The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have announced that this year’s flu season has started early – and it may shape up to be a bad one.
On Tuesday’s show, I revealed my cold and flu rescue pack – remedies for you and your family. I also asked you to tweet your cold and flu questions. I found a lot of great ones – here are my answers:
Getting the flu shot helps. Not only does it protect you, it protects your loved ones. However, because there are different types of the flu virus, it’s possible that you could get a flu strain that is different from the strain you were vaccinated against. However, because the vaccine contains dead flu virus, there’s NO way one can get the flu directly from the vaccine.
Also, I hope you also frequently washed your hands. It happens to be National Handwashing Awareness Week, which sheds light on the importance of regularly washing your hands. The CDC considers hand washing to be “your single most important act to help stop the spread of infection and stay healthy.”
Finally, sometimes, no matter what you do, you get sick anyway. As a physician, I’ve learned that getting sick is a part of life and even though an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, sometimes you’ll just need the cure regardless. Feel better!
Light exercise is good for your body. It can be immune-boosting. However, don’t overdo it; the added stress can be detrimental to your recovery.
Also, if you work out in a common area, you could spread your cold to others. You wouldn’t want to have that on your conscious, right? I would suggest finding ways to work out in the privacy of your apartment or going for a jog. You can try one of my trainer Donovan Green’s “No Excuses” workouts.
Whoever in the household is around the most children is the most likely to get the flu. In most cases, that would be women. In fact, a London School of Hygiene study indicates that women are 16% more likely to report flu symptoms.
Usually in order to fight an illness, your body has to raise its internal temperature in order to fight off foreign invaders. Night sweating can be an indication of an imbalance, like an infection, that compels the brain (particularly the hypothalamus) to alter its body temperature by dilating blood vessels, changing metabolism, and prompting a sweat attack. A night sweat is your body’s way of tweaking the internal thermostat to maintain a proper body temperature. There are other causes of night sweats as well, including hormonal imbalances, menopause, alcohol, caffeine, some forms of food, and even cancer. Learn more about night sweats.
It’s definitely not pleasant, but many can identify with your predicament. Some lucky ones get colds that last for a week or so then fully recover. However, others don’t fully recover until April. Instead, they feel symptoms of the cold for long periods of time as the body tries to regulate and clean out its sinuses – many call this phenomenon a “post-nasal drip.” Dr. Jonathan E. Aviv, MD discusses this phenomenon and why he considers it to be a “misnomer.”
Even if you’re pregnant, the flu shot is essential. In fact, the CDC considers pregnant women to be an at-risk population for the flu, in addition to the elderly. This is because the changes that the body goes through during pregnancy put a woman at greater risk of infection and illness. When given during pregnancy, the flu shot has been shown to protect the mother and her baby (up to 6 months old) from the flu. The CDC website has more information if you have any questions.
Otherwise, proper hand washing is essential, along with taking your prenatal vitamins and avoiding crowds whenever possible.
If you are pregnant and do happen to catch the flu, go to your doctor immediately! Also, remember that nasal congestion medication like Sudafed or Actifed may pose some harm to your unborn baby and should be avoided, particularly in the first trimester. You should also avoid aspirin, ibuprofen and other NSAIDs – especially later in the pregnancy because it can affect your baby’s heart. However, Tylenol is fine. If you are considering a medication to help with cold or flu symptoms make sure you talk it over with your pharmacist or doctor first.