The flu is not fun..for ANYONE autoimmune or not. But when you do have an autoimmune disease your immune system may deal with fighting off a bacterial or viral infection different than the average joe.
Please keep in mind that we are all different and the ways our bodies react will vary from person to person.
Like nearly everyone else that I know, I got a lovely bout of the flu this past month. When all the sudden my Hashimotos disease came out of remission and all my old symptoms that I thought were a thing of the past came raging back..you could say I had a bit of a meltdown. I never got the full on flu symptoms- I didn't get feverish and my nose did not turn into a faucet. Instead I got faint flu symptoms + a really really bad Hashimoto flare up.
I take my health very seriously, and have learned to read my body like a book. Each time I get a negative symptom I can usually trace is back to the cause- be it a stressful day, a meal I ate etc. When out of nowhere this flare up came at me, I panicked. What was wrong with me? Did I need to get my thyroid levels checked? Had I developed a new health issue? That feeling of not understanding why you are sick can be debilitating. It has a way of quickly taking over my every thought.
I spoke to several doctors and each one confirmed that when you are autoimmune the flu very well may result in a flare up. That is just how our bodies often deal with infection. Our poor confused immune systems feel the need to attack us rather than just the virus. Which can also result in a prolonged period to overcome the virus.
Whatever your bodies weakness, it may default to those symptoms if you catch the flu. In my case since I have hypothyroidism/hashimotos disease my body defaulted to adrenal fatigue/ metabolic syndrome/ a worsening of my candida infection.
So- the question is how do we cope if this happens?
Answer: Reduce as much inflammation as possible to decrease the pain. The following things are extremely effective in helping me do so:
- Fish oil : will quickly quench a nasty case of inflammation. I take a few capsules each time I feel an attack coming on.
- Make sure your vitamin D levels are perfect- when they get low you will become proned to an increase in inflammation.
- Green Juice: When I'm at my sickest I drink up to 8 cups in one day. A lot..I know. But it really helps. Cucumbers especially quench inflammation. The juice will also help to detox you- which is super important. When autoimmune our bodies tend to freak out if there is a build up of too many toxins. The green juice helps to flush them out.
- Take your vitamins! Your body needs every big of support it can get.
- Take extra probiotics! This will help to prevent sinus infections.
- Decrease sugar & carb intake- this helps to keep my blood sugar issues at bay.
- If like me you are proned to blood sugar issues eat small meals every 2-3 hours. When your blood sugar starts swinging you will end up with an autoimmune attack. Keep your levels balanced as much as possible.
- Slow down and rest! Just do it- your body is begging you to do so!
- If you are battling sinus or cold symptoms avoid dairy, sugar and soy. These three foods support mucus formation.
- Eat tons of onions and turmeric. I sometimes cook them together and eat them straight- together they act as a inflammation fighting team.
- Take Tylenol- but not in excess. I reserve it for the times when I feel crummy but need to be out in public and don't want to feel like total crap around other people.
- Take Colloidal Silver. Colloidal will support your immune system as well as help to battle off bacteria and fungal infections.
- Eat and drink ginger to reduce inflammation. I like to boil it with some lemon juice, water and stevia to make a delicious comforting drink.
- Follow a gluten free diet. You hopefully are already doing this as gluten can negatively affect pretty much any autoimmune disease. Make sure to also avoid any other problem food that you are sensitive to or allergic to.
- Acupuncture is worth trying if you have never had it done before. It can make a world of a difference in balancing out adrenals and blood sugar. Look for a community acupuncture center in your area- they typically only cost between $15-$35 per visit.
Remember, that once the flu passes so should the flare up!
Be good to yourselves, and know that what you are going through is normal.
Ps. You may also find these additional posts helpful
- How I kicked my Autoimmune Disease into Remission.
- I put together a list of recommended doctors. Some I have worked with-others came from reader recommendation. Take a peak at the list- and please leave a comment on that page if you have a physician that has helped you in a big way!
- If you want to learn more about the Ins and outs of Hashimoto’s disease listen to this podcast.
- Here are my tips for overcoming candida
- I have HUNDREDS of recipes that are free of common allergens. Use them and enjoy while you work your way through this healing process.
- Here is my recipe for green juice.