How to: Not get sick

The basics are diet, water, exercise and sleep. A diet full of natural healthy foods and exercise, naturopaths also endorse natural products and additions to boost the body’s immune system. Never was this more apparent to me today as I sit at home (Day Five) with H1N1 (swine) flu.

Influenza, known as the flu, is an infectious disease that effects birds and mammals. The most common symptoms of the flu are chills, fever, muscle pains, severe headache, fatigue, coughing, and general feelings of being unwell. Sore throats, fevers, and coughs are most frequent of symptoms. Typically, it is spread in the air by coughing and sneezing creating aerosols of the virus. It can also come in direct contact through secretions and contaminated surfaces.
h1n1 swine flu mask
Media coverage is everywhere. H1N1 is the #1 topic of discussion on radio, tv and all multimedia. Not only on your local news , international news but also making the news world wide. Manufacturers of hand sanitizers and disinfectant hand soaps are selling out of products and shelves go bare. In Canada, if you walk into your local medical center or hospital you will be asked to use hand sanitizer and wear a mask if you enter with a cough. The most interesting experience I had recently was going to a medical center for a prescription renewal and being asked three times if I would like to get the seasonal flu shot because it was free and today happened to be immunization day. “You happened to come in on the right day and we can fit you in right away!”

Wow. I was confused. Had I suddenly “supersized” my medicines? Today was buy one, get one free day at the local medical clinic!

There are strong debates for and against immunization and I will not promote either. However, after my recent experiences, I can offer the following advice.

Educate Yourself

Ask questions of your health care provider(s). It is your body. Ultimately, it is your choice. As a species, each day we make choices intentionally and unintentionally. We make choices with the best information we have at the time. Think of it this way: As you go grocery shopping, do you read the boxes for the ingredients and nutritional value so that you can choose what best supports your body? Why would knowing what is being injected into your body be any different?

I have come to realize that less is more and I am interested in doing things that contribute to healthy lifestyle. Eating more nutrient rich foods, eliminating processed foods, drinking more water, being active, getting more rest, and as I suddenly reflect, I see that I was not listening to the signals my body was sending me. Life got busy and as I do, I quickly swam with the current and at times against it. It took this illness to realize it.

Health Is Not Valued Until Sickness Comes

 

So, here I am, with time on my hands and time to think. After all, when you are dealing with symptoms that don’t allow you to do much else, you have plenty of time to think. I’ve had to make some decisions with regards to medications to now treat the severity of my illness and have had to go down the pharmaceutical route much to my dislike but in other cases have chosen not to buy over the counter medications to treat the symptoms.

If you have the flu or flu like symptoms, and think you may have H1N1, I would like to offer the following suggestions. I am not a medical doctor and these are from my own person experiences and have worked for me personally. They may not be right for you.

Christina’s Personal Survival Guide to H1N1

Fluids: Drink plenty of water, decaffeinated teas and my favorite is Ginger Tea. Take fresh ginger root and grate into pot of boiling water. Allow to simmer for five minutes. Pour into mug and enjoy with honey if you choose. The ginger root will act as a natural decongestant and expectorant if you are suffering from mucus. It will also prevent some coughing and if you are suffering from nausea it will help with digestion. The flu will result in excess sweating and it is crucial that you replenish fluids lost by consuming fluids every hour. Remember, our bodies are 70% water.

Rest and Sleep: Surrendering to sleep can be a hard thing to do if you are an active or busy person. So, instead of going on Facebook and playing Mafia Wars until the wee hours of the morning, why not turn off the lights and go to sleep? Sleep is the time to recharge, rest and rebuild the body. Muscle aches, decreased energy and fatigue will remind you soon enough what you sometimes need is more rest.

Quarantine Yourself: Be Kind to others. If you think you have H1N1 or any other flu, please, stay at home. Allow yourself to stay at home until the symptoms have left and you don’t pass along your illness to others. This is a hard one. I know because I’ve gone to work or functions while sick because I felt obligated or guilty if I didn’t fulfill my commitments. I have a better understanding and respect for my health and the health of others. Keep family members and loved ones flu free by cleaning around yourself and if you can, preventing contact.

Disinfect Your Surroundings: Find a good disinfectant / antibacterial product and wipe down all the common surfaces of your home. The telephone including keypad, light switches, door knobs, kitchen cabinet knobs, fridge handles, toilet flusher handle, remote controls, computer keyboards and any other common surfaces that are touched by yourself or other members of your family.

Today, after a health assessment it has been recommended that I stay home now for a week until my symptoms clear and I am in good health again. I am with people everyday so this will be one of the most interesting challenges that the Universe has sent to me.

–Christina

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