As autumn appears with winter on the horizon, the flu and cold season begin to emerge. Flu season usually runs from October to May, with most cases occurring from late December to early March. The flu vaccine is offered from September through mid-November to allow people a chance to build immunity to the flu before they are likely to encounter it. However, sometimes flu season begins early, which means a flu vaccine will be too late to do much help, and the flu season may be much longer than usual. For this very reason, it’s vital to know how to prepare with a “green” flu shot before, during, and after the flu and cold season.
Influenza (flu) is an illness that gets a tremendous amount of media attention in our day – almost to the point of fear and panic. Every year extensive marketing reminds us that flu vaccinations, some given for free, are available (even at your local drug stores, grocery stores, etc.) and highly recommended for the elderly, young children, pregnant women, and those in the “at-risk” population. In this article, I would like to discuss what we know about the flu and cold season and what’s behind all the hoopla and hyper-marketing of the flu vaccine. Should we be concerned about the flu? Yes. Should we panic? No. Let’s take a look at the facts.
What is Influenza (Flu)?
Influenza, or the flu as it is commonly called, is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. It is highly infectious, and caused by a variety of strains of the influenza virus. Its victims suffer symptoms that are similar to those of the common cold, but often more intense. Influenza is generally categorized into three types: Types A, B, and C. Type A is the most versatile, as it can infect humans and animals such as birds, pigs, and horses. The other two can only infect humans, but Type A is responsible for the majority of flu cases. While the flu is seemingly widespread at times, it is often given credit for things in which it is not responsible. For example, the term “stomach flu” is often heard. The truth is that influenza is primarily a respiratory illness, and very rarely does it attack the gastrointestinal system. Such attacks are usually due to bacteria such as E-coli, salmonella, or shigella. Precautions that help with possible complications from the flu, especially for pneumonia and other respiratory diseases as well as heart conditions and any chronic illness, are highly necessary.
Part of the reason the flu is so feared by some, is the history of the illness, and the deadly impact it has had on the world’s population in times past. Even today, estimates indicate that 20,000 Americans die per year from the flu and its related complications. However, most of these fatalities are elderly folks and those who already have compromised immune systems. Flu epidemics have swept the world from time to time, and some of them have been very lethal. In 1918 and 1919, the Spanish flu killed an astounding 20-40 million worldwide. Approximately half a million of those deaths were here in the United States. The most recent outbreaks of any significance were the Asian flu in 1957 (70,000 deaths in the U.S.) and the Hong Kong flu in 1968 (34,000 deaths in the U.S.). History references influenza all the way back to the ancient Greeks when the belief was that bacteria and “bad air was the cause of influenza. They weren’t too far off considering their limited medical knowledge. The identification of influenza as a viral infection was not until 1933.
What Are the Symptoms and Causes of the Flu?
The effects of the flu often hit hard and fast. Commonly the illness will start with a headache, dry cough, chills, body aches, and then a fever of up to 104 degrees F. After the fever peaks, a sore throat and congestion often develops. Severe fatigue is typical, and it may linger for days or weeks. That’s pretty much it for the flu itself. Other symptoms are attributable to secondary infections that are often bacterial in nature and focus on the lower respiratory tract. Just when you catch your breath from the first attack of the flu itself, here comes another truck to hit you. The secondary infections often come with a high fever, chills, difficult and painful breathing, and a cough that produces thick yellow-green sputum.
Diagnosis is mostly a non-issue with influenza. When you get walloped with the flu, you usually know what hit you. The intensity and fast onset of the symptoms give it away. There are tests your doctor can prescribe to identify the viral strain that is responsible, but this is not always done. Diagnosis is rather determined by symptoms and what is going on in the community at the time. More commonly, a sputum sample is needed if a patient develops a secondary infection to find out if it is bacterial. Antibiotics are the usual go-to for secondary infections, but be careful. Antibiotics are terribly over-prescribed, and often immunity builds up to them so that they become ineffective. I would highly recommend to stay away from the fluoroquinolone antibiotics such as Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox. Talk to your healthcare practitioner about saving the antibiotics weapon for when it is really needed.
