Well, here in Colorado Autumn is in full swing, and with cooler temperatures we’re beginning to see more people getting the first of the winter viruses. Cold viruses cause the majority of wintertime illnesses we see by far, with flu viruses sweeping through as well.
These cold bugs cause all the classic symptoms – fatigue, congestion, sore throat, cough – and worse in some people. Others, such as the norovirus, can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. Some people are only minimally affected by a viral infection, while others have more serious symptoms.
But the thing to keep in mind here is that a virus causes the majority of these illnesses – colds, flus, bronchitis, pneumonia, etc. What does that mean? It means that antibiotics, which only kill bacteria, will do nothing to get you better if you have one of these viral illnesses.
Because antibiotics are notoriously overprescribed, it's now becoming more common for doctors to hold off on prescribing antibiotics for these illnesses (and that’s a good thing, because over-prescribing of antibiotics is leading to drug-resistant bugs, which is a bad thing!)
So then what can you do to get healthy if you have a virus? There really aren’t any anti-viral drugs for common winter illnesses. (Tamiflu, the once-hyped anti-flu drug, has been shown to reduce symptom duration (how long you are sick for) by a whopping 12-24 hours.(1)
Here’s what I’m doing right now to keep the bugs away:
Maintain vitamin D levels; I take 5000 IU vitamin D every day now that the sun is lower and doesn’t allow for adequate manufacture in the skin. Vitamin D is an important immune-system booster that helps prevent viral infections.
Acute Immune is a powerful, yet natural anti-viral. I take 2 every day to keep my immune system up, and the bugs away.
Glutamine is an amino acid used throughout the body, and levels plummet after strenuous exercise. This is thought to contribute to a weakened immune system after exercise. I’m taking 5 grams of this powder, 3 times a day.
Monolaurin is derived from a fatty acid known as lauric acid. It has strong anti-viral effects, and works really well as a preventive medicine. I’m taking 2 capsules twice a day.
Getting enough sleep, eating enough protein, staying away from almost all sugar, and dealing with stress are probably the most important things you can do to stay healthy.
If you want to avoid getting sick, I strongly suggest you follow these recommendations. Don't wait until you get ill - by then it's too late and you have to deal with being sick!
1. Jane Burch PhD, et al. Prescription of anti-influenza drugs for healthy adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Volume 9, Issue 9, Pages 537 - 545, September 2009
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