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

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
deal with.

Boost Your Immune System

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
way around.

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
sanity, intact.

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
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remedies and before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise
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