Saturday, February 23, 2008

fighting colds and flu

I used to be the lady giving flu shots to everyone.
But since then, I have done some research and now I no longer take the flu shot. I did my research on the CDC site, too. Not some anti-immunization site. If you did deep enough on there you might find some reasons not to get the shot yourself. But it's an individual decision.

Whether you get it or not, you are still at risk for the flu. Especially years like this one where they don't get the vaccine quite right and people are getting the flu anyway.

I want to specify that the flu is not vomiting. That is a virus, but not a flu virus. Influenza is a specific type of illness that involves high fever, chills, body aches, headaches, sore throat, severe fatigue and cough. Some people may have some stomach involvement, particularly children, but those are not the primary symptoms.

The flu can be like an extreme cold or bronchitis.

Here are a few natural immunity boosters and flu-fighters. Black Elderberry extract is a great immunity enhancer and has been used for centuries. Look at the Sambucal site for more info. I don't use this brand, anymore, but it's got good information. It works by actually preventing the cells from replicating. That's the same way that the anti-viral medications the doctors prescribe work. I read info stating that it is as effective as those medications. It can be taken daily as an immunity booster. I just keep it around and take some at the first sign of any cold or flu symptoms. It tastes good, but strong. For my kids, I mix it in a cup of grape juice, then they can't even taste it. ( I use the Nature's Answer brand. This other brand was bought by a new company and added a lot of artificial ingredients.)

Zinc suppliments will shorten the severity and duration of colds. I don't know if it works for the flu or not, but I would try. I use Zicam, but there are other options. One day I suddenly became very congested in my nose and sinuses and felt like a full blown cold out of nowhere. I was on my way out of town to meet a friend so I stopped at a store and picked up some of the Zicam swabs and used them according to the directions. Within a few hours all of my symptoms were gone. That is the most dramatic experience I've had and I think it was because I started the treatment less than an hour after the symptoms began. I have used the product every time I get a cold and it has helped every time.

There are homeopathic products out there such as Oscillococcinum for flu. I haven't tried it, but I just bought some to have on hand just in case.

Umcka cold remedy is something else that I have on hand but have not tried.

I have had good success with some homeopathic cold rememdies in the past. They relieve symptoms without all the nasty side effects of regular cold medications.

Echinacea is another helpful product for building your immune system.

As always, if you want to try any of these products, research them first yourself.

One of the main things you can do to stay well is wash your hands frequently. Also, eat well and take your vitamins and drink lots of water.

Hope you all stay well!


Robin said...

Thanks Kay, I will research some of these later.

My kids and I haven't gotten the flu shot in the last few years. My husband has to get it each year because of working at a hospital.

I'm getting ready to start some volunteer work with Hospice and Monday I have to get a TB test and they want me to consider getting the Hepatitis Vaccine also - in three shots over a six month ?? time frame. What are your thoughts on the Hepatitis Vaccine? I can turn it down if I choose.

Kay said...

Hepatitis B cannot be contracted through casual contact. It is spread through sexual contact or blood.
They may mean Hepatitis A and that is easier to get because it is spread through feces. Sometimes there are outbreaks because an infected restaurant employee didn't wash his hands.
But I think in a hospice situation you should not be at increased risk. You aren't doing nursing work and you can keep your hands clean.
I'm not sure how the A vaccine is given. The B vaccine is given over six months, I think.

Julie said...

I worked in a hospital kitchen years ago, I had the vaccine- a 3 shot thingy, but I never went back to have my blood checked to make sure it worked. That was optional. It was because it could be contacted with spit. I washed trays and with the water splashing on me I was at a higher risk of getting body fluid splashed on me I guess. It didn't hurt more than any other needle stuff (Im a fainter and I didn't)

MondaythroughSunday said...

Interesting! I think we had the flu here..I am just now getting over it and feeling like I have some energy. No fun!!

Mireille'sfan said...

I have decided to stop getting the flu shot as well. I read that vaccines can settle in your spine and cause arthritis. I seem to have a bad spell with my back each time I get one, toward the time it is active in my system AND I find I get sick MORE with Pharangitis when I get one. The downside is I have less allergy trouble, NO CHAPPED LIPS and NO COLD SORES. Yet, my periods are not as heavy and I don't have raw sore throats. Plus, when I don't get the flu, I don't get the flu - when I get the shot, I seem to get it. Go figure.
I also didn't do well with the Hepatitis vaccine they wanted me to get when I worked in the hospital. THe first booster didn't phase me but I felt after effects of the second shot and chose not to get the third - I didn't stay there decided not to take it.