Saturday, December 19, 2009

How to whup flu in the ass...

So I try to keep any sort of health info away from this blog. I do work in the health field, so I write lots of stuff about health anyways. But y'all gotta listen.

Yesterday morning came WAY too early. Driving to work felt like the proverbial Mack truck had slammed me. Took some of the morning off to hit the gym's sauna and steam room. For nearly two hours, people! Came back to see a few patients and discover my temperature was a nice 102. Called the rest of the day off, natch. Drove home, and spent the rest of the day either melting in hot baths or buried beneath blankets.

Yep, probably is the flu. No, I did not get the flu shot. I'll let my body fight it off itself, thank you very much. Despite the fact that I don't have the strongest immune system in the world, I've got weapons in my arsenal to help stave illnesses off, and now I know I've got great weapons to powerfully mitigate them when they hit.

Last night, I was in AGONY, and was in no shape to drive. But I drove a good hour round-trip to a health food store to get an extract of the black elderberry called Sambucol. (Or at least, that's the most official version of it; I've also seen it simply called Sambucus; that's from the taxonomic name Sambucus nigra). People, this shit WORKS. I've never seen any medicine eliminate flu symptoms faster. And I'm thrilled that it happens to be basically natural. But here's the cherry on top of the natural/effective ice cream sundae: it actually tastes delicious! Seriously. I went to a convention years ago where I sampled Sambucol for the first time. They didn't serve it on spoons. They didn't serve it in little plastic measuring cups. They served it on pancakes. Tasted like some of the yummiest raspberry pancake syrup I'd ever had. Granted, it isn't the cheapest stuff on the market, but it's not exorbitant.

Now, here's something new I hadn't heard of until late last week. Joe Mercola, he of the ubiquitous and reliably annoying health website, wrote an interesting article about baking soda. It goes back to the 1920s, before health claims on anything were effectively muzzled unless you were a drug company in bed with the FDA and with billions in pocket change. Apparently, baking soda back then was being touted - not as a cure, but as a treatment for colds and flu. No claim to 100% eradicate it. Just a claim that it would decrease symptoms and duration. (The theory behind baking soda is that it tends to alkalize the body, and viral/bacterial infections have a hard time thriving in an alkaline environment.) Here's the simple protocol:

Day 1: 6 doses of 1/2 teaspoon baking soda in water, all 2 hours apart.
Day 2: 4 doses, all 2 hours apart.
Day 3: 2 doses, morning and night.
Day 4 until end of illness: 1 dose in the morning.

I'm a huge fan of the saying "it can't hurt, and it might help." Small doses of baking soda certainly qualify. I'm also a huge fan of giving legitimacy to effective natural remedies that will never have the so-called legitimacy of quack drugs like statins and acid blockers, thanks to the FDA. So I gave the baking soda a try.

It's been about 24 hours since I started the Sambucol, and I began the baking soda protocol this morning. I can say with no question that I still have the flu. I can also say with no question that I have never rebounded so quickly after getting the flu. Headache? Yes. Sore throat? Yes. Muscle aches? Yes. But I also have energy, am in great spirits, and was hungry enough this evening to make some soup for myself, after having no appetite and fasting rather effortlessly for about 30 hours. Even went to a party tonight and ate a fair bit there, too. I've heard horror stories of people who have been dealing with the flu this season for weeks, bedridden for most of the time. If last night's feverish tossing and turning ends up being the extent of my problems, then I'm a convert...and I'll let patients know too, from here on through.

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