How to prevent ‘catching’ the flu this season

None of us actively goes out and seeks ‘catching’ the flu, however, how many of us are actively doing things to avoid the flu bug. One of the more important things every one of us can do is obtain the flu vaccine each year as prevention. Many patients ask me during the fall months if they should get a flu shot, and the answer is a resounding yes. Almost every person over the age of 6 months should receive the influenza vaccine; however check with your health care provider if you have special health concerns. The influenza vaccine is a ‘dead’ virus that cannot cause the flu. You may feel soreness in the arm after the injection, but the vaccine will not give you the flu. If you get the flu later in the season anyway, rest assured it probably would be a milder case than without vaccination.

Symptoms of the influenza flu developed suddenly with a high fever. Often patients with the flu state it feels like they have been beat with a baseball bat. Aching muscles, sore throat, and general malaise usually accompany the fever.

Once you ‘catch’ the flu the best treatment is to see your health care professional early and start an antiviral within 1-2 days from onset of symptoms. Then rest, drink fluids, treat the fever with Advil or Tylenol depending on your provider’s suggestion. Expect to be ill for about a week to ten days.

The CDC recommends avoiding close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick.You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

At All Care Bone and Joint Clinics we stress the importance of healthy living to build up the immune system and help prevent illness. Through exercise, manipulation, and education, we are on the cutting edge in helping our patients achieve a healthier lifestyle.

Question: I am advanced in years and have been told that glucosamine might help my arthritis. Would this help me and what other therapy is available to treat osteoarthritis?

Answer: Many people with arthritis have questions regarding glucosamine, with or without the chondroitin added. Some benefits of using this supplement are its anti-inflammatory effects and it encourages stimulation of cartilage. It usually takes about a month to rebuild this cartilage, and during that time, our patients find physical rehab to the joint affected and laser therapy helpful in reducing pain and inflammation. The usual dose of glucosamine is 500 mg three times a day, some side effects to watch for are upset stomach. In addition, patients using the blood thinner coumadin or warfarin should check with their heatlh care practitioner as the combination can increase anticoagulation.

Question: I had my cholesterol done at a health fair and was told it was high. What options are available to lower my level?

Answer: With our sedentary lifestyle and aging population many people are facing this very condition. Here at the clinic we emphasize lifestyle changes such as exercise and eating healthy as a good start to lower cholesterol. These simple efforts can do much to lower our risk factors for many health problems, including high cholesterol levels. The National Institute of Health published a guideline for health care professionals regarding lowering of cholesterol. that organization recommends our LDL or low density cholesterol, be below 100 (70 if you have known heart disease or diabetes).