Is it a Cold or Flu and What Do I Do?

‘Tis the season we hear sniff, sniff, a-a-choo! Just “hoping” we don’t catch a cold or the flu isn’t going help. Taking precautions may work, but if not, here are some ideas to feel better soon.

Willing it Away

If you truly don’t want to catch the bugs floating around this time of year, there are several precautions you can take. Here are some non-medicinal strategies you can use to keep the sick away:

1) Sleep. When you get tired, take a nap, or go to sleep. If you absolutely cannot, then breathe, get done what you must, and then get thee to a bed. Do not pump up on coffee or other caffeine. That will falsely revive you and weaken your immune system.

2) Stay calm. It’s the time of year when stress builds; it could be the foreboding holiday worries, finances, kids and school, etc. When you feel yourself stressing out, remind yourself to shake it off. Do you want to get sick? No? Good. Then breath, smile, take a bath, hug someone you love. Do nice things for yourself.

3) Drink lots of water and other non-sugary beverages. Keep flushing out. Stay hydrated.

4) Wash your hands with soap and water several times a day. Germs are everywhere. You can seriously avoid getting infected if you wash them away before they get you.

5) Eat fresh foods high in vitamins A, B, and C and zinc. Take supplements if you’re feeling especially vulnerable.

Calm The Mind
Calm The Mind

A Small Defeat

Let’s say you tried everything listed above, but you still got sick. Oh, well. You did your best. If you’ve been healthy, this setback shouldn’t put you down for too long.

Is it a Cold?

If it starts with fatigue, a scratchy or sore throat, and/or a headache, it’s probably a cold—especially if it comes on gradually. With a cold, you shouldn’t get feverish (unless it develops into a sinus infection or something else bacterial.) Just a stuffy nose, coughing, and some crankiness, but not enough to keep you in bed.

Is it the Flu?

Usually, the flu hits quickly and knocks you out of commission. Here’s a list of what you might experience: headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, vomiting and/or diarrhea.

Influenza (“the flu”) and a cold are both viral. There is no cure. Antibiotics will not work. Go back and examine the prevention list and those will help your body overcome the virus more quickly.

Some doctors may prescribe an antiviral medicine for the flu. But a cold you’ll have to suffer through too. Over-the-counter remedies are simply to aid with symptoms.

Another Form of Cure

Some people swear by essential oils. Essential oils are extracts from plants and flowers, making them a purely natural wellness entity. If used properly, essential oils can be safe. They can provide balance and promote the body’s restoration from illness.

Essential oils can be smelled, rubbed onto the skin, or ingested. Essential oils should be diluted with water or a carrier oil like jojoba or almond. Applying a small amount of diluted oils onto your skin permeate the cell walls to deliver nutrition and remove waste. (But don’t rub potent oils on children’s skin.)

Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary Essential Oil

Ingesting essential oils should only be done with precaution. A couple of drops into some foods or drinks are perfectly acceptable, for adults. For both kids and grown-ups you can try:

1) Black Elderberry. Said to improve flu symptoms in two days.

2) Echinacea. For general immunity strengthening.

3) Chamomile. A calming herb with anti-inflammatory properties.

4) Ginger. Has a long history of use in alleviating nausea and vomiting.


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New Device May Test For Cancer In 10 Minutes

A new portable device has been created, which can cut out the lab “middle man.” Diseases, viruses, and cancer may one day (not too far away) be detectable within a few short minutes.

Coming Soon to a Doctor Near You

Still, in its infantile stages, an easy-to-use, portable piece of medical equipment may soon be used in your very own doctor’s office. Researchers at UCLA have created a test that can check for disease biomarkers. Used in conjunction with each other, the device, plus the test should be able to detect potentially serious illnesses within minutes.

Currently, blood, saliva, and urine tests already exist that can send up warning flags for infection or illness. Those tests, however, require several steps to get results; those results are sometimes not available for hours, days, or weeks. (They’re also difficult to use.) This new UCLA technique cuts out complicated steps, time, and cost.

Benefit to Public Health

If this technique takes off, it can have a huge impact on public health overall. Reporting to patients, doctors, and public health facilities in a speedy manner can affect early treatment intervention. Also, when it comes to widespread disease or epidemics, up-to-date reporting is crucial.

The test was conducted using streptavidin, a protein used commonly to test diagnostic experiments, and also a protein associated with influenza. Their technique worked beautifully and was able to detect the flu virus in minutes. More sophisticated blood samples will require further research to adapt this method. But, the groundwork has now been laid for other viruses and illnesses to be detected—just as quickly and simply.

