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Flu and Cold Facts | InVite Health

Cold and Flu Season

by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Healthy Tips from our Scientific Director


How is the flu virus spread?

Usually the flu virus is spread through droplet infection; sneezing and coughing. Breathing in droplets expelled into the air by an infected person's cough is the most common route. These droplets can land in your eye or get inhaled into your nose; or they get on your face and you touch your face and then touch your mouth, your eyes, or your nose.

Consciously avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth during flu season because germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

If you shake hands with a person who is coughing or sneezing, it would be a good idea to wash your hands. You can also get the flu from saliva when sharing cups, glasses, or other household objects used by a person who has the flu.

How long does the flu last on inanimate surfaces?

Flu viruses can last long enough outside of the human body to contribute to spreading infection. Studies have shown that flu viruses generally can survive on surfaces (such as phone receivers and doorknobs) between 2 to 8 hours depending on the environment. Washing your hands frequently with soap and water will help protect you from contracting the flu through touch. Alcohol wipes can help disinfect the hands and surfaces if there are infected people about.

What is the incubation period for the flu?

Once the flu virus is introduced into your body from an infected person the virus multiplies quietly in your body until you get symptoms of the disease which is about two to five days and this is referred to as the incubation period. When the symptoms are active at the peak of the infection is when you generally spread the flu because this is when you are sneezing and coughing.

For how long am I contagious?

Usually five to seven days for adults. Young children can be contagious for ten days to two weeks. Kids can also have diarrhea when they get the flu; something you usually don’t see in adults. According to the CDC, people with compromised (lowered) immune systems -- such as people with AIDS or people taking drugs to prevent transplant rejection -- can shed flu virus for weeks or months after infection.

Besides the flu shot and prescription antiviral drugs are there nutrients that help protect me from the flu?

Yes, research shows that the amino acid NAC, and that consuming Green Tea decrease the risk of developing upper respiratory tract infections including flu (NAC and Green Tea) and cold viruses (Green Tea). Other nutrients support immune system function and may improve resistance; medicinal mushrooms, Astragalus herb, Nucleotides and Olive Leaf..

Item #:  HIC0005

NAC is a stable form of the amino acid Cysteine. It is used by the body to make glutathione, a very important antioxidant. Studies show that people with illnesses associated with a breakdown in the immune system are often deficient in glutathione. Taking NAC throughout flu and cold season has been shown to decrease the risk of contracting the flu in both college-aged and elderly subjects. NAC is mucolytic; meaning it has the added benefit of helping to break up mucous.

Nucleotides Complex 
Item #:  MAR062

Nucleotides are found in abundance in each of the body’s trillion-plus cells. Nucleotides are tiny building blocks of RNA and DNA. RNA and DNA serve as the blueprints for every cell in the body. Nucleotides provide the raw material to dramatically increase white blood cell production. The immune system can then deploy its army of white blood cells to readily take down any invaders. Research shows that nucleotides can significantly diminish the symptoms and duration of the common cold. In research trials, nearly all patients on a therapeutic course of nucleotides reported significantly less discomfort associated with cold symptoms, and a substantially accelerated recovery. Research also shows that nucleotides balance immune function, by increasing the ability to fight infection.

Olive Leaf
Item #:  MAR028

Olive Leaf contains a biologically active compound called Oleuropein, which has strong antibacterial and antiviral properties. Specifically, it disrupts the growth of bacteria and viruses and also benefits the activity of important cells. Olive leaf extract has been shown to be effective against virtually all of the viruses and bacteria on which it has been tested. Laboratory studies suggest that olive leaf extract interferes with the establishment and spread of viral infection, either by rendering viruses incapable of infecting cells or by preventing them from reproducing.

Astragalus Tx
Item #:  HIC0108

Astragalus is a legume that enhances immune function by increasing the activity of certain white blood cells which, in turn, leads to greater production of antibodies. It also increases the production of interferon, an anti-viral agent naturally produced by the body. In addition to enhancing immunity, Astragalus has antibacterial, adaptogenic, anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects. It owes most of its immune- enhancing effects to polysaccharides, a group of complex sugars responsible for initiating the immune response.

Green Tea Tx,
Item #: HIC0065

Green Tea Tx liquid drops supplies green tea antioxidants, primarily it’s most important polyphenol known as EGCG in a powerful concentrate without the caffeine. Our Green Tea liquid is kosher, organic, and is alcohol and calorie free. Green Tea improves the burning of fat and a number of studies show that it can burn two-hundred to three-hundred additional calories per day simply by taking it and it accomplishes this burning of fat preferentially to burning muscle. Typically for weight loss we advise using two droppers two or three times a day in water with meals. Taking Green Tea before exercise improves metabolism and helps the body burn additional fat.

Immune Tx 
Item #:  MAR040

Immune Tx provides Maitake mushroom, Shiitake mushroom, and Reishi mushroom. Studies show these mushrooms strengthen the immune system by activating or modulating T-cell function, NK cells, macrophages, T-lymphocytes, and cytokines supporting your ability to resist infection.