October 12, 2015

Influenza season began this week. Influenza claims 10's of thousands of lives a year in this country among the elderly. There were 140 pediatric deaths last year primarily among young children and children with chronic health conditions of which 90% were not vaccinated.

Every year I blog about this virus primarily to keep it fresh on your mind in order to prepare. There is never a time to ignore this virus and its potential to cause havoc.

Things that I think of as critical to avoiding or preventing this infection:

1) Keeping your vitamin D level greater than 50 ng/ml is an important way to prevent influenza infections. Get tested and supplement accordingly.
2) Eat healthy and get adequate sleep to keep your immune system in great shape.
3) Take a good quality probiotic daily.
4) Wash your hands throughly for 20 seconds with soap and water. Especially in high risk areas like schools.
5) Eat lots of fresh citrus and colorful yellow, red and orange foods for adequate vitamin C.
6) Maintain adequate zinc levels in your body for a healthy immune system. Zinc is commonly found in beef, lamb, wheat germ, spinach, seeds, mushrooms, nuts, beans, pork and cocoa.

7) Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. This helps you avoid viral transmission.
8) Take elderberry syrup as directed if you feel that you have been exposed to the virus.
9) Stay well hydrated and keep your system stout by drinking 1 ounce of water per kilogram of body weight a day.
10) Stay positive mentally and be happy.

Finally, High risk groups should get a flu vaccine and avoid the risk. Who is high risk?: pregnant women, children less than 5 years old, people with lung diseases, neurodegenerative disorders, immune defects, heart disease and more. See list.

If you contract the virus, then what should you do???

Medicines that are antiviral for the influenza virus seem to be of limited value in the average healthy adult or child over age 5 years according to the published research. High risk groups can still benefit from these medicines to control a potential bad outcome.

Follow 5/6/8/9 above and rest.

Dr. M