Basically the most important cause of flu and colds is an immune system that is not optimal. Over the last few years, more and more research suggests that coming down with a cold or the flu may actually be a symptom of a vitamin D-3 deficiency. Your immune system response is likely impaired if you have less than optimal vitamin D levels. This will make you much more susceptible to “catching” colds, flu as well as other respiratory concerns.
Common Factors Constituting A Weakened Immune System
- Vitamin D-3 deficiency.
- Consuming too much sugar and too many grains.
- Insufficient restful sleep.
- Inadequate washing of hands.
- Inadequate exercise.
- Emotional stress.
- Combination of any of the above
Common Cold vs. The Flu: Comparison of Characteristics
|Etiological Agent||>200 viral strains; rhinovirus most common||3 strains of influenza virus: influenza A, B, and C|
|Site of Infection||Upper respiratory tract||Entire respiratory system|
|Symptom Onset||Gradual: 1-3 days||Sudden: within a few hours|
|Fever, chills||Occasional, low grade (<101° F)||Characteristic, higher (>101° F),
lasting 2-4 days
|Headache||Infrequent, usually mild||Characteristic, more severe|
|General aches, pains||Mild, if any||Characteristic, often severe and affecting the entire body|
|Sore throat||Common, usually mild||Sometimes present|
|Cough, chest congestion||Common; mild-to-moderate, with hacking, productive cough||Common; potentially severe dry, non-productive cough|
|Runny, stuffy nose||Very common, accompanied by bouts of sneezing||Sometimes present|
|Fatigue, weakness||Mild, if any||Usual, possibly severe and last 2-3 weeks|
|Extreme exhaustion||Rarely||Frequent, usually in early stages of illness|
|Season||Year around, peaks in winter months||Most cases between November and February|
|Antibiotics helpful?||No, unless secondary bacterial infection develops||No, unless secondary bacterial infection develops|
(Roxas 2007; MD Consult 2012; Utah Dept. Health 2010; CDC 2011e; Oklahoma State Dept. of Health 2011)
What Treatments Are Available For the Flu and Cold Season?
Basically, the flu, like any viral infection, must run its course. Because there is no quick cure, the goal of any therapy is to manage the symptoms and keep potentially serious complications at bay. There are medications approved for use to fight the virus (amantadine-hydrochloride, and rimantadine-hydrochloride), but these are relatively new, and there are some serious side effects associated with them. These include seizures, delirium, and hallucinations. Be very careful of these drugs if you are prone to seizures, have any psychiatric disorders, or kidney issues.
Speaking of being careful, what about the flu vaccine? Is the risk (and there are risks) worth the potential benefit? The influenza vaccine and vaccines in general are very controversial. Many of them contain mercury and other toxic substances and leave a residue in the body that can come back to haunt a person many years later. The immediate reaction that some experience to the vaccines can range from mild to severe. Some studies have shown that vaccines can lead to such conditions as autism and ADHD, sometimes years down the road. The biggest concern, in my opinion, is that the strain(s) of flu in which to target the yearly flu vaccine is a “best guess” scenario and very often that “best guess” is incorrect. The media and government are constantly pushing for these vaccines and others, so resistance to them is not very popular and even considered politically correct.
Incidentally, there are small fortunes made by the drug companies that manufacture vaccines, so there is also a lot of money at stake as well. This is not a formula for high integrity, in my opinion. There is enough doubt about the safety of these vaccines in my mind to warrant much personal research before making a decision. Would I say that no one should get vaccinated? That is a personal decision that each of us must make and should have the freedom to make; personally, I would like to see it stay that way. However, there is a movement in this country to take the freedom of making personal health decisions away from the individual and placing it into the hands of the government. I do not want to lose my freedom of choice when it comes to health decisions, and I certainly don’t trust Uncle Sam and Big Pharma to make those decisions for me.
