Don't Let the Flu Get You!
Winter is officially upon us and everyone seems to be sick. People are afraid of getting the flu, and over the counter drug sales are at their all-time high. Why does there seem to be a “flu season”? Well, I’m here to explain.
What is the flu?
Influenza, also known as the “flu,” is a virus. The influenza virus affects the respiratory system including the lungs, nose, and throat. It can range from mild to severe and can be very contagious. The flu is generally spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes, or when someone comes in contact with a surface containing the virus. Some signs and symptoms associated with the flu can be very close to symptoms of the common cold, plus some others. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC, 2016) the most common symptoms of the flu are:
Fever and/or chills
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle and/or body aches
Why do we have a “flu season”?
The fact that you get a cold or the flu from just being out in the cold is an old wives tale. You can’t “catch a cold” just from being outside. Bacteria and viruses are around us at all times, but that doesn’t mean we continually get ill. The environment we create in our bodies dictates whether we will be affected by the germs or not. Thus, cultivating our immune health and eating well is the best defense, but I’ll get to that later! There are many theories about why the flu affects more people in the winter. Harvard University cited these hypotheses:
When it is cold outside, people spend more time inside with others. Widows remain closed and air is not ventilated. In these conditions people are more likely to breathe the same air as someone who may have the flu.
The lack of sunlight leads to low levels of vitamin D and melatonin, which compromises our immune system. This leads to a decrease in our ability to fight the virus.
It has been hypothesized that the flu virus might survive better in colder, drier climates. Therefore it can infect more people during the winter months.
What about the flu shot?
Most doctors urge their patients to get a flu vaccine every year. The CDC claims that the best way to prevent the flu is by getting the shot. But how effective is the flu shot really? Not only are there many different strains of the flu, but there are many other viruses out there that have flu-like symptoms. Due to this, flu shots contain the most common strains. However, the CDC estimated that in the 2014-2015 flu season, the flu shot was only 23% effective across age groups at preventing the flu. 23%! That’s it! In fact, many people who get the flu shot end up getting sick after getting the shot! The CDC indicates that the most common side effects from getting the flu shot include:
Hmmm…sounds like the same symptoms you get from the flu. In fact, the CDC has even admitted a link between the flu vaccine and Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Not to mention all the yucky ingredients in the flu shot. This year’s flu shot contains the following:
Flu Strain A/(California) (H1N1)
Flu Strain A/(Hong Kong) (H3N2)
Flu Strain B (Brisbane)
Flu Strain B (Phuket)
Thimerosal (49% mercury by volume)
Chicken Egg Proteins
Not only are you further injuring your immune system and gut flora by injecting antibiotics into your body, you’re also taking in chemicals and heavy metals. According to a study published in Current Medical Chemistry children up to 6 months of age receive 14.7 to 49 times more aluminum from vaccines than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) safety limits allow. Think about the rising numbers in autism, ADD, ADHD, Learning Disabilities in the young, and Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, etc. in the aging population. Coincidence?
How to Protect Yourself Naturally
The best way to protect yourself from any illness is to keep your immune system functioning properly. One way to do this is by making sure you are eating properly. Start writing down what you eat every day. Is your diet full of refined carbohydrates, sugar, soda, and chemical laden packaged foods? If so, you may want to think about making a change to include more real foods. That means increasing your vegetable and whole food intake. 80% of your immune system lies in your gastrointestinal tract. A high intake of sugar and grains throws off your gut flora, and gives bad bacteria and yeast lots to thrive on. Organic vegetables and fruits contain many vitamins and minerals to keep your immune system functioning in tip top shape.
Exercise and Sleep:
Exercising helps keep your lymph flowing, improves circulation of immune cells in your blood, and aids in detoxification. Many studies have proven the effects of exercise on the likelihood of acquiring a cold/flu and severity of symptoms. In one such study, staying active cut the risk of contracting a cold by 50 percent, and cut the severity of symptoms by 31 percent among those who did catch a cold. Whether it is walking, running, swimming, lifting weights, or yoga, make sure you include exercise in your routine. In addition to exercise, it is imperative to make sure you are getting enough sleep. When you sleep, your body’s nervous system goes into parasympathetic mode so that our body can heal. If you are not getting sufficient sleep, your body does not have time to heal.
In addition to diet, exercise, and sleep, supplements are a great way to support your immune system. Standard process and Mediherb make several great ones including:
Supports healthy immune system response
Helps maintain normal white blood cell activity
Supports the body’s normal inflammatory response function
Provides antioxidant activity
High in antioxidant vitamins C and E
Supports a healthy thymus gland, the master gland of the immune system
Can be used in combination with other immune system response function support products
Good source of antioxidant vitamin C
Enhances immune system function
Supports and promotes healthy white blood cells
Supports healthy immune system response following stress
Encourages healthy upper respiratory tissue
Supports healthy throat tissue
Combination of Astragalus, Echinacea, and Eleuthro
Supports immune system function
Maintains feelings of general well being
Facilitates the body’s normal response to stress
Promotes a healthy response to environmental stress
Combination of Echinacea, Andrographis, and Holy Basil
Helps maintain healthy immune system function
Supports healthy respiratory system function
Supports and maintains normal body temperature range
Supports healthy immune system response
Promotes healthy liver function
Encourages adaptive response to occasional everyday stress
If you suffer from chronic low immunity, it is important to determine the underlying cause. Every person is different and needs an individualized program. Call 610-692-5065 to schedule your appointment today! If you are currently a patient, ask to be tested on immune support products on your next visit to determine which product is best for your body!