General Health, Probiotic Health, Seasonal Challenges

Avoiding the Cold and Flu

As you get into the swing of the new year, I beg you to pay special caring attention to your immune system. We’ll talk about tips to help you with avoiding the cold and flu today.

Why? The CDC estimates that as of mid-January, there had been nearly 10 million flu illnesses, 87,000 hospitalizations, and 4,800 deaths from flu making this season one of the most lethal on record.

With the prediction that as many as 11% of our population may contract the actual flu, or a flu-like illness, there are a lot of germy people around! Besides the obvious ways to avoid exposure, there is a lot of value in creating a strong internal defense system prior to any potentially vulnerable situations.

What is the difference between a cold, flu, and “influenza-like illness” (ILI)?

The whole mess seems to be a continuum of sorts, all spawned by one or another nasty virus of which there are hundreds, if not thousands of varieties. Avoiding the cold and flu any way you can is worth the effort you may put into it.

About a cold.

Typically, a cold begins with a sore throat that subsides after a day or two. Runny nose and congestion follow, often along with a cough by the 4th or 5th day. A cold in an adult rarely creates fever, although fever may be present in a child.

It is normal for watery nasal symptoms issues generally to become thicker and darker over time. Take note, this doesn’t mean that you have developed a bacterial sinus infection. This is in most cases, a normal progression toward recovery.

Thankfully, these days doctors are much less inclined to prescribe antibiotics until a positive diagnosis has been made of a true bacterial infection. Remember – viruses are absolutely unaffected by antibiotics! Taking antibiotics when they’re not needed actually weakens your immune system and undermines your health.

Since you will be contagious for the first three days as you notice symptoms, you need to stay away from others so you don’t gift your friends and coworkers with your particular viral strain.

Avoiding the cold and flu

What about flu and flu-like illness?

Flu (and influenza-like illness) symptoms are generally more severe than those experienced with a cold. Fever is common, along with sore throat, headache, muscle aches, congestion, and cough. Note – Swine flu is associated with vomiting and diarrhea.

Flu (and influenza-like illness) symptoms are generally more severe than those experienced with a cold. Fever is common, along with sore throat, headache, muscle aches, congestion, and cough. Note – Swine flu is associated with vomiting and diarrhea.

Most acute flu symptoms gradually improve over two to five days. However, it’s not uncommon to feel quite down for a week or more.

Often doctors will forego testing for the particular strain of flu since treatment for both flu and flu-like illness is the same. By the way, the tests can be both expensive and sadly unreliable as well.

Medical treatment suggestions

Medical treatment focuses on over-the-counter decongestants, pain relievers, and fever-reducing medications. Note – Cold and cough medicines should not be given to young children. In some cases, antiviral drugs may be prescribed to hopefully lessen the intensity and duration of the misery.

A serious and potentially life-threatening complication of the flu can be pneumonia, most common in the young, the elderly, and those with complicating issues like diabetes and lung or heart problems.

WebMD offers an excellent chart differentiating cold and flu symptoms and outlining clearly when a visit to the doctor is a must. Please check it out here.

Methods of prevention in traditional medical circles suggest getting your annual flu shot and avoiding symptomatic people as much as possible.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the obvious steps to reduce viral and bacterial contamination:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If not available, use a disinfectant hand wipe.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs – like grocery carts, public bathroom doors, and surfaces at home should a family member become sneezy.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. This is a very common way for germs to gain access to your system.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Carry tissues to kindly offer to others.
  • If a coworker is symptomatic, you might request they wear a face mask.

Natural action steps for avoiding the cold and flu!

Those of you reading this post are undoubtedly interested in making positive choices geared toward optimizing your immune function, a result of the ongoing support of your microbiome and gut function.

Vital Flora Ultra Daily

My entreaty to you is to consider the foods you consume as your daily support system and choose wisely. A diet with high-quality protein along with organic vegetables and fruits will not fail you over time. Positive daily meditation exercises as well as exercises that make movement a part of your life will only provide benefits. A daily probiotic affords a direct shield of protection and immediate support for your immune system.

AND, should sniffles or a sore throat sneak their way into your reality, run (don’t walk) to your natural medicine cabinet where you have purchased the following to be available at all times.

Time is of the essence when symptoms first appear.

  • Elderberry liquid
  • Zinc lozenges
  • Extra probiotics – double your daily dose or choose a higher potency to combat viral infection
  • Echinacea and goldenseal remedy
  • Vitamin C 1000 mg, twice daily
  • Oscillococcinum homeopathic

Begin the above protocol the very moment you notice symptoms or feel you may have been exposed. Hours make a difference!

Yes, cold and flu season is upon us. Let’s make our best effort to be part of the 89% that don’t feel the effects of those pesky viruses!


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