Influenza, Be Prepared!
Influenza (flu) is a viral disease that may not always be thought a serious illness by most people. According to WHO and other research sources, Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness. Approximately 9% of the world’s population is affected annually, 3 to 5 million severe cases, and approximately 300,000 to 500,000 fatal cases each year
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention people who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, feverish/chills, vomiting, and diarrhea. It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
As per Health Canada guidelines- In addition to getting the flu shot, you can also protect yourself and those around you from the flu by taking underline precautions.
- Not touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands, washing hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, or using a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Coughing and sneezing into the bend of your arm, not into your hand
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that a lot of people touch, such as phones, doorknobs, television remotes, staying home if you are sick
- If symptoms develop, isolate yourself from others and contact your health care provider.
Under the guidance of a healthcare provider and possibly making some changes in diet, lifestyle, and combining holistic approach may help the body resist infection and recover faster if anyone gets sick. Let’s look at some of the basic strategies.
Care Yourself Take good care of yourself by keeping hygiene, eating healthy, taking proper rest and sleep, staying active, drinking plenty of freshwaters. Avoiding a lot of refined sugar, processed food, and excessive alcohol may help to build better resistance to viral infections.
- Build a healthy gut and strong immunity
As per various studies, the gut is the foundation of health because the majority of the immune system is located in and around the gut. Having a stronger digestive system supports immunity and that helps in improving the resistance to infections. Foods such as Kimchi, Sauerkraut, Curd, Pickles, and a variety of green leafy vegetables support digestion. Taking a good source of fiber and probiotic supplements may contribute to the balance of gut flora (beneficial bacteria). Bone broth, chicken soup, and nutrients such as vitamin A, C, E, and D, selenium, zinc, and quercetin can be very effective to protect and boost the immunity system.
- Manage Sleep, Stress, and Inflammation
Studies have shown that people who don’t sleep well and have a high level of stress are more likely to catch an infection. Lack of sleep may lower the production of Cytokines, which are essential to fight infection and also necessary to regulate various inflammatory responses. Stress can make the intestinal barrier weaker and that may create an imbalance in the body and also that may result in a weaker immune system. Taking simple steps may improve the quality of sleep and also reduce stress levels. Eating and going to bed on time is a simple strategy to have a sound sleep. The use of turmeric (curcumin) and eliminating sugar and caffeine can reduce inflammation. Meditation, yoga, and certain foods including Turkey, Chicken, Nuts, Seeds, Oats and mushrooms, organic herbal teas, which are high in L-tryptophan, L-theanine, and Magnesium can be useful to reduce stress levels and improve sleep. Keep the Respiratory system strong, clean and open
- The respiratory system is the network of organs and tissues that help us breathe.
Body parts including the nose, mouth, throat, and lungs should be clean and open to avoid any inflammation that may increase the risk of catching the infection. N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), a precursor of the antioxidant glutathione, has been used to loosen thick mucus in the lungs. However, NAC can also boost the immune system, suppress viral replication, and reduce inflammation. Besides conventional treatments, natural practices-steam inhalation and special breathing exercise can also be helpful to keep airways clear and open. Certain homeopathic preparation and herbal supplements such as Elderberry, Echinacea, Oregano, and Manuka honey may also help to strengthen the respiratory system.
Winter starts to hit now, which means the possibility of flu season is higher, and also the chances to encounter influenza viruses are greater. As our communities are already dealing with Covid-19, it is better to practice a healthy lifestyle and if needed seek the advice of a qualified health practitioner to be prepared to fight the Flu.