Sometimes men call flu what most women call a cold; both colds and flu are viral illnesses but flu symptoms are more severe.
Without a laboratory test it is impossible to know whether or not you have flu rather than a cold but severe tiredness and a high fever along with aches and pains and perhaps a headache are good indicators of a flu attack.
And you can catch flu whether or not you have had a "flu shot".
How Effective Are Flu Shots?
According to the CDC much less effective than you would probably expect.
"…getting a flu vaccine this season reduced a person’s risk of having to go to the doctor because of flu by 23 percent among people of all ages."
I was frankly surprised about how low the official number is. Only 23% of the population were helped by the flu shot against 77% who were not.
I think in any other sphere of human endeavour or business a 77% failure rate would be regarded as tragic and unacceptable, but the drug companies who make and market this stuff still gross millions, or should that be billions?
It is true that the effectiveness can be higher than this.
The effectiveness of flu shots can vary between 10% and 60% and depends in part on the similarity of the virus that 6 months ago was thought to be the biggest threat and the actual virus that occurs.
If the match is good the flu shot is more effective than in years when virus is quite different.
Viruses evolve just like animals do; the difference being that they evolve very quickly and rather than take thousands of years to develop a particular feature will change in a few months.
That's the main problem for the companies who make the "shots".
I'm sure this speed evolution is fun for evolutionary biologists but it is a nuisance for the rest of us and this rapid fire evolution makes sure that the experts are always chasing along after the virus and never really seem to be ready for it.
Can We Get Ahead of the Flu Virus?
Not with flu shots that's for sure. Yes you can arrange what the medics called "Vulnerable people" get the latest shot but how much good that will do is not and cannot be known – it is a guess after all about the strain of virus that will show up.
But is there anything that we can do for ourselves?
Looking at the "official" websites you get little idea that there is plenty that you can do to boost your own health.
Here is what the US Centers for Disease Control says when answering the question…
Besides vaccination, how can people protect themselves against the flu?
…In addition, good health habits, such as covering your cough and frequently washing your hands with soap, can help prevent the spread of the flu and other respiratory illnesses.
They ducked the question!
And the British National Health Service…does that do any better?
"The best remedy is to rest at home, keep warm and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. You can take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower a high temperature and relieve aches if necessary."
So really they ducked the question too!
None of the Official experts gave us any useful steps we could take and information to help us! Wash our hands? Drink some water?
These guys get paid to dish out this drivel?
So let's answer the question ourselves or at least supply some action tips to follow.
A Naturopath's Take on Flu
Whether or not you have an anti-flu vaccine or flu shot it is your immune system that will beat the flu virus.
The flu shot even in the number of cases where it is effective only tunes up your own built in immune system. So, if you get the shot or do not get the shot the virus will be beaten by your immune system.
Clearly then we need to do all we can to help and support our own immune system.
And before we do that let's ask an obvious question…
Why is it that we get flu and colds in the winter? We call this the "flu seasonal", why is this?
Whether we are in the northern hemisphere or the south, flu occurs in the Winter so we need to know why.
There are 2 obvious answers to the question and both of them concern vitamins.
In the Winter we get less sunshine and so our intake of vitamin D goes down. Is it the amount of vitamin D that is responsible for fighting flu?
And take a look at this from a research paper
"the Hong Kong virus was first isolated in Britain in August 1968 but it did not cause significant summertime illness despite being a new antigenic variant in a non-immune population" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2870528/
That means it should be an easy time for the virus to beat our immune systems because we had never encountered it before.
"However, clinical case rates increased in intensity as the sun became progressively lower in the sky each day (autumn), waiting until the winter solstice of 1968 before the first community outbreaks appeared." http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2870528/
So the disease slowly spread as the sun got weaker every day and only spread widely and became epidemic mid-winter.
And then as spring approached the flu "waned as the sun rose higher in the sky each day (spring)"
Which research paper?
This one here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2870528/
This is powerful and shows us how we can fight the flu. We can take vitamin D! Just getting a few minutes in the sun is not going to raise your blood level much – we evolved near to the equator and above 37 Degrees cannot get enough light to produce vitamin D in the winter.
I repeat, we must take vitamin D – not just to fight the flu, but remember, Vitamin D fights cancer too.
Not a bad side effect eh?
I mentioned that there are 2 obvious vitamins to fight flu, vitamin D and more correctly D3 is the first one so what is the second one?
Back to the seasons again…
As the seasons change and especially when it gets colder our diet changes. We get less vitamin D as the days shorten but we usually eat less fruit and other vitamin C rich foods.
And vitamin C in its role as an anti-oxidant directly fights viruses in the bloodstream. With less vitamin C in the blood then the immune system has less to use.
And that is an opportunity for viruses and bacteria and not just the flu virus.
So increasing our intake of vitamin C is also going to help us resist winter health problems. And no drinking a glass of Orange juice with your breakfast will not give you your daily dose of vitamin C.
You need a decent dose not just a hint of vitamin C in a drink.
What Dose To Block the Flu?
To work out what dose we need is hard – we all need different amounts so all we can do is look at some ballpark numbers.
My dose of vitamin C is around 3,000 mg or 3 grams. I seldom take less than that and often take more. If I ever get a cold or get anything really I will generally double that amount.
Vitamin D is even harder to know about without a blood test, so if you can get tested do so!
Your dose will depend on how light or dark your skin is. People with dark skin often have dramatically low levels of vitamin D in their blood and will need to take a really big dose such as 5,000 iu a day for a month or more and then reduce to say, 2,000 iu a day.
Even a relatively low dose of 1,000 will be useful and Health shops are now selling sprays of 3,000 to 5,000 iu where iu is international units.
Simple numbers for both of them are 3,000 mg for vitamin C and 3,000 iu for vitamin D.
Best advice is to get personal advice from a professional and by the way ask them how much they take. If they won't tell you then move on and find someone who will.
What This Means
We cannot guarantee that taking these two hugely effective immunity boosters will prevent you from getting the flu. Remember though that flu shots are usually ineffective and will only work through you immune system anyway. Boosting your own immunity makes good sense and it is an outrage that neither Doctors nor Official websites do not inform you of these simple low cost natural measures.
It seems to me that they are all determined to push flu shots and other jabs on the public as a way of making money. If they want to heal and help, well, the drugs don't do that but natural methods do. But natural methods used widely mean that the drug companies would not make the vast inflated profits that they do and there would be fewer doctors and fewer hospitals.
It is up to all of us as individuals to ask ourselves if we want good health and are we open to upgrading our diets and supplements to help ourselves.
Let's close with a quote by Dr Matti Tolonen
"According to the latest research, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids help to strengthen the immune system"