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The Swine Flu epidemic is here.  It might not be so much the actual flu that is spreading at an alarming rate, but the fear and panic about the flu seem to be running rampant.

For healthy adults and children the H1N1 virus, commonly known as the Swine Flu, is no more deadly than the flu virus that spreads through the country every year about this time.

The best way to avoid getting the virus is to stay healthy and follow just a few basic rules about staying that way and keeping your body from becoming a welcome host to the virus.

The flu shot is not the end all be all savior that is has been said to be.  If you would like to learn more about the vaccination and the problems it has, you can read my blog post – Facts about the Flu Virus and its Vaccine.

The flu virus only has a couple of entry points where it can get into your body.  Those are the nostrils and the mouth and throat.  The virus is floating around pretty much everywhere but it’s not dangerous coming in contact with the virus as long as you take the precautions to not let it proliferate throughout your body.
In order to keep the virus from proliferating (multiplying and setting up shop in your body), you need to follow some simple steps while you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of the flu, whether it be the H1N1 flu virus or any other flu virus.

Here are several steps you can do to keep yourself healthy:

1. Frequent hand-washing with soap and for more than just a quick rinse.  Sing Happy Birthday to yourself a couple of times to make sure you have done a thorough job.

2. Do your best to keep your hands off your face. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face because this is where the flu virus has the best chance of entering your body.  I know it seems kind of a goofy thing to think about, but many of us use our fingers to pick something out of our teeth, we pick our nose (be honest, most of us do it from time to time), and we rub our eyes.

3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water.  The flu virus, including the H1N1 Swine Flu, takes 2-3 days after the initial infection in the throat/ nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. By simply gargling each day you can help to prevent proliferation. This again seems like a simple thing to do, but just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s not powerful.  And an added bonus it is an inexpensive preventative step.

4. Another step you can do with the salt water is to clean your nostrils every day.  This one is a little tougher for a lot of us.  Maybe you have seen or even used a Neti Pot.  It lets you clean you sinuses with warm water.  If you aren’t into putting water up your nose, you can just blow your nose (hard) when you get up in the morning and then swab your nostrils with cotton swabs dipped in salt water.  This method has been shown to be effective in reducing the viral population that may be trying to set up shop in your body.

5. Boost your immune system naturally.  Vitamin C, whether from foods or supplements has been shown to help with your immunity.  Researchers have also come up with an all natural supplement that can boost your body’s ability to produce interferon.  Interferon has been shown to have a significant impact on helping the body’s natural immune system.

6. And finally, drink warm liquids when you can. This does pretty much the same thing as the gargling does.  It loosens up and washes off the viruses but instead of expelling them from the body, it sends them out of the throat and down into the stomach.  The acidic environment of the stomach kills the viruses and does not allow them to proliferate through your body.

So instead of getting all worked up about the Swine Flu, relax (remember stress only helps the flu take a foot hold) and take the time to keep yourself healthy.  It only takes a few extra precautions and preventative measures to avoid catching the H1N1 or any other cold and flu that might be spreading itself around in your local environment.

It’s something to think about!

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Colds and the flu are the most frequent illness infections that we as Americans ‘catch’ and they affect all age groups. Every year these illnesses occur and spread through our society.  While the Cold and the Flu are both caused by viruses, they are not relegated to a certain time of year but can attack at any time.  The reason they show up more during the winter and the so called ‘cold season’ is because people are forced to stay indoors more due to the weather and therefore increase the chance of spreading the infections from one person to another.

Pretty much everyone has had at least some form of cold or flu during their life.  It’s never fun and for some people the flu can actually be deadly.

So what do we really know about the causes and extent of colds and flu in this country and what can be done to keep from getting sick with these viruses? The following statistics provide an up-to-date look at this common public health problem.

• During a typical year, Americans suffer 1 billion colds. (SOURCE: the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

• Children typically have more colds because they are often in close contact with each other at school and daycares.  They can have about 6 to 10 colds a year.  (SOURCE: NIAID).

