Hundreds of millions of people around the world have been alerted to the alarming specter of avian influenza – although fewer than 200 people, at the time this article is being written, have actually contracted the disease
But this year between 250,000,000 and 500,000,000 people around the world will catch and between 250,000 and 500,000 people around the world will die of other strains of influenza, and no one is sounding any alarms.
Dont let the better known forms of the flu catch you unprepared. The keys to not catching the flu are common sense measures to prevent infection and vitamin antioxidant boosters for your immune system.
The commonsense measures for avoiding colds and flu are blissfully simple:
Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.
If you simply wash your hands before you touch your mouth, face, or nose, and afterwards, the journal Applied Environmental Microbiology tells us, you kill up to 99.7 percent of the viruses you contact.
Warm water and ordinary soap are sufficient. Its only necessary to use them consistently.
And for your vitamin anti-infective antioxidants, the liquid vitamins you are already taking may be enough. The prescription your doctor is likely to give you is not likely to be any better than the vitamins you are already taking.
An article found in a 1933 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association stated cynically that “it is possible to convince the public that practically any preparation is of value for the prevention or treatment of colds” and flu.
Indeed, if you live in the United States, theres a good chance that what your doctor will give you wont help the flu. An astonishing 60 percent of American physicians prescribe antibiotics for colds and flu, even though viruses cause colds and flu and antibiotics only treat bacterial infections.
Over-the-counter remedies only offer hit or miss relief. The older antihistamines, like diphenhydramine (Benadryl), relieve sneezing and snot but they cause drowsiness and scratchy throat. The new non-sedating antihistamines dont relieve colds and flu at all.
Nose sprays relieve laryngitis and coughing along with clearing up nasal drainage, but they do this by stopping a signal from the brain to produce mucus. Without ongoing production of mucus, you are at constant risk of reinfection. There is nothing to carry away the viruses your immune system misses.
And there are prescription medications that help some people, like Tamiflu and Relenza, but youll have trouble getting them during this years flu season. So what do you do?
For starters, try zinc. Zinc is almost a miracle drug for colds and flu.
A 2002 medical study involving 218 volunteers found that using a nasal spray with zinc gluconate reduced the duration of a cold by 7 days.
Colds lasted an average of 9 days without zinc, and just 2 days among volunteers who took zinc the first day they had symptoms.
And you dont have to take zinc in a nasal spray as long as you are getting the right kind of zinc. That is, you need to be getting zinc gluconate, not zinc acetate or zinc sulfate.
The reason for this is that zinc stops viral infections by literally repelling them. Zinc carries a positive charge, as does the virus.
When zinc is absorbed into the lining of cells, its positive charge repels the positive charge on the virus and the virus is not able to cause infection.
If you are taking zinc lozenges, they have to taste bad to be good. Flavoring agents such as citric and tartaric acids stop zincs actions against colds and flu viruses (although sweeteners such as mannitol or sorbitol or any other kind of sugar ending in -ol are OK).
The bitter taste of zinc is your bodys signal that it needs more – when you stop tasting zinc, your body doesnt need it.
But if you get your zinc from liquid vitamins, you may not need either nose sprays or lozenges.
Youll get a steady stream of just enough zinc to keep your cells resistant to all but the biggest doses of infectious agents. You wont get so much zinc that cells begin to repel immune system agents the same way they repel viruses.
What about vitamin C?
The first thing you need to know about vitamin C for colds and flu is that a little vitamin C helps. Even 50 milligrams a day will help you get over a cold about 2 days faster than no vitamin C at all.
The second thing you need to know is that more than 2,000 milligrams a day doesnt do any additional good. And if you can give your liver so vitamin C to process that it cant detoxify calcium channel blockers for high blood pressure (for example nifedipine, marketed as Procardia), or cyclosporine for preventing transplant rejection.
What you need to know to get a lot of protection from a little vitamin C is to disregard the old adage “Stave a fever, feed a cold.”
Refined sugars and carbohydrates in the diet produce acidity. Acidity (1) increases respiration, so breathe deeper and longer and suck down viruses further in your immune system and (2) keeps cells from responding to vitamin C. Eliminate the sugars from your diet and you will get the same results from 50 milligrams of vitamin C that you would otherwise get from 5,000!
A balanced formulation of vitamins in a liquid base can help you avoid the need for buying additional vitamin supplements during colds and flu season. Youll get enough of the vitamins you need in the form you need to go all year without an upper respiratory infection.
For purposes of preventing colds and flu, liquid vitamins sweetened with propylene glycol or sorbitol are OK, but sweeteners made from natural fruit extracts or stevia are even better. And you need to keep the bottle closed between uses. You dont want your vitamin antioxidants “anti-oxidating” the atmosphere. You want the benefits in your body. Just avoid getting too much sugar, keep the product tightly closed between uses, and wash you hands often to avoid picking up infection.