It’s that wonderful time of the year folks. You know, the time when you are in constant battle with co-workers and family members to avoid catching the flu bug that they brought home from work or school. You may be thinking “I guess I’ll get that Flu shot they have at Walgreens.” However, many of us have experienced “the worst Flu of our lives” after getting the all powerful flu shot. Here are some proactive alternatives to the flu shot that will allow you to take matters into your own hand. The positive benefits will be not getting sick of course or if you do have the unfortunate luck of coming down with something it will not be as severe nor last as long as it does for friends, family or colleagues.
Diet: I can not stress enough how important it is to watch what we eat and drink. Several fruits and vegetables have been identified to help boost the body’s immune response to better ward off any pathogens that may attack your body. Obviously any fruits with a high Vitamin C content such as oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines are wonderful sources of this vitamin as well as other micronutrients. Berries rich in antioxidants such as strawberries, raspberries or cherries are other great choices to add to a bowl of oat meal or whole grain cereal in the morning. There are also super fruits like Acai. Packed with vitamins and antioxidants acai is a fabulous choice to boost ones immune response. Here in San Clemente we have our own Sambazon who supplies this wonderful fruit for smoothies and frozen sorbet type deserts.
Hydration: Along with diet comes hydration. Proper hydration is one of the best ways to fight off infection as well as get rid of a bug faster. The more water your body has the better it can function. One of the by-products of the constant combat going on in our bodies is a lack of water. When the body is trying to ward off attackers without water you begin to lose the battle. Part of this also means avoiding substances that will dehydrate you. I explain these chemicals and substances in another article I previously wrote on avoiding Dehydration.
Exercise: One of the best things you can do is to get exercise, outdoors preferably. There are several positive outcomes from regular exercise beyond losing weight or increasing metabolic rate. Have you ever wondered why you get a fever when you are sick? It is because many pathogens are temperature sensitive, so by increasing body temperature the pathogen will die off. The same thing occurs when you exercise for 30 minutes, keeping your heart rate over 140 bpm. As you exercise the internal body temperature will increase, helping to kill off any pathogens you may have taken in. Also when combined with proper hydration the body will flush out the pathogens at a faster rate. The last benefit I will cover is Vitamin D production from exposure to the sunlight. Our bodies are designed to absorb energy from the sun. As a result there are nutrients released by our bodies. Spending time inside as the weather cools off is part of the reason we find ourselves more vulnerable.
Rest: Proper rest is also very important. Your body needs time to recharge so that you can continue to the fight the following day. Extended time with less than 7 hours of sleep per-night will result in a weakened immune response as the body is lagging. Often you will rely on substances I mention above to stay awake that will dehydrate you and only worsen the condition. Try to get 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Remember there is no such thing as catching up on sleep.
Hygiene: Washing your hands is a big factor especially if you have contact with others or share equipment. Try to avoid using antibacterial soaps or lotions as they help create resistant strains of pathogens. However if this is the only option it is still better than nothing. Wash using warm/hot water with soap for at least 30 seconds. They say sing the “Happy birthday” song twice. Another way to improve hygiene is to cough and sneeze into your arm rather than your hands as well as use tissues rather than a handkerchief.
Hydrogen Peroxide: Many neglect the fact that many infections will occur in the ear. This applies to both adults and children. The sinuses of the ear, nose and throat are all connected. A great way to help keep illness from occurring or to help if you are sick is to get an eye drop and put some Hydrogen peroxide 3% in your ear. If you hear it fizzling then you know that you have some friends living in there. Let it sit for about 10-15 seconds and let it drain out.
Get Adjusted: Many neglect the fact that the nerves responsible for our respiratory tract and the majority of our immune function are located in our neck and upper back. Kepping any pressure off of those nerves allows the body to function at maximum capactiy. We here at this San Clemente chiroptactic office continue to help those who know the importance of preventing illness as well as those who are fighting to overcome symptoms.
The Flu shot: Do not confuse inoculation with immunization. The flu shot should be avoided. The issue with the flu shot is that it is only created to battle certain strains of the flu. Most of the time the virus that is plaguing the masses is not covered by this vaccine. The chemicals used to create this vaccine as well as preserve it are horrible for the body. They are propagated in chicken embryos, inactivated with formaldehyde and contain Thimerosal which contains mercury, a toxin known to be poisonous. The benefits of this vaccine in no way outweigh the risks of injecting such a chemical cocktail into the body of a child or our elderly.
Take your health into your own hands. Be proactive and watch the signs and symptoms associated with illness. Get the rest you need and eat healthy. Stay hydrate and use proper hygienic practices when at work, school or in public. Finally know when to seek medical attention. If you have a fever over 100 F that is not fluctuating then you will need to seek medical attention. Be smart and Stay healthy.
Remember, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – Benjamin Franklin