Flu season is upon us and although we dont know how severe this flu season is going to be, its best to be prepared. Of course washing your hands regularly, avoiding touching your face and mouth, and the flu vaccine are good ways of preventing the flu, but their efficacy can vary. Below are some other tips to add to your arsenal for winter time wellness.rnrnElderberry Extract: Elderberry has been used for centuries in the treatment influenza and colds. There is some evidence to suggest that these berry extracts, high in the antioxidants and anticyanins, can reduce the duration of symptoms during flu season. Elderberry is generally considered safe and I usually recommend taking 1 teaspoon 3-4 times a day if you think you might be getting the flu and 1 tsp daily during the winter months as a preventative. rnrnVitamin D supplementation: Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with more frequent upper respiratory tract infections including the flu. There is growing evidence that Vitamin D sufficiency can reduce the incidence of respiratory tract infections. A recent systematic review of different studies on the topic showed that once daily Vitamin D seems to have a protective effect.rnrnTamiflu: Tamiflu or oseltamivir is an anti-viral medication that has been shown to clinically reduce the duration of symptoms if given within the first 48 hours of symptom onset of the flu. Side effects are rare and mild, including nausea and vomiting. Tamiflu is available by prescription only, so if you think you might have the flu, be sure to call your doctor right away if you are interested in taking this medication. rnrnIf you think you may have caught the flu, be sure to seek medical attention. As always, our doctors at PlushCare are happy to offer advice and treatment for the flu and flu-like symptoms.
About Author — Dr. Shikary is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Medicine, and trained in pediatrics at UCSF in San Francisco. She specializes in holistic/integrative medicine and nutrition.
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