How to Prevent & Treat Colds & Flu

How to Prevent & Treat Colds & Flu

Avoid Colds & Flu

  • Discussing how to avoid getting colds and flu
  • Explaining the immune system's role in avoiding and treating colds and flu
  • Dispelling common myths about cold and flu treatments

Common Cold: Source & Transmission; Cold Temperature Myth

  • The common cold is caused by over 160 different types of viruses called Rhino viruses
  • The shape diversity of cold viruses makes it difficult to develop a cure
  • Cold viruses spread through breathing, sneezing, coughing, and touching surfaces
  • Cold viruses can survive on surfaces for up to 24 hours
  • Skin acts as a barrier against viruses and bacteria
  • Cold virus particles are small and can spread through the air or by contact
  • Transmission of the cold virus primarily occurs through the eyes, although other entry points include the mouth and lips
  • Different types of cold viruses lead to different sets of symptoms

Spreading a Cold; Symptoms & Contagious Myths

  • Different colds have different symptoms and severity
  • Exposure to the cold virus does not guarantee catching the virus
  • Your immune system can fight off a cold virus, even if it's a new strain
  • Contagious when exhibiting symptoms such as coughing and sneezing
  • Contagious phase can last 5 to 6 days from peak symptoms
  • Continued symptoms indicate ongoing contagiousness

Flu Virus & Transmission; Flu Shots

  • Flu viruses categorized as A, B, and C types
  • A type flu viruses include the Spanish Flu, such as H1N1
  • Flu virus can survive on surfaces for about 2 hours
  • Most commonly transmitted through human contact
  • Flu shots are developed for specific strains in a given flu season
  • Flu shots reduce the risk of contracting the targeted flu strain by 40-60%
  • Flu shots are ineffective against other forms of flu and colds

Tools: Injections & Safety; Charting Health Trends & Sickness

  • Monitoring and tracking daily activities, sleep, workouts, and events in a calendar
  • Noticing patterns in health issues following hard workouts and exposure to cold temperatures
  • Recommending paying attention to symptoms, recovery, and preceding events to identify triggers
  • Personal example of decreasing frequency of colds and flu by learning about immune system interactions

Spreading Cold & Flu, Symptoms

  • Flu virus shedding starts 24 hours before symptoms, making carriers contagious
  • Highest contagious period during the three days of peak symptoms (fever, coughing, sneezing)
  • Reminding that contact with cold or flu does not guarantee infection, depends on immune system and preventive measures

Immune System, Physical Barriers (00:30:43)

  • The immune system consists of physical barriers, innate immune system, and adaptive immune system
  • Physical barriers include skin, mucosal lining of the nose, mouth, and eyes, and even the liquids on the surface of the eyes
  • Skin serves as a living organ, producing antibacterial and antiviral agents
  • Mucosal linings of the nose and mouth trap and neutralize viruses, while microbiota contribute to fighting off bacteria and viruses
  • Genital and rectal mucosal linings have distinct physical and chemical makeups

Entry Sites for Viruses (00:30:43)

  • Primary entry sites for viruses are the eyes and mouth
  • Eyes and mouth are susceptible to viruses from aerosols, surfaces of objects, or skin

Importance of Skin Barrier (00:30:43)

  • Skin serves as the main physical barrier against viruses like the cold or flu
  • Chemical features on the skin, such as tears and antibacterial agents, actively neutralize and kill viruses
  • Holes in the skin, such as the nostrils and mouth, also have protective mucosal linings and microbiota to combat viruses

Tool: Social Connection & Touch, Avoiding Flu & Cold

  • Studies show that people often touch their eyes or face after shaking hands, potentially bringing cold or flu virus to their face
  • Cold virus can survive on a surface for up to 24 hours, while flu virus tends to die off after about 2 hours
  • Being mindful of touching the face after contact with others can reduce the probability of catching a cold or flu
  • While touch is important for social connection, conscious awareness of the risk of virus transmission can help in avoiding colds and flu

Innate Immune System

  • The innate immune system responds rapidly to the entry of a virus, such as a cold or flu virus, into the body
  • It uses white blood cells to attack and neutralize the virus, including activating the complement system to mark infected cells for destruction
  • Cells infected by the virus release chemical signals to attract assistance and promote repair, causing swelling and additional blood flow to the infected area
  • The innate immune system is a fast and non-specific response to viral and other types of invaders
  • Just because a virus enters the body doesn't necessarily mean a full-blown cold or flu will occur, as the innate immune system can sometimes fight off the virus before severe symptoms develop

Adaptive Immune System; Lymphatic System

  • Adaptive immune system creates specific antibodies to combat viruses
  • The system maintains memory of battles and keeps antibodies ready for future encounters
  • The system produces immunoglobulins (IGs) in two phases: IGM first, then IGG
  • IGG antibodies are incredibly specific for particular viruses and neutralize them
  • Cells and proteins travel through the vascular system of the body
  • The lymphatic system collaborates with the vascular system to filter certain cell types and produce useful chemicals

