By Dr. Morrison and Dr. Moreno
Are you worried about getting sick this flu season? By following a few simple strategies, you can lower your risk of getting sick and arm yourself with some natural options to kick your infection fast.
Should you get the flu shot?
This is a very personal decision and the debate still rages on the risks and benefits of this procedure. In general it’s believed that people that get vaccinated will have less chance of getting sick during the winter. The fact is, most people get sick from germs other than the influenza virus. In addition, the strains of influenza in the vaccine are not always the ones in your area when flu season strikes and therefore the flu shot may not provide any enhanced immunity.
Because there is possible risks associated with this vaccine, you should consult your doctor before getting the flu shot in the following situations:
- You have any severe (life-threatening) allergies, including a severe allergy to eggs. A severe allergy to any vaccine component may be a reason not to get the vaccine.
- You ever had a severe reaction after a dose of influenza vaccine.
- You ever had Guillain-Barre syndrome (a severe paralytic illness also called GBS).
- You have gotten any other vaccines in the past 4 weeks.
- People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting flu vaccine.
If you or your healthcare provider believes the flu shot is not right for you, there are some natural strategies to keep you healthy during cold and flu season.
Natural ways to prevent the flu:
Our immune system is our bodies’ best defense against germs. Think of our immune system like the US military fighting a campaign against invading germs that act like terrorist. We’re getting exposed to bacteria and viruses all of the time, our immune system deals with them and we generally don’t get sick.
Infection occurs when our immune system gets run down or we get a large germ exposure (think of how frequently parents get sick when their children are sick). Diet, stress, and sick contacts can affect our health and be improved in the following ways:
- Eat less Dairy and sugar – dairy is known to create mucous and sugar actually stuns our white blood cells, both of which will weaken our immune system
- Eat warm foods and drink tea – by keeping our body warm, our immune system actually works better. This is why we get a fever when we get sick, it makes our immune cells become activated. Drink herbal tea throughout the day to stay hydrated and warm.
- Use a warm mist humidifer – colder weather tends to be drier, making us more susceptible to colds and sinus problems. Warm moisture in the bedroom while sleeping can help.
- Follow a daily routine – Routines help give us less stress and if the routine happens to be a 45 minute workout in the morning; that would even be better.
- Wash your hands with a glycerin soap – Skip the antibacterial soap. Glycerin soap is safe to use, lowers germ counts and won’t dry your skin
- Take Buffered Vitamin C daily – Vitamin C 1000mg with food twice daily can help your body handle stress and it also stimulates your immune system
- Take NAC – NAC 600mg with food twice daily has been shown to lower the risk for the flu.
How to treat the flu naturally:
In case you do get the flu, there aren’t many conventional treatments that work well. Some natural remedies to consider include:
- Eat chicken noodle soup – Many people find they feel less cold symptoms from this age-old remedy.
- Vitamin C – Buffered Vitamin C 1000mg three times daily with food
- GripHeel (a homeopathic remedy) 1 tablet three times per day on empty stomach can help with flu symptoms
Another treatment that we’ve found helpful for patients with a cold or flu is a Vitamin C IV immune protocol. Patients remark that it helps them to feel well quickly. Ask your doctor whether they do Vitamin C IVs and whether that treatment is right for you.
Please call 212.989.9828 or email us with any questions, and stay healthy during this flu season!
Jeffrey A Morrison, M.D.
Jeffrey A. Morrison, M.D. is a practicing physician, founder of The Morrison Center for Integrative Medicine in New York City, award-winning author of Cleanse Your Body, Clear Your Mind, Board Certified in Family Practice and Integrative Medicine and Vice President of the American College for the Advancement in Medicine (ACAM). Visit, www.morrisonhealth.com to follow him on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook, and watch his videos on YouTube.
Victoria Moreno, M.D.
Victoria Moreno, M.D. is a Board Certified Family Physician currently practicing Integrative Medicine at The Morrison Center, with Dr. Jeffrey Morrison, and training as a fellow of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Health, founded by Dr. Andrew Weil.