Cold and Flu Season Isn’t Over Yet – Protect Yourself!

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“Dear Pharmacist,

Everyone in my family gets sick, what can I do to help myself?”
–K.B., San Antonio, Texas

Knowing if you have the flu versus the common cold is helpful. The flu comes on fast and furious, presenting itself with a high fever (often above 101 degrees), chills, joint pain, body aches and sheer misery head to toe. The influenza virus causes the flu, whereas the common cold can be caused by any one of 200 viruses. Symptoms of the common cold are above the neck and much wetter than the flu, so there’s more mucus, as in runny nose, congestion, watery eyes and sneezing.

Do you realize that your nose and throat are the two main entry points for 90 percent of germs? You can either flush them out with a neti pot, or you can try a product that coats the pathways into the body.

You think about the flu during the wintertime, however, I’d like you to think about it year round so that you can make bigger health investments every day of the year. For example, a health investment would include juicing each day, exercising, eliminating refined foods and sweets and sleeping more. These put ‘deposits‘ into your immune system so that you can withdraw the benefit of natural killer cells that fight pathogens for you!

Stress contributes to colds and flu by weakening your immune system. I know I know, you’re obligated to certain events, parties, business meetings and travel, but maybe you can say no to some things, especially if you’re weak and your health is at stake. The flu causes approximately 200,000 hospitalizations annually in the United States, and about 36,000 deaths from complications such as pneumonia. Since I’m in your brain right now, I hear you asking me about the flu shot, and if it works. You can get the flu shot if you choose to, that is between you and your practitioner. Most think it’s a first line of defense. Why not add other layers of defense by considering probiotics, the fundamental immune supplement as far as I’m concerned. Aged garlic, CoQ10, and Vitamin D and maitake mushroom are popular antioxidants known to support immunity. Finally, if you can ditch the soda and drink more green tea or tulsi tea you will catapult your body into a much higher state of health.