Vail natural health: Naturopathic care for H1N1 Flu
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado –I was excited when several days ago an article on the front page of the Denver Post touted the “alternative” treatments for seasonal flu. First, it is always great to see complementary natural medicine in the spotlight. Second, it is important that people know that, on the eve of flu season with the potentially scary swine flu, there is something more to be done to prevent and treat this than simply wash your hands and rest.
While the flu does exist year round, we see a tremendous increase in incidence as the days get shorter and colder. One might attribute this to kids returning to school, but researchers are drawing a connection between lower vitamin D levels and lowered immunity. As the days get shorter, we are exposed to less sunlight and therefore less vitamin D, which has been shown to be a potent immune enhancer. Though you may think that you get plenty of sun, the fact of the matter is that most people are vitamin D deficient. To keep your immunity up and potentially prevent the flu, I recommend having your vitamin D levels (25 (OH) D3) checked and supplementing to maintain a level greater than 50 ng/ml.
Another great way to prevent the flu and other seasonal viruses is to take a professional grade probiotic. A probiotic is a combination of different strains of human bacteria that live in our digestive tracts. These gut bugs help to regulate our digestion, but also crowd out invading pathogens such as virus, bacteria and parasites that may be entering the body. So much of the immune system is found in the digestive tract that it is essential to ensure proper digestion to have a strong and healthy immune response. While many yogurt brands claim to have a probiotic benefit, they do not contain the wide spectrum of different strains, the number, or the beneficial bacteria needed for therapeutic effect.
Colostrum is another great tool to help boost immunity and prevent the flu. We all know of the excellent immune benefits of colostrum for newborn babies and really the effects are no different for humans of all ages. Colostrum has been shown to be as effective to more effective in preventing the flu than the flu vaccine. This liquid gold is top on my list of preventives to take.
There are so many other good supplements to take for cold and flu prevention that I really cannot list them all. Feel free to consult me if you have questions on this issue and I can help to customize a prevention plan for you and your family.
The basics, however, should never be ignored:
•-Wash your hands! After you use the bathroom, blow your nose, play outside, or are anywhere public.
• If you feel the least bit sick, start taking your herbs and supplements; visit your acupuncturist, and STAY AT HOME! The more rest you give yourself, the less severe your cold or flu will be and the faster you will recover. One day of proactive sick time will save you a good three to four days of being sick.
• Take raw garlic or a garlic pill (look for the active ingredient allicin) everyday. It acts as a broad spectrum anti-microbial.
• Get plenty of sleep and rest.
• Practice your stress management techniques (deep breathing, acupuncture, massage, yoga, laughter, etc.) to keep you healthy and happy. This flu season gives us particular worry and fear. It is best to stay calm and realize that most cases of H1N1 flu are mild and not life threatening.
There is truly nothing scarier than the prospect of a repeat of the 1918 flu pandemic that killed between 20 and 100 million people worldwide. While my personal feelings are that this is an overblown prediction of the CDC and the media, I can’t help but worry that I am being optimistic.
What we do know is we need to be diligent in our precautions. Do what you can now. Contact me today to order your flu prevention kit, to ask questions about flu prevention and treatment, and to help you become more proactive in your health and hopefully, you will never see the likes of the swine flu.