Immune | July 30, 2018 | Author: Naturopath
The flu season is an annually-recurring time period characterised by the prevalence of outbreaks of influenza. The season occurs during the colder months of the year being the winter months of June, July and August. Add to the equation the busy lives that the majority of people live nowadays and emotional stress, lack of sleep and unhealthy lifestyle and diet habits form as a result. People’s health and immunity begins to decline and these individuals are at an increased risk of developing the common cold or the flu, or both.
Influenza or the flu, as its better known, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. These viruses spread through the air from person to person and unlike the cold, which can hit at any time of year, the flu is generally seasonal.
During flu season, an individual can catch the flu in the same way they would catch a cold. This involves coming into contact with droplets spread by an infected person. A person is contagious starting one day before they get sick and up to five to seven days after symptoms show.
The seasonal flu is caused by the influenza A, B, and C viruses, with influenza A and B being the most common types. Active strains of influenza virus vary from year to year.
Unlike the common cold, the flu can develop into a more serious condition, such as pneumonia. This is especially true for young children, older adults, pregnant women and people with health conditions that weaken their immune system, such as asthma, heart disease, or diabetes.
Although anyone can get the flu, young children, pregnant women and adults 65 years old and older are at greater risk of developing serious flu-related complications.
The common cold is caused by over two hundred different viruses that can attack the upper respiratory tract. The ‘rhinovirus’ is the most common virus that causes a cold and it is highly contagious. The virus is spread in the air from person to person when someone who’s sick sneezes or coughs, sending virus-filled droplets flying through the air. Anyone can get sick if they touch a surface (such as a countertop or doorknob) that has recently been handled by an infected person and then touch their nose, mouth, or eyes.
Despite the fact that anyone can catch a cold at any time of year, colds are more common during the winter months due largely to them being able to thrive in low humidity.
People with a depressed immune system or nutrient deficiencies may be more prone to catching colds. Also, common causes of catching a cold include: lack of sleep, emotional stress, mold exposure, unhealthy digestive tract and traveling.
Elderberry has the ability to deactivate the flu virus, relieve sinus pain and naturally boost immunity
It works by attacking the virus and reducing bronchial inflammation. A preliminary study found that when 15 millilitres of elderberry syrup was taken four times daily for a five-day period, it relieved symptoms of influenza an average of four days earlier than those taking a placebo.
Research has shown that oregano oil has powerful antiviral properties and can be used to fight any type of viral infection.
Echinacea is a herb that can help the body fight off infections, but it is best to take it at the first sign of illness. Echinacea acts as an anti-inflammatory, which can help reduce bronchial symptoms of cold and flu and it directly attacks yeast and other kinds of fungus.
An extract of echinacea was tested in a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial in 2013. Researchers found that the echinacea effectively treated respiratory tract infections in both the short- and long-term.
Zinc supports immune function and has an antiviral effect. It works best when taken at the first sign of illness. Zinc may lessen the symptoms of the cold virus.
Probiotics can help boost immunity by restoring healthy bacteria.
Vitamin D is produced in the body by sunlight and regulates the expression of over 2,000 genes, including those of the immune system. Unfortunately, up to ninety percent of people are deficient in vitamin D. Recent research shows that low vitamin D levels are linked to higher rates of cold, flu and respiratory infections.
Vitamin C helps with immune system function and boosts white blood cells. Research shows that vitamin C has the ability to shorten the duration of colds and can decrease the number of colds in physically active people.
Dosage: 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily as a preventative and up to 4,000 milligrams daily when experiencing cold/flu symptoms.
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