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Prevent and Cure the Flu (Influenza)



The flu
is properly called influenza, an acute (short-term) viral infection that attacks the upper respiratory tract (nose, throat, sinuses and bronchial tubes).

Most people infected with this virus can expect to fully recover in 7 to 10 days. Unlike the common cold, the influenza virus claims the lives of about twenty thousand people in the United States and four to eight thousands lives in Canada every year.
   


Facts and Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

 
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Natural Home Remedies to Prevent and Cure the Flu

See Remedies for Influenza for a detailed discussion and dose to use.
Natural Remedy What experts say about them
Echinacea leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal (What's this?)  
Vitamin C leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal 
Vitamin D leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal
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Garlic leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal 
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Andrographis
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Astragalus leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal
Sage leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal
Slippery Elm leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal 
Boneset leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal
Goldenseal leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal
Oil of Oregano leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal
Cordyceps leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal
Peppermint Oil Helpful
Eucalyptus Oil Helpful
Ginger Helpful
Catnip Helpful
Aniseed
Blackberry
Blueberry
Borage seed oil
Forsythia
Honeysuckle
Propolis
Stinging nettle
Yarrow
Helpful


See Remedies for Influzena for a detailed discussion and dose to use.

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Facts and Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Facts on the influenza virus (the flu)

Flu season typically happens between November and April in Canada. It generally takes 48 hours after catching the flu virus before the symptoms show up.

See the table below for symptoms of the flu (along with a comparison with the common cold). Many people have difficulty in distinguishing between the two as the symptoms are quite similar.

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What are the types of flu virus?

There are three main strains of flu virus; A, B and C. Influenza A virus can attack humans, pigs, horses and birds. Influenza B and C only attack humans. By far, influenza A is the most common type humans get.

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The Swine Flu (H1N1)- What is it and why all the dangers, warnings and global concerns?

This is a highly contagious form of the influenza virus. It was first isolated from swine, hence the name. Swine is a name given to a group of stout, cloven-hoofed animal with thick hide. It has a snout and usually a short tail. An example would be the pig.

Why is it so bad?

In the past, the swine influenza virus (also referred to as H1N1 virus) only infected pigs and not humans, thus we have never developed any immunity against this strain. It spreads as easily as any other strains of the influenza virus.

Although the H1N1 virus was transmitted from pigs to humans, infected humans can transmit it to other humans and even back to the pig (for example, people working in the pig production farms.

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Why does the flu vaccine need to be "updated" each year?

Virus can and will mutate to "survive". Once the virus mutates (changes it's DNA or one or more proteins outside the "shell") , it renders the current vaccine useless for this new strain of virus.

Moreover, our own immune system also won't recognize this "new" virus and it will take some time for our own immune system to develop protection against it.

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The flu vs. the common cold - What are the symptoms?

The flu (influenza), also caused by a virus, can be a serious health condition as it can cause pneumonia, bronchitis and other lung-related health problems.

Flu (Influenza) Symptoms Common Cold Symptoms
Weakness, sore throat, congestion and body aches Weakness, sore throat, congestion and body aches/discomfort
Sudden onset of severe aching, pain and headaches Symptoms develop more gradually and are not as severe
High fever and chills Usually there's no fever or that it's mild
Severe fatigue and discomfort requiring bed rest. Mild fatigue; you can still "function", although not as efficiently

If you have flu symptoms, you should follow up with your family doctor, especially if you have a history of problems with your respiratory system.

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How long does the flu last? What's the incubation period?

Click here to get the full details on how long the influenza infection last.

It generally takes 48 hours after catching the flu virus before the symptoms show up. This time before the symptoms shows up is called the incubation period.

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What else can I do to prevent catching it or to get relief from the flu?

  • It is important to wash hands frequently and keep it away from eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Get enough rest and sleep.

  • Exercise regularly to maintain the health of your body and immune system

  • Work on controlling and reducing stress.

  • Maintain a healthy diet by eating more fruits and vegetables.
  • Consider preparing chicken soap containing ginger, scallions and rice noodles. It is shown in some small studies to be helpful in fighting  off the symptoms of the common cold.

  • Meditation may be helpful to regulate the immune system and reduce stress.

  • Salt water gargle is helpful for treating sore throat.

  • Use a nasal lubricant gel to keep the nose moist and prevent irritation from frequent nose blowing if necessary.
  • Humidify the air with a humidifier to make your sore throat more comfortable.

  • Sneezing easily spreads the virus. Cover your mouth and nose and sneeze into a tissue or onto your shirt sleeve. Wash your hands right after. Sneeze towards to floor to avoid making the virus airborne.

  • Avoid sharing cups, knives, forks and spoons in the kitchen.

  • Try to use separate face towels and hand towels for each family member.

  • Try to stay away from those who are infected when possible. Indeed, crowded living and working areas increases the chance that you might catch the influenza virus.

  • Try to disinfect your bathroom, especially if someone in the house has the flu.

  • If practical, sleep in a separate room to avoid transmitting the virus to your spouse or children.

  • Wear a face mask (N95 type), if practical, to avoid spreading the virus.

  • Smoking increases the likelihood of getting a viral infection as it weakens the immune system.
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What diet should I be on if I want to prevent or cure the flu?

A healthy diet will allow your body to fight off the influenza virus better.

Foods you should eat more of...
  • Water, lemon or herbal tea - avoids dehydration
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Light meals are recommended
  • Increase garlic, ginger and onions
Foods to avoid...
  • Sugar - It negatively affects the immune system.
  • Diary products - Milk and cheese may worsen congestion as they promote mucus production.
  • Avoid fruit juice as they are high in sugar content. You may dilute the juice first to reduce the amount of sugar you take in.
  • Excessive caffeine reduces the amount of zinc in your body. Zinc is an essential mineral for maintaining immune function.

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What are the complications of the flu?

One of the complication getting the influenza virus is the risk of developing a bacterial infection (pneumonia) in the lungs, especially in the elderly and those with a weakened immune system.

Often, as the person appears to be recovering, the following symptoms reappear:
  • high fever
  • chest pains when coughing or breathing
  • intense chills
  • coughing up thick greenish sputum
If any of these symptoms reappear, medical treatment may be required.
 
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You may be interested in...

Review - Natural Remedies for Boosting the Immune System



 
Return to Flu Home Page

References & Health Canada
Revised: November 22, 2010

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