The Flu and You


Provided by Kendall Taylor of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) in the July 2015 Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.


Kendall Taylor, VSEBT

How to Get Rid of Phlegm in Your Throat Without Medicine

How to Get Rid of Phlegm in Your Throat Without Medicine

Foods That Help Relieve PhlegmAvoiding Things That Produce PhlegmOther Strategies for Relieving Phlegm

Edited by BiggestNav, Krystle, Nicole Marie, Bowser Jr and 36 others

You’ve woken up with terrible congestion in your throat, coughing a whole lot of phlegm. Soon enough you have a stinging throat. What’s worse is you don’t want to go outside to buy medicine. This article will show you what you can do to clear your throat using things you would have in your house.


 Part 1 of 3: Foods That Help Relieve Phlegm
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    Drink lemon tea with honey. You can either buy lemon tea, or make yourself some warm lemon water by mixing 2 teaspoons of lemon juice with a cup of warm water. The acidity of the lemon juice breaks up the mucus. Adding a tablespoon of honey to the mixture soothes your throat.

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    Eat spicy foods. Ever tried a bit of wasabi, only to have your nose start running uncontrollably? Spicy foods, such as horseradish or pepper, act as a decongestant and should help loosen up some of that noxious phlegm.

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    Drink warm liquids. Whether it’s tea, chicken soup, or something in between, warm liquids will help nourish you while breaking up some of the mucus stuck in your throat.

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    Gargle salt water. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt with a cup of warm water and gargle the mixture with your head tilted back.

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    Eat toast. Toast is a good food to break phlegm and carry it down to your stomach. Toast scrapes the throat softly, removing some of the phlegm as it is ingested.

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    Drink plenty of water. If your body is producing a lot of phlegm, it may be because it is trying to ward off sickness, which means your immune system is working on overdrive. Give your body the water it needs to do its job.

Part 2 of 3: Avoiding Things That Produce Phlegm

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    Stop smoking. While you have an excess amount of mucus, try not to smoke. Smoking dries out the vocal chords, and your body creates more phlegm in an attempt to the replenish the moisture that was lost.

    • In studies around the world, there has been a high correlation between smoking and phlegm production. [1] If you are a smoker, consider using nicotene patches for a bit while your phlegm dies down.
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    Avoid dairy. Milk or other dairy may not cause the body to produce more mucus[2], but in some people the fat content of milk causes the mucus to become thicker.[3]

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    Avoid exposure to fumes and hazardous chemicals. Paint fumes, cleaners, and other chemicals hurt the body’s respiratory function.

Part 3 of 3: Other Strategies for Relieving Phlegm

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    Take a hot shower or inhale steam. The heat from the water causes the phlegm to loosen.

    • Use a vaporizer if you have one. Try to strike a good balance of moisture in your room. You want to soothe your throat, but you don’t want your room turning into a tropical jungle.
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    Hum to yourself when you can. It is hypothesized that the humming vibrations help break up the phlegm in your throat.

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    Remember to ‘spit, not swallow’. Always keep a tissue on hand in case you need to expel the phlegm discreetly; try not to swallow any coughed up phlegm.

Researchers Discover How Flu Gains Foothold in the Body

Researchers Discover How Flu Gains Foothold in the Body

If you’ve ever wondered how the flu virus succeeds at infecting so many people, a new study of mice may offer some insight. The flu actually targets cells of the immune system that are best able to disarm the virus, according to the study. These first responders, known as memory B cells, produce antibodies that can bind to the virus and neutralize it. These cells also reside in the lung where they can protect against re-exposure to the virus.

The influenza virus.

The influenza virus.

Researchers found, however, that the flu virus attacks these memory B cells first to disrupt antibody production, allowing it to replicate more efficiently and prevent the immune system from mounting a second defense. “We can now add this to the growing list of ways that the flu virus has to establish infection,” study co-author Joseph Ashour, as postdoctoral researcher at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, said in an institute news release. “This is how the virus gains a foothold,” study co-author Stephanie Dougan, also a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Whitehead member Hidde Ploegh, explained. “The virus targets memory cells in the lung, which allows infection to be established—even if the immune system has seen this flu before.”


