H1N1 better known as the Swine Flu is all over the news; there have been many posts on Twitter and other social networking sites about it. What is the Swine Flu and how can you protect yourself and your family with Naturopathic Medicine?

Swine Flu is a respiratory disease found in pigs; usually people are not infected however it can happen and when it does it then spreads person-to-person. The CDC is not sure exactly how the virus is spread between humans; therefore precautions need to be taken when interacting with people. Precautions include:

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water often - sing the Happy Birthday Song to yourself while washing your hands.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough and then wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as this is a common way for germs to spread.
  • If you are feeling sick, stay home.
  • Avoid contact with sick people

The common symptoms of the swine flu include: fever, cough, runny nose, muscle aches and pains, lethargy, loss of appetite, and some people may have gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. People are contagious on day 1 of being infected even before they might be showing symptoms and continue to be infectious 7 day or more after becoming sick. If you are having any symptoms contact your healthcare provider to get your symptoms checked out. There are specific tests that can be run to determine if you have swine flu.

Naturopathic medicine offers many ways of preventing the flu, swine or the common flu. Some basic lifestyle changes, including getting plenty of sleep, drinking adequate amounts of water, managing stress and staying physically active are things we all should be doing year round. Anti-viral herbs and nutrients added when you feel something coming on, along with herbs and nutrients to increase the immune system will give the body the support it needs to fight off the illness. Prescription medications oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) are being used to treat patients who are infected with swine flu.

For more information contact your healthcare provider or check out the CDC's website at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/general_info.htm