• Adults, on the other hand, average about 2 to 4 colds a year.  This number can vary widely depending on work situations and overall health. Women, especially those aged 20 to 30 years, have more colds than men.  This could be due to the fact that they have closer contact with children. (SOURCE: NIAID).

• It is estimated 10 to 20 percent of all Americans come down with the flu each year during flu season.  Children are two to three times more likely than adults to get sick with the flu, and children frequently spread the virus to others.  This is most likely caused by the same closeness factor previously mentioned. (SOURCE: NIAID).

• Even though the flu is just another “not so fun” illness for most people, for some it can become deadly.  Every year more than 100,000 people are hospitalized and about 36,000 people die from the flu and its complications every year. UPDATE: I have done some more research and found that the actual flu only has several hundred deaths linked to it each year, the CDC just assumes the deaths from pneumonia where caused as a complication due to the flu. (SOURCE: Center for Disease Control and Prevention).

• The cold and flu season creates an enormous impact on the economy. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) estimates that, in 1996, 62 million cases of the common cold in the United States required medical attention or resulted in restricted activity. In 1996, colds caused 45 million days of restricted activity and 22 million days lost from school. UPDATE: After more research I found that a 40 year study showed getting a flu shot did NOT decrease the number of days missed from work. (SOURCE: NCHS).

• Statistics for the United States show that most colds occur during the winter months of September through March or April. (SOURCE: NIAID).

• One reason for the increase is due to the fact that most cold and flu viruses survive better when humidity is low in the colder months of the year. Cold weather may also make the inside lining of the nose drier and more vulnerable to viral infection. (SOURCE: NIAID).

• More than 200 different viruses are known to cause the symptoms of the common cold and approximately 10 to 15 percent of adult colds are caused by viruses also responsible for other, more severe illnesses. (SOURCE: NIAID).

• Sometimes it is difficult to determine if you have a cold or the flu at the onset of the illness because some of the symptoms of the cold and flu are similar. Colds typically begin slowly and usually have symptoms of a scratchy, sore throat followed by sneezing, a runny nose and possibly, a cough several days later. The flu on the other hand is often associated with sudden onset combined with a headache, dry cough and the chills and these symptoms quickly become more severe than those of a cold. Fever of up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit is also common. (SOURCE: U.S. Food and Drug Administration).

Stress is factor that can increase the susceptibility to the common cold and the flu because stress can reduce the ability for you immune system to function to it full capacity. This fact was demonstrated in a study conducted at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh where test subjects injected with influenza A virus that reported greater psychological stress before inoculation experienced more severe symptoms. (SOURCE: NIAID)

• People with a compromised immune system are the most likely to contract a cold or the flu. Some of the factors that weaken the immune system are stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, lack of physical exercise, exposure to environmental toxins, and allergies. Health problems, such as raised blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels and diabetes, also play a role in lowering the body’s defenses. (SOURCE: Complementary Medicine Magazine)

• Studies have shown a link between interferon and your body’s ability to kill many common cold and flu viruses.  (Interferon is a protein that is a component of the immune system.) One therapy involves the one-time injection of the drug interferon alpha but this treatment may cause side effects, such as flu-like symptoms and nosebleeds. (SOURCE: FDA)

A better way to boost your body’s natural interferon levels is to maintain a balanced diet containing fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  These nutrients are very important in keeping the immune system functioning effectively. The problem is that many Americans have nutritionally deficient diets.  This makes the fact that there is now a supplement containing herbs that have immunoactive properties that much more important.  Immunoactive is a fancy way of saying the supplement has the right herbs in the right amounts to work together in combination to naturally increase the body’s production of interferon.  Remember that Interferon is the protein that triggers the body’s immune system to mount an immune response.  Basically interferon will boost your immune system.

Simply put:

Herbal Supplement + Your Body = More  Natural Interferon

More Natural Interferon = More Immune System Response = Less Cold and Flu


Its definitely something to think about!

The “happy” vitamin, as the B
vitamins are rightfully called, are perfect for bringing balance to
many systems of the body. But what constitutes a good B Complex
supplement? Here are some things to look for to make sure you get all
the benefits of B vitamins.