Zika, Ebola, Cancer

With the continuing widespread of contagious diseases like Zika and Ebola, it’s essential that public health and medical officials receive prompt updates of new cases. It’s important for practitioners to get results as quickly as possible so as to treat the patient accordingly.

Additionally, a person with a contagious illness can keep the disease from spreading if he/she is alerted as soon as the test reveals positive for the strain. The Zika virus is transmittable through sexual intercourse. Because Zika often shows no symptoms, those carrying the virus do not know their status.

It is highly recommended that anyone in a Zika-mosquito-infested area gets tested, especially women who are pregnant or plan to be in the near future. Men also need to get tested as they can transmit the virus just as easily and without knowing.

The UCLA team plans to continue its research and development on their method of combining biomarker detection and the portable fluid-filter device. As the technique becomes more perfected, it will eventually enable doctors to read test results in less time than it takes to get a coffee at Starbucks. Those results will also be able to detect viruses like Zika and potentially killer diseases like cancer. Science can be great.


Tired Too Often? It’s More than a Gut Feeling

If you’re tired all the time…

your condition may be linked to your gut. A new study shows a link between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and gut bacteria.

How Ya Doin’?

Do you wake up feeling exhausted? Are you extremely tired after doing even the most mundane tasks? You sleep, take naps, and yet you can’t shake the sensation of tiredness. You could be suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. And it could be caused by inflammation and a bacterial imbalance in your gut.

Getting Diagnosed

Here’s the thing. Many doctors have difficulty diagnosing CFS. It can also be referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). There is no specific blood test or easily read biomarkers. Psychological factors, viruses, and infections can cause extreme tiredness. To deem one’s condition with a “chronic” label is a serious diagnosis.

According to the Mayo Clinic website, CFS has nine signs and symptoms. The first, of course, is fatigue. The others include: enlarged lymph nodes in neck or armpits, unexplained muscle pain, random joint pain, and an unusual headache. Other symptoms are: un-refreshing sleep, exhaustion lasting more than a full day after exercise, loss of memory, and a sore throat. You can see why other diagnoses would be considered first.

What are the Causes?

Until now, doctors or scientists who have diagnosed CFS, have been perplexed about exact causes. Some believe certain viruses might trigger the syndrome. Perhaps an impaired immune system leaves individuals susceptible to CFS. Hormonal imbalances have also been studied as a possible cause offsetting the condition.

Finally, a recent study offers more in the way of reason. Your gut bacteria and inflammatory agents in the blood may cause CFS.

Researchers at Cornell University studied stool samples of the 77 participants. Forty-eight had already been diagnosed with CFS, while the other 39 were perfectly healthy. The study, published in the journal Microbiome, showed that those with CFS had less bacterial diversity in the gut. They also had markers showing inflammation. One theory was that “leaky gut” allowed bacteria from the intestines to enter the bloodstream.

What to Do?

As far as the new research shows, the indicators of imbalance in gut bacteria may now be used as one way to test for CFS. Maureen Hanson, a professor involved in the study explained, “Our work demonstrates that the gut bacterial microbiome in chronic fatigue syndrome patients isn’t normal.” It was an indicator in 83 % of the participants in the study. This is a great breakthrough for those who advocate the condition isn’t just “psychological.”

Restoring the gut microbiome balance may be a path to treating CFS. A variety of probiotics may help along with a change in diet. Exploring ways to get your gut bacteria back to healthy levels is a great start. Discuss options with your doctor or naturopath. With this new evidence and proper treatment, your fatigue may no longer remain chronic.

For more information on maintaining balance in the body and mind, check out


New Antibody Injection May Protect Against Zika

With the rise and spread of the devastating Zika virus, researchers have been racing towards the creation of a vaccine. A new antibody injection, however, may prove more effective and may become available in a timelier manner. A recent lab study has shown success deterring the risk of contracting Zika using a blended dose of three potent antibodies.

Interception with Injection

Modern researchers have been steadfastly working on new forms of immunology to deter and/or fight viruses. Immunology is the branch of science/medicine concerned with the function of the biological immune system and its responses. Immunologists experiment with laboratory techniques that involve the interaction of antigens with antibodies. Antigens are the invaders (toxins, viruses) that trigger and immune response. Antibodies are blood protein molecules that attack antigens.

