Episode 20: Flu Prevention

The flu is a seasonal viral infection whose complications cause many deaths every year, worldwide. The people who mostly succumb to the flu are the very young, the elderly and the immune-compromised or those suffering from chronic illnesses. The causes of mortality in many of these cases, are either due to the subsequent side effects from the original infection such as bacterial co-infection, or the cytokine storm liberated by the body in an effort to kill off the virus (think SARS). A cytokine storm is basically a series of special proteins the body produces as part of the immune response that cause oxidation of invading cells and viruses.

In Japan, two of the health measures used to prevent colds and flu are gargling with iodine and the wearing of surgical masks in public (if you have ever been to Tokyo, you’ll see many people out in public wearing these masks). The masks are even more effective if they are primed with a small amount of iodine.

Another great preventative strategy (which we have already covered in episode 4 of this series) is to ensure that your vitamin C levels are optimal. Vitamin C can either function as a pro- or anti-oxidant, depending on the environment, and it helps to quench the above mentioned cytokine storms before they can cause too much damage internally.

That brings us to the interventions. Surgical masks are especially useful when you are riding public transit, as they prevent sneeze and cough droplets from effecting people in close quarters (like subways and busses). They can be bought in most pharmacies and to impregnate them with a small dose of iodine, simply put 5 drops of Lugol’s iodine (mentioned in the previous episode) in a small spray bottle along with 100ml of water for dilution, then give it a couple of sprays on the outside of the mask you will wear.

During the course of viral and bacterial infections, take 1000mg of Vitamin C every 2 hours to both shorten the course of the infection, and lower the damage that inflammatory cytokines cause, by stimulating connective tissue synthesis (another way that Vitamin C works).

Worried about the fashion fallout of wearing a mask? Try decorating said mask to make them match your clothes.

Stay tuned next week where we’ll talk about Onychomycosis, aka nail fungus.


Be Well and Be Zen


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