Memory B cells, which have virus-specific receptors, are difficult to isolate. To address this issue, the researchers attached a fluorescent label to the flu virus, which allowed them to identify flu-specific B cells. They then used a cloning technique to create a line of mice with virus-specific B cells and cell receptors. The study authors suggested that the infectious process of the flu is probably used by other viruses as well. “We can now make highly effective immunological models for a variety of pathogens,” Dougan concluded. “This is actually a perfect model for studying memory immune cells.”

Scientists note, however, that research with animals often fails to produce similar results in humans. “This is research that could help with rational vaccine design, leading to more effective vaccines for seasonal flu,” Ashour said. “It might even suggest novel strategies for conferring immunity.”



Provided by Rebecca McGonigle, Wellstyles Newsletter, November 2013, Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT).


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Zinc – When to Use It, When to Stop

Who Can Benefit from Zinc Supplements?

Zinc supplements can be used to treat many common ailments. They should only be taken for short periods before having a break as can cause toxicity.

Sandra Markcrow
on Sep 11, 2012
Who Can Benefit from Zinc Supplements? -

Zinc is an important trace mineral in the body. It is required for many functions including cell growth, blood clotting, the senses vision, smell, taste and the functioning of both insulin and the thyroid gland. It is also needed by the immune system, nervous system, hormone release, for growth and development and reproduction. Most of us get enough zinc from the food we eat. Zinc food sources include red meat, poultry, fish, oysters, beans, nuts, legumes, dairy products, whole grains, cereals and breads Although zinc deficiency is rare due to the fact that we get most of our zinc from our diets, zinc supplements can be used to treat and prevent many common ailments. This article discusses the symptoms of zinc deficiency, the health benefits of zinc supplements, recommended dosages and side effects.

Zinc Deficiency

Common causes of zinc deficiency include alcoholism, anorexia, malabsorption, inflammatory bowel diseases, famine, diet and also is more common in people over the age of 75. The initial symptoms of zinc deficiency include lack of taste and smell; loss of appetite, poor wound healing and white spots on the fingernails. As zinc deficiency worsens, symptoms can include depression, acne, psoriasis, dermatitis, night blindness and stunted growth in children.

The Health Benefits of Zinc Supplements

Zinc supplements can be used to prevent and treat many common ailments. It should be noted that zinc supplements should not be taken for the long term due to risk of serious side effects. Using them for short periods before taking a few months break is generally considered safe. Zinc can be used to treat the following ailments.

  • Colds and Influenza

Zinc helps to booster the immune system. The severity and duration of a cold or influenza can be reduced by taking a zinc supplement at the onset of symptoms. Zinc lozenges tend to be the most effective and are available in most chemists. Ensuring you are getting enough zinc in your diet can help prevent colds and influenza.

  • Acne Treatment

Some studies have shown that zinc can help to prevent acne breakouts and accelerate the healing of lesions. It is recommended to take 30mgs of zinc picolinate twice daily for one month and then reduce it to 30mgs once a day. Zinc picolinate is more easily absorbed than other zinc supplements.

  • Premenstrual Syndrome

Studies have shown that zinc supplements may be of benefit for some women in treating symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Many women find relief from abdominal cramps, mood swings and breast tenderness associated with the menstrual cycle. Zinc deficiency is also common in pregnant women and can adversely affect the fetus causing low birth weight, premature birth, congenital abnormalities and delivery complications. If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about taking a zinc supplement to reduce these risks.

  • Treatment for Major Depression

Zinc deficiency is common in people with major depression. A study found that a group of people with major depression, who were given 25mg of zinc per day compared to a placebo group, significantly improved their symptoms of depression on two different depression scales. It should be noted that both groups continued their anti-depressant medication whilst participating in this study. If you suffer from depression, talk to your doctor about a zinc supplement and try to ensure your diet includes zinc rich foods.

  • Male Fertility Booster

Zinc helps to booster healthy male sperm production and increase testosterone levels. Zinc in the seminal fluid helps to protect sperm from bacteria and chromosomal damage. Zinc deficiency is common in men with impotence, infertility and other reproductive problems. Taking a 10mg supplement of zinc per day has shown to be effective in treating these fertility disorders.

  • Eye Health

Studies have shown that zinc is important in treating and preventing eye problems. It helps to treat and prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Zinc deficiency is common in these eye disorders and they are the leading causes of blindness as we age. Ensuring you get enough zinc in your diet can help to prevent the development of these eye disorders.

