Influenza and ……. Soup

Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ on Radio X  from 17 February 2014

I’m Tom Meyers, Stress Coach and welcome to another episode of Health Matters.

This week I like to talk to you about Influenza or commonly known as the flu. Currently in Belgium the consultation rate for flu-like symptoms is rising. (Influenza surveillance programme in Belgium)

Flu is an infectious disease caused by the influenza virus. It is typically transmitted through the air by coughs or sneezes in very small liquid droplets that contain the virus.

The difference between flu and a common cold is that a cold starts with a sore throat which goes away after a couple days and is followed by a runny nose and a cough.

Flue symptoms are usually more severe and come on very quickly: chills, fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pains, headaches, coughing and feeling weak especially at the onset are the most common signs.

The common cold and flue are both infectious and thus can be transmitted to others.

What I personally find fascinating is looking at illnesses from another perspective for example the biobehavioral perspective (understanding what your symptoms tell you).

Like when you have a cold with cough and runny nose what do you say to people. Don’t come to close I’ve got a cold.

The same people if you haven’t told them but who can see you’re coughing and sneezing will keep a distance from you …

When your throat aches so much you can’t even talk? What does that mean?

In case of a flue you have a fever aches and pains can’t concentrate… What behavior follows?

Are you seeing the underlying message in don’t come to close… better stay away from that person… can’t communicate and hyper sensitivity aches and pains due to fever…

They say…

“leave me alone’ your body is telling you that you need a break, some  ‘time-out’ and stay at home for a few days to recuperate. In case of flu 5 days is recommended.

Not only are the flue and cold signs saying that you need time for you and that you should stay at home good to recuperatie. A recent study from the University of Hasselt has shown that if people with flu would stay at home for a few days the spreading of the disease could be reduced by 75%.

So how to prevent flu or getting a common cold.

  • Keep those stress levels in check as chronic elevated stress levels lowers your immunity
  • Enough rest sleep are needed to give your body the time to relax, recuperate and regenerate itself
  • Wash your hands regularly especially when you have been in public places, like bus and metro.
  • Don’t come to close to people who have or you suspect to have a cold or flu
  • More tips…

And when you have a flu or cold make sure you get some needed rest and  although it won’t cure you to make you feel better drink freshly made chicken soup. it is scientifically proven that grandma was right once again… Chicken soup acts as an inflammatory agent and speeds up the movement of mucus through the nose relieving congestion. Fresh soup is also nutritional and hydrates your body.

Link to the recipe the scientists used 🙂

I’m Tom meyers, Stress Coach for Body and Mind and contributor of thought to  your health and wellbeing.


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