Flu Season Facts: How to Protect Yourself and Those You Love

Susan E.D. Doughty, RNC, MSN, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
Owner, New England WomenCenter

With the shortage of flu vaccine this year, many of our patients want to know how to prevent getting the viruses that can cause fever, muscle aches, fatigue, upper respiratory system infection and even death in very young children or elderly or those with a chronic illness. Those who are most vulnerable should be vaccinated. Those of us who are not vaccinated need to remember certain strategies:

  1. To prevent the virus from entering our bodies (it can live on surfaces like door knobs, phones, keyboards and hands for hours):
    • • Wash your hands about every 30 to 60 minutes with soap and water (long enough to sing "Happy Birthday" - about 6 seconds) or with a hand sanitizer
    • • Don't touch your mouth , nose or eyes. Wash hands before and after eating
    • • Sneeze or cough into your sleeve. If using tissues, wash your hands after sneezing
    • • Don't refill or share your water bottle - they hold bacteria, mold and viruses
    • • Avoid holding handrails or door openers, if possible

  2. To help your immune system combat any viruses that enter your body:
    • REST:
      • •Adequate sleep each night.

    • EAT WELL:
      • •Eat foods that are low in fat, sugar, and white flour. Limit or eliminate alcohol and caffeine.

    • DRINK:
      • • 6-8 glasses of water each day.
      • • Try diluting fruit juices with water or seltzer.
      • • Eat 2-3 fruits per day.

      • • With minerals: follow label instructions.
      • • Be sure it includes vitamin D 400 I.U. and 50 mg each of the B vitamins.

    • *LOOK
      • • At the sun, eyes closed, count to 30. White blood cells get energized.

    • * AVOID
      • • Energy drainers: reschedule appointments/meetings; excuse yourself from their presence

    • • * BELLY LAUGH!!!!

    • * MEDITATE
      • • Deep breathe for 10 minutes; ask your body what it is that it wants you to know/learn. Expect an answer through your intuition or in your dreams.

    • * EXERCISE
      • • Walk at least 2 miles 3 times per week.

      • As a mother or father would love a sick child, or as you would love your own best friend.

  3. To treat flu symptoms:
    • • Eat raw garlic - at least 2 cloves daily, cut into pieces mixed with food
    • • Take Echinacea - tincture or capsules - four times daily until symptoms go Away - Stop after about 10 days
    • • Try Oscillococcinum (manufactured by Boiron - found in health food stores) to decrease severity and duration - follow label instructions and avoid coffee, mint, and menthol which antidote homeopathic remedies
    • • Eat chicken soup. It often helps symptom management.
    • • Take Vitamin C - about 500 mg which is what your body can absorb in a day
    • • Take Astragalus an immune booster - follow the label dose
    • • See your health care provider if your symptoms progress into a high fever, ear pain, sore throat or gold or dark green sputum
    • • Avoid contact with others for 3-5 days when contagious
Imagine yourself wrapped in a protective bubble and hold the intention that you will not getthe flu this season. Plan a day off to relax and play in good health!

Susan Doughty is founder of the New England WomenCenter and has presented workshops on physical, emotional and spiritual issues on a national level. She is published in the areas of pacemakers, nurse-managed centers and advanced practice nursing.


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