For decades, immunology has focused on utilizing vaccines to help keep certain diseases and viruses at bay. Vaccines train our immune system to produce its own antibodies to fight off the foreign invader. Instead, injecting pre-made antibodies to provide instant protection against pathogens is a newer practice of immunology. This type of disease-fighting implementation may last temporarily, but it is effective and immediate.

Calling All Antibodies

Antibodies basically block pathogens (like the Zika virus) from entering human cells. The beauty of this science is that the virus can’t spread (or survive) because it can’t make copies of itself outside a cell. Therefore, injecting specific antibodies that targets a specific virus seems like a palpable preventative step. This is exactly what researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine were thinking.

Anti-Zika Cocktail

The team of researchers, which included pathologist David Watkins, collected over 90 antibodies from a Zika patient in Columbia. They chose the three most potent antibodies and cloned them to create enough for a series of experimental injections. The injection was introduced into four monkeys a day before being exposed to the Zika virus. None of them became infected—even after three weeks of observation. (Unfortunately, the others who were exposed who were not given the injection of antibodies developed the virus.)

The less-appealing factor of implementing antibodies is that they don’t live incredibly long. They may remain effective for weeks, perhaps months in some instances. So, in order to lower the risk for a pregnant woman from contracting Zika, she would need a few injections over the course of her pregnancy to ensure she remained virus-free.

Pregnant women living in or traveling to areas where Zika is abundant is perilous to the health of their fetus. The Zika virus can cause microcephaly and other neurological birth defects. To understand more about the virus, how it’s contracted, spread, avoided, see

A Protection Against Zika Breakthrough

Although this antibody study was conducted on monkeys, it provides information (and hope) that humans may soon be protected from contracting the Zika virus. It is not a vaccine, but that may be OK. Vaccines can provide longer-lasting protection, but their effects can also vary amongst different individuals.

The next step will be to test the antibody cocktail on pregnant monkeys. Then, after that, clinical trials will need to be conducted with humans. There are several positive notes in this regard: for one, antibody injections may carry fewer or less severe side effects than vaccines; another perk—antibody therapy may contribute to the decrease in many different viruses, including HIV and Ebola.

GetThrive offers an abundance of material on up-to-date, positive, scientific and medical breakthroughs. Check it out to read more about how to help you and your family become the healthiest you can be!


Worst Year for Ticks AND a New Virus?

How annoying and dangerous can these ticks get? First they bite; then, they might transport Lyme disease. Now there is concern that a far more serious (and possibly deadly) virus may be emerging.

Why This Year?

Many locations in 2016 in the eastern U.S. recorded the warmest winter ever. Because of this factor, ticks and other insects were able to survive and thrive throughout the season. Not only is there a surplus of ticks, they are feeding more on humans than they have in the past.

Currently, there is a short supply of deer mice (because there’s a short supply of acorns, their main staple.) So, where normally the deer ticks feed on mice, they are looking to other sources for a blood meal (us). But if it’s any consolation, not all ticks carry Lyme or the Powassan virus. And not all states are infested with ticks.

The Powassan Virus

The Powassan virus is not a “new” virus, it’s just that it is newly emerging after being rare and dormant for about 50 years. It was first detected in 1958 in Powassan, Ontario, Canada. There were less than 100 cases reported over the last decade, but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says the numbers are currently increasing.

While some people who have been bitten by a tick with the virus experience no symptoms, there are others who experience the polar opposite. Those stricken severely with the Powassan virus are in for dire results. Swelling of the brain ensues and about 50% of patients will suffer permanent neurological damage such as blurred vision, facial tics, and loss of memory. And, 10% will die.

There is, unfortunately, no vaccine against contracting the Powassan virus at this time. Treatment requires hospitalization, and providing comfort and hydration. Beyond that, all the patient can do is wait for the virus to work its way out of the system.

Although symptoms may not appear for up to a month after getting bitten by the tick, the actual contraction of the virus can take as short as 15 minutes. (With Lyme disease, the bacteria generally takes about 24 hours before it passes from a tick to a human.)

Powassan Symptoms

When the reaction to the virus is severe, some of the symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Speech difficulties
  • Weakness
  • Seizures

Most of the cases reported have been from the northeast United States and the northern Midwest.

Currently, the number of ticks carrying Lyme disease is about 20%. (That’s a one in five chance of contracting Lyme if you’re bit.) A study out of Columbia University reports that in New York State about 2% of the ticks are carrying the Powassan virus. The total number of people affected is unknown because many can be asymptomatic.

