Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Recover faster if you get the flu....

Today's Post:  Tuesday, 10-6-2015

Last week we posted on how the flu shot and 7,000 to 10,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 if you do both makes getting the flu far less likely. 

Taking that much vitamin D3 makes it far less likely to get the kinds of flu not covered by the flu shot. 

If you have been taking that much D3 when you get the flu shot, the flu shot is more likely to prevent the flu and will prevent it totally, not just have you get a mild case. 

And, even if you get a kind of flu the flu shot doesn’t cover, by escaping the flu you might have gotten that was covered, you’ll have the flu less this season.

But what if you get the flu before you get the flu shot or get some kind of flu anyway after you do those things?

1.  Drink extra water!

Doctors always say to do this.  But their style of saying this is often such that it comes off like, “we can’t do much to make your cold or flu go away but try these.”

That’s horrible and truly unfortunate because drinking enough water is critically important for three reasons.

a) Drinking extra water will keep you much more able to function and avoid feeling light headed.

It’s dramatically better than not being able to walk around safely and feeling extra depleted on top of just feeling sick.

It’s a powerful effect that benefits you.  Always do it for that reason alone.

b) It’s safer, much safer, because the dehydration you get otherwise can
       be directly harmful,
    cause falls and accidents,
  and dehydration from being sick may set you up for getting dangerous follow on bacterial infections like pneumonia.

c)  Because of the drying effects of the fever, which in and of itself boosts your immune system and helps you kill viruses, it’s extremely easy to get dehydrated because you don’t feel thirsty; plus what thirst you do have may not be as noticeable due to feeling sick.

So do two things.  Schedule extra tea or water breaks by the clock.   And, do what I call rotating water:  as soon as you have to visit the bathroom because of the extra water intake, RIGHT THEN, replace what you just lost by drinking some more water.

2.  Reduce chest congestion if you get it:

Chest congestion makes you feel worse and having it while you try to sleep can impair your breathing and effective rest or the extra coughing can slash your sleep a lot.

Worse, the gunk can grow bronchitis germs or even pneumonia.

But did you know that it’s partly optional to keep it around?

Studies found people who always eat hot, spicy foods usually don’t have those problems.

What I just found really effective and not too harsh is to do two things:

When you get up and have coffee add about 10 to 14 shakes of cayenne pepper.  (This also helps your sore throat feel better once the hot, spicy feeling wears off.)

At bedtime, do the same with decaf!

And, in both cases, keep some paper towels or toilet pepper handy for the runny nose and stuff you will cough up and be rid of!

3.  Take MORE vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 is to your immune system what electricity or gasoline or diesel fuel is to your car.   The more you get the stronger and better armed your immune system becomes.
And, I had read that in one very bad year for flu in Europe many people died.  Then some research was done that found the almost all the people who died were severely deficient in vitamin D3.

The owner at my local health food store has believed in vitamin D3 even more than I have.  In particular, my intake of 8200 iu a day got my D3 blood level to 83 on one test and 82 on another.  That’s high enough to be quite health protective.  And with 15,000 to 25,000 easily possible from summer sun exposure and quite safe, 8200 iu a day clearly is also!

But when I caught the very bad flu last winter and it seemed unusually slow to get over it, the owner of our local health food store said that it would help to take 50,000 iu a day of D3. 

That's likely safe; but I'm a bit more conservative than that normally. 

But I was tired of having the flu hang on though, so I added an extra 25,000 iu a day
-- and immediately, literally that day and the next two days, my flu got much less and shortly I got over it.  So, it DID seem to help! In fact it was dramatically effective.

To be accurate, I had been doing all the other things I know to make it go away.  So some of that good effect was likely from the cumulative effect of those and I was possibly close to getting over it anyway.

But I think 90% of the effect was from the extra vitamin D3 for two reasons. 

a)  Almost immediately two things happened for me, I totally stopped feeling sick on the very first day AND despite feeling better my fever went up boosting the dickens out of my immune response without discomfort to me.

And, after two days of that higher fever that clearly was my immune system turned up to its maximum setting, the fever left too.

b) Since my wife started the extra vitamin D3 the same day I did and got the same effect, I am convinced the vitamin D3 did the job.

So if you are sick with the bad flu now or get it or one like it later, this is for sure one to try.

(Stores that sell supplements as a sideline, carry up to 5,000 iu of vitamin D3.  So you can take an extra 5 a day of those.  But you can get 25,000 iu capsules at many health food stores which are more convenient to take.

To avoid the flu, I now take 10,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 from Solgar in addition to the 8200 iu a day I was taking. 

If I begin to get sick, I immediately add 20,000 more by taking three of the 10,000 iu capsules instead of just one.  That 38,200 total is less than the 50,000 the health food store owner suggested; but in my case it was effective!)

4.  Other things that can help if you get a bad cold or flu:

a) This one may surprise you!  Traditionally people who get colds and flu take aspirin or ibuprofen such as Advil or acetaminophen such as Tylenol. 

This brings down the fever.  But here is the surprise: That makes the flu worse and last longer too!

The fever is the early warning system of your immune system.  It warns you to get extra rest because you are sick; but more importantly, it flags the killer cells of your immune system to kill the flu viruses!

Think about it.  Do you really want to turn down the attack on the flu viruses?  Wouldn’t you rather keep that at full strength as long as you can?

You can drink extra water or get extra rest or do something mentally distracting instead of taking the drugs.  Meanwhile your immune system will stay at full strength killing off flu viruses.

If you do that, you’ll get well sooner.  You’ll save the extra trip to the store and the expense of buying the OTC drugs. 

AND, you’ll avoid the drug side effects.  Aspirin causes bleeding serious enough it has even killed people at times.  Ibuprofen increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.  And acetaminophen tends to cause liver damage and high doses have killed people that way.

b)  Consider taking probiotics because they protect themselves by killing viruses and bacteria that invade their space which also protects YOU!

b)  Consider taking 30 to 45 mg a day of zinc (with 2 or 3 mg a day of copper to balance it unless you cannot have any) boosts the strength of your immune system.  

Doubling that amount of zinc to 60 to 90 mg the first day or two if you do get sick can help.  Oddly, taking more after that is worse than taking none!  Go back to 30 to 45 mg a day instead.

c) The herb astragalus is now available as a supplement and also boosts your immune system.  It also tends to lengthen your telomeres and slow aging according to other sources.

d)  Consider taking an anti-viral and antibacterial that kills both bacteria AND viruses AND even kills cold viruses -- and has even killed bacteria not well or effectively treated by antibiotics.

I saw a study on Medical News Today that found that taking olive leaf extract tested as doubly effective against insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes caused by too little insulin!  (I did a post recently that included that use.)

Then I found that olive leaf extract also tested to lower mild high blood pressure.

(In fact, the active ingredients are in extra virgin olive oil and may well be one of the reasons the Mediterranean diet is so health protective in people who eat almost only extra virgin olive oil.)

But I thought I remembered hearing or reading that olive leaf extract was also a natural antiviral and antibacterial agent.

So I went online and searched for it.

The article I found said olive leaf extract does do both of those things.

In my experience it is not as strong as vitamin D3.  But the broad coverage it has is so desirable, I’ve personally taken olive leaf extract daily since I read of it.

e)  Vitamin C may not prevent colds and flu as once thought. 

But taking 500 mg of vitamin C -- from once a day to five times a day --  and eating organic vegetables and organic fruit has done these two things:

It has been shown to make the symptoms of colds and flu a bit less harsh. 

And, in people who are stressed or exercising hard, it may help prevent you getting them.  To me that suggests taking it also helps you get well a bit faster.  

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