Recommended Daily Intake of Zinc

For female adults, the recommended daily dosage of zinc is 8mgs. For adult males it is 11mgs. Pregnant females should try to get 12mgs per day. Most people, to ensure you are getting enough zinc per day, can simply take a regular daily multi-vitamin with minerals. Taking a zinc supplement to address any of the conditions detailed above should only be taken for a short period to prevent symptoms of toxicity and copper deficiency. Always consult your doctor before taking a zinc supplement.

Zinc Supplement Side Effects

Zinc supplements can cause toxicity in the body if taken when not required. Side effects of toxicity can include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. It can also interfere with your body’s ability to absorb copper and cause additional side effects due to copper deficiency. Zinc supplements should never be taken if you are on a course of antibiotics as may reduce their effectiveness. Zinc supplements can also interact with your current medication. You should always consult a doctor before taking any supplements who can advise you about whether it is appropriate for you and recommend dosages.

Zinc is considered the second most important mineral in the body compared to Iron. Although we need very little of it, it plays a major role in a whole host of bodily functions. If you suspect you may be zinc deficient or are suffering from any of the ailments discussed above, talk to your doctor about taking a zinc supplement.


University of Maryland Medical Center Zinc Retrieved September 12,2012

Mayo Clinic Zinc Retrieved September 12,2012

Intelihealth Zinc Supplements Retrieved September 12,2012

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.


Sorbet to Help the Flu

‘Flu sorbet’ a tasty way to treat your illness

Published January 21, 2013

New York Post

  • Sorbet

Finally, a fun way to fight the flu.

A small-batch ice-cream company claims to have scooped up a cure for the worst epidemic in years — a bold new flavor called “Influenza Sorbet.”

The virus-soothing treat — made by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams — blends Maker’s Mark bourbon, lemon and cayenne pepper to mimic an old family flu remedy.

The dessert, which sells for $12 a pint, includes ginger and honey.

Owner Jeni Britton Bauer, who operates Manhattan ice-cream trucks, says it eases sore throats and clears up nasal passages.

“I’ve had people tell me it’s the only thing that makes them feel better. It actually does have a physical effect,” she said.

That’s likely due to a secret ingredient: a small dose of pectin, which is found in cough drops, Bauer said. “It coats your throat. It’s just what some people need,” she said.

The new treat comes after the state last week declared a health emergency, noting that the number of flu cases had more than quadrupled — from 4,404 to 19,128 — in the past year.

“It’s cute but I’d like to see the science behind it,” said Doris Bucher, who helped develop this year’s flu vaccine with a team of scientists at New York Medical College. She added, “It might spice you up or knock you out — but it’s no vaccine,” she said.

Orders have spiked dramatically in the past two weeks, she said.

“It’s not a miracle. It’s an at-home remedy — like chicken soup,” she said.

Read more:

Is It a Cold or a Flu?

Many of us get colds and influenza or flu confused.  In addition, most people do not realize that both colds and flu are caused by a virus.  Viruses are NOT affected by anti-biotics.  You should not expect anti-biotics for cold and flu.  In fact, the best treatments are bed rest, lots of fluids, and zinc.  Zinc is the active ingredient in zycam, Airborne and other products.  Taking cheap zinc pills can reduce the severity and length of colds and flu significantly.  The reason you need fluids is kind of gross.  Over 90% of your mucus is water.  When you get congested, much of it goes into your stomach.  This can ruin your appetite and make you feel nauseous or full.  You can lose gallons of water this way and become quickly dehydrated, which can be life threatening.  So, force yourself to replace this liquid with lots of water, and maybe Gatorade or other sports drinks with electrolytes if you are not eating much.  Rest is your bodies way to relax and get better.












Some people do get post-viral infections.  Unfortunately, if your body is already fighting a virus, weak, maybe dehydrated and possibly full of mucus, it is a target rich environment for bacteria to jump in and attack.  The only time you should expect anti-biotics is if your doctor believes you have developed a bacteria based infection.

Here are some charts from various sources for you to look at to see if you have a cold or the flu.  In most cases, you should have it run its course in 7 to 10 days.  For the sake of others, please don’t roam around and spread your illness because you want to suck it up and do your job.  All you are doing is getting others sick.