There are hundreds of viral strains connected to both the cold and flu virus. The majority of these viral strains alter themselves genetically on a yearly basis, or every few years to survive in the world we have created with vaccines and medical treatment to reduce symptoms. Because they have adapted and learned to change with our efforts to fight them off, developing any type of traditional permanent cure is impossible.
One of the main reasons we are unable to develop a cure is because of the frivolous way antibiotics are created, and used in our society. Because we are unable to cure these viruses, we are forced to use the same treatments that our ancestors used, and update the methods as the viruses change. The medications that are available aim at shortening the amount of time we are forced to deal with the symptoms of the virus. Even using our best scientific efforts, statistics still show that between 10% and 35% of the American population will be affected by the flu virus on some level. This number varies depending on the strength and virulence of the flu virus, how many people are vaccinated that year, and the immunity level of the people in the community.
Even though the flu virus poses a threat to the population, there is no true need for a cure. The majority of cases resolve on their own and spontaneous recovery is common. Even with vaccination, it is still possible to contract a minor infection of the flu virus. Because of this, the primary focus of the community should be to use sanitation protocols to prevent contracting the flu virus. Vaccination and frequent hand washing can either prevent people from getting the flu, reduce the amount of treatment needed, and shorten the length of active symptoms should one contract it.
In closed in areas like homes, schools, dormitories, hospitals and nursing homes the virus can spread like wild fire. This is why the highest rate of infection is in children who fall into the age range of five-years-old to 18, college students, and the elderly. Adults who have a weak immune system, and those who have a compromised immune system are at higher risk as well. The most common medical conditions increasing the risk of contracting the flu are asthma, diabetes, cancer, and AIDS.
Antibiotics Make Treatment Difficult
It the last 30 days, over prescribing and over using antibiotics created a serious problem. It was once thought that antibiotics would have the power to treat bacterial infections and viral infections. Because of this, when someone presented with symptoms of an infection, a doctor would freely prescribe antibiotics without preforming expensive tests. Even after it was determined that antibiotics are not capable of treating viruses, doctors still prefer not to test infections to determine whether they are of bacterial or viral origin.
The way in which antibiotics are overused has led to an increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria.(1) It has also dramatically sped up the rate that the influenza virus mutates. Over decades of doctors prescribing antibiotics in situations that turned out to be the flu, the virus still reacts as though it has been threatened. When it is exposed to an antibiotic, it mutates and replicates faster, practically disabling the immune system. When this happens, the person who is suffering from the flu is at much higher risk for developing a secondary bacterial infection, which can make them seriously ill.
The American public spends several billion dollars annually on over-the-counter cough and cold medicines. To top this off, in order to stay up to date with the changing nature of the flu virus, the pharmaceutical industry must come out with a new flu shot to help contain the most recent strains of the seasonal flu. Unfortunately, this vaccine is unable to prevent everyone from contracting the flu virus, because it was developed for the previous year’s flu, which has since mutated outside of the vaccine’s scope. This means it can only provide partial prevention, and the remaining responsibility falls into the category of personal protection.
Alternative Treatments for The Flu
Because people are becoming aware that vaccines are unable to completely protect them, there has been a massive effort by the public to avoid contracting the flu, reduce the number of symptoms experienced, and reduce the duration of time symptoms are experienced. This has lead people to search for alternative treatments for the flu that are not as invasive and are less toxic than manufactured methods. This is a great idea, especially considering that the best cure for the flu is prevention. It is far easier to prevent oneself from contracting the flu than it ever will be to cure it after they already have it.
Building the Immune System
Building a healthy, high-functioning immune system is the best defense for preventing viral and bacterial illnesses. Ensuring that one gets at least eight hours of sleep each night can boost the immune system, allow the body to fully regenerate, and allow it to fight off any infection they may have come into contact with is helpful.
It is also proven that reducing one’s sugar intake can be beneficial to building a healthy immune system as well. Even a teaspoon of processed, simple sugar can weaken the immune system for nearly six hours. Replacing simple sugars with complex sugars and unprocessed options reduces this risk. One can also fight their sweet tooth by turning down a scoop of ice cream in favor of a sweet organic fruit. (2)
When you truly think about it, we really are what we eat. This means that our diet and the foods we choose to have in our lives have a long-term impact on our immune system. Drinking as much water as we can each day can help flush out waste products and toxins that break down the immune system. It also helps clean out the kidneys, allows them to process out more waste, and improves the immune response.
Exercising is one of the most important factors in maintaining overall health, immunity, strength, and wellbeing. Exercise is an amazing way to fight illnesses caused by invading bacteria and viruses. It helps maintain the flow in the lymph system, allows one to shed extra weight, and pushes toxins out of the body. When exercise takes places outside it can improve the intake of Vitamin D, and improves the circulation to all parts of the body. Since vitamin D plays a huge role in preventing the common cold, the flu virus, and other illnesses outside exercise is very beneficial. (3)
Supplementing your diet with a high-quality multivitamin and vitamin C is crucial to preventing and fighting off the flu.
