Winter can be harsh on your body and overall health. The cold, harsh weather can make your skin dull, your hair brittle, and can lead to sniffles and colds. Other than bundling up, it’s important to take some preventative measures to maintain optimal health. Winter …
Written by Nicole Crane BS, NTP After water, green tea (along with its white and black variants) from the Camellia sinesis shrub, is the most consumed beverage in the world. There may be no beverage more salubrious. The tea plant is rich in valuable antioxidants …
As the weather starts to get colder and the days start to feel shorter, cold and flu season slowly begins to creep up on us. Here are some tips and information by Jerry Hickey, R. Ph.
How is the virus spread?
Usually the flu virus is spread through droplet infection – sneezing and coughing. Breathing in droplets expelled into the air by an infected person’s cough is the most common route. These droplets can get inhaled through your nose or land in your face or eyes, where you are almost sure to spread the virus by touch. Consciously avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth during flu season because germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
If you shake hands with a person who is coughing or sneezing, it would be a good idea to wash your hands with antibacterial soap or hand sanitizer. You can also get the flu from saliva when sharing cups, glasses, or other household objects used by a person who has the flu.
How long does the virus last on inanimate surfaces?
Flu viruses can last long enough outside of the human body to contribute to spreading infection. Studies have shown that viruses generally can survive on surfaces (such as phones and doorknobs) between 2 to 8 hours depending on the environment. Washing your hands frequently with an antibacterial soap and water will help protect you from contracting the flu through touch. Alcohol wipes and hand santizers can help disinfect the hands and surfaces if there are infected people about.
What is the incubation period?
Once the virus is introduced into your body from an infected person, the virus multiplies quietly in your body until you get symptoms of the disease which can be about two to five days later, referred to as the incubation period. When the symptoms are active at the peak of the infection, that is when you generally spread the flu because this is when you are actively sneezing and coughing.
For how long will I be contagious for?
Usually five to seven days for adults. Young children can be contagious for ten days to two weeks. Kids can also have diarrhea when they get the flu; something you usually don’t see in adults. According to the CDC, people with compromised (lowered) immune systems – such as people with AIDS or people taking drugs to prevent transplant rejection – can shed flu virus for weeks or months after infection.
Besides the shot and prescription antiviral drugs are there nutrients that help protect me?
Yes, research shows that the amino acid NAC, and consuming Green Tea may decrease the risk of developing upper respiratory tract infections including the flu (NAC and Green Tea) and cold viruses (Green Tea). Other nutrients like medicinal mushrooms, Astragalus herb, Nucleotides and Olive Leaf can help support immune system function and may improve resistance.
The Real Killer – Pneumonia
We are moving into the cold and flu season and the CDC is urging many of us to get this season’s flu vaccine. The reason for this is a higher mortality rate connected to cold weather and the flu. Yet most individuals do not realize that pneumonia is the big killer and that many deaths related to the flu actually occur because of a concomitant or secondary pneumonia infection.
Unfortunately in many recent seasons the best guess by experts has not always targeted the strains of influenza reaching our shores and spreading infection and although immunized, infection can still occur. The great news is that there is strong preventative action you can take to protect yourself from lung infection aka pneumonia – the real killer.
The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination (PPV) stimulates resistance to 23 out of 80 pneumococcal bacteria; the vast majority of pneumonia infections are caused by the 23 serotypes contained in the vaccine. The vaccine is injected into the body to stimulate the normal immune system to produce antibodies that are directed against pneumococcal bacteria. All adults over the age of 65 are candidates for the injection and it is usually given around September but it is not too late. Usually one dose of PPV is all that is needed. Yet in some circumstances a second shot is recommended for those over 65 who had their first dose when they were under 65, if five or more years have passed since the first dose.
For more information on PPV, contact the CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO, 1-800-232-4636 or visit www.cdc.gov.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that it’s definitely time to get your flu shot! We are just about in the full swing of flu season and taking precautions to …
Photo by Rex Pickar on Unsplash With so many people coming down with the flu this time of year, we’re all trying everything we can to fight off the nasty virus. Of course, getting the flu shot is highly recommended, especially for the elderly, pregnant …
It’s something we all dread getting, and most of us tend to avoid it like the plague. Getting the flu can cripple you completely, leaving you tired, weak, achy, and unable to get through your day. Many people mistake symptoms of the common cold for the flu virus. Influenza, also known as the flu, is defined by very specific symptoms that make it unique and unfortunately, a much worse ailment than the common cold.
What is Influenza?
Influenza is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system — your nose, throat, and lungs. Influenza is not the same as the “stomach flu” viruses that cause diarrhea and nonstop vomiting. At first glance, the symptoms of the flu virus are very similar to that of the common cold. You’ll notice a sore throat, runny nose, aches and pains. The interesting difference, though, is that the common cold tends to come on at a slower pace. You might “feel” like you’re simply catching a cold but, when it comes to influenza, it doesn’t attack slowly – it attacks suddenly.
Common Signs and Symptoms
- Muscle aches and pains, especially in your back, arms and legs
- Chills and sweats
- Dry cough
- Fatigue and weakness
- Nasal congestion
- Fever over 100° F (38° C)
- Sudden onset of symptoms
Who is at a greater risk?
Certain people are at a higher risk of getting the virus, and should see a doctor immediately if the symptoms persist for more than 48 hours. Young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and anyone with a weakened immune system are particularly at risk and should not wait until symptoms get worse.
How do you catch the flu?
For years, doctors have been studying what causes this sickness and how the germs are transferred so rapidly. Flu viruses travel through the air in droplets. When someone with the flu virus coughs, sneezes or talks, you can inhale the droplets directly. Or, you can pick up the germs from an object the person has touched — such as a telephone or computer keyboard — and then transfer them to your eyes, nose or mouth. Unlike other diseases, if you’ve had the flu in the past, it doesn’t mean that you can’t catch it again. In fact, your body may have built up a resistance to the antibodies through antibiotics.
Usually, you’ll need nothing more than plenty of fluids and bed rest to treat the flu. So in most cases, orange juice and that hearty bowl of mom’s chicken soup will definitely do the trick and make you feel better. But in some cases, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications. If these are taken soon after you notice flu symptoms, these drugs may shorten your illness by a day or so and help prevent serious complications. There is still an ongoing debate as to whether or not the flu vaccine is effective for everyone. Thousands of people get vaccinated every year and swear by it, but some say it doesn’t work for them at all. For now, it’s safe to say that reducing the spread of germs is your best bet for preventing the flu.