Ah choo! Ugh, the Flu!
Yes, it’s that time of year again: stores are already putting holiday items up (September just started!), people are planning parties and school-break winter vacations, and leaves are turning color in many locations. Autumn also brings a special “gift”: the start of flu season. We’ve never heard of anyone saying, “Oh, boy! I hope I get the flu this year!” so we thought we’d provide a little advice from our Dr. Katie Stage:
The 2017-18 influenza season was particularly severe. This year's flu season will start in the fall, and many people are interested in what they can do to prevent infection at that time.
First and foremost, basic hygiene is essential in preventing transmission of any infectious disease. Proper hand washing includes scrubbing all areas of the hands, nails, and wrists with soap for at least 20 seconds. Children can sing a simple song to help them remember to wash for long enough. Use a towel to turn off the faucet and to open the bathroom door after washing hands. Children and adults can also be reminded to cough into a tissue and to wash hands after disposing of the tissue. Anyone with a fever should stay home from work or school.
A new vaccine will be produced for this year's flu season. The CDC recommends yearly vaccination as a preventative measure. At the SCNM medical center we offer single use influenza vials, which do not contain thimerosal (mercury).
Colostrum is the first milk made by a lactating mother. It contains high amounts of nutrients and antibodies which help protect the child from infections. Bovine colostrum is available as a supplement and has been shown in several studies to be highly effective in the prevention of influenza. It should be dosed daily for 2 months prior to the flu season. Look for products from hormone- and antibiotic-free cows, and note that it does contain milk, so should not be used in those allergic to dairy.
Elderberry is a delicious tart berry that has been shown to decrease the severity and duration of influenza. It is very safe and also an excellent source of antioxidants, so can be used in adults or children at first signs of illness. Elderberry syrup is a delicious way to take the medicine, but needs to be dosed frequently for best effects.
Anyone who suspects that they may have influenza should see their physician for testing and treatment.