A 2013 study, however, showed that signs of the virus having been increasing steadily in New England deer. This means that the number of ticks that bite the deer who carry Powassan is also increasing. This is one of the concerns for why the virus’ range may spread.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Ticks love woody and grassy areas. When on a trail, walk in the center to avoid contact with ticks.
  • Wear insect repellant
  • Wear long pants and long sleeves
  • Check clothing before you go back indoors. Also check your scalp and neck
  • Check your body when you’re in the shower
  • Check your pets’ fur regularly too

If you find a tick, remove it carefully. Go online and read exactly how to do it. If you or your pet has been bit, you can put the tick (dead or alive) in a bag and have it tested for Lyme or Powassan. You can also take a photo and send it to TickEncounter Resource Center where a scientist may be able to detect the type of tick and if it may be infected.

If you’ve been bit and develop a fever, rash, or flu-like symptoms, go see a health practitioner right away. The sooner a proper diagnosis, the better the outcome when treatment is delivered right away.

These reports needn’t keep you inside or away from playing outdoors. Just be aware of your surroundings and follow the precautions—and just say no to ticks.




Is Zika Still a Public Health Emergency?

According to the World Health Organization, the Zika virus is still a threat, but not in an emergency capacity. On November 18th, the Committee overseeing Zika and microcephaly announced updated determinations.

Back When it Began

Zika was first discovered in the 1940’s. Over decades, the virus spread minimally, mostly through the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. As for the actual illness contracted, it can show symptoms such as fever, rash, eye-redness, and fatigue. However, so many who’ve contracted the virus don’t even know.

A Zika carrier can be asymptomatic. He/she may not even know they got it. Fine for them, but not so for their unborn child. A pregnant woman with the virus can give birth to a baby with microcephaly (a severe defect, causing abnormal smallness of the brain and head.) Besides being bit by an infected mosquito, male carriers can transmit the virus through sexual intercourse.

An Epidemic Ensued

On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization declared Zika a public health emergency. At that time, there was an unprecedented, outrageously large number of babies being born in Brazil with neurological disorders, mostly with microcephaly. The Zika virus was to blame.

Also around that period, sizeable outbreaks were also spreading through French Polynesia and other countries in South and Central America. The Emergency Committee declared Zika an International concern.

What Happening Now?

Although the WHO Emergency Committee has determined that Zika is no longer an “Emergency” under International Health Regulations, they stress that it is still a concern. They are not “downgrading the importance,” the virus is being regarded, at this time, from a different perspective.

It’s not considered an emergency, but rather a long-term, continuing concern. Zika is not going away. Dr. Pete Salama, a physician at the World Health Organization, says the virus will be herewith treated as a “chronic problem.” He believes it will return seasonally, like other insect-transmitted illnesses.

What is Next?

Since the WHO considers this an ongoing threat, they will continue to be vigilant in collecting information, data, and advocate for research, treatment, and a potential vaccine. The Zika virus to date has had cases confirmed in 73 countries globally.

In US territories, there have been over 32,000 cases reported. Surely there are many more unreported because Zika’s attack can often present with no symptoms. Most cases were locally acquired from bites and a small percentage from travel-association or sexual contact.

How to Carry On

Most importantly, practice safe sex, especially if you think you or your partner have been exposed to the Zika virus. If pregnant or you’re planning to conceive within a year, use DEET to repel mosquitoes and wear long sleeves and long pants, and get tested often. (It’s a simple blood or urine test.)

Thrive’s founder, Dr. Dave Campbell has been a knowledgeable and expert spokesperson on the topic of the Zika virus. To see the Doctor’s segment on MSNBC discussing the Zika virus in early 2016, click here. Later in the year, Dr. Campbell appeared again on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” with an update on the virus. To view that brief and informative clip, you can watch it here.


What Do Cash and Germs Have in Common?

As kids, we heard, “Don’t put money in your mouth!” As adults, we forget, but money (coins and bills) carry bacteria. A new investigation, however, reports that ATM keypads may be the mother-of-all germ-carriers.


Who doesn’t love money? But little do we keep in mind that paper cash can carry more bacteria than a public toilet. Germs can survive on most surfaces for a couple of days. According to an article in Time Magazine, paper money can deliver a flu virus for up to 17 days.

So what do we do?

