This has been the worst flu season in many years. Fortunately, although there have been a lot of colds, very few of our patients have had the flu. One of the most horrible parts of this flu season has been the number of deaths, especially in children. It’s important to know a couple of things.
- Most of the deaths have been from complications, especially sepsis. It’s important to know the danger signs here which I’ll outline below
- There are steps you can take, aside from the flu shot which is even less effective than usual this year to build your body’s natural defense systems against colds and flu. I’ll go over some of them below.
As I mentioned above, a flu infection can lead to a dangerous sepsis (aka blood poisoning) that can be fatal. The signs of sepsis are:
- High fever
- Inability to keep fluids down. This is especially dangerous since many deaths have resulted from dehydration
- Rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing or shortness of breath
- Extreme fatigue and/or confusion
- Slurred speech which may resemble intoxication
If these symptoms are showing, you need to get medical help immediately. You may need intravenous fluid to prevent dehydration. Intravenous vitamin C, thiamin (vitamin B1), and hydrocortizone have been shown to be effective for sepsis.
To build your immune system and prevent the flu or speed recovery:
- Make sure to get enough sleep. A minimum of 7 hours good quality sleep per night. We have a number of ways to improve sleep quality at the office if you’re having trouble sleeping
- Avoid refined sugar. Sugar lowers the immune response by up to 40% for up to 4 hours. It also interferes with the body’s ability to utilize vitamin C
- Take spirulina. Research has shown that spirulina dramatically lowers the ability of the flu (and other viruses) to reproduce. I recommend taking 1000 mg 3 times/day for prevention and 500-1000 mg/hour if you actually catch the flu or a cold. The quicker you up the dosage when you feel symptoms the better it works. I recommend the “Earthrise” brand we sell at the office because some other brands may contain heavy metals or other toxins.
- Take vitamin D. Studies have shown that taking vitamin D can lower the chances of catching the flu or a cold by up to 50%. If you’re already taking D at a dose of 1000-2000 IU per day, increasing it to 5000-8000 per day can lower your chances additional 10% which is better than this year’s flu shot. I’ve found that some people don’t absorb vitamin D well in tablet or capsule form and recommend a micro-emulsified liquid form like we sell in our office for best absorption.
- Drink at least 8 cups of pure water per day. Tea, coffee (anti-water), milk, juice etc don’t count. Your body uses water in a hydrolysis processes to kill viruses and bacteria
- Wash your hands frequently if you’re dealing with sick people or people who might be sick.
- Do nasal lavage or cleansing daily. This has been shown to reduce likelihood of catching a cold or flu when you’re exposed and shorten recovery time if you do get sick. Check out the blog post I wrote on this and how to do it http://drhogg.com/wash-your-hands-and/
- Other classic anti-viral nutrients include vitamin C, garlic and ginger. See my blog on making “Gingeraid” to lower inflammation, fight viral infection and improve digestion http://drhogg.com/making-gingeraid/
If we all follow these guidelines, we’ll be safer and healthier as we get through this tough flu season!