Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
I had the lovely fortune to have the flu in late february. Several family members and I caught it after attending a cousin’s wedding in Philadelphia. Even the ones who had the “flu shot.” Since no medical personnel thought it was necessary to see what type of flu it was, it was just the “flu.” But it was the exact same symptoms as this latest ’swine” flu - complete with the 5th day relapse after feeling fine on the 4th day.
I had recently finished reading a book called “Anti-Cancer” and did some of the same remedies suggested in that book plus several others I knew about. So here is how you can minimize the severity of the flu:
1. Medical Professionals tell you to drink plenty of fluids - but the type of fluids make a huge difference.
A. Avoid sugar - according to the Anti-Cancer book - sugar feeds cancer cells. I figured it might help feed the flu virus as well. I am not a medical professional or a researcher but I figured it couldn’t hurt me to avoid sugar and it didn’t.
B. Drink a LOT of ginger root tea. I slice up fresh ginger root and boil it in water. I made a large pot of this and drank at least a cup every hour. I mixed it with decaffeinated green tea. Ginger root is a natural anti-inflammatory. Since the flu virus causes inflammation as your immune system does battle with the virus - this is very good for helping your body cope with the flu.
2. Stay positive - watch funny movies. DO NOT WATCH THE NEWS. Stay away from the work stress too. If the flu could kill you what will the work stress matter anyhow. Your job with the flu bug is to survive to go back to work.
3. Get lots of sleep - if you have small children or pets - get someone else to watch them - this is very important. When I had the flu, I was on a trip back east so my pets were under someone else’s care out west and the children were on their own trip for school. I was supposed to travel to meet the kids on their trip but the doctor implored me to just stay put for at least two weeks to make sure I got over it. The night time cold and flu over the counter medicines do well to ease the coughing symptoms so you can sleep.
4. Eat chicken noodle soup. Yup there is something that is released when they are making the chicken broth from the bones of the chicken that is anti-viral. I make my own - it is very simple. You first roast the chicken. Then you take most of the meat off and refrigerate, and toss the carcass in a large pot of water. Put in several tablespoons of whole pepppercorns and a couple stalks of celery. Let it simmer all day (you’re home and sleeping anyhow). Strain out all the ingredients. Chop up the refrigerated meat, put in a whole chopped onion and a the top half of a stalk of celery coarsly chopped. Put in about a cup of whole wheat pasta noodles and salt to taste. Eat this several times a day.
5. Eat a fresh berry salad. Fresh berries are also recommended to prevent cancer so I figured these couldn’t hurt either. I mix up strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and toss in some chopped walnuts and sprinkle the whole thing with cinnamon. The cinnamon helps to regulate your blood sugar so you don’t feed those nasty flu viruses.
6. Go out for a short brisk walk in the fresh air (and stay away from other people). This might seem counter intuitive as all you want to do is sleep. But in the anti-cancer book he showed how a low level of exercise boosts your immune system. If it’s cold out, bundle up. And only walk for 15 to 20 minutes.
7. Take a hot bath - at least once a day. Put epsom salt in it as well. I had a friend who was trained as a medical professional in India and he recommended sitting in hot water to all his patients when they presented with a virus as it was his experience that elevating your temperature more helped kill the virus faster. This is what a fever is doing anyhow. I’m not sure if that works, but it does make you feel more relaxed.
The flu is not to be taken lightly - no matter what the strain. Even the “normal” flu kills over 35,000 people every year in the US alone. I made the mistake the 4th day of thinking I was all over it and could gut out an aggressive work day. It set me back another two weeks. If you have a fever and a dry hacking cough - it might be the flu. It gets worse. You then get a headache that feels like your head is in a vice. Then on about the third day your eyes start to water like you’ve been chopping onions. As it moves into your lungs, you cough like you’ve smoked three packs of cigarettes a day for decades. And all you want to do is sleep. I was all alone when I had the flu on a trip back east. I was thankful for that as usually I have pets and children to care for. I was only supposed to be there for a week - I ended up just staying put for three weeks. I started to feel completely back to normal about a month after I first came down with the flu.
I had the good fortune of being alone and not having to take care of anyone but myself. If you live with other people and they come down with the flu - STAY AWAY FROM THEM. It’s not hard for people to take care of themselves with this. And the solitude is good for their recovery. You can drop off the essentials they need but the less you can be around someone who has the flu, the less likely you will be to catch it.