This year it seems we went from a perfectly delightful fall and early winter straight to record-low, freezing cold temperatures with plenty of snow. And to top it off, this year’s runaway flu epidemic; more cases and more severe – with more dismal flu shot statistics reported in the news. While the experts say this flu season may soon be over, it is still peak germ season and an important time to think about two things:
- Preventing the flu.
- Keeping your immune system strong.
Here are some tips from our docs to help keep you and your loved ones healthy and minimize the impact of seasonal illness.
- Be proactive and have a plan. Make sure you are taking your Vitamin D, probiotics and whatever else makes up your prevention plan. Vitamin D has many functions, including increasing immune cell activity. Since one of the main sources of Vitamin D is sunlight, it is important to add Vitamin D rich foods to your diet; cod liver oil, fatty fish (salmon, trout), egg yolks (don’t skip the yolks, folks!)
- Get Extra Sleep – remember in nature this is hibernation time! This may be easier said than done between work, kids, and the newest season of Orange is the New Black on Netflix but sleep is not only good for your overall health, but lack of it can decrease your immune function and leave you vulnerable to attack by bacteria and viruses. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try powering down all electronics an hour before bedtime, including the TV. The TV can seem comforting as you fall asleep but it can actually prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Melatonin is needed to regulate sleep and even a dim light such as from the TV can interfere with the release of melatonin from your brain.
- Good hygiene goes without staying. Wash your hands, keep them away from your face, sneeze or cough into a tissue and if you are sick – stay home!
- Remember your nutritional basics – Eat Well – especially now when you may have picked up some bad habits over the holidays. Remember one tsp of sugar will immobilize your immune system for up to 5 hours! Dairy is a phlegm producing food and should be avoided. Take it easy on the digestive system – avoid raw foods after noon this time of year, and get your crock pot out for some yummy soups or stews! Stressing your digestive system will reduce your natural resistance.
- Don’t forget your warming socks. They are tough flu-fighters. Get them on your feet at the first sign of symptoms and do them until the symptoms are gone. If you catch it soon enough it might be just one night! Need a Warming Sock refresher? Click here.
- Be Proactive. If something feels like it is settling in, or you don’t have a prevention plan don’t be shy! You can make an appt for a short phone consult. If we can get on the other side of the infection with a traditional naturopathic approach you come out of it with a stronger system than if you let it linger to the point of requiring antibiotics.