It seems to be that time of year again: Flu season. Seeing the familiar look of glassy eyes, red noses and hearing the same cacophony of sneezes, coughs and sniffles I can’t help but feel a sense of paranoia creep over me as I flip up my collar and hold my breath as people snort and sneeze. November through February is prime time for flu season, this is the time to put together your immune support plan: Here are some natural and easy tips for getting through the flu season unscathed:
Wash hands often with soap and water, especially after a cough or sneeze.
Trap those germs, cough or sneeze into your jacket, sweater, or the crook of your arm rather than into a closed fist or open hand to prevent the spread of germs.
Don’t expose yourself, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Keep surfaces clean, using a couple of drops of tea tree, oregano, or thyme oil you can make your own natural disinfectant spray to clean countertops, shared telephones and keyboards etc.
Avoid close contact with sick people; influenza is thought to spread from person-to-person through coughing or sneezing.
Rest, too little sleep puts a strain on your body and is known to weaken the immune system.
De-stress, high stress and anxiety causes release of fight-or-flight hormones which depress the immune system making you more susceptible to infections.
Get out, staying indoors exposes you to more germs, decreases exposure to sunlight and vitamin D levels. Taking a brisk walk on a cool day forces your body to warm itself up, increase circulation and promotes immunity.
Move! Take a walk, stretch and engage your body in mild to moderate physical activity to encourage sweating and blood circulation.
Alternate your showers, alternate the water between hot (for 3 minutes) and cold (for 30 seconds) in your shower for 4 cycles. This helps to improve circulation, increase detoxification and boost your immune system.
Increase vitamin C fruits and vegetables such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit, strawberries, , peppers, spring greens, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower all have good vitamin C content. Vitmin C seems to help reduce the severity and duration of colds and flus.
Avoid refined sugar, studies have found that even 5 hours after ingesting sugar neutrophil (a major player in your body’s defences) activity was still depressed preventing optimal function of the immune system.
The smellier your breath the better. Eat more garlic and onions because both are immune boosting and have antiviral and antibiotic properties and have the largest effect when eaten raw.
So the flu’s gotcha, fight back!
Let your body work. A fever is part of your body’s normal defenses and allowing a mild fever (1-3 degrees above a normal body temperature of 37.5°C) significantly supports the immune system and promotes healing.
Stay home and get rest, being at work or school while sick does not make you productive and hampers your healing process. You should also limit contact with others to prevent the spread of infection.
See your ND they have the tools to help get you back on your feet. If you are susceptible to developing colds or flu’s, your ND or intern can help promote your immune system using nutritional supplements, individually prepared botanical tinctures and other therapies.