It has officially begun- the disgustingness that is cold and flu season. Working at the Vail Valley Pharmacy, I am seeing it all, every day: the cough, congestion, sneezing, fevers, aches, etc. No one wants to get it and there are definitely some tools to use to keep yourself healthy all through this season.

Stay Home

I will say it the same way I say it every year: IF YOU ARE SICK, PLEASE STAY HOME. Send a loved one or friend to do your errands, pick up your medicines, and grocery shop. Let your sick kids stay at home and, if you must work, please work from home. The spread of these illnesses would be so much less if we just stayed out of public for the 7-10 days that we don’t feel well. This is the number one thing you can do to limit the spread of infections.

Vitamin D

Get your vitamin D levels checked and then get them optimized. I like to get people to have vitamin D levels between 50 and 80. This should be adequate to keep your immune system up and running. If you need vitamin D, take it with vitamin K, which will help drive Calcium, which is absorbed at a higher rate when Vitamin D is on board, to the bones and keep it out of your blood vessels and joints. Two of my favorite Vitamin D supplements are:

Immune Support

As soon as the weather turns cold, I start my family on an immune support regiment. Every day, we take one WholeMune, a beta-glucan derived from medicinal mushrooms, and one Viracid, a combination of immune stimulating herbs. This is a great way to support your immune system all season long.

WholeMune

Viracid

Hygiene

We all know that hand washing is essential for keeping those nasty cold and flu bugs away. With the advent of hand sanitizers, I fear that washing your hands has fallen out of practice. Hand washing is much more effective at preventing the spread of infections than using hand sanitizer. We rely on hand sanitizer to kill germs, but getting your hands wet and lathering with soap not only kills more germs, but it also works better because the soap bubbles trap the bacteria and then you physically rinse those germs off your hands and down the drain. Even though it is more time consuming to wash your hands, it is much more effective, and washing often is essential to preventing colds and flu.

Diet

Whole foods diet

I often preach to you all about all the benefits of eating a healthy, whole foods diet. But did you know that eating healthy prevents cold and flu? It’s true! When you eat a wide variety of vegetables, high quality animal protein, and healthy fats, your body is fully nourished with the right nutrients to run efficiently and effectively- including your immune system. On the other end of that equation, eating sugar (which suppresses immune function and feeds bacteria), fried food and processed food is actually harmful to the terrain of your body and will leave you more susceptible to catching infections.

It is inevitable that people around you are going to get sick and that you will be exposed to some of these nasty bugs. I hope that you use these tools that can help protect you from getting sick, because they really do help!

If you do get sick, which sometimes happens even if you are as careful as possible, I will share with you my favorite tips in my next article. Stay tuned!