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Upper respiratory tract infections include Otitis Media (middle ear infection), Otitis Externa (outer ear infection), Tonsillitis (throat infection), Laryngitis, Pharyngtis, Bronchitis, Rhinosinusitis (common cold), Influenza (flu). Symptoms of headache, facial pain, nasal congestion with or without runny

nose, sore throat, productive or non-productive cough, shortness of breath or wheezing are common to URI's.

Onset of the symptoms begins 1-3 days after exposure. URI's last from 4-14 days. Systemic symptoms associated with URI's are Myalgia and Arthralgia (muscle and joint pain), fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, lack of appetite, dehydration. While bacterial illnesses are treated by antibiotics, viral illnesses are treated conservatively with fluids, rest, and multivitamins.

Flu Facts:

The flu is a virus which is contagious and is passed through air and contact. For example coughing and sneezing and shaking hands with infected person or wiping your face with infected germy hands.

Swine Flu H1N1 is another strain of the common flu. The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth and throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it's almost impossible to avoid coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions. H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat and nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms.

Flu Complications can range from mild to moderate to serious and fatal and include: Cough, ear infections, sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, respiratory failure, organ failure and death.

What is the one most important thing you would say to someone who feels the first signs of the flu coming on?

The most important thing a person should know is what actions to take in case they have the signs and symptoms of the flu, which are outlined below. It is important to know that most of these signs and symptoms are also shared by the common cold viruses, however, the high severity and the suddenness of the symptoms differentiates the flu which is caused by the influenza virus.

First, here are the signs and symptoms of the flu to watch for:
Fever of 100 to 103 with chills
Sweaty or clammy skin
Body aches and joint pains
Fatigue and weakness
Nasal Congestion
Sore Throat
Decreased appetite

What treatments should you undertake?

As soon as you feel the above symptoms start the following approach to boost your immunity.

· Start taking Multivitamins. It is a good way of decreasing the stress on your organ systems. Vitamin C and B have been shown to help with immunity as well and are included in your multivitamin.
· Taking Echinacea increases levels of chemicals that activate the part of immune system responsible for increasing defense mechanisms against virus and bacteria.
· Drink plenty of water, it helps to eliminate the toxins from your body.
· Get plenty of rest and sleep. Your body heals and repairs itself during sleep and rest.
· Start taking Oscillococcinum, - a homeopathic medication from Boiron proven to shorten the duration and the severity of the flu – used widely in Europe. It will decrease the symptoms and the duration of the illness.
· Cold Calm Remedy, a homeopathic medication from Boiron, decreases the symptoms and their severity and duration.
· Antiviral drugs (oseltamiviror zanamavir) within 24 to 48 hours of onset – if prescribed by your doctor.
· Drink Green tea, studies have shown antiviral and antibacterial properties of Green tea.
· Garlic raw or cooked or garlic supplements. It is nature’s most efficient antibiotic and will increase immunity.
· Ginger in the form of tea or soaked in hot water is another natural antiviral.
· Goldenseal is antiseptic and immune stimulating.
· Elderberry is a strong remedy for colds and flu. It is a natural anti-viral agent.
· Gargle twice daily with warm salt water (may also use Listerine but it is drying). Influenza virus replicates in the nasopharynx and washing the throat and nose with salt water decreases the viral load.
· Nasal saline rinses or cleaning nostrils with salt water twice daily. Blowing the nose or using Q-tips soaked in warm salt water to clean nostrils.
· Use Chestal, a homeopathic medicine by Boiron for cough.
· Continue with the rest of the flu plan as mentioned below.

If your symptoms last more than 5 days and they are not improving or if you feel worsening of the symptoms you should seek the advice of your physicians. Sometimes the body gets weak as it is fighting a viral infection and a bacterial infection can start or co-exist with the viral illness. If any signs or symptoms of bacterial infections start, which are usually yellow-green nasal discharge or cough with yellow green phlem you should visit your physician for prescription of antibiotics. If you have severe diarrhea and vomiting which is not resolving and causing dehydration or if you have changes in skin colors or the white of your eye you should seek advice of your physician. Urgent cares and emergency rooms are to be used in case your symptoms are worsening and getting very severe and you have no access to your physician in a timely manner.

What exactly do you mean by a "flu plan?"

A Flu Plan involves certain behavioral and dietary changes that will decrease the exposure to the flu and if infected will decrease the duration and severity of the symptoms. It allows you to feel secure that you have taken all the measures necessary to be ready in the event that you or your family become ill.

Do flu plans vary from person to person?

There is a general flu plan to help the body to increase immunity and fight the infection. However, it should be personalized for the following group of people who are at higher risk of complications with the flu. The following group of people need to be seen and evaluated by their physicians. Others can use the plan as described. Make sure you seek the attention of your physician if your symptoms do not resolve or worsen.

Who is at risk?
Adults and elders with chronic health conditions such as COPD (emphysema), asthma, cancer, heart disease, cigarette smokers, kidney disease, diabetes, HIV, Hepatitis, etc.
Pregnant women (women who are pregnant suppress their own immune system to harbor a "partial foreigner" - their baby's father's genes, therefore making them immuno-compromised throughout their pregnancy.
Infants and their care givers
All children age 6 months to 4 years
Children with health problems aged 4 years to 19 years
Health Care Workers, care givers, people who work around patients

What is in your personal flu plan?

Frequent hand washing for 20 seconds multiple times a day. To kill germs, infectious-disease experts recommend washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Dry your hands with a paper towel, then use the towel to shut off the faucet and open the restroom door. If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizers containing at least 60 % alcohol.
Turn your head and cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue or the inside of your elbow if no tissue is available. Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands. Dispose of the tissue and wash your hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer immediately.
Use a disinfectant to regularly sanitize commonly touched surfaces, such as telephones, door handles, light switches, computer equipment, etc. Try to apply the same practice at home by sanitizing door handles, light switches, toilet handles, and restroom and kitchen counters.
Try not to use other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment.
If meeting in a group setting, avoid close contact with others and ensure that the meeting room is properly ventilated.
Eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
Resist all temptation to touch your face!
Stay away from people who cough or sneeze.
Prepare your own food. Make it healthy! Less sugary and more organic foods. Even small amounts of sugar can significantly impair your immune function, making you more susceptible to a flu infection.
Make an appointment with your doctor and get prepared: do you have all your medicine refills? Do you have any emergency medicine you will need?
Have a flu plan: your entire family or workplace may have the flu at the same time. Stock up on Oscillococcinum, Coldcalm, and other supplements mentioned. Stuck up your refrigerator with herbs mentioned and ingredients for organic and freshly made soup or canned soups.
Carry a hand sanitizer in the car, in the house and at work.
Call your doctor if you feel like you have any flu symptoms.
Drink plenty of clear fluids, i.e. water.
Drink plenty of warm liquids, i.e. hot tea, Green tea.
Stay home! Avoid work and school if you have the flu! Wear a mask if you go out.
Get plenty of rest and restful sleep.
Moderate exercise to increase heart rate, breathing rate and to sweat is recommended. Do not make your body tired.
Gargle twice daily with warm salt water (may also use Listerine but it is drying)
Nasal saline rinses or cleaning nostrils with salt water twice daily. Blowing the nose or using q-tips soaked in warm salt water to clean nostrils.
Boost your natural immunity.
Reduce Stress. Too much stress has a highly negative impact on your overall health and, over time, it will make you much more susceptible to a flu infection.

The information provided is for your general knowledge and not intended to replace your physician’s advice! Follow your physician’s recommendation as to vaccinations and care.

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