Are you one of those people who always seem to catch whatever’s going around? Do you hear someone cough nearby and cringe because you know the germy droplets are headed your way? Are you tired of using all your sick days for sick days???
Many people suffer during cold and flu season. They suffer multiple episodes of sore throat, bronchitis, and are susceptible to the dreaded flu. If you had any of these illnesses recently, then you know how bad it feels, and how getting sick is like a road block in your life. Getting sick prevents you from achieving your goals and living life to the fullest.
Since antibiotics are not effective for viral infections, the best treatment is prevention. Here are the top tips for boosting your immune and avoiding the perils of cold and flu season:
1. Reduce foods that deplete the immune system.
Coincidentally cold and flu season takes place during the time of year when people tend to consume high amounts of sugary, dairy laden sweets. Unfortunately, these food reduce immune function. One of the most important things you can do to stay healthy is to avoid sweets as much as possible.
2. Increase immune boosting foods.
Have you ever heard the expression that garlic keeps the vampires away? Well, in this case, the vampire is the virus. Foods such as garlic, onions, citrus, carrots, leafy greens, and fatty fish help to boost the immune system. Garlic and onions have antimicrobial constituents that help your immune fight off any unwanted microbes. Fresh fruits and vegetables have vitamin C and beta-carotene that strengthen your immune. Fatty fish have vitamin D that also helps to strengthen your immune. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, another immune boosting mineral. Consuming these foods on a daily basis helps give you the fortitude you need to stay healthy.
3. Get adequate sleep.
When you sleep, your body heals. All it takes is a few late nights before a person becomes susceptible to getting sick. During this time, practice good sleep hygiene. Set a bedtime for yourself so that you will get 8 hours of rest. Create a ritual so that you are home 1 hour before bedtime, and in the process of unwinding and preparing for rest. Turn down the lights in your house, turn off any media, and make sure you are in bed 30 minutes before your bedtime.
4. Wash your hands.
Everyone has been taught to wash their hands to prevent illness. But this is a reminder that during cold and flu season you want to be vigilant about this. Always wash your hands after being in public places. You can also carry a nontoxic hand sanitizer to use after handling items in public.
5. Stay away from sick people.
If you hear or see someone coughing excessively, a rattling mucousy cough, or people blowing their nose in public, just stay clear. Don’t go stand in line next to the guy who is coughing. Be mindful of your environment. You may also choose to run errands during the “off” hours, when people are less likely to be out and about sharing their germs.
6. If you do get sick, see your Naturopathic doctor.
While conventional medicine only offers antibiotics and vaccines, Naturopathic doctors have many therapies that help to kill viruses, bacteria, and boost the immune. Your naturopath may recommend nutrient IVs that are loaded with vitamin C to get your immune system working at full potential. Similarly, your doctor may recommend botanicals such as astragalus, ligusticum, larch, sambucus, glycyrrhiza, monolauren that are known anti-virals. Your doctor may decide to work you up for nutrient deficiency and recommend supplementation based on the deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency is very common in the US, and often the cause of frequent infections. It is important to see your doctor for work up on and recommendations because self-prescribing these supplements can be hazardous to your health. The take home message is: see your naturopath and get treated with medically-prescribed nutrients, botanical medicine, acupuncture, and hydrotherapy. This will help you get well quickly and solve the underlying immune vulnerability. Aa a naturopathic doctor, I offer many therapies to keep my patients healthy and happy.