Natural Prevention for Flu and Cold | The Green Flu Shot
This is important enough to list as #1. Your thymus and adrenal glands are the power seat of the immune system. When your body is getting sick, or is already sick, it is under stress and stress taxes and brings down your immune system. When we add to that the fact that most people are already stressed from day-to-day living, the chance of getting the flu is extremely high. Researchers have even linked vulnerability to colds and flu to psychological stress which is why we tend to see more colds and flu during the very hectic holiday season.
Keep Your Gut Healthy.
Keeping your digestive tract and liver supported is important all year long and especially important during the flu and cold season. Performing a digestive tract cleanse during the beginning of every season is important.
Eat Healthy & Organic.
Consuming lots of organic vegetables, fruits and healthy fats and oils (coconut, olive, flax seed, etc.) is a good idea all year long, but especially during the cold and flu season. Incorporating healing herbs and spices that have anti-fungal properties is also very helpful to your immune system. As much as possible try to eliminate refined sugar, white flour and white pasta as well as processed, pre-packaged, sugary drinks, and fast foods.
Fresh and Raw Vegetable Juice.
Consuming 1-2 glasses of fresh organic vegetable juice every day supports your immune system and takes some work off of your digestive tract. Check out this recipe for DIY Healthy Raw V8 Juice.
Organic Raw Garlic
For over 7,000 years, garlic has been used both as a food and a medicinal remedy. Garlic is also effective for treating bacterial and fungal infections especially those affecting the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. Garlic is also known for its bioactive sulfur-rich compounds. The most important of these compounds are allicin and alliin. These sulfur compounds are chiefly responsible for the antibacterial, antiviral, antiprotozoal and antifungal properties of garlic. Try to eat 1-2 cloves of garlic daily. The garlic must be crushed and is best eaten within the first hour after crushing it. Researchers from South Carolina Medical University found out that the highest concentrations of these antimicrobial compounds was produced by leaving peeled garlic uncovered for 15 minutes.
Keeping your body hydrated is very important for a healthy immune system. Try to drink half of your weight in ounces of filtered water every day. Proper hydration flushes out toxins, helps with lymph production, and moistens eyes and mouth which helps them stay clean and fight infections,
Drink Herbal Teas
One of most important healing functions of herbal tea is that it keeps you hydrated. Below are some healing teas that provide some great health benefits during flu and cold season.
Peppermint tea can quickly start to make you feel better. The menthol in the peppermint leaves can have a slight anesthetic effect on your throat, suppressing your cough. USDA scientists report that, when lab tested, peppermint is found to have distinct antimicrobial and antiviral activities.
Chamomile tea has been used for centuries to help with sleep. Flavonoids from the plant produce a tranquilizing effect. Because sleep is an important part of the healing process, chamomile is an excellent choice. There is also some evidence that chamomile tea acts as an anti-inflammatory.
Ginger tea is excellent for soothing irritated and sore throats. The bioactive ingredients in ginger tea act as an anti-inflammatory and may also inhibit microorganisms that can lead to infection. If the flu or cold presents itself with an upset stomach, ginger is also known to relieve nausea.
Elderberry tea is filled with health-boosting antioxidants and ranks higher than cranberry and blueberry for polyphenol content. Studies with elderberry syrups and extracts have shown they can reduce the length and severity of cold and flu symptoms.
AHCC (Active Hexose Correlated Compounds) increases natural killer (NK) cell activity and provides support to your immune system. One capsule twice daily is the usual dose or according to your healthcare practitioner. AHCC contains beta glucan compounds derived from mushrooms. They specifically activate NK cells, which combat infections. Both fo which are preventative during the flu and cold season.
Transfer Factor is a purified derivative of colostrum. It ensures a strong immune system. 200 mg three times daily is the suggested dose. Transfer Factor supports the immune system and is a preventative for the flu and cold season.
