Monday, January 5, 2015

Fighting the Flu: Uninvited Bug Invades My Home

Good Day World!

I hope you’re in good health, and not a victim of the headline-making enterovirus EV-D68.

I haven’t had the flu for over fourteen years, but that changed about a week ago. That nasty virus is still kicking my butt today. My wife and son are also getting their butts kicked.

Editor’s update: the flu that my family and I have is the H3-N2 virus. The enterovirus EV-D68 is the one infecting children, and the symptoms are different.

I’ve been drinking a lot of liquids, sleeping, and dosing with over-the-counter cold medicines. One day I start feeling better, then I suffer a setback the next day. I’m seriously wondering when this stuff will go away.

I’ve noticed on social media that people who have – thus far – stayed healthy during this national outbreak aren’t afraid to give advice. You might want to be wary, because what’s trending doesn’t mean it’s scientific fact.

Take yogurt, “prebiotics” and teas such as kombucha. They all have a dash of science showing that gut bacteria can affect your weight, your risk of cancer and your susceptibility to infectious disease.

That’s nice. However, until scientists are able to show which is the “good” bacteria and the “bad” ones there’s nothing definitive on whether eating or drinking any particular food can change the balance of your gut bacteria.

Probiotics fall squarely into the category of being good in theory, but the jury’s still out on which formula is best.

There’s way more research debunking Echinacea than supporting its use.

Part of the problem is that different commercial products contain different amounts of the plant, and even vary on what plants they contain. Some plants, such as astragalus and licorice root, can be dangerous.

There’s more “testimonials” out there on how to avoid the flu. But, before you place your trust in yogurt to stay healthy, you might want to do a little research on the subject.

I should also point out that flu shots are probably the best way to avoid these nasty bugs. One caveat; this current enterovirus EV-D68 has evolved after the vaccine for it was developed.

So, even the recommended way to avoid the flu is not fool proof.

Time for me to slowly walk on down the road…

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