This post is an updated reproduction of a post from last year’s flu season. This article is more about your health than faith. However, from my recent experience at Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), I know very well that your spirituality takes a hit if you are physically ill. Physical, mental and spiritual health cannot be separated, and are part of the whole you.
We need to do what we can to educate ourselves and pass that education to others. Who knows this may save a life.
…and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of mankind…
The Qur’an 5:32
We are in the early part of a new flu season. Many hospitals have reported overcrowding of their emergency rooms with patients presenting with flu symptoms. More and more people are developing the symptoms that include high fever, cough, sore throat and body aches.
As you know, flu can affect anyone, but it can be more serious in certain groups, such as those over 65 years of age, very young under 2 years old, and those with certain chronic conditions such as asthma, emphysema, heart conditions and immune-compromised patients (HIV, chemotherapy, transplant patients etc). This group of people are at higher risk for developing flu and having more serious illness.
7 Healthy Tips to prevent and treat flu
- Stay home: If you are starting to get the symptoms, don’t try to be brave! I see folks coughing next to me during Friday prayers at the mosque. I am all for congregational prayers but if you have flu, do not go to your mosque, church, synagogue and other places of worship.This is not the time to express your religiosity! You want to share your love, not the flu.
Don’t be that brave kid who still wants to go to school despite coming down with flu. Remember this is how you likely got sick in the first place- another brave kid (or co-worker) passed it to you!
Though garlic is known to have many benefits, the bad odor from it is considered offensive. There is a hadith- (saying of prophet Muhammad -referenced in Al-Bukhari 5452 and Muslim 564) about not going to the mosque if you have the odor of onion or garlic, as it might be offensive to others at the mosque. If that’s considered offensive, imagine if you make the others at the mosque or other places of worship, sick with flu! So consider this a religious advice as well!Jabir b. ‘Abdullah reported the Messenger of Allah saying: He who eats onion and garlic, should not approach our mosque for the angels are harmed by the same things as the children of Adam.
Jewish teachings make a reference to the offensive odor but stop short of preventing the believers to go to the synagogues.(though it may be implied)
If one has eaten garlic and has acquired a bad odor, he must not eat more garlic because the bad odor is (about him) already. Shabat Talmud 30b
- Cover your mouth, wash your hands and use hand sanitizer:Cover your mouth when coughing, NOT by your hands but with your arms. Frequently wash your hands. Use hand sanitizers. Every place of worship should have wall mounted hand sanitizer.
- No hugging either:I know you are ever so ready to hug others to show your love but this is not the season to be hugging- let’s put the hugs off for the duration of the flu season.
- Contact your doctor immediately: If you have the flu symptoms, call your doctor immediately. She/he may test you for flu. Most flu medications such as Tamiflu, are most effective when used within 48 hours of the symptoms but can still be effective if used later. This is of course more true if you belong to one of the groups more vulnerable to the complications of flu, as I noted above.
Remember antibiotics are NOT effective against flu. (Anti-flu medications are not antibiotics).
- Drink lots of fluids and stay warm:This may not directly help as much but staying warm, drinking plenty of fluids especially hot tea ,soups and chicken broth (recommend unsalted) may help you feel better, though they have not shown to specifically help fight the flu virus.
- Get the flu shot: Yes I said this year’s flu vaccine is not as effective as prior years, but it still provides some protection, which is better than no protection. It is not too late to get one. Consult your doctor if you think you should not get the flu vaccine for health reasons.
- Wear a mask:If you cannot get the flu shot (and perhaps even if you had one), it is still a good idea to wear a mask to help protect yourself from others who may be sick, or to prevent others from getting your bugs. This is especially true for riding in crowded public buses and trains, and places of worship.
I wish you all a healthy flu season! Share this information with others in your circle. Who knows it may save someone’s life.
…And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely… The Qur’an 5:32
This is not much different than the Jewish teachings in Talmud. (The verse above was in fact in reference to what was revealed to the children of Israel).
Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world. Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5, Yerushalmi Talmud 4.9, Talmud Sanhedrin 37a
Share love, not flu.