Influenza (the flu) is an extremely contagious viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. The virus causes an acute infection of the nose, throat, lungs, middle ear, and bronchial tubes. It is generally an illness of the winter season and is easily spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing. The virus then enters the body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. There are more than 200 strains of the virus which are constantly changing so flu shots have not been very effective. Symptoms of the flu closely resemble the symptoms of the common cold. They include fatigue, coughing, sneezing, headache, body aches, and fever. Oftentimes when fever develops, you may feel extremely hot followed by a period of shivering cold. You may also feel nauseous, weak, and lethargic. The common cold only lasts for 7 to 10 days. The flu can last up to 12 or more days followed by an additional week of recovery time. If you are younger than age 65 with a healthy immune system, you may still contract the flu virus but it will not be life threatening. But if you are over age 65 or have a depressed immune system, contracting the flu can be very serious. Over 25,000 people die from flu related conditions every year. People over age 65 often experience serious respiratory infections like pneumonia after coming down with the flu. You fall into a high risk group if you have a weak immune system or if you have a heart or serious lung condition regardless of your age. The best defense against the flu virus is to keep your immune system functioning at peak efficiency throughout the year. Supplements for Immune Health
1. Vitamin A is a potent antioxidant that strengthens your immune system. Take 15,000 IU daily, 10,000 IU if you are pregnant. 2. Beta-Carotene, 15,000 IU, should be taken with Vitamin A. 3. Zinc lozenges should be taken as soon as flu symptoms appear. 4. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids strengthens the immune system. Take 5000mg to 20,000mg per day. Excessive Vitamin C can cause diarrhea so start out slowly. 5. Garlic supplementation has antiviral and antibacterial ingredients. The Kyolic brand is a high quality brand, take 2 caps twice a day. 6. Reishi Mushroom, 2 caps a day fights infection and enhances immune function. 7. Vitamin B complex 100mg plus Selenium 200mg per day aids immunity and the body’s ability to combat infection. 8. Olive Leaf extract promotes immune response and fights numerous types of infection including the flu virus. Follow instructions on the container. 9. Fenugreek has the ability to break-up phlegm and mucus. Slippery Elm aids in their removal from the body. Fever is your body’s defensive mechanism at work. The flu virus cannot function well in warm temperatures so do not attempt to suppress a fever unless it rises above 102 degrees. Do not take Zinc at the same time you consume citrus fruits or juices. Citrus has a tendency to reduce the effectiveness of zinc.
Caution: Consuming alcoholic beverages, even in small amounts, and taking the painkiller acetaminophen (Tylenol, Datril etc.) has been associated with serious liver problems.