The Two Front Fight of Flu Season

October 9, 2015

Sick Man With TeaBecause it’s easy to forget: flu season is really two problems (and colds aren’t the other one).

Many people think throwing up when they think flu. The thing is, that’s just the stomach flu. Influenza, the disease the flu shot protects against, is a respiratory illness—it causes headache, malaise, fever, and aches.

Said more colorfully, within hours of becoming sick the flu drops you. Some people might drag themselves outside with the flu (I know I attended at least one midterm with it, when I was younger and stronger) but for most people, chilling on the couch with Netflix is too much work when you’ve got the flu. Add in a weakened immune system, and you can really be facing problems, like hospitalization to keep fluid levels up, or because you can’t eat, or worst of all, because you can’t breathe.

While the mucus generated by influenza can cause vomiting, stomach flu is actually its own problem. With winter comes an increase in the germs that cause stomach flu (think of this a bit separately from summer food poisoning, which is mostly caused by human error and ripe conditions). Norovirus, in particular, spreads during winter—and it has a bigger range than most people visualize (if you’re cleaning up post flu, expand what you’re doing several feet to surrounding walls, doors, and floors).

So, don’t lump it all together under “flu”—or illness will sneak past.

-One of the reasons certain viruses spread in winter is lack of humidity. Run a humidifier a tea kettle, or set bowls of water near your heating vents.

-Watch out for sick people in public, especially where you eat.

-Keep your immune system strong. After all, you can only control you—not your sick co-workers, coughing waiter, or die hard fellow travellers. Probiotics help against food poisoning, but for Norovirus or other winter stomach bugs, you’ll need more. Try colloidal silver for immune supports.

Which get you more? What winter bug hits you worse?

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