Research shows that certain strains of beneficial bacteria could be helpful against cold and flu. Probiotics are perhaps one of the best dietary strategies helpful for boosting the immune system. There are easy ways to incorporate probiotics into your natural health protocol during the cold and flu season, like taking a multi-strain probiotic and prebotic supplement and eating foods rich in probiotics.
Those uncomfortable symptoms that you have when fighting off the flu or a cold are a result of your body’s inflammatory response to the virus, rather than the result of the virus itself. Proteolytic enzymes have potent anti-inflammatory properties and can also fight viruses as well as support ing your immune system. They are produced naturally by your pancreas and are used by your body to “eat up” scar tissue, cleanse toxins from your blood, fight viruses and improve your immune system, so you may find that you get sick less often. The body stops producing optimal amounts of proteolytic enzymes in your late 20s, which is why taking a proteolytic enzyme supplement is important, especially if you are 40 or above in age.
Organic Vitamin D-3
If your vitamin D-3 levels are low, adding a vitamin D-3 supplement may actually work better than the flu vaccine. For those people with the most serious vitamin D deficiencies (blood levels below 10 [ng/mL]), taking an organic vitamin D supplement lessen their risk of respiratory infection to half. Researchers believe vitamin D-3 offers protection by increasing antimicrobial peptides in your lungs, and that “[t]his may be one reason why colds and flus are most common in the winter, when sunlight exposure (and therefore the body’s natural vitamin D production) is at its lowest …” People with higher vitamin D levels also saw a small reduction in risk: about 10 percent. Use an organic Vitmain D-3 supplement daily, especially if you are unable to get some sun every day.
A quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement is foundational for a healthy body. Many believe that most illness and disease is easily traced back to a trace mineral deficiency. Trace minerals can help boost your immune system as well as provide your body a better chance of preventing disease and illness. Check out important information about the multi-vitamin-mineral supplement that I use personally and that I recommend to clients.
Wild Mediterranean Oregano Oil
When your immune system is under attack by a cold virus, the flu, respiratory infections, or any other illness, wild Mediterranean oregano oil is known as one of the most effective natural remedies. This is because of the expectorant, anti- inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties wild Mediterranean oregano oil possesses. Look for oregano oil with an organic source of Wild Organic Mediterranean Oregano with at least 79-80% carvacrol content. The best oregano oil that I’ve found and use with clients and our family is Oregatrex. As soon as you began to feel under the weather, place three to six drops into an empty veggie capsule and take two to three times daily during the middle of meals. A 5 to 10-day regimen can work wonders. Capsaicin is a great ingredient in Oregatrex and wonderful substance in its own right, but it is hot, so please avoid consuming oregano oil liquid directly. Keep it away from your eyes and don’t leave it where children or pets could get into it.
Your immune system heavily counts on its front line defense which is mucus. Most cold and flu viruses are transmitted through the membranes in your lungs, throats, sinuses, eyes, and nose. These tissues produce a thin mucus that coats them as a protective barrier against microbes. The microbes get stuck in the mucus and are either expelled along with the mucus or are immediately killed by natural antimicrobial agents in the mucus. One of these antimicrobial agents is iodine. Iodine insufficiency weakens your front line defense because you can’t produce effective mucus without enough iodine. If you believe that you get enough iodine from table salt, recent scientific analysis reveals that many commercial table salt brands now contain inadequate amounts of iodine. Most forms of iodine become iodide in the digestive tract, but because nascent iodine is already in an iodide form, it is more readily and quickly utilized.
I highly recommend using Detoxadine® on a regular basis and especially during flu and cold season. Detoxadine is a vegan-friendly, deep-earth sourced nascent iodine created to help your body maintain its iodine balance. It’s manufactured with a unique transformative bio-elemental matrix using a revolutionary process and contains nano-colloidal nascent iodine. Iodine deficiency can be a serious issue, but nascent iodine supplementation can support the body’s use of this essential trace mineral.
