January 17th, 2013 → 3:25 pm @ Head Nurse
If you have been diagnosed with the flu, you should stay home and follow your health care provider’s recommendations. Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about over-the-counter and prescription medications to ease flu symptoms and help you feel better faster. Read more: http://www.flu.gov/symptoms-treatment/treatment/index.html
January 16th, 2013 → 5:52 am @ Head Nurse
If you’re suffering with the flu, you may be wondering if there’s a flu diet. After all, you’ve heard the adage “starve a fever, and feed a cold.” But what do you eat when you have both fever and cold-like symptoms that come with the flu?
Today, more than ever, we’re aware of the healing power of food to enhance immunity and aid in recovering from illness. Of course, proper nutrition is necessary for maintaining good health. But when your body battles flu symptoms for days or even weeks, your diet becomes even more essential in helping you achieve a speedy recovery. It’s critical that necessary vitamins and minerals be included in your daily diet to help you build your strength.
What Are the Benefits of Nutrients in Healing?
Nutrients are special compounds in foods that are essential to the body’s repair, growth, and wellness. Nutrients include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, and water as well as the sources of calories — carbohydrates, proteins, and fat. Some nutrients — called nonessential nutrients — are made by your body. Other nutrients — essential nutrients — must come from your diet. Any deficiency in nutrients can lead to illness if not corrected.
What Foods Help Fight Infection With Flu?
Whether you are sick with the flu or not, protein is always necessary to keep your body strong. Proteins are essential to help your body maintain and build strength. Lean meat, poultry, fish, legumes, dairy, eggs, and nuts and seeds are good sources of protein.
The FDA recommends that adults eat 50 grams of protein per day. Pregnant and nursing women need more. By eating foods high in protein, we also get the benefit of other healing nutrients such as vitamins B6 and B12, both of which contribute to a healthy immune system.
Vitamin B6 is widely available in foods, including protein foods such as turkey and beans as well as potatoes, spinach, and enriched cereal grains. Proteins such as meats, milk, and fish also contain vitamin B12, a powerful immune booster.
Minerals such as selenium and zinc work to keep the immune system strong. These minerals are found in protein rich foods such as beans, nuts, meat, and poultry.
Can Flavonoids Boost Immune Function?
Flavonoids (or bioflavonoids) include about 4,000 compounds that are responsible for the colors of fruits and flowers. Findings show that flavonoids found in the soft white skin of citrus fruits increase immune system activation. Flavonoids are found in grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and limes.
What Other Nutrients Help Fight Infection?
One nutrient that’s found to strengthen the immune system so it can fight other infections is glutathione. This powerful antioxidant is most plentiful in the red, pulpy area of the watermelon near the rind. Glutathione is also found in cruciferous vegetables like kale, collard greens, broccoli, and cabbage.
What Foods Should I Eat and Avoid if I’m Congested?
Actually, any food or beverage is fine to eat if you’re hungry or thirsty. In some people, dairy products increase mucus production. If this happens to you, avoid dairy for a few days. Dairy products may also make nausea and vomiting worse. Orange juice, especially with the pulp, is packed with vitamin C and folic acid, which help to boost immunity and speed recovery from illness. Some researchers suggest that vitamin C may even decrease the time you are sick with colds and flu.
What Should I Eat or Drink if I Have Nausea From the Flu?
It’s probably best to refrain from eating if you’re nauseated or have diarrhea. Instead, continue to sip clear beverages to keep your system well hydrated. In addition, increase your intake of fluids such as chipped ice, juices, Gatorade, ginger ale, clear broths, gelatin, and ice pops.
Start with small amounts, such as 4 to 8 ounces at a time for adults and 1 ounce or less at a time for children. Only use clear liquids (such as clear soup broth, juice, lemon-lime soda). If you’re not sure if it’s clear, put the liquid in a clear glass bowl and try to read something through it. If you can’t read, it’s not clear.
Warm decaffeinated tea with honey may help coat your throat and soothe it. Also, warm drinks work better than cold drinks for opening congested airways.
Once your stomach feels better, try the BRAT diet and slowly reintroduce whole foods back into your system. The BRAT diet, an acronym for bananas, rice, applesauce, and dry toast, is easily digested and unlikely to irritate your gastrointestinal system.
What About Grandma’s Chicken Soup?
Chicken soup is a must with cold-like symptoms. In fact, in a study published in the journal Chest, researchers confirmed that chicken soup had a mild anti-inflammatory effect that reduced symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.
A well-nourished immune system is better able to fight off infections. Once you recover from flu, make sure your diet is filled with a variety of food, colorful fruits and vegetables and legumes that are high in phytochemicals, which are natural food components that have health-boosting properties. In addition, get in bed early and aim for seven to nine hours of sleep to get your body back on the road to wellness.
Courtesy of WebMD
January 15th, 2013 → 5:10 pm @ Head Nurse
Are you or a member of your family at increased risk of getting the flu or experiencing flu-related complications? Learn who is at higher risk and special steps people in these groups should take during flu season: http://www.flu.gov/at-risk/index.html
December 5th, 2012 → 7:11 pm @ Head Nurse
There are many possible explanations for the seasonality of the flu, but recently researchers found humidity could control the ability of viruses to remain infectious while they are in droplets or aerosols. The viruses survived best at low humidity, such as those found indoors in the winter, and at extremely high humidity. Humidity affects the composition of the fluid, namely the concentrations of salts and proteins in respiratory droplets, and this affects the survival rates of the flu virus. Read more here: http://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/news/2012/12/why-is-influenza-more-common-during-winter.aspx
November 2nd, 2012 → 11:41 am @ Head Nurse
In two separate studies presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, researchers say the influenza vaccine may reduce the risk of heart related disease and death by up to 50%. That supports current recommendations that people at high risk for flu-related complications, including people with heart disease, get vaccinated.
November 1st, 2012 → 11:24 am @ Head Nurse
People with diabetes are at unique risk for flu-related complications. In recognition of American Diabetes Month, Flu.gov wants to give you the knowledge you need to fight illness this flu season.
Diabetes can weaken your immune system, which makes it harder for your body to fight the flu virus. Being sick can raise your blood glucose and prevent you from eating properly.
The best protection is to get the flu vaccine. People with diabetes should get the flu shot, not the nasal spray
October 10th, 2012 → 5:55 pm @ Head Nurse
Frequently asked questions about the flu shot and the flu.
October 1st, 2012 → 1:35 pm @ Head Nurse
Heart disease can make your body too weak to fight off the flu. The flu can make your heart disease worse.
October 1st, 2012 → 1:30 pm @ Head Nurse
Having cancer does not put you at an increased risk for getting the flu. It does, however, put you at an increased risk of complications from the flu virus.
September 22nd, 2012 → 2:00 pm @ Head Nurse
How well the flu vaccine works (or its ability to prevent influenza illness) can range widely from season to season and also can vary depending on who is being vaccinated. At least two factors play an important role in determining the likelihood that influenza vaccine will protect a person from influenza illness: 1) characteristics of the person being vaccinated (such as their age and health), and 2) the similarity or “match” between the influenza viruses in the vaccine and those spreading in the community.