It’s that time of year again... the Cold/Flu season is approaching (womp womp)! As the weather gets colder and the wind gets stronger our bodies become more susceptible to colds and the flu. In the United States, the Flu season starts in November and lingers until March... that’s 5 whole months! Which means that we are battling these nasty “bugs” for almost half of the year! So, if you’re not prepared it can be a grueling 5 months! Instead, learn what you can do to stay Cold and Flu free this year.
Here are the Facts...
- The Center for Disease Control reports that Influenza, aka the Flu, affects 5%-20% of the United States population and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized due to complications associated with the Flu. On average 26,000 people die from the Flu each year.
- Severe Flu complications can occur at any age, but mostly affect the immune compromised. So, the elderly, infants and those with chronic health issues have to be extra careful this time of year.
- The Flu is contagious for 1-4 days before any symptoms appear and up to 5 days after the symptoms first appear.
- Approximately 50% of infected people do not show any symptoms, but are still contagious.
- While the common cold and the Flu are both respiratory illnesses, they are caused by different viruses. Generally, the Flu tends to be more severe than a common cold. Here are the major differences…
High; Lasts up to 3-4 days
Chest Discomfort, Cough
Common, can be severe
Mild to moderate, hacking cough
Prevention, Prevention, Prevention!
The best way to deal with any illness/disease is to prevent yourself from getting it in the first place. Acupuncture can help to prevent colds and the flu by stimulating the body’s immune system. Inserting a few needles into various acupuncture points on the body jump starts your immune system by increasing and strengthening circulation of energy and blood (including your white blood cells- your body’s defensive line).
Here are some ways to help prevent colds/ flu this season:
- Boost your immune system with Acupuncture!
- Wash your hands often with soap and water! Remember to rub your hands together with soap for at least 15 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to prevent germs from entering your body
- Eat a well balanced, whole-foods diet (i.e lots of veggies and fruit, cut out all the processed sugary junk food). Sugar has actually been shown to paralyze your immune cells for a period of time after consumption!
- Eat in season! During the fall and winter you should be eating warming foods. Some foods that are in season during the Fall are Pears, Squash and Apples. In the winter, consume foods like winter squash, dates, black mushrooms, ginger, cinnamon and soups.
- Always drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Keep your neck covered.
- Reduce your stress with things like Acupuncture, yoga and meditation. In fact, when our bodies are under stress our immune systems do not work to their full potential allowing us to get sick easier.
- Be sure to get enough sleep.
- Don’t get sweaty and go out into the cold. This leaves your pores open to wind and cold, which can make you sick.
If this season gets the best of you and you do come down with the cold or flu… Have no Fear! Acupuncture can help with some of the nagging and lingering symptoms. In addition to following your doctor’s recommendation, Acupuncture can diminish symptoms like fatigue, headache, stuffy/runny nose and sore throat.