Extra Vitamin C
In the 1970s, chemist and Nobel Peace laureate, Linus Pauling, proposed that high doses of vitamin C could help prevent the common cold. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service reports that “High dose vitamin C is a remarkably safe and effective treatment for viral infections. In high doses, vitamin C neutralizes free radicals, helps kill viruses, and strengthens your body’s immune system. Taking supplemental vitamin C routinely helps prevent viral infections.”
Zinc is an integral part of at least 3,000 different proteins in your body and a component of more than 200 different enzymes. In fact, zinc is involved in more enzymatic reactions in your body than any other mineral. Zinc increases your production of white blood cells and helps them fight infection more effectively. It also helps your immune system release more antibodies. While the research on zinc’s effect on pathogens is a bit inconsistent, many studies show a strong protective effect. Some studies show that zinc may reduce the duration of a cold by 50 percent. I highly recommend zinc orotate. Read more about Orotates and Mineral Transporters.
Wash Hands Often
Even though most of us know this, practicing it is another story. Keeping your hands clean through proper hand washing, regular soap and water, is essential when it comes to preventing harmful bacteria and viruses from spreading to other people. Hand washing is especially important during flu and cold season, when germs are easily spread among others — especially children. Read 10 Tips to Keep Your Child Healthy
Don’t Skimp On Your Zzz’s
In a nutshell, sleep helps your immune system function. During sleep, your immune system releases cytokines. Some cytokines have a protective effect on your immune system by helping it to fight inflammation, including inflammation due to infection. During sleep is also when your body does the most repair and healing work. I recommend getting at least eight hours of restful sleep every night – including the weekends.
Daily physical activity is an effective way to boost your immune system. People who exercise regularly at a light to moderate intensity for 30 minutes daily are at a significantly lower risk for respiratory infections. Those who exercise for 30-60 minutes on most days of the week have a 40% reduction in sick days during the cold season. Daily exercise helps the disease-fighting white blood cells in the body move from the organs into the bloodstream where they have the ability to combat and rid invading pathogens and harmful organisms.
Cold and Flu Prevention in the Work Place
It can be very concerning when we must work with those who have a cold or the beginnings of the flu. Some cold and flu preventative measures you can implement in your work environment include:
- Do not share glasses, cups or utensils, office supplies, etc.
- Wash your hands with each visit to the restroom.
- Immediately throw away used tissues.
- Do not share make-up, lip stick or any other personal care products.
- Spray your desk, computer keyboard and telephone with a natural disinfectant spray. Do this often.
- Try to keep stress to a minimum.
- If allowed, use an aromatherapy diffuser.
- Check Attitude – Be Positive and Be Happy.
“Aromatherapy is more thoroughly defined as the skilled and controlled use of essential oils for physical and emotional health and well-being. Science is now confirming what has been known for centuries: essential oils have healing properties on both physical and emotional levels. Absorbed through the skin and via the olfactory-brain connection through inhalation, they have been considered among the most therapeutic and rejuvenating of all botanical extracts throughout the ages.”
Valerie Gennari Cooksley, Aromatherapy: Soothing Remedies to Restore, Rejuvenate and Heal
For Your Home
- Use Quality Air Filtration
- Use a Humidifier if needed
- Use Organic Cleaners
- Require hand washing before and after meals and with each bathroom use
- Change Bed Linens weekly
- Change pillow cases daily for those who have cold or flu symptoms
- Vacuum/Dust Regularly
- Air-out Home Frequently
- Use a quality aromatherapy diffuser: Diffuse Quality Essential Oils such as lemon grass, tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus
More Flu-Preventative Measure
Other important non-pharmaceutical interventions for preventing influenza can be recalled by using the acronym “WHACK”, as in “WHACK the Flu” (Stebbins 2011; Yardley 2011; Mayo Clinic 2011). These flu-preventative measures should be taught to children as well as adults.
|W ash or sanitize your hands frequently.|
|H ome is where you should be when you are sick.|
|A void touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.|
|C over your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inner crook of your elbow.|
|K eep your distance from sick people when possible or wear a mask.|
In addition to avoiding those infected with influenza, the CDC also recommends all linens, eating utensils, and dishes used by sick individuals be thoroughly washed in a dishwasher or by hand with soap and water prior to being used by anyone else (CDC 2011a).
