Flu Facts: Be Informed– Not Fooled!
In the area of health, there are numerous claims that should not be confused with the facts. The general public is bombarded by information and advice that is not supported by science or even considered standard of care by the mainstream medical community. There is entire industry of “healthcare providers” who practice controversial and/or unproven methods of care which may result in unexpected and unwanted consequences. While parents must ultimately decide what is best for their children, it is imperative that they have the facts to make an informed decision. Anything less than this is misleading and unacceptable.
Contrary to what you might have heard, the “flu” is seasonal.
- According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the flu is seasonal. I quote, “Seasonal flu refers to the flu outbreaks that occur each year, mainly in the late fall and winter. The disease spreads through communities, creating an epidemic. During the epidemic, the number of cases peaks in about three weeks and subsides after another three to four weeks.” Source: Seasonal flu from NIH
The “flu” is a viral infection and not a deficiency of sunlight or water or overabundance of sugar.
- “Influenza, or flu, is a respiratory infection caused by any of several flu viruses, which are classified as type A, B, or C based on their nucleic acids and protein composition.” The flu can spread to anyone although certain groups of people are at high risk for complications from influenza infection. These groups include those with asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, older than 65 years old, HIV disease or AIDS, pregnant women and children especially younger than 2 years old. Source: CDC the flu
Tips to avoid the “flu.”
- “Hand washing with soap and warm water can help people avoid becoming infected by flu virus. If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand rub may be substituted. Linens, eating utensils, and dishes used by people who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first.”
- “To avoid spreading the flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that ill people stay home for at least 24 hours after fever is gone.” In addition,
- 1) cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze
- 2) clean your hands with soap and water
- 3) avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- 4) practice good health habits such as cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school (especially when someone is ill), get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food
- 5) avoid close contact with those who have the flu. Source: Avoid the flu
To prevent the “flu”
- According to the CDC, “The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, …” There also are flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat and prevent flu. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older as the best means to prevent influenza infection. Source: Prevent the flu. There has been no scientific or medical study to demonstrate that spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustment prevented the influenza virus infection in humans.
- According the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Health, “there is currently no strong scientific evidence that any natural product is useful against the flu.” Source: National Institute of Health
When evaluating the content of a medical or health article, ask yourself:
- Does this claim make common sense? If not, ignore it and move on.
- If the claim sounds “too good to be true,” it probably is and move on.
- Determine if the author is qualified based on education and training to have expertise in writing about the topic and making such claims.
- If you are still not sure, do some research yourself. Be careful, there are many unreliable sources on the internet. For information on infections, go to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (flu facts from CDC), National Library of Medicine (Flu facts from NLM) or Mayo Clinic (Mayo Clinic flu info).
- When evaluating research or claims, take into account: context, bias, generalization, and self-serving purpose (self-promotion or advertisement).
When it comes to your health, carefully evaluate a claim or conclusion to determine if it is supported by the data, from a trustworthy source and generalizable to you and your children.
At Family Allergy & Asthma Care of Montana, we bring you cutting edge reliable medical information. Don’t be fooled by claims from authors who are unqualified and make claims that are unsupported by the data. Your health depends on it!