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MS Article or Multiple Sclerosis Article:

MS Flu: Can Anything

Help to Curb the Flu

with Multiple Sclerosis?


When it comes to Multiple Sclerosis, MS flu is a very often a big problem.  I have found, that with my own case of Multiple Sclerosis, that I can end up with "the flu" much more often throughout the year, than any other type of infection, that I tend to get each year.

Another name for the actual main virus that is called "the flu" is the Influenza virus. The problem with "the flu" is that it isn't just one organism, it is actually a group of different forms of the same virus, that are related. These related viruses are typically grouped
together and called "the flu".

Unfortunately, a really big problem, that is often a result of the Influenza virus, is caused as the virus mutates or changes forms into other forms that can make it so much more difficult to come up with a "flu shot" that can curb or get under control an outbreak of the strains of "the flu" that are currently causing more of a wide spread problem during the current flu season.

This is why the strain of the flu virus that is used in flu shots for the current flu season each year has to be constantly changed. The people that choose the strain of the flu virus, which is used for making the flu shots, have to choose which strain or strains of the flu virus that they predict will become more of a problem during the current "flu season".

This decision of which flu strains to use for the flu shots has to be made at least 4 to 5 months before the "flu season" starts so that they have time to manufacture extra doses of the flu shots to try to curb how wide spread the flu virus can become each year. Sometimes the wrong flu strains are chosen for formulating the flu shots, compared to what strain of the flu becomes a big problem during the current "flu season". When the wrong strain of the flu is chosen, this makes getting a flu shot fairly ineffective for that particular "flu season".

The season change called Fall, which typically runs from the end of August until the end of September or the beginning of October in the United States of America, is the time of year
that is often called "flu season" for the average person, who has not been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  But the flu season for the average person can last from fall clear through until Spring.

What is typically called "flu season" for every one else, who has not been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, often becomes a much worse problem for those of us, who have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  Since Multiple Sclerosis weakens the immune system, making it so much easier for us to end up with "the flu".  Multiple Sclerosis can actually set our bodies up to make getting "the flu" a much more dangerous situation for us, at times.

Multiple Sclerosis tends to make it difficult for our immune systems to fight off bacteria, viruses and the like.  Depending on how our bodies react to the flu, we can potentially be under so much more of a risk of much more severe cases of the flu that can hospitalize us and in some cases people have died from the more severe cases of "the flu".  Getting the flu, for those of us with Multiple Sclerosis, should not be taken lightly, but we shouldn't panic either.

Another thing to keep in mind is that unfortunately, many other people, who have not been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, do not take "the flu season" very seriously.  Many of these people will go out to the store, to a movie, to work, or some place where they are around other people either while they still have "the flu" or after they think that they are finally over having "the flu", when they are actually still sick or they are still a carrier for which ever form of the flu virus that they had originally. Those of us with Multiple Sclerosis have a much higher chance of getting the flu when we are around these type of people.

Another problem is that for those of us diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, all year round is actually a potential "flu season" for us, because of how Multiple Sclerosis weakens our immune systems to the point that it is typically much more difficult for our bodies to fight off infections and much easier for us to end up with a virus that people can carry in their bodies, while they are not showing any symptoms of having "the flu".

Whether we realize it or not, the flu virus is actually active all year round, but the majority of people have a strong enough immune system for their bodies to fight it off most of the time. Those of us with Multiple Sclerosis often can not fight off the flu virus without some type of help.

But, how can we protect ourselves against the flu?

Although MS flu appears all too often throughout the year, there are natural ways that can help to boost the immune system to help us to keep from getting the flu as often.

Ways that can help include the following:

* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you sneeze or after you use the bathroom or you touch anything in a public area, that other people could have touched without washing their hands.

* Wash your body at least once a day (shower, bathe or whatever you call it).  This can be more difficult if you are more disabled because of the effects of Multiple Sclerosis on your body, to where your hands, arms, legs or feet can function less, making this more difficult.

Standing up long enough to take a shower or getting into a bath tub can be difficult to impossible, in some cases.  Use a shower chair, if you can or do the best with whatever you can do, even if it is just washing down most or all of your skin with soap and water and a wash clothe or whatever you can use (this is sometimes called a sponge bathe).

* if you have children:  teach them the importance of washing their hands -- children often spread germs or infections more easily because they don't always understand the importance of washing their hands often or they just don't wash their hands as often as they should to prevent the spread of infections.