Tools: Enhance Innate Immune System

  • Getting enough quality sleep each night is crucial for the innate immune system
  • Specific exercise protocols can bolster the innate immune system's function
  • Adequate nutrition is necessary for the immune system's effectiveness
  • Chronic stress can reduce innate immune system function, but short bouts of stress can enhance it
  • An appropriate level of cortisol and inflammation is important for the innate immune system
  • Ensuring the basic functioning of the immune system includes getting enough quality sleep each night

Microbiome & Nasal Breathing (01:06:19)

  • The gut microbiome interacts heavily with the immune system, extending to the nasal passages.
  • Nasal breathing promotes the health of the nasal microbiome, which is effective in combating cold and flu viruses.
  • Consciously focusing on nasal breathing throughout the day is recommended.
  • Nasal breathing heats the air differently and helps to prevent colder flu viruses from embedding in the mucosal lining.

Enhance Gut Microbiome: Foods & Water Protocol (01:10:58)

  • Consuming two to four servings of low sugar fermented foods per day supports the diversity of microbiota along the entire length of the gut.
  • Consuming prebiotics or probiotics in capsule form, such as AG1 Athletic Greens, can also enhance the gut microbiome.
  • Swishing a little water around in the mouth and swallowing it before brushing the teeth in the morning supports the interaction between the oral and gut microbiomes, potentially improving the function of the gut microbiome.

Exercise When Feeling Sick?, Sleep

  • Quality sleep supports the immune system
  • General forms of exercise that support the innate immune system and those that deplete it are discussed
  • Feeling rundown warrants rest to avoid compromising the innate immune system
  • Whole body malaise and a throat tickle indicate the body might be combating an infection
  • Exercise can bolster the innate immune system to combat colds and flu

Tool: Exercise & Preventing Sickness

  • Exercise of 60 minutes or less at a non-all out intensity promotes increased circulation of cells and chemicals within the innate immune system
  • 60 minutes of brisk walking can increase T-cell function and natural killer cell activity
  • Running a marathon or extended high-intensity exercise can compromise the innate immune system
  • Improvement in innate immune response can be achieved with as little as 20 minutes per day of exercise, especially high-intensity training
  • Limiting exercise duration to 50-60 minutes and avoiding exceeding 75 minutes in a single bout is suggested for maintaining healthy immune system function

Exercise When Sleep Deprived?

  • Two common precursors to getting a bad flu or cold: sleep deprivation and intense exercise
  • Advocates for moderation in exercise duration and intensity
  • Exercise as a form of stress that activates the immune system
  • If sleep deprived and unable to get more sleep, a reduced-intensity exercise can help offset negative effects
  • Emphasizes that exercise is not a substitute for sleep

Tool: Exercise Recovery & Carbohydrates

  • Ingesting carbohydrates after exercise can help reduce inflammation
  • Complex carbohydrates and fruit post-exercise can attenuate markers of inflammation
  • Suggested food intake after fasting and exercising for over 60-75 minutes

Sauna & Enhance Immune System

  • Deliberate heat exposure, particularly sauna, can improve innate immune function
  • A study showed that sauna sessions increased cortisol concentration and white blood cell deployment
  • Athletes who were heat-adapted experienced more significant increases in innate immune response compared to non-athletes
  • Regular sauna practice of three rounds of 15 minutes separated by two-minute cool-offs can help prevent colds and flu
  • Safety is key, and individuals should not use sauna if feeling unwell

Supplements: Vitamin C, Vitamin D

  • Vitamin C may delay onset or shorten duration of colds with high doses (6,000 to 8,000 milligrams per day)
  • High doses of vitamin C can cause gastric distress for most people
  • Recent study about vitamin C benefits for colds and flu was retracted due to data analysis flaws
  • Vitamin D supplementation (1,000 to 2,000 IU per day) can help prevent acute respiratory tract infections in those with deficiency
  • People with vitamin D deficiency may have diminished immune system function and are more prone to respiratory infections

Echinacea, Zinc

  • Echinacea has not shown strong scientific data to support its use in preventing colds and flu
  • Supplementing with zinc (100 milligrams or more) can reduce the duration of a cold and possibly prevent it
  • Zinc supplementation can cause gastric distress if taken on an empty stomach
  • Older individuals may benefit the most from zinc supplementation, while pregnant women and children should consult a doctor before supplementing

N-acetylcysteine (NAC), Decongestants (01:55:08)

  • N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a precursor to glutathione, the master antioxidant.
  • NAC is a mucolytic, meaning it loosens mucus and helps it flow more readily out of the body.
  • NAC can be used as a decongestant, especially as an alternative to over-the-counter decongestants.
  • Some studies suggest that NAC may lower the likelihood of contracting influenza.
  • The dosage for NAC as a preventive measure is about 1,200 milligrams per day divided into two doses of 600 milligrams each.
  • NAC can also be taken during a cold or flu, with a dosage of 600 to 900 milligrams three times per day.

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