According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control & Prevention), this time of year is called “flu season”. Flu viruses are most common during the autumn and winter months. Influenza activity often begins to increase in October and November. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and March and can last as late as May.
Have you ever wondered “Why do we have a cold and flu season?” and “What can we do to protect ourselves other than getting a flu vaccine?”
Tips from a Chiropractor Clinic to stay healthy during the cold and flu season:
1. Wash your hands
One of the best ways to stop the spread of cold and flu infections is to thoroughly wash your hands. Virus’ can live on surfaces up to 48 hours, so you could be infected by touching just about anything if you touch the infected hand to your mouth, eye, or nose.
2. Get your nervous system checked
Your immune system is your primary defence against infection. Your body has several strategies to ward off bad bacteria such has physical barriers like mucous membranes and the juices produced by your digestive track and weapons such as a fever to wash your system of such intruders. These defences are only effective if they are working correctly. It’s common for our bodies not to be working at their optimal level due to physical, emotional and chemical stresses. They all compromise our immune system and leave us vulnerable to illness.
The spine houses the nervous system which controls its immune responses. Chiropractors use adjustments (manual manipulation) to ensure that the spine and back are in alignment. The adjustments help chiropractors locate and reduce the physiological disturbances in the nervous system.
3. Take vitamin D3
During autumn and winter months, we are outside less thus having less chance for our bodies to soak up Vitamin D3 from the sun’s rays. Doctors are now recommending people daily supplement daily with vitamin D.
Research shows that Vitamin D3 increases immune system function – helping us to fight off the viruses and bacteria that cause all sorts of colds and flu symptoms. To find the correct dosage, multiply your weight by 35.
4. Stay active
Just because its winter, doesn’t mean you can’t be active. Do something you enjoy doing so you are more likely to stick to it, whether it be going to the gym and lifting weights or going for a long walk.
Set a goal to try to get 30 minutes of exercise 3-4 times every week.
5. Choose a healthy diet
Eating right is a big part of keeping your body and immune system functioning at its best. During the winter months, add in a few more Vitamin C-rich foods like oranges and grapefruit (in season during the winter) and dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale.
Drink green tea, which is full of anti-oxidants instead of your morning coffee and add in some yogurt or take a daily dose of probiotics which are natural bacterial that can help to ward off attackers. Try increasing your anti-inflammatory foods such as garlic, ginger, turmeric and fatty fish like salmon. Reducing alcohol can also help reduce inflammation in the body.
Take Astragalus (available at the clinic) which is a natural, plant based extract known for its antiviral capabilities and immune strengthening properties. It has long been used to treat common colds and flu and is commonly combined with other herbs like ginseng, angelica and liquorice.
6. Sleep patterns
Most people seem to have no problem sleeping a full eight hours straight, but some do not. This may be due to this traditional form of “segmented sleep.” This pattern is what humans used to do all the time. People would naturally sleep for four hours, awake for one or two, and then sleep for another four. The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort. Everyone is different.
7. Keep hydrated
The minimum you should drink every day is one ounce of water for every two pounds of body weight. If you weigh 150 pounds (68 kilograms), you should drink 75 ounces of water, a minimum 2.3 litres every day.
Sweetened drinks do not count, because they act as food which produces waste, not like water which removes it. This includes juice, soft drinks like coke, caffeinated drinks and milk.
If you regularly drink less, your immune system is distracted and can be worn down as it works on neutralising the poisons accumulating in your body that you are not eliminating in your urine.
If you are sick, double or triple that number. You will be amazed how much faster you will recover.