There are several things you can do to strengthen your terrain and minimize your risk of getting the flu. The main goal is to keep our immune system strong, minimize exposure to new strains, and minimize transmission if the virus is active.
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1) Avoid contact with virus-filled respiratory droplets (Other people’s spit). When microscopic droplets leave one person’s mouth and enter another persons’ nose or mouth the virus will implant in the respiratory mucosa and multiply quickly. Before you know it, you’ll be on the couch for a week spraying out of both ends. A couple of ways to prevent exposure are avoiding being around those who have the flu, being outside as often as possible and washing your hands frequently. If you’re healthy, you can contract the flu but not exhibit any symptoms. This makes it even more important to avoid being inside too often, because you can’t be sure who is breathing flu particles out. The more you’re outside, the less chances you’ll breathe in someone else’s virus-filled respiratory droplets. Catching a cold from being out in cold weather is a myth, it's being inside more often due to cold weather that is the issue here.
2) Wash your hands! Disinfectants and detergents can actually inactivate the flu virus. The most common way to spread the flu is to get saliva on your hand, touch a surface and someone else touches that surface and then touches their eyes, nose, mouth, etc... They will pass the virus particle to their mucosa (internal lining) and the virus will start to multiply.
3) Reduce stress! I know it’s easier said than done but stress makes us secrete a hormone called cortisol which weakens our immune system.
4) Get lots of sleep. Sleep deprivation is another factor that weakens our immune system. When you’re feeling like you need more sleep in the winter, listen to your body and your immune system will thank you later.
5) Vitamin D (Since we’re not making it from the sun), vitamin C and zinc are just a few of the prophylactic nutrients you can take to prevent the flu. Talk to me about proper dosages and forms. There are several other nutrients for prevention and treatment of the flu. Be aware that there are thousands of products out there aimed at preventing the flu but they don’t have the proper ingredients or doses to do so. There are also quite a few supplements that work time and time again but don’t get enough publicity.
6) Using herbal medicines that have immune boosting and antiviral properties. I suggest you see me if you’re going to be taking these herbs though. I’m well-trained in Botanical (Herbal) medicine, so I’m aware of which herbs will interact with your medications, which herbs you’ll be allergic or sensitive to and which herbs you shouldn’t take based on your health. A couple examples of this are those who have ragweed allergies can be allergic to Echinacea which is a common immune-booster and licorice root, which has anti-viral properties, is contra-indicated in those with high blood pressure. There are also different forms of herbs that work better than others and there are a lot of products out there that don’t use proper doses.
Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners are a good recipe for flu transmission. The combination of sharing drinks, drinking alcohol, stressing over family and holidays, no sun or fresh air, being stuck inside with a large group of people who may have the flu virus is bound to end in the flu. It's a good idea to take preventative measures before you expose yourself to a virus-filled get together.
If you feel like you have the flu and you’re unsure what to do don’t hesitate to call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000. They have nurses you can talk to, to direct you when you’re in doubt. Thanks for taking the time to read this! I could write a book on this subject but this article will do for now. If you have any questions or comments, please comment below or contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was adapted from my post in the Sherman Hub News.
Dr. Justin Gallant
59 Dunsmure Road (Advantage Chiropractic)
437 Concession Street (Mountain Wellness Centre)