Radio Show Transcripts
Ah-choo! Cold and Flu

It's been a mild flu season in Minnesota thus far, but we're well into it. Take steps to identify and prevent infections by cold and flu viruses.

We're well into the cold and flu season, and, unfortunately, there's no sure-fire way to prevent all infections, no matter how good our preventative steps might be. Even healthy individuals can become infected, and most people can expect to catch a cold at least a time or two each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reminded followers that antibiotic therapies are not effective against viruses, and both the common cold and flu are caused by vast varieties of viruses.

When one has the common cold, the most likely symptoms include clogged nose, watery eyes, hacking coughs with mucus, mild chest discomfort, mild tiredness and minor aches and pains. One does not usually have a fever with the common cold. These symptoms tend to develop over a few days and typically resolve within one or two weeks. There's little that is thought to shorten the duration of the cold, but relieving some of the symptoms makes it more tolerable, by cutting down on the amounts and frequency of congestion and coughing.

When one has the flu, the initial symptoms may seem like a cold with runny nose, sneezing and sore throat, but they usually feel much worse and with a quicker onset of symptoms. The most common long-term flu symptoms include fever, headache, chills, severe aches and pains, severe tiredness, severe chest discomfort and coughing with little mucus. People are contagious even before they realize they have flu symptoms, and one can be contagious for about ten days after the first symptoms appear.

As prevention, be sure to wash your hands frequently, especially before preparing food or eating. Good-hygiene handwashing with soap takes about 20-30 seconds, but it's recommended to double that during the cold and flu season to cover 50 seconds or so.

If you have a cold or the flu, be sure to get extra sleep, and remember to always cover your coughs and sneezes with the inner crook of your elbow or use a facial tissue.

As a holistic chiropractic provider, I believe that though it's not total prevention of colds and flus, the chiropractic adjustment changes the tone of the nervous system and helps enhance the body's immune defenses through improved nerve signals.

Dietary prevention includes scaling way back on sugary carbohydrates which have been demonstrated to decrease the body's immunity less than 30 minutes after consumption and then for several hours more. In fact, the immune impairment by sugar may be as much as 50% within two hours of eating or drinking as little as 3.5 ounces of carbs! The more sugar that is consumed, the more immune impairment that is expected. Another way of looking at this is that drinking orange juice is not true prevention of colds or flus, no matter how much it is enriched with ascorbic acid. On the other hand, choosing a variety of vegetables that are whole-food sources of many vitamins and minerals can give the body the immune support it needs. Some of my favorites include broccoli, cauliflower, red bell peppers, Brussels sprouts and dark leafy greens. Of course, good old-fashioned chicken soup made with bone broth is helpful too.

Follow these tips and I'm sure your body will be better able to adapt to the demands placed upon it this season.