7 Tips For Protecting Those You Love This Flu Season
[By Chris, Editor at Organic Health]
With yet another flu season approaching; many will consider getting the flu vaccination.
During the 2012-2013 flu season, the flu vaccine’s effectiveness was found to be just 56 percent, reviewed across all ages by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — in essence, the statistical equivalent of a coin toss. In seniors, aged 65 and over, the flu vaccine was only 9 percent effective at preventing the flu.
All these facts are conspicuously ignored by the media, and you’ll certainly never see them mentioned in any flu vaccine promotion campaign. What else won’t you see mentioned?
The fact that your immune system is the most powerful determinant of whether or not you’ll get sick this flu season…with influenza or any of the other flu-like illnesses going around. Simply put, the stronger your immune system, the less likely you are to get sick. 
How To Have a Strong Immune System?
If you’re eating a lot of refined sugars and processed foods, you’re not doing your body any assistance this flu season. Instead of giving your body the fuel it needs to function optimally, to be healthy enough to fight off infectious viruses, you’re giving it more toxic elements that it must overcome first.
For example, according to Dr. Christine Northrup, too many carbohydrates in the form of sugar can be very unbalancing for your gut flora. Sugar is “fertilizer” for pathogenic bacteria, yeast and fungi that can set your immune system up for an easy attack by a respiratory virus. Most people don’t realize that 80 percent of their immune system actually resides in their gut (gastrointestinal tract). That’s why controlling your sugar intake is crucial for optimizing your immune system.
Additionally, making sure you’re eating plenty of beneficial bacteria in the foods you eat (specifically fermented foods) is also crucial. In one study, 3 to 5-year-old children who received either a single strain or combination of beneficial bacteria called Probiotics twice a day for six months had:
- Up to 73 percent reduced fever.
- Up to 62 percent decreased coughing.
- Up to 59 percent less runny noses.
- Up to 84 percent reduced antibiotic use (which is a major gain in and of itself because antibiotics are vastly overused in children and devastate gut flora).
- Sleep and Stress
These are important questions that your physician should be asking around flu season and really all year long, as they also play a key role in helping you stay well. Just as it becomes harder to get your daily tasks done if you’re tired and stressed, if your body is overly tired and burned out it will be harder to fight the flu. Be sure to check out this article “Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep” for some great tips to help you get quality sleep and be sure you’re managing your stress levels.
When researchers from Carnegie Mellon University infected study participants with a common cold virus, those who had reported being under stress were twice as likely to get sick.4
Chronic stress also exerts a powerful negative influence on your epigenetic health, turning on and off the expression of genes that directly influence your likelihood of getting sick. Using techniques you can correct the emotional short-circuiting that contributes to your chronic stress. One such technique is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), but there are many others, such as yoga, cognitive behavioural therapy and meditation.
- Physical Activity
If you are exercising regularly, studies have shown the likelihood of you acquiring a cold or other viral illness is significantly reduced.5 In one such study, staying active cut the risk of contracting a cold by 50 percent, and cut the severity of symptoms by 31 percent among those who did catch a cold. The researchers noted that each round of exercise may lead to a boost in circulating immune system cells that help ward off a flu virus. Be sure to keep warm before, during and after exercise.6
Due to the key role that exercise plays in supporting your immune system, it’s crucial to treat exercise like a medicine that must be properly prescribed, monitored and maintained for you to enjoy the most benefits. Essentially, you need to have a varied routine that includes cardio and physical activity. Experiment until you find an activity that you enjoy, challenges you and makes you feel good!
- Take a High-Quality Supplement.
The food quality of modern supermarket fruits and vegetables has been shown to fall short in providing the nutrients we need to be healthy. Increasing your intake of organic vitamins, minerals and healthy fats like the omega-3 through supplementation is crucial for maintaining health. A great all-in-one supplement we’ve tried is Nutriverus Superfood Powder and another is Omega 3 Oil, but there are many others out there. Shop around.
- Tried and True Hygiene Measures
Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don’t use antibacterial soap containing synthetic chemicals for this – conventional antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary and they cause far more harm than good. Instead, identify a simple non-toxic soap that can work for your family. In addition to washing your hands regularly, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, ideally with the inside of your elbow (to avoid contaminating your hands). If possible, avoid close contact with those who are sick and, if you are sick, avoid close contact with those who are well. Common sense, but common sense is not that common!
- Use Natural Immune-Boosters
Some top natural flu fighters include:
- Oil of oregano
- Blue Berries
- Coconut Oil
- Nuts and Seeds
- Sweet Potatoes
These foods contain nutrients which support effective protection against a broad spectrum of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your body. And unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, they do not appear to lead to resistance and the development of ‘super germs.’
- Avoid Hospitals
Stay away from hospitals if you can, unless you have an emergency and need expert medical care. Hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds. The best place to recover from illness, that is not life threatening, is usually in the comfort of your own home.
It’s a fact that viruses and bacteria are all around us. Whether you come into contact with the flu or another variety, focus on maintaining a strong and healthy immune system to avoid getting sick. What we eat plays an important role in the strength of our immune system.
Regularly eating the foods (and immunity supplements listed above), maintaining healthy stress levels and sleep patterns, exercising and taking proper hygiene steps go a long way to reducing the risk of getting sick and may help you and your loved ones recover faster if you do.
As always, the wisdom is in the community, love to hear your flu season tips in the comments below!!