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10 Ways to Prevent Cold and Flu This Winter

10 Ways to Prevent Cold and Flu This Winter
(Copyright DPC)

By    |   Wednesday, 22 November 2017 10:28 AM EST

Americans will come down with a whopping half-billion colds this winter and up to 20 percent of the population will develop the dreaded flu.

As we’ve already seen by the Australian flu crisis, this season is gearing up to be severe. As the southern hemisphere winds down its flu season, the Australian Immunization Coalition has reported 168.337 influenza cases so far in 2017 compared to just under 91,000 in 2016.

Experts in infectious disease say this may be due to the fact the dominating flu strain — the H3N2 — is a particularly nasty one.

“Usually the season in the southern hemisphere serves as sort of predictor of what’s going to happen in the northern hemisphere,” says Dr. Hana El Sahly, associate professor of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine.

So experts say it’s time to start preparations.

Although anyone can get the flu at any time of the year, cold and flu viruses spread most readily between October and May. The flu is caused by viruses that change year to year, Dr. Pat Salber, editor-in-chief of The Doctor Weighs In Website, tells Newsmax Health.

“That’s why it’s advisable to get flu shots every year instead of once in a lifetime,” the board-certified internist advises. “The absolutely best way to avoid getting the flu is by getting an annual flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone over the age of 6 month receive the flu shot every year.

“Because immune defenses decline with age, seniors should receive either a high dose vaccine or a vaccine with an adjuvant than enhance the immune response such as Fluad.”

Salber notes that people often confuse the flu with other viral disease such as colds or gastroenteritis.

“Symptoms of the flu characteristically come on suddenly and usually include muscle aches, chills, cough, fever and sore throat,” she explains. “Colds usually don’t cause fever or headaches and the flu hardly ever causes an upset stomach.”

Other natural ways to prevent colds and flu:

Wash your hands. When someone who is sick sneezes in his or her hand and then touches the keyboard, phone or other surface, viruses spread. Washing your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds can help prevent the transmission of viruses.

Steep gingerly. Researchers in Taiwan have discovered that fresh ginger inhibits certain viruses from attaching to cells and even reduce its ability to replicate. Grate some ginger in hot water or a spicy tea, or add it to your next stir fry

Cut back on alcohol. Heavy drinking lowers the immune system and makes you more likely to get infections as well as complications from the flue or cold. Alcohol also dehydrates the body.

Sip tea. Dr. Murray Grossman, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Cedar-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, drinks hot tea with lemon and honey to protect against viruses. He says that drinking tea and breathing in the steam stimulates the hair follicles around the nose to move out germs more effectively.

Pump up the protein. Many nutritionist believe that diets too low in protein deplete the immune system. Dr. Douglas Kalman Ph.D., director of nutrition at Miami Research Associates eats lots of fish, eggs, and yogurt to keep colds at bay.

Wipe out germs. Gyms are notorious for spreading germs so make sure you place a towel down on sweaty surfaces and clean free weights and bicycle handles with antibacterial wipes. The same precautionary advice applies to everything in your workplace.

Get enough sleep. Research shows that our bodies need seven to eight hours sleep in order to stimulate the immune response from our “natural killer cells” which attack viruses.

Take your vitamins. Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, a leading integrative physician and author of “Real Cause, Real Cure” recommends taking a good multivitamin that contains vitamin C and zinc. One recent Spanish study found that being deficient in vitamins D may leave us particularly vulnerable to colds and flu.

Go Greek. In a study published in Clinical Nutrition, people who consumed a specific strain or probiotics daily from Greek Yogurt reduced their risk of catching cold and flu viruses by 27 percent! Aim to eat at least one serving of Greek yogurt which contains live cultures every day.

Refill your meditation. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin at Madison found that people who meditated regularly took 76 percent fewer sick days that those who didn’t. Meditating trains you to stay focused and calm which in turn can alleviate stress which makes you more vulnerable to infection.

If you do feel a cold or flu coming on:

  • Use a nasal rinse to flush out more than 90 percent of germs
  • Ease up on dairy products which tend to produce existing phlegm thicker and more irritating to the throat and nasal passages
  • Skip the soda. The amount of sugar in the average 12 ounce can of soda suppresses the immune system by 30 percent
  • Inhale stream. To prevent the cold from developing into bronchitis, Teitelbaum recommends taking hot showers and breathing in the steam to loosen the mucus so you can cough it out.
  • Suck on zinc lozenges. An analysis of several studies revealed that using zinc lozenges can reduce the duration of a cold by 42%--in other words, cut it in half! Teitelbaum recommends sucking on four 20 mg. lozenges of zinc acetate daily.
  • Try elderberry extract. “It’s mechanism is amazing,” says Teitelbaum. “Like pirates trying to board a ship, viruses have spikes which latch onto our cells,” he explains. “Elderberry neutralizes these hooks so the viruses cannot grab onto your cells and infect them.”
  • For coughs, eat dark chocolate. The expert says that a two-ounce square of dark chocolate can suppress coughs as effectively as cough medicine. Use chocolate with at least 75 percent cacao and only when the cough is dry. You don’t want to suppress a wet, productive cough.

© 2024 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

One in five Americans will suffer a cold or flu this winter, and health authorities say that's a good reason to get a flu shot. But holistic doctors note that other strategies can help keep your defenses up, cut your risk of infection, and combat cold and flu viruses.
cold, flu, prevention, vaccine
Wednesday, 22 November 2017 10:28 AM
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