Cold and Flu Season Precautions

The cold and flu season is upon us once again.  A lot of people are worried, confused and wondering what they can do to limit their own and their family’s susceptibility to these illnesses.  Everywhere we turn there are commercials or signs of one form or another telling us to get our flu shots.  But for some of us, a vaccination is not the preferred option.

Humankind has been fending off the ever-changing influenza virus for a long time.  The best advice is to keep calm!  Your immune system can be very effective in fighting off infection.  There are many ways you can boost your immune system and respiratory function naturally so you are less likely to contract a flu virus.

Some common-sense precautions to defend against inflammation and infectious diseases are:

  1. Frequent hand-washing  with plain soap and water is still one of the best ways.
  2. Clean hands top the list for prevention of spreading disease.
  3. Person washing his handsDon’t waste your money or time on antimicrobial soaps because they don’t work on viruses such as colds or flu.  Antimicrobial soaps can be a contributing factor to the spread of new resistant strains of bacteria.
  4. Keep your hands off of your face.  If you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without first washing your hands, bacteria (germs) can enter your body causing you to become infected.
  5. Use proper hygiene etiquette when you are sick and around others.  It simply means that you cover your mouth or nose with a tissue (not your hand) when coughing or sneezing and throwing the tissue away.  You may also cough or sneeze into your sleeve at the elbow (not your hands).
  6. You cannot shield yourself all of the time from the general public.  Allowing a sense of fear to prevail is not good for your immune system or overall health.
  7. Do keep your children home if they seem to be coming down with something or have obvious symptoms–likewise for adults!  Tuck the sick person away from others and cleanse common surfaces such as bathrooms, doorknobs and kitchen appliances, dishes, utensils and faucets with a straight solution of white vinegar to keep the virus from spreading.
  8. Wash the sick persons linens in hot water and wash their clothing separately from the other family member’s clothing.
  9.  Wash your hands after handling laundry or other materials handled by sick person.

Preparing Immune System:

Food is Medicine.  Eating wholesome, home-cooked meals is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself year-round.  Certain foods and herbs support your immune system and protect your respiratory health.  Sipping herbal teas or gargling with warm salt water help to make your mouth unfriendly to microbes and reduces your risk of contracting flu even after direct exposure.
Avoid Inflammation Promoters.  Some culprits are:  alcohol,  tobacco, and sugar.  Excessive stress promotes inflammation and affects the immune system’s ability to respond.  Chronic stress accelerates the normal aging process.  Helpful to minimize your stress to preserve your immunity.
Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels.  Connections between vitamin D insufficiency and infectious diseases go back to the 1800’s, when people noticed how tuberculosis patients improved when they traveled to a warm climate and had more sun exposure.   Molecular geneticists study vitamin D’s capacity to stimulate “antimicrobial innate immunity” to learn how it regulates the genes that control your innate immune responses. To determine your Vitamin D dosage requirements, if you live in northern latitudes you need at least 1000 to 2000 IU/day (professional grade quality**) during winter months to protect you from the flu.
Support Your Intestinal Flora.  Chronic inflammation starts in the gut so you will need some herbal formulas to reduce incidence, severity, and duration of respiratory tract illnesses and symptoms as well as lessen the chances for viruses and bacteria.
Sleep!  Adequate sleep fortifies the immune system while sleep deprivation taxes it.  When you feel something is weakening your system, it’s only natural for you to want to sleep more.  This intuitive mechanism can help lower the seriousness of your infection or help you recuperate faster.
Exercise Regularly.  Overdoing your exercise routine or strenuous physical exercise can compromise your immune system and possibly set the stage for infection.  It won’t hurt you to keep up your walks, sprints (not long runs or jogs), bike rides, weight lifting or swimming.
Indoor Atmospheric Conditions During Winter.  Consider purchasing indoor plants that purify the air of toxins, reduce dust accumulation, and support respiratory health.  If you live in a dry climate consider investing in a humidifier to work with your furnace or place a pan of water on your kitchen stove or your wood-burning stove to put moisture into the air you breathe.
Your Health is Your Choice ~ Contact one of our lifestyle coaches at Healthy Life Institute by calling 801-358-4777 for your personal consultation.  
Sources:
*Dixie Mills, MD, FACS, Natural Flu Prevention, http://www.womentowomen.com, Accessed online 8-20-2010

 

**Systemic Formulas

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