The flu vaccine has only worked for three per cent of recipients, so what can you do when you’ve got flu?
David Penwarden, Naturopath, Osteopath and Acupuncturist, gives his tips as to how to fight flu.
If the ongoing media coverage given to flu concerns you, give some thought to the measures that you can take to ensure that you are in the optimum health to be able to fight off any infection effectively.
Viral infection affects those who are run down, whether by financial, domestic or business worries, loss of sleep, poor diet or over indulgence in rich food and drink. We are most vulnerable at times when the body is struggling to adapt to sudden changes in temperature, such as in autumn or spring when virus that have lain dormant in the winter months then become activated by warmth.
We each become susceptible to infection for different reasons and it’s worth thinking back to times when you have become unwell in the past to recognise your own particular vulnerabilities so that you can take action to reduce your susceptibility.
The following supplements can help to increase your resistance to influenza virus:
Echinacea – 200mg daily. Take for 3 weeks then stop for a week before starting again.
Vitamin C – 1g daily increasing up to 4g daily should any cold or flu symptoms appear.
If you suffer from an upset stomach from high levels of Vitamin C reduce to a level that your body tolerates well.
Zinc – 15 mg daily . Zinc may prevent the virus from entering cells which it needs to do in order to multiply.
Selenium – 75mcg daily, increasing to 200 mcg daily at the first sign of symptoms. Selenium is thought to inhibit the ability of the influenza virus to mutate and also to replicate.
Vitamin E enhances the effectiveness of selenium and can accelerate recovery from influenza.
Elderberry can also be effective in preventing influenza viruses from entering cells from where it can replicate by inhibiting the enzyme that the virus produces to puncture cell membranes.
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|Ester C Vitamin C||Viridian Nutrition||30 x 950mg veg caps||£6.25|
|Ester C Vitamin C||Viridian Nutrition||90||£16.55|
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|Selenium||Viridian||90 veg capsules||£14.49|
|Vitamin E||Vega||30 x 440iu||£5.40|
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The influenza viruses are inhaled and attach to the lining of the nose and sinuses. The body tries to expel the virus by producing mucus, but if it is unable to wash out the virus it moves further on to the throat and tonsils and you will experience the symptoms of fever, sore throat, headache, fatigue, muscle ache and shivering.
A nasal douche made with a cup of luke warm water and ½ teaspoon of salt can help the body to wash out the virus at the early stage.
Fever is the body’s defensive reaction which slows down the activity of the virus. At 38C most viral activity cannot take place and the growth of the virus is retarded.
Use cool packs – rather than cold – or flannels to reduce a high temperature to under 39 degrees C and keep the patient in a cool room. If in spite of these measures temperature rises to 40 degrees C, use homeopathic remedies, or if unavailable, paracetamol, to lower the temperature.
Massage neck and shoulders if this is comfortable, as it improves the blood flow to the temperature regulating centre in the brain.
Gently massage the throat area and any swollen lymph glands with 1 teaspoon of base oil mixed with 5 drops each of eucalyptus oil and camphor oil to relieve throat pain.
N.B. Homeopathic remedies do not work with eucalyptus, camphor or peppermint so don’t combine.
A cold compress to the throat increases the blood flow to the area promoting healing and reducing inflammation.
Rest as much as possible to allow the body to put all its resources into fighting the virus. Rest is also important in convalescence as the body needs energy to rectify the damage done by the disease. So return very slowly to normal activities even when the main symptoms are over to prevent any recurrence of symptoms.
David Penwarden can be contacted on 020 8642 6639