What should you do if your child gets H1N1 swine flu? It’s a question many parents
are facing this flu season. While the majority of cases for children and teens have been mild, requiring
only home treatment, a growing number
of children -- some with no underlying medical conditions -- have
needed hospitalization or have died from the disease.
Here are answers to common questions about treating H1N1 swine flu in your
children and advice on when you need to seek medical attention.
Doctors have long known that people with nutrient deficiencies develop more infections than well-nourished people. The immune system needs certain nutrients to be strong and fully functional, says Bruce Bistrian, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. And, nutritionally, food sources are better than supplements.
Now, research suggests that certain healthful foods can help our immunity even if we don’t have nutritional deficiencies. To help you weather the cold and flu season in best health, WebMD turned to David Leopold, MD, director of Integrative Medical Education at the Scripps Center in San Diego.
Leopold recommends people go into cold and flu season in good physical condition, with low stress, and with a plan for eating balanced meals that minimize candy, soft drinks, fast food, and junk food.
Here is a 7-day menu to inspire you and help you get started.
Day 1: Meals for Cold and Flu Season
Breakfast: Toasted whole wheat English muffin topped with scrambled eggs (made with egg substitute or an egg with higher omega-3s) and reduced-fat cheese. Served with a glass of skim or low-fat milk or light soy milk, all containing vitamin D.
Lunch: Freshroasted turkey and avocado sandwich with tomato and onion on whole wheat bread, cantaloupe cubes, and hot green tea.
Dinner: Spinach salad with grilled salmon and berries, topped with vinaigrette dressing made with canola oil, served with a bowl of hot vegetable soup.
The four servings of whole grains and the salmon contribute selenium, which is needed for a strong immune system.
Spinach is high in several nutrients associated with a fully functioning immune system, including folic acid, vitamin A and vitamin C. The cantaloupe contributes even more vitamin A and C, and the avocado adds more folic acid.
Two meals contain at least one vitamin C–rich food (cantaloupe, spinach, and berries). High blood levels of vitamin C are associated with an enhanced immune system. Some studies suggest vitamin C can reduce the duration of a cold by about half a day.
Green tea consumption was associated with a lower risk of death from pneumonia in Japanese women. It was lower with one to two cups a day and even lower with three to four cups a day.
The canola oil in the salad dressing provides plant omega-3s (alpha-linolenic acid), while the salmon provides fish omega-3s. According to a recent study, higher intakes of alpha-linolenic acid and possibly fish may reduce the risk of pneumonia.