It seems as if everyone you know either has the flu or a cold. Ads for cold and flu medications abound. Even people who have had flu shots are getting sick. It can be scary. What can you do to stay healthy when illness seems all around you? As we head into flu and cold season, here are some health building tips….
Drink more water
Water helps your immune system which fights the flu bugs. All the common drinks people use won’t work the same as water. When you don’t get enough water your immune system weakens and germs attack you more easily. How much should you drink? Take your body weight, divide by half. That is how many ounces you should drink in 24 hours. For example: a 120 pound woman should drink 60 ounces of water per day while a 180 pound man should drink 90 ounces. Even if you are not sweating, you need water, because just simple breathing loses water.
Take your vitamins
Your flu fighting immune system needs vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin D and minerals like zinc and selenium and others. While taking extra C or zinc helps, if you are missing other crucial vitamins, you can’t defend yourself as well. So, take a good multi-vitamin regularly. We have some of the best quality vitamins that you can pick up at our office.
Candies, pastries, sodas, or coffees, anything with sugar will weaken your immune system at a time when it needs to be at its strongest. Early flu symptoms are fatigue, achiness all over, headache, fever or chills. If you feel you are coming down with something, avoid all sweets.
Blueberries, and cherries are a good substitute for your sweet tooth because they are high in anti-oxidants that help your immune system.
Boost your immune function
When first coming down with a cold or flu, the herb Echinacea can help and likewise elderberry extract (also called Sambucus or Sambucol). These both work by speeding up your white blood cells which kill the germs. We carry the highest quality Echinacea supplements and the elderberry extract here at the office.
If you find you are getting sick more often, your immune system may be weakening. Reishi mushrooms and shitaki mushrooms are immune builders that can be found in most grocery stores. They can help if you eat them on a regular basis. Dr. Ellen has a concentrated supplement from Metagenics that contains these immune builders that she suggests for people who get recurring infections. We also have a good immune system support supplement called Immuplex from Standard Process.
Adequate sleep is a must
When threatened with a germ attack like the flu, resting is important. During a good night’s sleep your body does a lot of repair work including fighting off germs. This happens most during REM sleep or dreaming. If you take drugs like ambien to sleep you are not getting the REM dreaming sleep you need. This is also true for pain and cold medications that knock you out rather than letting you sleep naturally. Magnesium and valerian root can help relax you into a healthy sound night’s sleep.
Regular exercise positively stimulates your immune system and increases white blood cell levels which helps you battle invading viruses and bacteria.
Keep up with your chiropractic adjustments
Regular chiropractic adjustments help your whole body work better. When your spine is well aligned your brain has better communications with your body, including your immune system. While many of our patients know that coming in for a quick adjustment when they are first coming down with something helps them fight it off, a regular schedule of adjustments helps your body build its health all the time.
Building good health is accomplished by doing a lot of little things right, as a part of your life style, over time. By incorporating these suggestions into your life style, you can better fight off the flu and cold bugs all the time.