Is the Swine Flu Back?

​“Don’t pet the pigs if you go to the fair.”

As silly as this may sound, there’s a sobering truth behind it. Health officials reported that over 20 people have recently contracted some form of the swine flu after attending county fairs (in close proximity to pigs). Once this connection is made, humans can spread it to more humans.   What’s the new name for this strain? H3N2, catchy huh?

Now there’s more you can do to protect yourself than just avoid pigs. The first advice I normally give to my patients is to build their immune system (this applies to influenza and other viral infections like colds). Their next question is “how?”

First of all, look at your diet. Eat lots of “living things”. Think green. I’m not talking about recycling I’m talking about eating vegetables and fruits, in that order.

Vegetables have two important contributors to a healthy immune system.

1. Phytonutrients

Fancy name for organic compounds found in fruits, vegetables, seeds and even some teas. (E.g. beta carotene found in carrots)

These phytonutrients have tons of benefits, one of them being that it strengthens your immune system and helps remove unwanted toxins from the body.

2. Prebiotics

Basically prebiotics help fertilize the probiotics (good bacteria) in your body.

Probiotics/prebiotics give you a healthy gut, which means a healthy immune system. Having a healthy gut is crucial to avoiding many illnesses and diseases. Add swine flu to the list.

Another thing to protect you and your family is to raise your sanitary standards. Have hand sanitizer in your car, office and home. Find one with vitamin E or aloe so it doesn’t dry out your skin. I like hand sanitizer because you don’t need a sink to use it. Soap and water works too.

I read an article recently about air travel and how most diseases were transmitted by the things you touch rather than the air inside the plane. Think like a doctor and sanitize your hands.

Vaccine?

Our Summit Urgent Care Clinics do give the flu vaccine to our patients and we go onsite for companies if they so desire. Just to tell you a bit about how it works, each year the FDA/CDC decides which flu strains they want to cover. Part of the difficulty with this is they have to decide a bit early in the year so they have time to get it ready for the masses. The good news is, they did choose H1N1 and H3N2 this year.

Some more good news for those who have “needle-phobia.” We now offer intra-dermal flu vaccines, which means it has a shorter needle and we don’t inject it into the muscle. So you won’t have the muscle cramp feeling the rest of the day. Take your pick.

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