Avoiding the Flu

Why is it that some people succeed in avoiding getting the flu and others seem to get it every year? It may have more to do with your personal hygiene then getting the flu shot.

If you want to avoid contracting the bug during the flu season then the key is to continually wash your hands, especially if you have just visited a public place or shared any type of implement or tool with other people. The flu virus can live on places such as doorknobs, computer keyboards, coffee mugs and phone headsets so be sure to wash your hands after using any of these things with soap and water. You can also keep an antibacterial gel on hand to keep your hands clean while traveling.

Yet another way to keep yourself from contracting the flu bug is to keep your hands away from your eyes, ears, mouth and nose. If you encounter someone who has the flu or who has recently had it then be sure to avert your face if they sneeze or cough in your direction.

There are also some preventative supplements and vitamins you can take that can help fend off the flu. Ginseng is an herb that has been used for centuries in Asia to ward off the flu as well as shorten the duration of the illness once it has begun. Echinacea and Oil of Oregano can also be taken to help boost the immune system and fight off viruses.

It is also a good idea to take plenty of Vitamin C during the flu season. Taking 500 to 1000 mg has been shown to help the body fend off infection.

It is essential that you don't smoke or drink alcohol while ill with the flu as these substances weaken your immune system and also dehydrate you.

Don't take antibiotics unless they are absolutely necessary to treat another infection in your body. Antibiotics, which treat bacterial infections, can weaken your body's defenses when it comes to trying to fight a viral infection like the flu.

If the flu is diagnosed within 48 hours of when symptoms begin, especially if you are high risk for complications, taking antiviral medications may help shorten the length of symptoms by approximately a day.

In the past, doctors commonly prescribed the antiviral medication amantadine to treat this type of influenza. But in January 2006, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that neither drug should be used for such treatment as it was aiding the virus in mutating. Instead drugs such as Tamiflu and Rlenza may be used to treat the flu.

In most individuals who are otherwise healthy, the flu goes away within 7 to 10 days but it can be hard for a young kid to handle especially if they have asthma or another complicating problem.

Possible complications of the flu include pneumonia, encephalitis (which is an infection of the brain), bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infection, which is why it is important for you to keep your eye on your kids.