How to Stay Healthy During Flu and Cold Season - Tips For
You and Your Pets by Ingrid King
has dealt with the flu for thousands of years. Flu viruses change from season to
season, and while a flu vaccine may be necessary and even effective for some
people, keep in mind that this season's flu vaccine is based on last year's virus and
may not offer complete protection. Additionally, the new H1N1 vaccine was brought
to market much faster than vaccines of the past, and there is, as of yet, no
information on potential long term side effects. The decision on whether to get
vaccinated should be an individual decision and take your health history as well as
your risk of exposure into consideration. While your physician should always be your
ultimate source for health information, keep in mind that not all physicians take a
holistic view when it comes to preventive health care. Do your homework, and get
Common sense precautions against the flu have not changed over the years.
Frequent hand washing is still the best precautionary measure against the flu as well
as colds. But don't waste your money on antimicrobial and antibacterial soaps - they
don't work against viruses and provide no added value over soap and water. In fact,
they may contribute to the spread of resistant bacteria. Don't touch your face unless
you've just washed your hands - that's a direct route for viruses to get into your
respiratory tract. So far, the common wisdom is that the H1N1 virus is airborne, so
listen to what you mother taught you: cover your mouth when coughing and
sneezing, and throw the used tissues away - don't leave them for someone else to
Boost Your Immune System
- Take a good multi-vitamin. Do your research and make sure the brand you
take has good bio-availability. Most grocery store brands do not meet this
- Take extra vitamin C. I regularly take 1000mg a day, and I double or triple this
when I've been exposed to someone who is sick.
- Sip warm fluids. Sipping hot tea can make your mouth unfriendly to microbes
and reduces your risk of getting sick even after you've been exposed. Gargling
with warm salt water can have the same effect.
- Use a Neti Pot (nasal saline rinse) regularly to flush your sinuses before
microbes have a chance to get a hold in your system.
- Avoid inflammation promoters such as sugar, alcohol and tobacco.
- Optimize your vitamin D levels. Generally, the more optimal your vitamin D
levels, the less your chances of getting the flu or a cold. Ideally, you should
have your vitamin D levels tested, but if you live in the Northern hemisphere
and don't want to pursue testing, experts feel that it's safe to take at least
1000-2000 IU's of vitamin D during the winter months.
- Support your intestinal flora with probiotics. It may seem odd that your
intestinal tract's health has anything to do with flu and cold prevention, but
most inflammation begins in the gut, which in turn, affects your immune system.
- Get enough sleep. This is one of the best ways to keep your immune system
rested and healthy.
- Exercise regularly. Better yet, exercise outside.
- Listen to your body. We all get early warning signs when we're about to catch a
cold or come down with the flu. For some, it may be a tickle in the throat, for
others, a mild stomach ache, nausea, or simple that "just ain't right" feeling.
Gargle with warm salt water, use your Neti pot, increase your vitamin C and D
supplementation, and get some rest. Sometimes something as simple as
slowing down can boost our immune system enough to ward off a cold or the
flu in the early stages.
- Maintain a positive attitude. If you constantly worry about getting sick, chances
are, you will get sick. Picture yourself healthy with a strong immune system,
and don't stay glued to the news reports of flu outbreaks and pandemics.
H1N1 and Your Pets
Most pet owners are worried about whether their pets can contract the H1N1 swine
flu. Since this is an evolving story, it's not possible at this stage to have a yes or no
answer to this question. So far, there have been reports of ferrets and birds as well
as two cats who contracted the virus. It's important to know that in the case of the
two cats, the virus was transmitted from humans in the households who were sick
with the virus to the cats, and not the other way around. As of yesterday afternoon,
there has been one report of a dog being infected with H1N1 in China. It appears as
though in this case, too, the virus was passed from human to dog and not the other
Until we know more about how H1N1 affects pet, take the same common sense
precautions you would with a human family member if you do get sick: follow proper
hygiene and sanitation measures to prevent the spread of the disease. Try to isolate
the sick family member from others as much as possible, wash your hands
frequently and wipe down common surfaces with a good cleaner or sanitizer.
I hope these common sense precautions put your mind at ease and help protect you
and your family members, both human and furry, from flu and cold viruses.
(c) Ingrid King 2009
About The Author
Ingrid King is the author of "Buckley's Story - Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher."
She is a former veterinary hospital manager turned writer, and publisher of the E-zine
"News for You and Your Pet," covering topics ranging from conscious living to holistic
and alternative health. She shares her experiences with consciously creating a joyful,
happy and healthy life for pets and people on her popular blog, The Conscious Cat.
For more information about Ingrid, visit .
With flu season upon us, we're all
looking for ways to stay healthy. This
year, many of us are particularly
worried because of the H1N1 swine
flu. It's hard to know which
information is simply media hype, and
which information is based on fact
and can be trusted. I offer the
following tips to help you navigate the
flu season with your health, and your
Vaccinate or Not?
First of all, don't panic, no matter
what the media tells you. Humanity
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|These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The content on
this website is for educational purposes only. Please consult with your physician before using natural
remedies and before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise program.
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