Cold and flu season is actively upon us! What makes us susceptible and what can we do to actively prevent getting ill this season?
Why does it always seem to happen at this time of year?
- We just turned our heat on in our houses and all the dust and crud that had been accumulating is now circulating throughout our homes.
- Our kids and our friends’ kids have just gone back to school and are sharing germs at an alarming rate!
- No more vacation time! Getting back into the swing of a busy home and work schedule can be stressful. Stress actively wears down our immune defenses.
- The light is leaving and we are spending more time cooped up indoors.
- We have begun eating more comfort food and less antioxidant rich summer fare like fruit and veggies.
What can I do to prevent getting ill?
- Vitamin C: whether you are preventing getting ill, or you are already sick, Vitamin C can be helpful in strengthening your immune response.
- Vitamin A: used to boost immune function. Can be used during an acute illness or daily to prevent illness. Vitamin A toxicity has been shown to occur in daily doses above 200,000 IU per day. Doses above 10,000 IU/day should not be consumed by pregnant women. Beta-carotene does not carry these same warnings.
- Zinc: make sure that the zinc that you are taking is not in a sugar lozenge form. Bacteria lives off of sugar. Zinc has been shown in many studies to prevent or shorten the life of the common cold.
- Immuplex: Dr. Palmer’s favorite immune support formula. Contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Zinc and immune supportive nutrients.
- Atsragalus, Reishi, Maitake Plus: this is one of my favorite immune building formulas.
- Wash hands: Don’t be excessive or compulsive about it and for heaven’s sake don’t use anti-bacterial soap. Use warm water and regular old soap to wash hands especially after coming into contact with lots of door opening or other sick people. Interesting factoid: most germs are killed by just warm water and friction.
- Get enough sleep: sleep deprivation wears away at the immune system and creates a circumstance where illness can take hold. Good sleep helps to balance blood sugar, mood and immune defenses. Your body and everyone around you will thank you for getting enough sleep.
- Exercise Daily: if we are fair weather exercisers, our temptation is to stop exercising all together when the cold creeps in. Starting in September or October, begin to shift some of your exercise routines to indoors this will help you keep exercising when the weather gets foul.
- Eat Less Sugar: I’m not just talking about Halloween candy (although those leftovers are probably still sitting around your house) I am referring to sugar in bread, pasta, rice, baked goods, etc…
- Do I take Echinacea or Astragalus when I get sick?
- Echinacea is immune stimulating. Best to take Echinacea right after exposure to illness or early on in the illness. Some may argue that taking Echinacea too often may decrease its efficacy during an acute illness. I don’t see anything wrong with taking it ongoing as long as probiotics are taken with it. Astragalus is immune-modulating. This is a fancy way of saying that it changes the way the immune system responds. It improves overall immune function and can be taken long-term. Echinacea is not recommended for people with auto-immune conditions (like Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis) but atsragalus is safe. Other common immune-modulating herbs are reishi and maitake mushrooms.
A few words on flu shots/ nasal mists:
- Getting the flu shot doesn’t confer immunity against the flu virus, it only gives temporary immunity. The only way for the body to get permanent immunity is to be exposed to and recover from certain viral strains.
- Side effects of the flu shot (will begin within 12 hours of getting the flu shot and can last for several days afterward): fatigue, the flu (fever, chills, body aches and pains, etc…), fatigue, painful joints and headache.
- The flu shots contain formaldehyde and the mercury-derivative Thimerosal. The nasal spray contains formaldehyde and MSG. To calculate the total mercury burden on your body or your child’s body from vaccines, go to nvic.org and use the Mercury calculator. Mercury, aluminum and formaldehyde are toxic to our nervous systems.
- Another disconcerting fact about this years flu shots is that they are recommending getting it twice instead of the usual once. This means double the exposure to toxins and double the risk of side effects.
- There are some cases (in the very medically fragile, for instance) when a flu shot would be recommended.
It is my opinion that the flu shot does not necessarily prevent the flu, in fact, it may even cause it. Using good sense and supplements can go further in prevention of the flu than exposing your body to toxins. In the end, though, it is your choice as to whether or not you get the flu shot. I will support you in what you decide.
If you get a cold or flu that does not seem to be clearing up or improving within a few days, call me to schedule an appointment so we can get your immune system back on track.
Call me or come in if you have questions about the ingredients in any of the vaccinations available on the market today.