
2) Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night – your body heals itself and regenerates the immune system during restful sleep.
Keep hydrated- this will keep your mucus membranes Western union locations moist so they can trap the virus and prevent it from entering the body. Keeping hydrated also flushes toxins out of the body. Drink half your body weight in ounces of water. (i.e. if you weigh 150# drink 75 ounces of water)
3) Wash your hands frequently – you can pick the virus up from anywhere. By washing your hands you reduce your exposure to the virus.
4) Avoid sugar – eating or drinking 100 grams of sugar, (one or two cans of soda), can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by 40 to 50 %. Immune suppression starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion of sugar and may last for five hours. Remember all simple carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, etc. bring the blood sugar up quickly and have the same immune suppressive effect.
What if you feel like you are coming down with the flu?
Well this is a sign that your health is not optimal and you need to work to improve it. In the short term, if you can catch the symptoms in the first 6 hours, a homeopathic remedy called Oscillococcinum can help thwart the flu. Most ND’s carry this remedy.
The bottom line; keep yourself healthy with the above suggestions and contact your local ND to help you coordinate your holistic approach to this flu season. To find a ND in your area check www.naturopathic.org.