We are about to enter unfamiliar territory in terms of viral-induced illnesses, with the Covid-19 pandemic still keeping much of America hunkered down in mask-wearing, social-distancing mode in tandem with another year of ‘regular’ seasonal flu about to hit. For many people, seasonal flu can be relatively mild, but for those with certain underlying conditions that leave them more vulnerable, seasonal flu can be a legitimate health hazard, even leading to death.
For the purpose of this blog, we’ll focus on the regular flu, which typically affects tens of millions of people a year. The arrival of another flu season, ironically, begs us to follow the same familiar protocols attached to Covid-19, such as thorough washing of hands and avoiding others when you are sick – essentially, staying at home instead of going to work or school.
Seasonal Flu Vaccine Already Available
It is generally recommended ny the CDC that all people age six months and older get a dose of flu vaccine annually. Usually, the earlier the better as it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to properly enhance your immune system. Because seasonal flu can pass easily from one person to another, the administration of the flu vaccine – either via a shot or nasal spray – can not only protect yourself, it can help protect others because one with each vaccination theoretically reduces the chances of that person otherwise infected passing on the flu to someone else they come in contact with.
What Causes Seasonal Flu?
Per health.gov, certain viruses invading your nose, throat, or lungs can cause the flu and then it can pass to others in proximity when you cough, sneeze, or talk. It’s even possible to get infected by touching a surface or object on which the flu virus is residing, and then it’s only a matter of touching your mouth, nose, or eyes – even just to scratch a small itch – to become infected yourself.
Symptoms can include:
- Body aches
- Runny nose or congestion
- Sore throat
- Symptoms can also include the dreaded vomiting and diarrhea, with children more likely than adults to be affected in such a manner.
Preventing and Treating the Flu
Once you believe you have gotten the flu, it is advisable to see your doctor or go to a nearby walk-in clinic to get tested and perhaps to be prescribed an antiviral drug. Of course, taking preventative measures, to include over-the-counter supplements and herbs, to help ward off flu in the first place is advisable. Start before you get sick for best results. A doctor’s counsel is always advisable before getting started. Following are 10 measures that can help you dodge the flu or at least shorten the duration if you do get hit with it:
- Wash your hands. Do it often and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, using hand soap mixed with running water to produce a lather. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer as well for instances in which you touch a questionable surface or a washroom isn’t nearby and you haven’t cleaned your hands in a while, or after shaking someone’s hand, albeit with discretion.
- Stay home. If you have the flu, be considerate of others and stay away from them, the idea being to quarantine yourself at home for at least 24 hours after the worst of the symptoms disappear, such as fever and headache.
- Cover your mouth. Do this when sneezing or coughing, either into a couple tissues or into the bend of your elbow. You don’t want to be infecting other people, right?
- Vitamin C. Still regarded in many quarters as the No. 1 cold and flu fighter, per newsmax.com, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant effective for bolstering your immune system. Many people take it in supplemental form year-round.
- Vitamin D. Another natural immune strengthener, vitamin D has proven effective alleviating respiratory infections. Taken regularly, per newsmax.com, it can reduce your chances of contracting the flu. Because it is a fat-soluble vitamin, it is best taken with fatty foods for flu-prevention effectiveness.
- Echinacea. Per newsmax.com, this is an herb that can obstruct a flu’s progression if taken right at the onset of symptoms, and it is effective against flu and other upper-respiratory conditions. It has antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Vitamin B6. Also known as pyridoxine, B6 appears to work in conjunction with the immune system to help fend off infections such as the flu, per aaptiv.com. A B6 deficiency has been linked to a weakened immune system and reduced production of serum antibodies.
- Magnesium. Per aaptiv.com, it plays a key role in regulating the immune system’s response to invading viruses.
- Zinc. Also known as a go-to essential mineral for resisting and reducing colds, zinc helps cells in your immune system to communicate with one another, while also improving the immune response by ramping up the activity of macrophage and natural killer cells to take out virus-infected cells, per aaptiv.com.
- Oregano oil. This is classified an essential oil that has numerous health-related uses, among them acting as an antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antioxidant substance. Per newsmax.com, it boosts immunity and fights off infections.