‘Tis the season for cooler weather, ball games,, and that dreaded three-letter word, the flu. While it may already be in full swing, there are still ways to prepare and protect yourself from catching the virus. And if you’re already feeling under the weather, there are several steps you can take to feel better faster without piling on medications that will just make you feel groggy and worse. Here’s what to do to make this flu season go smoothly.
Preparing for Flu Season
While the time can vary each year, generally speaking, flu season in the United States starts around October, but can last as late as May. According to the CDC, we usually see a spike during the winter months of December-February, but that doesn’t mean you should let down your defenses once these months pass.1 With an expected upswing in reported flu cases this season, taking precaution and being prepared is a great first line of defense, especially if you’re one of the lucky individuals who hasn’t contracted the virus yet. Here are some tips on how to minimize the possible spread of influenza, as well as what to have on hand should you or someone in your family come down with the virus.2
- Get into a habit of disinfecting items daily that you come into contact with such as handles, knobs, computers, cell phones, counter tops, etc.
- If you use a humidifier, make sure you clean it frequently
- Ensure your thermometer works properly
- Emphasize frequent hand washing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Make sure your fridge and pantry are stocked with healthy food and supplies, especially those that boost your immune system
- Go to bed at a decent hour and get plenty of rest; when you sleep, your body releases protective cytokines, which boost immune function
- Drink plenty of fluids; water carries oxygen to your cells, allowing your body’s systems to operate properly, and purges toxins
- Exercise regularly, which helps to flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways and lowers stress hormones
- Get the flu vaccine
Another step you should take is updating your medicine cabinet to ensure you have the proper medication on hand if flu symptoms do occur, in addition to checking their expiration date and possible contraindications to other medications. An option to consider is adding Brillia Health’s Cold-Flu Recovery as your go-to medication should you or a family member catch the flu, as well as their Cough Control if a cough comes along too or as part of the symptoms of the flu. Both products' targeted ingredients are gentle, yet highly effective, and are clinically proven to help to shorten the duration and severity of symptoms by increasing your body's natural immune response. This includes the symptoms of COVID-19 too. They are safe to use in conjunction with other medications, do not contain the harsh, synthetic chemicals that so many OTC cold and flu medications are made of, and they come without potential side effects.
In fact, Brillia Health Cold-Flu Recovery has been shown to work better than Tamiflu, one of the most commonly prescribed antiviral medications for the flu, and no prescription is needed. Tamiflu is also associated with side effects like abdominal pain, bloating, chest pain, diarrhea, drooling, and irregular heartbeat.3 And Brillia Health Cough Control is clinically proven to work better than codeine, one of the most commonly prescribed medications for cough, which is essentially a narcotic. Codeine is known to cause side effects such as shallow breathing, a slow heart rate, lightheadedness, confusion, changes in mental state, and in some cases, seizures.4
2022 Cold & Flu Season Forecast and Predictions
Although the 2020 flu season was mostly uneventful — the CDC reported less than 2,500 cases between September 2020 to April 2021 compared to the 39 million reported the previous year — the 2021-2022 season is shaping up to be much more active. While last year’s dip was the result of our behaviors surrounding COVID-19, which included nationwide mask mandates, staying at home, being socially distant, and paying extra attention to personal hygiene (i.e. hand washing), the shift to life getting relatively “back to normal” has resulted in more relaxed behavior, even with recent surges in new variants. School is in-person, people are heading back into the workplace, less mask wearing due to being (or not being) vaccinated, and more social, indoor gatherings.5
According to the CDC, from October 2021 to February 2022, there have been more than 3.7 million flu illnesses, around 44,000 flu hospitalizations, and an estimated 3,600 flu deaths.6 The CDC’s team lead in the Domestic Influenza Surveillance Team, Lynette Brammer said in earlier months that although it was hard to predict exactly what was going to happen, it was quite possible that influenza rates were going to soar to pre-pandemic levels.7 Although the actual numbers were lower than she anticipated, there are still reasons to be vigilant. After all, the best defense against getting sick is being proactive with preventive steps.
Flu Season & COVID-19
You may have heard the expression that flu season 2021-2022 is a “twindemic” or a “flurona,” that is, the flu season and COVID-19 are both happening at the same time, and both surging at the same time too. According to CNET, after Israel reported its first case of a double infection in early January, an unvaccinated teen in California also tested positive for both viruses a few days later.8 The Mayo Clinic confirms that it is very possible you could become infected with both viruses at the same time, and it can be difficult to determine what you have since there are so many overlapping symptoms like fever, cough, tiredness, muscle aches, and nasal congestion.9 Both viruses can also lead to serious complications like pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and even organ failure. However, the Mayo Clinic explains that COVID-19 symptoms generally appear two to 14 days after exposure, while flu symptoms usually appear about one to four days after exposure.
Getting tested will be your best determinant and preventing the spread is incredibly important. Continue to wear a mask indoors and outdoors, stay socially distant, avoid large gatherings, wash hands frequently, and consider getting both the COVID-19 and flu vaccines to help minimize risk and exposure. And make sure to have Brillia Health’s Cold-Flu Recovery and Cough Control on hand to help you minimize downtime and recover better and faster.
Dealing With Flu Season at School
With most kids back in the classroom, and a higher flu rate this season, it’s important to know what to do to keep you and your family safe and healthy this time of year. If your kids are back in school, it is recommended to get them vaccinated for the flu and COVID-19 as soon as possible (if they are eligible). Along with encouraging them to practice good hygiene and adopt a healthy lifestyle, such as eating well, staying active, and getting enough sleep, here are some other ways you can keep your kids safe and healthy during flu season:
Discourage sharing: While “sharing is caring,” there are some items that are not meant to “spread the love.” Things like chapstick/lipstick, musical instruments, food and drinks, sports equipment, towels, earbuds/headphones, etc. should be kept to their rightful owner. Also remind your kids to wash their hands often and maybe even equip them with an alcohol-based sanitizer to carry around in their backpack.
Manage stress as a family: Stress wreaks havoc on the immune system and can make your child more susceptible to illnesses. Parents can model positive ways to deal with stress and have open conversations with their kids about any worries that may be coming up around illness.
Use supplements: Work immune-boosting supplements into your child’s juices or smoothies like spirulina, hemp protein, zinc, chia seeds and more.
Know when to call the doctor: If your child is displaying symptoms of a flu, you’ll want to get them tested to rule out COVID-19 and you’ll want them to isolate either way to prevent the spread. While the flu and COVID-19 typically resolve on their own, it’s important to know when symptoms are pointing to a more serious complication. Call your child’s pediatrician if symptoms worsen after a few days.
Brillia Health's Cold-Flu Recovery and Cough Control are great options for both children and adults. The Cold-Flu Recovery product is safe for children as young as one and the Cough Control product can be used for children over age three. Gentle and impactful, this homeopathic medication will not only help to decrease the severity of symptoms, but the products are also clinically proven to shorten the duration of illness without any harsh chemicals or harmful side effects. Find out more about how Brillia Health products work and visit the Brillia Health blog for more resources on how to keep your immune system healthy all year long.
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