Natural Remedies for the Flu and Cold
Yes, there are many excellent options you can implement, if you find the flu is knocking at your door. The best course of action is to use therapies that will relieve symptoms and boost the immune system to avoid complications. Many of the suggestions listed above for flu and cold prevention can also be used for active cold and/or flu.
- Drink lots of fluids, filtered water being the best choice. Herbal teas and diluted fruit juices are good as well. Fluids are extremely important for several reasons. First they keep the respiratory tract moist, which makes it harder for viruses to do their dirty work. Secondly, fluids stimulate the white blood cells and make them more effective.
- Vitamin D3
- Selenium – Selenium lessens the severity of illness, reduces “cytokine storm” and supports immunity. The best dose is 200 mcg daily. Selenium acts like a birth-control pill for viruses, limiting their replication.
- High-allicin garlic
- Nascent Iodine
- Mycozil – All-natural blend of potent herbs and enzymes that support detoxification of yeast and undesirable fungal organisms.
- Colloidal Silver – Before the antibiotic era, it was common to us silver solutions to treat wounds and infections.
- Fire Cider Cold & Flu Recipe – A great folk remedy to have on-hand for the cold and flu season.
- Healthy Diet – Eat small amounts of highly nutritious foods, such as organic fruits and vegetables. Try to incorporate into your diet anti-fungal fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, etc.
- Homemade Chicken Soup – A good recipe for homemade chicken soup can help; in fact, many swear by this. Not only is this comfort food tasty, but loaded up with garlic, onions, ginger, and cayenne pepper, it contains healing properties too. It can also fight congestion and boost the immune system. See my homemade Healthy Chicken Soup Recipe.
- Get plenty of rest. The more you rest, the faster you will heal.
- Use a vaporizer. A vaporizer with a natural herbal mixture of eucalyptus or menthol can help with congestion and may make it easier to sleep. It can also help relieve coughs, especially those dry, hacking coughs that tend to linger after the flu and colds.
- Homeopathic remedies: Oscillococcimum (take at the first signs of flu); Aconitum napellus, Belladonna and Eupatorium perfoliatum – help to ease flu symptoms. Caution: Do not use this formula if pregnant.
- Stay home! If you have the flu, stay home! Sickness-warriors notoriously take longer to heal and end up unnecessarily exposing everyone in their path to the flu.
More Helpful Herbal & Supplement Strategies for Flu and Cold Season
- Cat’s claw may cut the duration of the flu.
- Wild Mediterranean Oregano Oil: anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-bacterial
- Olive Leaf Extract
- Cayenne (capsicum) helps to keep mucus flowing, aiding in preventing congestion and headaches.
- Monolaurin: I highly recommend a product called Lauricidin
- Colloidal Silver: Has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. I recommend ACS200 Extra Strength.
- Elderberry: antiviral, anti-inflammatory, stimulates sweating, helps runny noses. Reduces aches, pain and fever. Israeli research has confirmed the activity of elderberry extracts against the influenza virus.
- Forsythia: anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, fever reducer
- Ginger: pain and fever reducer, cough suppressant, settles the stomach, helps with sleep
- Grapefruit seed extract: anti-viral
- Astragalus: immune system booster, helps the body deal with stress. Do not use astragalus in the presence of a fever.
- Boneset infusion: expectorant and eliminates mucus from lungs. Do not use on a daily basis for more than one week.
- Honeysuckle: anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, fever reducer
- Echinacea: This one does it all! Lessens: sore throat, fatigue, chills, sweating, body aches, and headaches. Do not take echinacea for longer than three months.
- Slippery elm: good for sore throats and coughs
- Schisandra: boosts immune system, builds endurance.
