It’s hard to turn on the news these days and not hear about how devastating this flu season has become. The media is quick to point out that those who haven’t gotten the flu shot are partly to blame, and that everyone should still rush out and get the vaccine because it’s not too late.
So why is the flu so much worse this year than others? Well, there are a few reasons. One, in the wintertime, it’s hard to get our daily dose of vitamin D because most of our time is spent indoors. Vitamin D is essential for healthy immunity and to prevent colds and flu. And speaking of indoors, spending too much time inside—sneezing and coughing on each other—is also a culprit. Finally, the flu virus thrives and actually travels farther when humidity levels are very low—and this has been a particularly dry winter for much of the country.
For reasons I’ve talked about before, I don’t recommend the flu vaccine because there are better ways to prevent the flu. But even so, nothing is fool proof, and getting the flu is always a possibility—even with the flu shot (which, by the way, is only about 62% effective this year). So what if you are one of the unfortunate ones who does become infected with the flu?
First, avoid going to the ER unless you really are experiencing truly serious symptoms, like shortness of breath or severe vomiting (which can lead to dehydration and could warrant IV fluids). ERs are overrun with flu patients right now, so unless you’re in seriously bad shape, it’s likely that you will be sent home. Instead, call your regular physician first and make an appointment if he/she wants to see you.
Second, start on a supplement program designed to lessen the symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness. This includes elderberry extract, eucalyptus oil, vitamins C and D, and AHCC.
Finally, get plenty of sleep (which is not that hard when you’re sick!) and drink plenty of fluids.
It may not seem like it at the time, but you will feel better within a week, maybe even less time if you follow this supplement program diligently.
Now it's your turn: What have you been doing to prevent the flu? And what supplements have you taken to shorten its duration?