Ready for Flu Season?
It is flu season! Every one of my patients, colleagues, friends, and acquaintances, asks me about getting the flu shot, and for good cause: getting the flu is flat-out awful.
Every year, I wonder if choosing not to get vaccinated is the right thing for me and my family. Then I remember that the flu vaccine, according to the CDC, is the least effective vaccine on the market. That the multi-dose vials contain a mercury preservative. And that when we follow my preventive strategies, we are not likely to contract the flu at all. Please see my flu articles from last year to learn more about the flu vaccine.
Preventing the Flu
Cold and flu prevention is as simple as following the sage advice of healthy living we should all follow all the time:
- Get adequate sleep. During sleep we produce T-cells and Natural Killer immune cells and anti-inflammatory cytokines, which help you fight off infection.
- Drink enough water (half of your body weight in ounces).
- Avoid sugar and processed foods. They can interfere with immune system function.
- Exercise your body. Improving circulation and sweating can help to keep you healthy.
- Eat LOTS of vegetables. I shoot for 9 cups a day! Vegetables give you nutrients that enhance the functioning of the entire body, antioxidants to fight off infection, and fiber to feed the microbiome which, in and of itself, helps you fight off infections.
- Get outside and into the sun. Come in before you sunburn – vitamin D stimulates the immune system.
- Wash your hands often and keep your hands away from your face. This one is especially hard, but if you have to pick or scratch, just be sure to wash your hands first. Soap and water are better than using hand sanitizer because soap traps the microbes and rinses it off your skin. In contrast, hand sanitizer, while anti-bacterial, does not rinse the germs away and can damage the natural microbiome of the skin. It is also advisable to avoid taking food from communal bags and bowls. The workplace bag of chips and bowl of jelly beans is a great breeding ground for germs – this just is not a good time of year to be sharing.
Helpful Herbs and Supplements
There are also plenty of preventive supplements and herbs that can keep you from contracting the flu.
- Vitamin D3 is an important supplement for keeping your immune function high. It is best to have your vitamin D levels checked to make sure you supplement with the appropriate dose. You can overdo it with vitamin D and taking too much can be just as harmful as having deficient levels.
- Vitamin C is important for many functions in the body, including the integrity of the skin and connective tissues, as well as blood vessel and artery strength. A potent antioxidant and regulator of inflammation, Vitamin C is also essential for proper immune function. Taken daily, Vitamin C can help prevent colds and flu.
- WholeMune is a specialty product that we carry here at the Vail Valley Pharmacy. Made from a highly purified beta-glucan extract, WholeMune is considered the most effective single nutrient to naturally prime the immune cells. I recommend taking one a day during cold and flu season for prevention and increasing the dose and adding other anti-microbial herbs if infection does occur.
There are many, many more ways to help prevent the flu, these are just a few of my favorites. If getting the flu shot is not right for you, or even if you decide to get the vaccine, please consider taking the extra precaution and taking some preventive strategies to keep yourself healthy. Stop by the Vail Valley Pharmacy or order online at www.thesupplementboutique.com and pick your flu prevention supplements today. Stay healthy!