So what exactly is the flu and how can we keep it at bay?

Influenza, or the "flu", is an infectious respiratory disease caused by type A or type B influenza viruses.  It is spread when infected individuals cough or sneeze and the droplets contact the unfortunate mouths or noses of passers-by.  It is difficult to tell the flu apart from other viruses and bacteria, so when you get "flu-like" symptoms such as fever, sore throat and runny nose, it may not necessarily be the flu virus.

The flu vaccine contains the three or four strains of type A or type B influenza viruses that scientists predict will be more prevalent for an up-coming season. In a healthy person, recovery time for the flu is two to seven days but it can be deadly for the elderly and those with serious health conditions. A flu shot is recommended by the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection to these groups, as well as other high risk individuals such as pregnant women, children, health care workers and poultry farmers.

People who should NOT receive the vaccination include those younger than 6 months, people with moderate-to-severe illness, and people with a history of Guillain–Barré Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness) that can occur after receiving an influenza vaccine.  In addition, those who suffer severe reactions to ingredients in the vaccine such as mercury, aluminium, formaldehyde or eggs should also avoid being vaccinated. When in doubt, you should always consult your doctor.


Alternative ways to keep your immune system strong include optimising your vitamin D levels and zinc, avoiding sugar and processed foods, getting enough rest, exercising regularly, eating nutritious foods, washing your hands frequently and staying hydrated. Most importantly, lowering stress levels is key, as stress can greatly impair your body's natural ability to heal itself. Kinesiology is an excellent way to resolve such stresses by getting to the underlying causes. This is the reason Kinesiology can have such success with the prevention of influenza. It can support the immune system to operate optimally as it was designed to do.


by Helen Griffiths, Kinesiologist

1) Get your daily 8 hours of sleep. This is crucial for your immune system and for your body in general to repair itself. Sleep deprivation depresses the immune system.

2) Sleep EMR-free. Don't go to sleep with your phone plugged in next to you, and unplug all electrical devices, if possible, to minimise your exposure to electro-magnetic radiation. 

3) Exercise regularly - not just for the physical benefits but also the mental and emotional ones. Plus if you exercise outdoors, you'll have more chance of soaking up some much-needed vitamin D. 

4) Control your blood sugar. Eat foods with a low glycemic index to minimise blood sugar highs as they can impair the immune system.

5) Look after your guts. Your GI tract makes up around 80% of your immune system, so it's important to keep it healthy. Probiotics, cultured and fermented food are all good things to add to your daily diet.