We all know that the United States is in the middle of a particularly mean flu season. In some cases, it is so widespread that entire schools are shutting down for a time to stop it from spreading. In light of this, we at Common Sense Conspiracy thought that this might be an excellent time to go over some little-known things you can do to both prevent and treat the flu. Along the way, we’ll also look at some myths and help you separate fact from fiction.
Of course, you can get a flu shot. This vaccination will greatly decrease the chances of you getting the flu. Of course, this is a conspiracy site, and we all know that many people are wary of vaccinations in general. We will leave the hand-wringing over whether the flu shot is some mind-control serum from the government for other sites, or at least another article.
The flu is spread by contact. Obviously, the greatest defense is to not let yourself be exposed to it. Short of locking yourself in your home until flu season is over, this is impossible. The flu has a two-week incubation period. This means that from the time you are exposed to it, if it does survive and do its thing inside of you, it still takes two weeks before you will see the symptoms start to appear. So, you see, you have no way of knowing who is carrying it and who is not. Obviously if someone is sick with it, you will stay away from them, but in your ordinary travels, you will almost certainly come in contact with it at some point. Since it is spread by contact, the next best defense is washing your hands religiously. Now, you’re probably saying “Duh!” right now, but you would be surprised how many people don’t really know how to wash their hands.
First of all, it’s about the soap. Women especially love frilly smell-good soaps, but for our purposes here, the main thing to look for is antibacterial. We don’t just want hands clean of grime, but hands that are disinfected. Then, make sure you give it some time. Use warm water and rub that soap in for at least a minute. Then rinse for another minute. A quick splash-and-go may make you feel better, but true disinfection takes a little more time. You never know when that extra sixty seconds might be making the difference. Anyway, we had to mention that part. Now for the real info…
Whether you are a person that takes vitamins regularly or not, times like these are when they become most important. Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and zinc are three of the most important things your body needs to keep its immune system at maximum effectiveness. Granted you might still get the flu when it’s all said and done, but don’t let it be because you didn’t give your body the working tools it needs to fight it off. It should also be noted that we mean this in a preventive sense. Meaning don’t wait till you are sick. Give your body the equipment to put up a good defense. You can take supplements or just make sure you consume these things in an appropriate quantity in your diet. Most fruits are good for Vitamin C, and we all know about orange juice. Vitamin D is especially important because a huge segment of the population is deficient in it without knowing. It doesn’t occur in very many foods naturally. That’s why most milks are fortified with it to help the public get enough. Of course, sunlight is the best way to get Vitamin D and the least expensive. Consider supplementation of at least this one. It’s winter and people are indoors more than usual. Remember, Vitamin D for defense.
Now, we delve into some truly lesser-known alternatives. Echinacea and goldenseal are two herbs that work wonders for the immune system and fighting off an illness you already have. The story on it is that these are natural antibiotics. This makes it great for fighting bacterial infections, but the flu is a virus. Before modern day pharmaceuticals came on the scene, Echinacea was a go-to for all sorts of illnesses that responded to antibiotic treatment. Over time, this rendered it less effective, thus the need for medicine. Antibiotics are changed from time to time in the modern era to try to keep diseases from becoming resistant to them. However, so much time has gone by since Echinacea was a mainstream treatment that it is effective again for those of us that know to use it. So pick up a bottle and start a regimen when you have a bacterial infection. But it won’t help with the flu directly. It does have immune-system boosting properties aside from its antibiotic nature, so it should still be part of your flu-fighting arsenal. Remember, prevention is our mantra here. Don’t wait until you are sick. You know that the flu is all around you, so start taking these herbs now to give your immune system that extra boost.
There is a popular myth that onions are some sort of miracle drug for the flu. There is an often emailed urban legend about people putting slices of onions around their house for the flu. It is even said that during the Bubonic Plague, people put out onions and survived. The reality is that placing onions around your home will make no difference in your fight against the flu. Instead, you need to put them inside you. Onions are anti-inflammatory by nature and contain tons of antioxidants that help fight off disease. Garlic is similar. Increasing your intake of onion and garlic during this season could save you a week of misery. They also happen to be delicious, so pile them on and find a way to include them in your dishes.
Since the flu is a virus, most of the drama of getting through it is just putting up with the symptoms. It has to run its course and your body will fight it off. In the meantime, you will be terribly uncomfortable. Medicines help make the symptoms more bearable, thus helping people get through it easier. There are herbal remedies that can help with this as well. If you are suffering from a lot of congestion, licorice tea is known to help respiration. Nausea and an upset stomach can be combatted with peppermint tea. These won’t help you fight off the flu, technically, but it can make it a little easier to deal with while you wait for your body to fight it off.
Oh yeah…and the myth about chicken noodle soup? No myth. Scientists haven’t put their finger on just why, but there is conclusive evidence that chicken noodle soup does indeed help cold and flu symptoms. Why not pack some onions and garlic in your soup for a super immune system combo?