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2012-10-25

Staying healthy this flu season

Special to the Courier StatePoint

Flu season is upon us, bringing with it new strains of the virus. So now is the time to brush up on all the flu-fighting facts.
These eight wellness tips will help keep you and your family in tip-top shape - from what behaviors to avoid to the benefits of homeopathic treatments:
1. Know your risk - Seniors, children under the age of five and pregnant women are at high-risk for developing complications from flu, as well as those with asthma, heart disease and weakened immune systems. Seek professional advice on your risk factors.
2. Wash your hands - Flu viruses are spread by droplets from infected people when they sneeze, blow their nose or wipe secretions from their nose or eyes. Keep your hands out of your mouth, avoid rubbing your eyes and thoroughly wash your hands several times daily. Avoid alcohol and chemical-based hand sanitizers, instead opting for soap and water or a natural, essential-oil based hand cleanser.
3. Eat wisely - Foods containing vitamins C and E are believed to support the immune system. So stock up on sunflower seeds, almonds, citrus fruits, broccoli and green peppers. Limit your intake of concentrated sugar found in soda and candy, as it impairs immune response.
4. Sleep tight - Lack of sleep may profoundly inhibit your immune system. A full night's sleep will keep your body's natural defenses at optimum efficiency.
5. Stay hydrated - Staying hydrated will lessen your chances of coming down with flu. When you're under the weather, drink extra fluids to loosen mucus, keep your throat moist and prevent dehydration caused by fever.
6. Nip it in the bud, safely - Reduce the duration and severity of flu-like symptoms by listening to your body when you feel achy or run down. Don't wait until you're "sick enough" to act.
If you're concerned about side effects, drowsiness and drug interactions, opt for a natural homeopathic medicine like Oscillococcinum, which is clinically supported. It has no known side effects and is safe for everyone ages two and up, including seniors.
Keeping something like this on hand can help you treat yourself sooner, allowing you to rest rather than trek to the store.
"The key is to watch for symptoms and be prepared to act quickly with a complication-free treatment," said Lawrence Rosen, MD in his newly published book "Treatment Alternatives for Children." Read more natural tips from his book at www.LawrenceRosenMD.com.
7. Exercise regularly - A recent study reported in the journal "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" found that modest exercise may prevent the elderly from getting colds and flu.
8. Seek help if you get worse - The flu can be potentially dangerous, leading to other infections like pneumonia. If your symptoms become significantly worse after the first three days of illness, especially if your fever subsides and then returns, seek medical attention.
More flu facts and health tips can be found at www.oscillo.com.
Help yourself stay healthy this season through prevention and by treating symptoms before they get the best of you.