How your family can fight the flu this winter

Waiting to take action can dramatically delay recovery time

THINKSTOCK

NEW HAVEN,Conn. (WTNH) —  Just before you start mingling with your friends and family this holiday season, you will want to be armed for the flu.

Joining WTNH Sunday, Dr. Ken Redcross, a physician specialized in internal medicine, shares what we need to know to avoid getting really sick this flu season.

Flu denial runs rampant this time of year. There are those of us who are convinced we are invincible to the flu bug and others of us who just don’t have the time to fit a doctor visit into our schedules. But whatever your excuse may be when it comes to flu prevention, it’s time to face the harsh reality that, according to statistics, there’s a high likelihood you could get hit with flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, body aches and pain) this season no matter what you do.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average adult can expect to contract two to three colds each year, which doesn’t even take into account contracting the flu. And the Mayo Clinic reports children are susceptible to up to 10 colds a year!

“In the same way you get ready for hurricane season, there is actually a lot you can do to get ready for flu season,” said Dr. Redcross, board-certified internal medicine physician and founder of Redcross Concierge, a personalized medical practice designed to enhance the patient-doctor relationship while providing convenient access to a full spectrum of healthcare services and holistic and wellness counseling. “You shouldn’t wait until the flu strikes; you should make sure your house is flu-ready and a plan is in place to take action within 48 hours of the first site of flu symptoms.”

Redcross recommends stocking up on specific flu supplies and creating an emergency plan with clinic and doctor phone numbers so they are easily accessible when you need them. He says  for an extra two or three weeks.

“It’s only human nature for most people to experience a little denial that they actually have the flu and to then think they can tough it out on their own for a few days, hoping it will just go away,” said Redcross who was on the forefront of developing “minute” style emergency clinics with his Medi-Stop clinic where he treated many patients with cold and flu symptoms and other minor medical ailments. “The key to nipping the flu in the bud is to stock up on flu supplies in preparation and go into action at the first sign of symptoms.”

Below are seven common flu symptoms that Dr. Redcross says to be on alert for this season. 

1) A 100 degree Fahrenheit or higher fever or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu has a fever)

2) A cough and/or sore throat

3) A runny or stuffy nose

4) Headaches and/or body aches

5) Chills

6) Fatigue

7) Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea (most common for children)

Redcross also shares how to get flu-ready with his ultimate ‘flu survival pack’, four must-have emergency flu fighters to keep in stock:

1) Probiotics: the same live cultures that can ease digestive stress can also stave of colds.

Research conducted in 2012 compared two groups of college students suffering from colds: The group that took a probiotic supplement with Lactobacillus rhamnosus recovered two days earlier and had symptoms that were 34 percent less severe.

2) Oscillococcinum (or Oscillo for short): an easy-to-take, low-cost homeopathic medicine that can be used on children as young as 2. Clinical studies show that Oscillo shortens both the severity and duration of flu symptoms. The latest study published in a British scientific journal found that when patients took Oscillo within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms nearly 63 percent showed “clear improvement” or “complete resolution” within 48 hours.

3) Chicken Soup: has properties that slow the movement of infection-fighting white blood cells, according to research published in the journal Chest, and when white cells move more slowly, they spend more time in the areas of the body that need them most. The steam from the soup also helps open stuffed-up nasal passages, and the salty broth can soothe a sore throat.

4) Zinc Lozenges: pop them as soon as you feel symptoms set in. Zinc is a mineral essential to the cells of the immune system, and a 2013 Cochrane Library analysis of 18 trials found that ingesting daily dose of 75 milligrams within 24 hours of the onset of cold symptoms reduces the duration of the illness.

Copyright 2015 WTNH

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