Health: Cold and Flu Season

Health: Cold and Flu Season

The Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute, part of UCI Health, is proud to offer an innovative, holistic approach to healthcare that is backed by the latest medical research. With the flu season in full swing, Dr. Lilian Au provides advice to students on prevention and finding a  healthy balance. Passionate about preventive care and whole-family health, Dr. Au is a naturopathic doctor with integrative family practice experience. Her research interests include the effects of environmental and nutritional factors on health outcomes.

  1. What are the best ways to avoid colds & flus this winter?



The best ways to avoid colds and flu is proper personal hygiene such as washing your hands frequently with soap and water, covering your mouth when you sneeze, blow your nose, or cough and staying home when you are sick. Also, make sure you take care of your own health and avoid getting “run down” by eating a healthy diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, staying well hydrated, reducing stress, getting adequate sleep, and plenty of physical activity and exercise. 

  1.   Is it worth getting a flu shot?


From a community and public health perspective, prevention is the best approach to protecting yourself from potentially severe illnesses such as the flu. The flu vaccine can prevent you from getting sick and protect people around you, including those who could be vulnerable to the flu illness, like babies, children, pregnant women, elderly, and those with weakened immune systems and chronic health conditions. Also, it reduces the number of flu-related doctor’s visits and hospitalizations and importantly, keeps you healthy throughout the winter season. It is recommended for you to get the flu shot every year because flu viruses do change and your immunity to the vaccine declines over time My advice for you when getting a flu shot is to get it as early as possible before the flu season begins and when you are healthy as your immune system is in an optimal condition at this time.   


  1.   How can teens reduce stress?


There are many ways teens can reduce stress but it is equally important to develop healthy habits for stress management.  I have recommended more personal and interactive social connections with friends and peers and less screen time with phones, iPads, TV, and social media. Eating a healthy diet, sleeping well, and exercise are some of the best ways to prevent and reduce stress. Also, I recommend to teens to be open with their feelings and emotions and to talk to someone they trust or put them down on paper or journaling, which can be great tools to relieve stress. Most importantly, find something you enjoy doing like a hobby or sport, being outdoors, spend quality time with friends or family and just have fun.


  1.   What services does the Samueli Integrative Health Institute offer teens?


At the Samueli Integrative Health Institute, we have experienced integrative health specialists that provide a diversity of services to treat teens and families for acute and chronic medical concerns. We provide individualized and collaborative care through integrative health visits with our team of naturopathic, osteopathic, and medical doctors. We also offer nutrition counseling, biofeedback, acupuncture, massage, mindfulness stress reduction and wellness classes for our teen patients.