The “Cold” Hard Facts about the Cold and Flu Season

As our beautiful summer sadly comes to an end, we usher in cooler temps, sweater vests, pumpkin everything, and of course the dreaded cold and flu season. Is it me, or is every year supposed to be the worst year ever for some sort of bird flu, swine flu, or goat plague? Inevitably the media will terrify us to run to the first pharmacy for our yearly flu shot that is supposed to protect you and your family from certain death. And make sure to stock up on hand sanitizer and cold medication!

Well, my question is always the same: How is that working out for you so far? If the answer is that you and your family still get sick despite all the steps conventional wisdom tells us to take, then you are not alone.

Well, if what I’m doing isn’t working then what should I do? 

First of all, no matter how hard you try to avoid germs and viruses you are surely going to be exposed. Take it from me that as a chiropractor I’m in close contact with people all day long. I’m exposed way more than most people on a daily basis.

How often do I “get” sick? Rarely.

No, it’s not due to good luck. The reason is simple. You don’t get sick…you do sick. What I mean by that, is that you cannot avoid germs and sickness and we are all exposed to the same stuff. So the best measure to ensure that you don’t have any sick days is for you to become the healthiest version of yourself that you can.

Yes, I do wash my hands, and so should you. But you don’t need to be obsessive about avoiding germs. The key is to keep your immune system bullet-proof so that it gets rid of all the nasty’s without having to shut you down for a week.

Here are 5 sure-fire ways to make sure you are doing well, and not doing sick this season:

  1. Take it easy on the sugar.  Sugar makes you sick, makes you fat, and makes you dumb. Really. But it tastes so damn good! I know. It tickles our brain and makes us feel good too. But once it hits your tongue, a drip of feel-good hormone enters your bloodstream and makes you want more. Yes, it’s as addicting as a drug. And the consequences are numerous. In our discussion here, it contributes to suppressing our immune functions by giving the bad guys super-fuel (bacteria, viruses).  So it’s ok to eat sugar on occasion, but don’t make it a daily habit. This includes all refined flour, sugar, juices, and most processed foods. Instead choose, healthy proteins, veggies, fruits, starches, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats from avocado, olive, coconut.
  2. Soak up some sun.  20 minutes of sun exposure on your body per day will ensure that your vitamin D are stores are topped up. I recommend that during the winter months that a maintenance dose of 2000-5000 IU per day is taken.  Vitamin D is critical for optimal white blood cell function thus helping your fight off invaders and keep you super immune.
  3. Reduce your stress load. To reduce mental stress, my best outlet is exercise. For others, it might be something more relaxing like meditation but I like to kill 2 birds with one stone. Exercise maintains healthy physiology aiding in keeping your energy stores high for dealing with outside stressors, and I find that my mental stress and mood are improved when I exercise regularly.
  4. Stay hydrated. Instead of an extra cup of coffee, juice, or beer – drink some water. Ideally filtered water that is chlorine and fluoride free.  This is especially important when you are constantly moving from cold to hot environments since it dries us out easily. This one is a no-brainer.
  5. Lastly, take extra measure to promote your health despite our unnatural stressors that are inevitable in our world such as excessive sitting, environmental toxins, and long work days.

Quick Tips for Doing well: 

  • Take daily supplements: Vitamin D, Fish Oil, Probiotics, Vitamin C, Zinc
  • Sleep at minimum 7 hours per night: Major importance for optimal recovery and immune health
  • Get regular chiropractic adjustments – A common benefit from patients who are adjusted on a regular basis is that they are sick less often, sleep better, and have better energy!

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