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Understanding the Flu: Prevention, Risk & Symptoms

 

Depending upon the year and the strain of influenza that is most prevalent, peak flu season is likely to occur between October and February. On average, an adult catches the flu about once every 5 years and 200,000 Americans are hospitalized each year due to complications from the virus.

The flu can affect anyone but certain segments of the population are more susceptible to contracting influenza and experiencing severe complications from this common virus.  According to the CDC, “…Young children, adults aged 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions are among those groups of people who are at high risk of serious flu complications, possibly requiring hospitalization and sometimes resulting in death. For example, people with chronic lung disease are at higher risk of developing severe pneumonia.” It is important to understand your personal susceptibility to such complications.

If you do contract the flu, it is essential that you recognize the symptoms as soon as possible. While there isn’t a cure for the flu, there are medications, supplements, and food choices that could help you fight this illness more quickly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

* It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Fighting the Flu

At Foundation Health, we think it’s important to explore and utilize all possible resources for fighting the influenza virus. Both conventional and alternative methods (vetted by your FH provider) should be used consecutively to help ensure that you have a safe and healthy flu season. Even if you engage in all possible methods of prevention, though, you may still experience the flu or flu-like symptoms this winter. Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Because the flu is a virus, antibiotics do not have any effect in curing the flu. However, there are several ways that could help you fight this illness more quickly or keep you from contracting it in the first place.

  • Wash your hands often with warm soap and water for over 20 seconds (tip: sing ‘happy birthday’ while washing your hands). This is especially important when you’re in crowded venues, before eating and while visiting public places (i.e. using grocery carts, the exchange of money, using public transportation, etc.). Wash your hands often and thoroughly.
  • Make sure to get plenty of rest. When you sleep, your body restores itself, which makes sleep an essential ingredient in fighting and preventing the flu.
  • Get your flu vaccine. Vaccinations have been a hot topic for debate over the past several years. We think it’s important that you know that influenza can be a serious health concern especially for certain segments of the population (see above).
  • Talk to your provider about supplements that can help keep your immune system stay strong this winter. There are a number of supplement options that may shorten the life of the flu (and other viruses), including vitamin D, vitamin C, and Immuherbs.

Please reach out to your Foundation Health provider if you have any questions or concerns about getting the flu vaccine or the flu in general.

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