- Yarrow: reduces chills
- Cordyceps: aids respiration, boosts immune system
- Zinc: immune system booster, helps with many symptoms of respiratory illnesses. Great for colds too. I recommend zinc orotate at the first sign of a cold or flu. Do not take zinc at the same time you eat or drink citrus fruits or juices. It will diminish the effectiveness of the zinc.
- Anise seed: helps with nausea, gas, encourages sweating, helps expectorate phlegm
- Goldenseal: fever reducer, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory
- Lomatium: aids in quick recovery from flu. Native Americans often use this for respiratory illnesses
- Licorice: anti-viral properties
- Reishi mushroom: excellent booster for the body while under stress
- Vitamin C: great for lessening symptoms and duration of flu and related illnesses. Vitamin C is great to take along with other supplements, as it characteristically works as a catalyst to help other remedies
- Garlic: antiviral and antibiotic properties, has killed flu viruses in laboratory tests. Also immune booster
- Beta Carotene: found in yellow vegetables such as pumpkin, squash, and carrots. The body converts this substance into Vitamin A
- Ginseng: immune system booster
- Wild indigo: immune system booster
- Chickweed, ginkgo biloba, mullein, lobelia, black radish: all of these herbs have shown promise in helping to relieve various symptoms related to lung illnesses. Check with your healthcare practitioner.
Warning: Your Flu-Like Symptoms May Not Be The Flu!
When most people talk about flu symptoms, they usually do not suspect that they may also have a coinfection with a fungus (mold) that could be causing some of their symptoms or prohibit them from getting well after they take antibiotics.
Many molds (fungi) such as Aspergillus, Histoplasma, Cryptococcus, Candida, Coccidioides and Stachybotrys that are well known to cause flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, sore throat, irritated, itchy throat, chills, headache, chest pain, body aches, and even asthma.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, “Fungal diseases in the lungs are often similar to other illnesses such as the flu or tuberculosis. Some fungal diseases like fungal meningitis and bloodstream infections are less common than skin and lung infections but can be deadly.”
The fungus known as Histoplasma can cause you to have flu-like symptoms such as a fever, cough, fatigue (extreme tiredness), chills, headache, chest pain, and body aches. The CDC says that Histoplasma can cause a disease known as histoplasmosis and symptoms may appear between 3 and 17 days after a person breathes in the fungal spores, and for some people histoplasmosis can develop into a long-term lung infection, or it can spread from the lungs to other parts of the body, such as the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).
Fungal meningitis also causes flu symptoms. The different types of fungi include Cryptococcus, Candida, Histoplasma, and Coccidioides.
Valley Fever is another serious fungal infection caused by the mold Coccidioides, which live in the soil. It is prevalent in the Southwest U.S. and causes flulike symptoms. There were more than 22,000 cases of Valley Fever reported in the Southwest in 2011, up from 2,265 cases in 1998, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Because fungus particles spread through the air, it’s nearly impossible to completely avoid exposure to this fungus in these hardest-hit states,” CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a statement. “It’s important that people be aware of Valley Fever if they live in or have travelled to the southwest United States,” he said.
If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms and issues with your lungs, consider the fact that mold (fungus) may be the cause of your symptoms or the possibility of a coinfection. This is especially true if you have experienced previous exposure to mold, whether it is outdoors or in your home. If you do not know if you have mold in your home and suffer from mysterious illnesses, allergies and or asthma, it is imperative that you have your home tested for mold (fungus). As with most health issues, prevention through a healthy diet, exercise, hand-washing, stress reduction and common sense is far more effective than anything that can be done once an illness has taken hold. Remember that once influenza/flu has taken hold in the very young and the elderly, severe complications can quickly arise. Please see your healthcare provider immediately if your symptoms become severe. We, as Americans, can have a great impact on our personal and national health by simply choosing to pursue wellness in a proactive manner.
CAUTION: Before using any supplements or herbs, always check with a trusted healthcare practitioner for any contraindications (especially with medications) that may affect your health situation. If your flu symptoms worsen or other symptoms appear, speak to your healthcare practitioner immediately.
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