* during what is called "flu season" for everyone else -- avoid leaving home and being around other people as much as you can --  typically I avoid being around people at least 1 month before and 1 month after "flu season" and this has greatly reduced how often I end up with the flu during flu season.  This can be very difficult to do at times, but do the best that you can with this and this will help reduce how sick you can get because of the flu viruses that are going around during "flu season".

* avoid spending any major time around children, if you can , if you don't have children --  I find this one to be very difficult for me, because even though I don't have children of my own, I love being around children and working with children (teaching children, taking care of children, playing with children, etc.) and I love to see their smiles and how they are excited about learning about the world around them, but I had no choice after I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, than to cut out all activities that I participated in the majority of the time when I was around and involved in doing things with children, since my immune system was so weak that I became sick for at least a few weeks to a few months after I spent time around children.

* exercise when you can, before you have the flu -- this helps to boost the immune system, increase stamina and increase your resistance to coming down with the flu (so that you end up with the flu less often).  Exercising needs to be done in a way to increase your blood flow (things that get your heart pumping more blood to increase oxygen flow).

This doesn't mean that you have to do these things forever, but if you find that you need to do these things to reduce how often you are sick from an infection, or to give your immune system a period of time to recover and rebuild your immune system, you do what you can to reduce how often the infections take hold of your body and to reduce how severe each infection can become.

(I had some major infections within the first 2 to 5 years after I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis that lasted for 3 to 6 months at a time and being on antibiotics for an extended period of time just made my immune system weaker and weaker. So, I had to make some extreme changes for a few years to give my body a chance to build up my immune system again, so that my body could fight off infections again.).

Is there anything that can help us to get the flu under control more quickly, if we do come down with the flu?

I have found ways, both natural and alternative, that heave helped my body to fight off the flu much more quickly than it would have been able to do on its own.

Ways that I have found, that have helped me,  for reducing the severity and frequency of
MS flu include the following:

* taking herbs to boost the immune system -- these can include Echinacea, goldenseal, Astralagus and others.  Echinacea can not be taken for more than 2 weeks at a time and I typically take it for the first 2 weeks after I realize that I am getting sicker more often or when I first suspect that I may have some type of infection.  I don't take Echinacea as often for the flu though.  Astralagus can be taken daily more often, but I don't take anything more often than I have to for boosting my immune system, to give my body a break periodically.

Goldenseal should not used buy people that have hay fever or allergies to the plant called "golden rod".

* taking vitamins that help to boost the immune system -- the most important vitamin, in my opinion, is vitamin D, because I have found that taking 6,000 iu to 7,000 iu of DRY vitamin D daily has help to keep my immune system much stronger and helped prevent me from getting the flu as often as well as helping my body to get rid of the flu sooner.

Other vitamins that help to boost the immune system can include:

* Zinc -- this vitamin needs to be taken with vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine and vitamin B1 or Thiamine to help the zinc to absorb better.  Those of us diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis tend to be low in our levels of zinc.  Zinc can also obtained from eating larger of green leafy vegetables like kale.  Kale also be ground whole or juiced to concentrate the nutrients from the kale. A glass or 2 of the green juice can be drunk each day to help to boost the amounts of B vitamins, iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium and other vitamin levels in our bodies.

* Selenium -- this mineral can help to boost the immune system.  Doctors can run a blood test to determine if more of this vitamin is needed for your particular case of Multiple Sclerosis.  Typically those with MS are low in selenium and often a supplement of 100 mcg to 200 mcg are added to take for boosting the levels in the body.

There is also a homeopathic remedy, called Oscillococcinum, that I take at the first sign of the flu.  This homeopathic remedy can be purchased at many super markets and health food or vitamin stores through out most of the USA.  I'm not as certain where and how you can get this remedy outside of the USA, but it is definitely worth searching for.  The manufacturer of the brand of this remedy that I use is made by the company named Boiron, that is a company based in France, with a branch in the USA.  This means that it is most likely available throughout Europe and other countries outside of the USA.

You may also be able to purchase this homeopathic remedy on the Internet.  I keep several extra boxes of this homeopathic remedy around, since I tend to get the flu way too often and I keep this remedy around so that I have it when I need it.  I haven't had many times where this homeopathic hasn't made the flu symptoms go away in more than a day or two, but that doesn't mean that this remedy works for all forms of the flu.  At least there is something that can help those of us with Multiple Sclerosis to fight off the flu more easily and more quickly, the majority of the time.

For me, I do a combination of taking vitamin D and zinc, along with herbs (if I feel that I need it -- I don't always need to take the herbs) and I more often than not need to take the homeopathic remedy to help me to get rid of the flu much sooner and reduce its effects when I do have the flu.

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