Get Ready for Flu Season

With the cooler weather comes falling leaves, family holidays and unfortunately, cold and flu season. Symptoms of the flu may include fever, chills, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches and fatigue. Vomiting and diarrhea are more common in children than adults and not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Conventional recommendations include prevention with vaccines, rest and clear fluids at home once you are sick and, in severe cases, hospitalization. Several recent meta-analyses of the research have raised questions about the effectiveness of flu vaccines. The current research shows little effectiveness of flu vaccines in preventing flu in healthy children under age 2. Research in the elderly is lacking. In healthy adults age 16-65, in an average flu season, 100 people have to be vaccinated to prevent one case of the flu.

The good news is that there are natural ways to prevent getting the flu and to feel better more quickly if you do get sick. Managing your stress, sleeping well, and eating a nutritious diet help you maintain a strong immune system. They are the foundation for wellness. You can also take a high-quality probiotic, black elderberry extract, vitamin C and vitamin D3 during cold and flu season. All of these supplements have been shown to help in preventing flu and shortening the time you are sick. Your naturopathic doctor might also recommend specific homeopathic remedies, or at-home hydrotherapy treatments, such as warming socks.

Handwashing and other good hygiene habits can help prevent the spread of flu to other people. If you are sick, don’t just take medicine so you can go to work or school! Stay home and get well – and save someone else the trouble of being sick. Once you’ve been fever-free for 24 hours, you are generally well enough to go out.

With a few good lifestyle choices, some healthy habits, and a few natural remedies, winter can be a time to enjoy friends and family, and not a time to worry about getting the flu!

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