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Oct 4, 2013

Colds and Flu information for Adults & Children

Reducing your susceptibility

Frequent hand washing is very important as hand contact is a primary route of virus spreading. Avoid shaking hands with people. Also, keep your hands away from your nose, mouth, and eyes as much as possible. Sneeze or cough into your sleeve- not your hand.

Keep your stress levels as low as possible. Carefully consider the commitments you make to keep your schedule manageable. Get a sufficient amount of sleep at night and a regular to-bed and wake-up schedule.

Reduce/avoid smoking, alcohol  and unhealthy diet. Reduce/avoid sugar, white flour and other refined carbohydrates as much as possible. These lower your immune system function. If possible, limit the amount of time spent around sick people. Also, If sick- stay home so you don't infect others.

Do's & Don'ts if you get cold or flu symptoms

In general, don't use antibiotics for viral illnesses.

Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses. Overuse creates bacterial resistance. 

Do see a doctor if a fever is over 102, or if the following is present- ear pain, significant sinus pain, green nasal discharge, highly swollen lymph glands, persistent neck stiffness, shortness of breath or persistent uncomfortable cough, or if you are coughing up yellow or green mucus.

80%-90% of respiratory illnesses in otherwise healthy adults during the flu season are not due to influenza (flu) viruses.

Cold or Flu Treatment                     

A slight or mild fever is useful. It is a way for your body to fight off a viral infection. In general, don't suppress it with Tylenol (acetaminophen), Aspirin, or Ibuprofen (Advil), unless you need these products to manage other symptoms,  or if the fever becomes high. High fevers- especially if rapidly rising, require medical advice. Drink plenty of water if fever symptoms are present.

Note: Don't use aspirin to treat children's fevers anytime as there is an infrequent but serious syndrome that can occur- only use Tylenol if required.        

Naturopathic Physicians

Naturopathic Physicians have many support options for cold and flu symptoms. these include products which boost your immune system function. If these are taken at the earliest onset of symptoms, the episode may be completely avoided

Otherwise, these products can reduce the duration and severity of symptoms. There are also alternatives to drug store items- most of which just suppress (block) symptoms for a short term. 

Naturopathic products can provide symptom relief AND help the body heal. young Children in particular should avoid drug store symptoms control products.