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What to do with the Winter Flu?

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It shouldn't be any wonder that we get sick more in the winter, when the sunshine is limited in most places, and if tested, most of us would reveal low levels of Vitamin D, unless we are supplementing with a sufficient amount.

Vitamin D is one of the best supplements for the immune system, among literally dozens of additional benefits. This winter, if you want to stay well and want your kids to stay well consider taking vitamin D to help give your body the defense it needs against that nasty flu virus. Here is information on the flu that might come in handy if you do get sick this winter:

The Flu-Influenza
Influenza, commonly known as "the flu," is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory tract. Although the flu affects both sexes and all age groups, kids tend to get it more often than adults. The illness even has its own season — from November to April, with most cases occurring between late December and early March.

Signs and Symptoms
The flu is often confused with the common cold, but flu symptoms are usually more severe than the typical sneezing and stuffiness of a cold.
Symptoms of the flu may include:
• fever/chills
• headache
• muscle aches
• dizziness
• loss of appetite
• tiredness
• cough
• sore throat
• runny nose
• nausea or vomiting
• weakness
• ear pain
• diarrhea

After five days, fever and other symptoms have usually disappeared, but a cough and weakness may continue. All symptoms are usually gone within a week or two. However, it's important to treat the flu seriously because it can lead to pneumonia and other life-threatening complications, particularly in infants, senior citizens, and people with long-term health problems.

Contagiousness Spread by virus-infected droplets that are coughed or sneezed into the air, the flu is contagious. People infected with the flu are contagious from a day before they feel sick until their symptoms have resolved (usually about one week for adults, but can be up to two weeks for young kids).

Remember that taking care of yourself is the best way to avoid the flu for you and your family. Eating clean, whole, colorful foods, sleeping well at night, breathing deep during the day, and avoiding excessive emotional stress when possible is the key to boosting your immune system!

Stay tuned for information on the flu vaccine and if it is appropriate for you this year.

Nisha Jackson PhD, MS, WHCNP, HHP

Nisha Jackson is one of the nation's leading bio-identical hormone & wellness experts. She is the host of the nationally syndicated radio program "Just Ask Nish', columnist, lecturer, and continues to be in high demand in her Southern Oregon-based specialty practices. With no hidden agendas Nish, as she is known by her radio audience, is relentless to uncover health solutions that work. If it's effective and good for you, it's good medicine.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.