Having The Flu Doesn't Mean You Are Sick

Many times we are faced with having to go to work with a runny nose or cough. As a matter of fact, I arrived at work right now with exactly those symptoms.

My first patient this morning was Andrew and upon seeing my bloodshot eyes and hearing my husky voice he said, "Are you sick? You look as if you are fighting the flu."

"No, I'm not sick. My body is just doing a clean out," I replied.

A lot of you may say, "So what. You have just described having the flu in a different way. Big deal."

What is important is that how I described my symptoms will drastically affect how I get over these symptoms.

Like many people, you may think that you caught a flu because of you had the bad luck of meeting with a bug or virus. You may be tempted to try to kill the bug with some form of chemical cocktail like antibiotics. This is despite the fact that only a very small minority of people with flu symptoms are shown to have bacterial infections. This over-prescription and overuse of antibiotics are now causing more problems than they help such as:

  • - Imbalance of good and bad bacteria
  • - Increase of auto-immune conditions and allergies
  • - Increase in the number of strains of resistant super-bugs
How can you play your part in reducing antibiotic use?

Only take antibiotics when it is absolutely necessary. That means if you your local M.D. gives you a script for antibiotics, you should ask, "How do you know that it is bacterial and not viral?"

The response will generally be, "Take the antibiotics just in case."

This means that they don't know!

Insist on taking antibiotics only if you have a blood test or a swab that proves that you have a bacterial infection.

As a child I use to have bronchitis five times a year without fail. When recurrent antibiotics use didn't seem to make a difference, our family M.D. decided that I needed a flu vaccine. That year I developed bronchitis six times.

A decision to try a new M.D. brought a vastly different approach. He suggested that I try rest, fluids and some tissues. "Let's give your body the opportunity to fix itself," he said. "If you rest and drink plenty of fluids, it will take you a week to get over it. If you take antibiotics, it'll take seven days."

From that moment on I developed bronchitis three times a year. The more I began to learn about a healthy lifestyle, the less frequently I began to get coughs and colds and I haven't required an antibiotic in the last 25 years. I still get the occasional cough or sniffle but my body seems to tolerate it a lot better.

I no longer think about coughs and colds as "being sick". I regard coughs and colds as my body doing a clean out. Just like if your house is a pigsty any attempt to clean it is generally not much fun. Your energy is a bit lower than it normally is because of the energy you use to clean up. But after the cleaning is complete things function so much better.

So what do I do when I feel that my body is starting to have a clean out?

I don't fight it. I help it.

The more I help my body detoxify the quicker I will get rid of the symptoms. You all know that you should eat better and keep your fluids up so I'm not going to go there.

Here are two additional detoxifying steps that you can do that most people don't think about:

Self-Detoxify Tip Number 1

Wash your skin using a loofah.

Many women use a loofah more as a beauty aid for nicer skin but your skin is the biggest elimination organ in your body. Rubbing away the dead skin cells unclogs your pores and makes it easier for your skin to eliminate waste.

Self- Detoxify Tip Number 2

Jump up and down.

Yes, that's right. Jump up and down gently on the balls of your feet. If you have a mini-trampoline it is even better. This jiggling movement helps increase the drainage of your lymphatic system. Your lymphatic system is a bit like an additional drain to get rid of rubbish.

I recommend that you do this bouncing before you go to bed and when you wake up.

At one of my "Boosting Energy" workshops, one participant raised the question, "I am happy to adopt a more natural approach but what if your symptoms are that severe that it will interfere with the way that you do your work."

"You have two choices. Take some time off or..." I replied.

"That's not an option at the moment," he interjected.

"If your symptoms are that bad, you may want to consider taking some over-the counter medications or herbal remedies that suppress your symptoms temporarily. But understand is that you are inhibiting your body's effort to clean you up."

If you do take some medications to suppress the symptoms only take them before going to work. Use the time at home when the medication has warned off to assist your body clean up.

There are bugs and viruses around that can give us the symptoms of a cold but you can minimize your chances of developing a cold by stop being a good host for bugs and viruses. What do I mean by that?

You don't see bugs around a clean trashcan, do you?

You only see bugs around a dirty trashcan.

If your trashcan gets dirty at times you can try to kill the bugs but I recommend that it will save you a lot of time and effort if you just clean the trashcan.


Dr. Paul Lanthois is a chiropractor, speaker and work life balance expert. He is the director of The Work Life Balance Foundation which provides health, stress management and work-life balance lifestyle programs specifically for businesses and their employees. Dr. Lanthois has been a successful Australian chiropractor for nearly 20 years. He has spoken to many business and community groups such as Optus Telecommunications,&nb...

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