Why do we have a “the colds and flu season”? Good question. I believe it is mainly because we change our behavior. But, you and your family don’t have to be victims. Follow these steps to be the “lucky” ones who don’t get whatever is going around at school or the office.
- Some of the common seasonal advice is useful. For example, the guidance to avoid close contact with sick people, cough into your sleeve and wash your hands often makes sense. That is especially important when you are touching railings, knobs and buttons in public places. Sanitizing hand gels also help. Unless you have just washed your hands, don’t be tempted to rub your eyes or pick a dry winter booger because you might be putting germs right where they can quickly set up shop.
- One important seasonal factor is sunshine. Sunlight is less plentiful and we are indoors more. As you surely know, sun exposure is how nature intended us to manufacture immune-critical vitamin D.( It not only helps avoid infectious diseases but also cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, asthma, autoimmune conditions and much more.) Over half of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D all year and this “sunshine” vitamin is obviously harder to come by in the winter. The current enlightened thinking is that it takes supplements of 5,000-10,000 IU a day to reach optimum blood levels. Learn more at this Library link and at the non-profit Vitamin D Council.
- Another seasonal change is our increased intake of sugar starting before Halloween and lasting until…well Valentine’s Day? Sugar is a major drag on the immune system for several hours. If you have a hard time avoiding sugar—even feel addicted—you may have too much yeast in your system. Yeasts make chemicals that tell you to find their favorite foods—sugars and starch. To learn more about that problem take the yeast quiz. Sugar and the bad company it keeps (e.g. refined flour, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, emulsifiers and contaminants such heavy metals and agricultural chemicals) damage the friendly bacteria in our digestive systems. That is not good because they make up 75% of our immune function. Studies show that supplementing probiotics reduces the incidence of respiratory infections. (There is nothing even similar or close in effectiveness to Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics.)
- While some blame the heavier winter foods for dragging us down, it seems more likely that the problem is not so much what is added but what is missing. Most people eat lighter fare in the summer and that includes fruits and salads. Vegetables and other plant foods are important foods for supporting our friendly bacteria which as stated above are key to a vigorous immune system. Plants contain vitamin C and other antioxidants that help immune function. Many studies show that regular intake of vitamin C reduces the incidence and severity of colds. Here is a recent example. (I recommend Formula 216 for more comprehensive protection.)
- Hustle, bustle and stress seem to pick up in the fall and winter. Those may in turn interfere with sleep. Stress and sleep deprivation are well known to reduce immune function. So, avoid burning the candle at both ends. Prioritize your to-do list. If something at the bottom doesn’t get done…oh well, at least you will be healthy enough to tackle it tomorrow! (This is a homeopathic stress control product I like.)
- Due to unfortunate changes over time in our food supply and diet, most people are low in the mineral zinc. To date, zinc is known to perform over 100 functions in the body. One important job is to keep the thymus gland vital and producing immune cells to fight off disease. Read Bill Sardi’s enlightening article about this important nutrient and how to get the kind of zinc that will be absorbed and used. That is important, because an excess of the wrong kind can interfere with our ability to use the right kind. (I highly recommend Mr. Sardi’s multiple vitamin, Molecular Multi, in part because of the zinc it contains.) He also has a fascinating article about the flu protection that we get from eating eggs.
You can choose to NOT participate in the colds and flu season! But, if you somehow do get ill, read this article on Do’s and Don’ts and this one about Remedy Kit. (On second thought, better have that remedy kit on hand now so that you can react at the first sign of trouble.)