Vitamin C helps the body absorb vitamin D, and they also work alongside each other to increase the immune system strength. Not only can these vitamins decrease your risk of contracting the flu, it can also help reduce the amount of time one suffers from the illness.
Following Universal Precautions
It is important to avoid touching your face with one’s hands. One should definitely avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with one’s hands. This is because the flu virus is picked up by one’s hands and once they touch their face, they have put themselves at risk for contracting the flu virus.
Ensuring that one washes their hands after touching solid objects, touching other people, shaking hands, and after each trip to the bathroom can help prevent one from contracting the flu virus. It is not recommended for one to use antibacterial soaps. This is because it is proven to increase the risk of spreading antibiotic resistant bacteria through the community. Rather than using antibacterial soap, one should wash their hands under warm water using soap and friction for at least 90 seconds.
Reducing the amount of stress one experiences in life can be extremely valuable. While it is not possible to reduce all of the stress in one’s life, reducing it as much as possible is beneficial.
To deal with the stress one is unable to eliminate, practice deep breathing exercises, brisk walking, listening to music, and exercising regularly. Sometimes, learning to manage stress may involve eliminating certain people and situations that cause increased stress levels. After eliminating the stress from one’s life, one will feel better and be more capable of coping with stressors in their everyday life.
It may seem difficult to remove these stressors from one’s life, but after doing so, one realizes it is much more difficult to accommodate these things, and stress related illnesses are not worth the risk.
Decreasing Symptoms of the Flu
If one feels as though they are developing symptoms of the flu, they can decrease the severity of the symptoms, and shorten the duration that symptoms are present by following a few simple steps regularly throughout the course of one’s illness.
Once Symptoms Appear One Should:
• Gargle with a salt water mixture three to four times daily. This will help kill the flu virus, which is living and breeding in the back of one’s throat.
• Use an over-the-counter saline spray three to four times daily. Spray in each nostril. Blow the excess fluid out in a tissue, discard it and wash hands. This kills the live virus cells that are living and breeding in the nasal passages and sinuses.
• Use a Netti pot twice per day to flush the virus out of the sinus cavities, where it also lives and breeds.
• Take the recommended daily amount of vitamin C in divided into several doses. Make sure the brand of vitamin C taken is in the form of ascorbic acid. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on dosage.
• Take in plenty of fluids. Divide fluids into healthy portions of water, fresh vegetable juices, and fresh fruit juices. All of these fluids help flush toxins out of one’s body, provides necessary enzymes, decrease the amount of inflammation and pain experienced, and assist in flushing the viral cells out of the body.
• Taking zinc lozenges (4) can decrease the duration of both the cold and flu virus. Before taking a zinc supplement, one should educate themselves about the symptoms of zinc toxicity. Ensure that the lozenges are only sucked on, not chewed. If one finds the zinc lozenges make them nauseous, discontinue use as it is a symptom of zinc toxicity.
• One should ensure they take at least 20 minutes, twice each day, outside to be in the sunlight. This allows the body to absorb vitamin D from the sun, and manufacture even more inside of the cells. Vitamin D has been scientifically proven to decrease the duration of illnesses caused by bacterial and viral invasion.
• Boost the body’s ability to fight infections by adding garlic to one’s food. Garlic contains natural antibacterial and antiviral components that will fight alongside the immune system to get rid of the infection. (5)
• Add tea containing Echinacea to one’s daily regimen. When Echinacea is combined with garlic, the immune system receives much needed support in fighting off infections.
• Adding ginger in herbal tea form can decrease the duration of any viral infection. It is scientifically proven as a natural antiviral. It also provides pain relief, which is beneficial to one suffering from aches and pains from the flu. It is potent enough that physicians recommend it to patients suffering from arthritis pain. Ginger also reduces inflammation, which reduces flu associated joint pain, inflammation of mucous membranes, and assists in treating a sore throat. Ginger presents with a mild sedative effect, which helps in getting plenty of rest during the illness.
Even with scientific advancements traditional Western science and medicine is currently unable to provide a cure for the flu virus, and due to the ever-changing strains of the influenza virus may never be able to present a cure. The immune system of the average healthy person is perfectly capable of fighting off the flu virus within one to two weeks. However, there are those with weakened immune systems who are at risk for suffering from severe complications that can lead to hospitalization, and even death. If everyone makes an effort to improve their immune system, those who are immune compromised will not face as great of risk for complications.
(1) KidsHealth.org: The Danger of Antibiotic Overuse
(2) Natural News: The Harmful Effect of Sugar and Choosing Healthy Alternatives
(3) Dr. Mercola: The Vitamin Which Can Cut Your Flu Risk Nearly in Half
(4) University of Maryland Medical Center: Influenza
(5) Microbes and Infection: Antimicrobial Properties of Allicin from Garlic