Kung Flu Fighting

by shawne on January 25, 2013

in Wellness

Like so many folks all across the country right now, I have suffered from the Flu this season.  Ya know, the real deal, Influenza A?  The Flu is rapidly spreading throughout the nation and this is being called the worst outbreak in 10 years, according to the CDC.  My dear friend is a family medicine physician and one of her pet peeves is when people come in saying they have the “stomach flu”.  I’m here to debunk that myth.  There’s no such thing as the “stomach flu”.  Guess what,  the common cold?  Yeah, that’s NOT the Flu either.  I was blessed to come down with the actual Flu this past Christmas Eve and was left no choice but to find and go to one of the few walk-in medical clinics that was opened in my area on Christmas Day.  And although I celebrate Hannukah, the fact that I had to beg the kind nurses and physicians for mercy on my soul and my ailing body on December 25th, of all days, only serves to elicit more sympathy as I re-tell the tale of how I was ravaged by this year’s Flu Beast.  Sunday night in my sleep, it started with the good ol’ “it hurts when I swallow”.  Could be a myriad of things, right?  Dry heat, post-nasal drip, Northeast winter virus that’s “going around”, eight year old son just had Strep?  “Okay, I’ll ignore it and keep the complaining to myself. ” Monday began with “it still hurts when I swallow” and Mr. Dry Cough soon joined the party.  “This can’t be too bad, I’m not hacking up any colored stuff!”  The day went on and my son had a friend sleep over to help us celebrate our traditional Jewish Christmas Eve-Chinese food and a movie.  This time the movie was a rental on the sofa.  My husband was off to celebrate his own 30-year long tradition-a poker game with his lifelong friends.  All was quiet, not a creature was stirring, when suddenly……chatter, chatter, chatter went my teeth.

Could my 97th viewing of It’s A Wonderful Life still send shivers down my spine? Can this film cause me to emote in such a way that I feel like an ice cube, myself, watching George Bailey jump into the frozen Bedford Falls river to save Clarence, the angel?  Nope, afraid not!  It was a fever.  A full blown fever and chills.  I quickly made sure the older boys had what they needed for their sleepover downstairs, I put my younger son to bed upstairs, and I tried to tough it out on the sofa until the Baileys and company sang Auld Lang Syne.  I didn’t even make it to Zuzu’s petals.  I dragged my sicky self up to bed, which is where I remained for the next seven days, except for that next morning, when I drove myself to that doc- in- the- box place, where a nasal swab test confirmed that I, indeed, had THE FLU.  NOTE:  Do not Flu and drive.  It’s just not a good idea!  I waited at the one area pharmacy that was opened for Tamiflu® and was advised to rest.  I felt so lousy that I would’ve waited to swallow an ice pick if that’s what the doctor prescribed.  Tamiflu® made me throw up.  Doctor phoned in anti-nausea meds so I could continue with Tamiflu®.  All in all, it really sucked.  Fortunately, hubby came home late at night, on X-mas Eve, took my temperature, saw that I was in trouble, and took care of the rest of the sleepover.  He made arrangements for my son’s friend’s parents to swiftly take him away from our Petri dish of a home bright and early so that he and his family had a fighting chance at enjoying their winter break.  Thankfully, they did.  We did not.  Hubby got sick too, despite me being quarantined in my room and him taking up residence in the guest room.  The kids were okay but got slap happy from the extreme boredom brought on by being stuck inside for what seemed like the endless illness.  When I tell the story of our miserable week, I am sure to make mention of my extreme frustration that this happened to me despite getting the flu vaccine in late October!  Oh, well!  I just wasn’t lucky, different strain, I guess.  But at least it was milder, right?  Four days of fever, one week in bed, bronchitis that followed…….and no partridge or pear tree.    Truthfully, I am lucky because I didn’t require hospitalization which so many people are needing from the Flu this season.  That’s pretty scary.  It was just really unpleasant and inconvenient.

Here are some natural remedies that can help if you have the Flu:

1.  FLUIDS:  Dehydration can occur quickly, especially when you have a fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Water is great.  Coconut water is also a  wonderful way to restore those electrolytes without the added artificial sweeteners found in other commercial sports drinks.  Also, grandma was right and many doctors agree: Chicken soup is a true “feel better” potion.  Homemade is best, with fresh wholesome, organic ingredients where you can control the sodium.  When friends ask what they can do for you, ask if they could make you some soup.

2. VITAMIN C:  Although not proven to fight the flu, vitamin C has done wonders for cold prevention and flu-like symptoms.  It acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.  Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit and vegetables like broccoli and tomatoes.  If going the supplement route, watch dosing carefully as overdoing it on C can cause diarrhea, nausea, and cramps.  The whole food version, as in the actual fruit or vegetable, would be my first suggestion.

3. OLIVE LEAF EXTRACT:  This powerhouse has earned an A plus for being antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiparasidic, and an antioxidant.  This is easy to store in the cabinet and has a shelf life of about 5 years.  For colds and flu, the typical dosage is 2 droppers full every 2 hours in some liquid.  Olive Leaf should not be taken if you are also taking antibiotics or if you are on blood thinners, like Coumadin, as it may contribute to internal bleeding while taken together.  Hey, this stuff is pretty OliveFab though, (I couldn’t resist)!

4. ELDERBERRY EXTRACT:  Used for centuries to treat wounds, Elderberry is a main contender for natural flu fighting.  Elderberry contains flavonoids which are a large family of beneficial compounds that come from plants.  People everywhere seem to be making Elderberry Tea this Flu season.  Put four tablespoons of the extract in hot water or tea and drink it every day for three days to receive the maximum symptom soothing benefits.  You should not take Elderberry extract when pregnant or nursing.  You should also check with your physician or pharmacist to make sure that any herbal remedy does not mix negatively with any of your current medications.

5. REST: You may not have any choice in the matter and might not be able to lift your head up from the pillow.  Take it in stride, listen to your body, and baby yourself.  Time to let others take care of you for a change.  If that fever starts to subside, ease back into things very slowly.  Overdoing it too soon can result in relapse.  My friend who is home with the flu this week has been able to watch the entire first season of “Girls”, uninterrupted, from the comfort of her bed.  Not the worst way to pass the time.

Stay healthy to all and to all a good night!




{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Chyna January 25, 2013 at 9:39 pm

We are just getting over a mild version of the flu at our house also. It’s been a rough week. Fluids, rest, and vitamin C were definitely some of our top remedies.


shawne January 25, 2013 at 11:32 pm

So sorry you were ill. Sometimes the simple remedies are the best. Feel better soon.


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