We can wear gloves before touching cash. Or wash our hands with soap and directly afterwards. Or use a squirt of sanitizer. But is that realistic?

Cash, Please

One of the biggest germ-delivering culprits, according to a study conducted in New York City, are ATM machines. Keypads from the indoor and outdoor bank machines were swabbed for microbes.

The majority of the microbes discovered were from human skin. Bacteria from household surfaces (kitchen counters, televisions, sinks, and more) were discovered as well. Another large finding was food—several strangers’ fast food lunch transferred from their hands to the keypad. Yuk!

Clean, Disinfect, Sanitize

Aside from keeping our hands away from our faces, we can try to wash them when possible; that will help keep germs at bay. Realistically, however, we can’t avoid some contact with bacteria and/or viruses. Besides, we need to build our immune systems—one way to do so is by having the body naturally fight off unwanted bugs.

Cleaning with soap or detergent removes germs from the surface of objects. It won’t eradicate bacteria, but it lowers the amount of microbes in that location. Disinfecting actually kills germs, but you have to use chemicals or a natural formula comprised of various liquids. Sanitizing means you either clean or disinfect. Any of the three options you choose will lower your risk of catching what’s been hanging around.

What to Disinfect?

Think about all the objects and surfaces your hands touch throughout your home. Then think about all the family members and friends and where their hands have been. When it’s cold and flu season, try to wipe down the following everyday, if possible:


-telephone receiver

-toilet flushing handle

-light switches

-refrigerator door handle

-table tops

-computer keyboard and mouse

What to Use as a Sanitizer

A mixture of antibacterial soap and water can suffice. You might want to use something more potent, but natural. DIY cleaning mixtures can often include vinegar, essential oils, and even vodka!

Try and stay away from bleach products as they’ve shown to cause respiratory issues, exacerbate asthma or headaches, and can cause great distress to skin when on contact.

There are many “green” cleaning products on the market today. Here’s to keeping a healthy home and family (or at least trying our best!)


Polio-like Virus Spreading: How To Help Your Family

There is an unknown virus that causes the brain to swell and may cause limb paralysis. It is spreading within the States. Getting informed about the sickness and how to best prevent it can possibly help your family avoid contracting it.

Cold, Flu, Other Virus?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported on November 1st that there have been 89 confirmed cases (mostly children) of AFM this year so far within 33 states. The illness was first observed in 2014, where there were 120 cases in 34 states. In 2015, the number of patients hospitalized decreased to under 30 in 16 states. Horribly, it seems as if AFM is making a comeback.

AFM is a syndrome, which stands for Acute Flaccid Myelitis. AFM is linked to particular germs including: West Nile, enteroviruses, and the virus that cause the common cold. Unfortunately, an otherwise healthy 6-year old boy from the Seattle area just died from the virus.

If a person develops AFM, he/she can have an abnormal reaction to even something as ordinary as a chest cold. The specific trigger is currently unknown, but scientists and infectious disease doctors aren’t ruling out anything.

What Does AFM Do?

Medical experts are quick to point out AFM’s symptoms having a likeness to those associated with polio. Both illnesses target the nervous system. In many cases, the virus can cause the brain to swell. Additionally, the spinal cord becomes inflamed and symptoms of weakness in the limbs, paralysis, and respiratory distress may occur.

A Rare Occurrence

Judging by the small numbers of those afflicted with the virus as compared to the US population, the illness would still be considered “rare.” However, a professor at John Hopkins University, Dr. Michael Milstone, admits that AFM is “scary.” It’s a polio-like sickness that can show up in otherwise healthy children.

Milstone’s prevention advice is to keep your children’s immune system boosted with proper rest, diet, and exercise. Always wash hands with soap and water. And avoid contact with others who are sick.

Other Things to Know

A spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Health revealed some pertinent information this week. They have identified nine cases in Washington, and none of them share a common infection or a link to one another.

There is also no evidence of a link between any vaccinations and the virus. Whether vaccinated or not, it has no bearing on whether it increases or decreases your risk for contracting AFM.

What Can You Do?

Take Milstone’s advice and stay as healthy as possible. Also, keeping hands clean is the most significant way to avoid contracting germs. Continue to vaccinate your children for deadly or disabling diseases.

If your child starts to show signs of weakness in the limbs, keep an eye out. Chances are it’s just lethargy. But if your kid has a cold and appears to have unusual symptoms like a limp or trouble holding his arms up, have a visit with your pediatrician to be on the safe side.

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