According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), anywhere from 5 percent to 20 percent of Americans get the flu each year. Furthermore, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized due to complications from the flu, and flu deaths ranged from approximately 3,000 to 49,000 people per year over a 30-year period (1976 to 2006). Although estimates for the exact number of colds people get per year is somewhat less precise, it is thought that as many as 1 billion people get at least one cold per year. The American Lung Association estimates that most adults will get anywhere from two to four colds per year, and children may get as many as eight colds per year.
With all of this sneezing and coughing going on each year, it should not be surprising that prescription and over the counter cold and flu medications are a booming business. However, both these medications, as well as the flu shot, can have unpleasant side effects. Dr. Nathen Horst offers more effective treatment for colds and the flu that is safe enough even for infants and the elderly.
Standard Treatments for Cold and Flu
In most cases, unless a bacterial infection develops, most colds and flus can be treated with over the counter medications. Unfortunately, because colds and flus are viruses, over the counter medications only treat symptoms, rather than the actual virus. If symptoms are severe, prescription medications can be used, but again, they only treat symptoms.
Unfortunately, both prescription and over the counter medications come with side effects that can be very undesirable. Sleepiness and drowsiness are perhaps the two most common side effects. This can be particularly dangerous for patients who drive after taking medication. Other side effects can include dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting in extreme cases.
Getting a flu shot at the beginning of flu season (generally starting in the fall) can be useful to protect against the particular flu strain that is contained in the shot. The body will build up antibodies against the flu virus within about two weeks after getting the shot.
Unfortunately, a flu shot will only protect the body against the exact strain of flu that is contained within the shot. Although researchers do their best to guess which particular flu strain is most likely for any given season, it is not an exact science. Because viruses can mutate, it may turn out that the flu shot is ineffective.
Chiropractic Care for Colds and Flu
Chiropractic adjustments work on the lymphatic system, which is the body’s drainage system for bacteria and viruses. The lymphatic system circulates a clear fluid called lymph, which is made up of immune cells, through these ducts and nodes. When the doctor checks for signs of a cold or flu by feeling just under the chin on either side of the neck, they are checking for swollen lymph nodes as an indicator of infection.
When the spine gets out of alignment, it can place pressure on the various ducts and nodes of the lymphatic system, causing them to become clogged and swollen. A spinal adjustment relieves this pressure and tension on the lymphatic system, allowing it to do its proper job of draining out impurities from the body.
Traditional treatments for the flu and colds are not very effective, and flu shots may not offer protection against getting sick. Regular chiropractic care can keep the body’s immune system working at its peak to ward off these seasonal illnesses.