At 7:00 a.m., you lay in bed. Your eyes are swollen shut, your nose is stuffed, and your radio alarm clock is blaring Franz Ferdinand’s \”Take Me Out.\” Again. You literally fall out of bed and stumble to the bathroom where you blow your nose in a wad of toilet paper; you used all the tissues last night. You barely recognize your bloodshot eyes and puffy face when you look in the mirror. Face it, you’ve got a cold. Suck it up—a cough drop, that is; and head off to IAH.
If you want to try and beat the odds, the primary defense to protect yourself from flu season is by getting a flu vaccine. Luckily, there are clinics all over Lansing. Meijer, L&L Food Stores and Olin which all issue flu vaccines. “If you can afford [a vaccine], definitely get one,” said Keith Camann, a primary care physician at Olin Health Center.
[hand1] Secondly, remember to always, always wash your hands. Wash them when you get up in the morning. Wash them before you go to bed at night. Wash them when you get out of class and maybe before you go to class. In fact, wash them now. Camann said, “Because the cold virus is so popular in winter months it is a good idea to be in contact with people as little as possible,\” Camann said. \”This means shake people’s hands less, do not drink or eat after others and if you do find yourself in a situation where a hand shake just cannot be avoided, wash your hands as soon as possible.” Let me make this as clear as I can: germs spread faster than DPPS can issue tickets. Both are annoying, but clearly preventable.
A common health myth is that if you drink orange juice, you won’t get sick. Camann informed me that, “there have been studies that have found that whether you drink O.J. everyday or not, it has not been proven to show an increase in any one person\’s health.”
And speaking of natural remedies: you only need to turn to your hemp-wearing, organic-buying, tie-dye-loving friends to learn that staying healthy can sometimes be attributed to the assistance of alternative supplements such as garlic, parsley, and ginger just to name a few. Unlike medicines prescribed by your doctor, which are used to cure sickness, these, like other alternative supplements, are taken as a preventative measure to ensure one’s health.
Most doctors would never prescribe herbal remedies like these to a patient. This is because none of them have been proven by the FDA to treat any kind of illness or ailment. According to gourmetgarlicgardens.com, “modern allopathic physicians concentrate more on alleviating symptoms, healing and surgery than prevention of illness through better nutrition and healthier lifestyles, although that may be more the responsibility of the patient than the doctor.” Alternative drugs are most commonly used to prevent illness, not to aid in the long-term healing or treatment.
“Depending on your body and your overall diet, certain vitamins will work for you,” Better Health Store employee Sarah Berger said. Sarah showed me a cool little machine they have available for customers who are interested in finding out which herbal supplements and vitamins will work for particular preventative measures and ailments alike. A hypochondriac\’s dream! Clicking on the small option box labeled herbal remedies led me to a list of sicknesses. I then chose influenza and from there a screen showed me the supplements that are most commonly used to heighten the immune system (garlic), and produce more white blood cells (astrangalus) in order to fight off infection. Berger warned me that “the same vitamins and herbal supplements do not work for everyone.”
But of course, there are naysayers who say herbal medicine doesn’t work for anyone, who are bolstered by the fact that supplements like garlic and ginger have not been scientifically proven to improve overall health. McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois released a statement warning people that within herbs, “Some of the agents may have beneficial effects, while some could be harmful.” Most people who do take these kinds of herbs would say they help them stay healthy and protect them from getting sick. Take for example a customer I spoke with at another local health food store. He said, “I’ve been taking a shot of parsley with a sprinkle of ginger and garlic every night for the past 40 years and I cannot tell you the last time I felt sick.” It was at this same health food store where two employees I spoke with told me that everyone on the staff takes a liquid supplement called ACF Fast Relief by Buried Treasure at the first signs of any sickness. Buried Treasure ACF (Acute Cold and Flu Formula) combines herbs and nutrients renowned for their antiviral and antibiotic qualities to create this potent fast-acting formula for the relief of symptoms during the cold and flu season.
[ket] Anthony Roland, a pharmacy technician and pharmacy student at MSU recently conducted research to find out where the most germ-infested places are. Years ago the results in a study like this would have all fingers pointing to the public pay phone. Too bad the last time I even saw a pay phone anywhere was in Bill and Ted\’s Excellent Adventure. According to Roland, “the ketchup dispenser was named the number one most popular spot for germs to be found.” I don’t know about you, but I’m sticking to ketchup packets from now on. Another hot spot is the computer labs\’ keyboards. The next time you look down at that greasy, horrifyingly shiny space bar, you can pretty much mentally quadruple the number of germs you\’d expect any place else.
Thinking of skipping that morning class to sulk in bed? According to Prescription for Herbal Healing by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC even when you do contract a cold or the beginning stages of influenza it is better to keep your body active rather than to lay around in bed. “If you don’t have a fever, it’s good to get out and take a walk.”
At the same time, try not to do anything too active. “If you’re sick, the most important thing for you to do is to stay at home. Going to class, the mall, or even using places like the public restroom when you are sick are all great ways to spread sickness,” Camann said. Along with staying at home there are a couple other useful measures to mention in terms of keeping yourself healthy. “If you have the slightest feeling that you might be sick, go to the doctor. Visiting the doctor will provide for narrowing down what exactly it is you have and then you can go from there.” Depending on if you have the flu or one of the 108 kinds of the cold you will know what medicine is best suited for your recovery.

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