You most likely have noticed…the flu season seems to go year-round now. Fall used to be the seasonal onset here in Canada and the northern part of the hemisphere, but that’s changed. Flu is no longer just seasonal.
The news in Calgary has been broadcasting the urgency for people to get the flu vaccine as prevention for the current outbreak. Hospitals are canceling elective surgeries, putting beds in hallways, and sending people to out-of-town hospitals to keep up with the demand for acute care. However, some folks claim they had the worst flu ever after a vaccination and swear they will never get a flu vaccine again.
The Flu Vaccine Strains
The possibility exists that the flu circulating is not one of the strains in the flu vaccine. There are only three strains chosen each year, and they are selected based on a statistical analysis of what is happening in the Southern Hemisphere.
“Each year, the seasonal influenza vaccine contains three influenza viruses — one influenza A (H3N2) virus, one seasonal influenza A (H1N1) virus, and one influenza B virus. The influenza viruses in the seasonal flu vaccine are selected each year based on surveillance-based forecasts about what viruses are most likely to cause illness in the coming season. Therefore, each year’s seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against the influenza viruses expected to cause disease during the upcoming influenza season.” http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/virusqa.htm
Where does that leave you if you did get the flu vaccine, but you later learn that this season’s strain wasn’t contained in the vaccine? Unfortunately, there’s a possibility that you could get the virus if exposed and susceptible (i.e. stressed, run-down, worn-out, overworked, etc). So offering the flu vaccine now as prevention? I’m not convinced.
A Wicked Combo – Norovirus
According to the news, Norovirus has been identified as filling the hospitals, as well. Norovirus is a bug that has symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and watery diarrhea. Other symptoms may include cramping, low-grade fever, muscle aches, headaches, and coughing.
You often hear of these kinds of outbreaks in nursing homes and daycares where the virus is easily spread by person-to-person contact (see next week’s newsletter on diarrhea). With the little ones and the elderly in your family, you will want to be sure to keep up the fluids to prevent dehydration.
So What to Do?
- if you are vaccinated for this year’s flu and have the flu or Norovirus anyway?
- if you are vaccine-free and have the flu or Norovirus?
- if you aren’t sick and would like to prevent the flu or Norovirus?
You can turn to homeopathy.
Here are the top remedies that seem to be helping with the current outbreak. (If you live in the USA, Wales or anywhere else in the world, this will be just as relevant.) Remember that homeopathic remedies are all about the symptom picture and, if the remedy picture matches the person’s symptoms, you will help the person heal whether it’s the flu or Norovirus circulating in your part of the world.
Arsenicum album (Metallum album)
This is one of the must-have remedies in your home kit. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you will find many uses for this one remedy. (As long as the symptom picture of the illness fits the Arsenicum picture.)
Diarrhea and vomiting with chilliness, weakness, and feeling better with warm drinks and warm covers will cover the Norovirus symptoms quite effectively. Restlessness with fear of being alone and dying, as irrational as it might seem when you are well, are symptoms that may be a part of an illness like Norovirus or flu.
With the flu symptoms, there will likely be burning pains that are better with heat, such as hot water bottles and blankets. Babies will feel better after being wrapped up. Both the diarrhea and flu symptoms can be worse after midnight and upon waking in the morning…weird but true!
You can find a big handout on this remedy HERE. Many of my patients have done very well this season with this remedy alone.
Phosphorous can look similar to Arsenicum, but be a CSI detective and look for the differences between the two in your sick one. If they want warm/hot drinks, more likely Arsenicum. Icy-cold drinks, cold smoothies, or popsicles will lean more toward Phosphorous.
Next week’s post on Traveler’s Diarrhea will have more information on this remedy, but for today, here are the most important symptoms as they relate to this flu and the Norovirus:
Extreme tiredness to the point of hardly being able to hold your head up will be a clue. They will feel slow, heavy, and exhausted – like they are ‘moving through jello.’ Their face could be red or flushed and will look as if they can barely keep their eyes open. The diarrhea or flu can leave the person trembling or shaking with icy-cold chills going up and down their back, even though they might feel hot and ‘sticky.’ The Gelsemium flu can have a horrible, throbbing headache at the base of the neck (occiput). Your sick one will want to sit upright and not move at all. The diarrhea can be painless and involuntary.
All three of these remedies will address both the flu and Norovirus. Here’s hoping you will be flu and Norovirus-free this season, but keep these remedies on hand JIC (just in case).
Xerion Homoeopathie in Calgary will mail remedies or deliver within the Calgary area (who wants to go out if you or your family is sick?). Phone 403-202-8507, or visit their website.
If you do get sick, please rest.