My last blog addressed the negatives about getting the flu shot. I promised you I would next tell you what measures and steps you need to take to prevent the flu and the many hundreds of different kinds of colds and infections out there. This blog is on prevention. The next blog will address herbs and alternative medicine.
The difference between health and sickness is the quality of your immune function.
The first thing you need to understand is just because people are getting sick, does not mean you will get sick. It comes down to how healthy your immune system is. All of you must know people who rarely get sick and those who are sick all the time. Those with healthy immune systems, get well rapidly as well. So if you are getting sick often, you need to work on your immune system.
Factors that impact your immune system include stress, lack of sleep, bad diet, smoking, excessive drinking, drugs, obesity and diabetes just to list a few of the most important ones.
Genetics: If you have a healthy, genetically sound immune system, that goes a long way. I have known people who smoked and drank too much but never got sick. That is healthy family genetics in play. If you have weak genetics, then you will have to work harder to stay well. Those life style factors stated above are even more important to those with weak genetics.
Keys to the Prevention of Illness, Colds, and Flu
Stay away from malls, doctor's offices, and other public places if possible with any kind of outbreak. Avoid any social outing you can. Wash your hands frequently while out shopping and avoid people who look or act sick. If they are coughing, change lines. Avoid doctors offices. That is where all the sick people are. The further away you are, the better. If you must go, take a seat away other patients. Again wash your hands on the way out. Take a break from the hugs and handshakes. Say something like," Hi Ellen, good to see you. With everybody sick, I am skipping our usual hug." If people are polite, they will tell you themselves that they are not feeling well, so they can't do a hug today. If you are sick or coming down sick, stay home whenever possible and do not expose others...be respectful. Remember, that a cold given to an elderly person or to someone with a compromised immune system can put them in the hospital or be fatal. There are hundreds of seniors in rest homes who die every year from sick visitors or personal. Pneumonia is called the 'mercy killer' is nursing homes.
Get restful, healing sleep: If you feel like you are coming down with a bug, rest. Let the house go. Say no to outside activities that are not required. Put off chores that are not important and rest. Don't feel guilty. Today with people working two jobs, over time, and worry...most people do not get enough quality sleep to keep them healthy.
Cut out all sugar, junk food and caffeine: Sugar feeds those bugs and suppresses your immune system.
Make a Steaming Pot of Homemade Chicken soup:
The first thing I do is make chicken soup when I feel a little sick. This means 'start from scratch'
chicken soup with lots of garlic, onions, black pepper, cayenne, celery, carrots, and other veggies. Eat lots of it. If you can't hold down much, sip the soup broth. Our grandmothers had it right. Chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine. This amino acid helps thin the mucus in your lungs. This helps you to expel the mucus easier.
Drink lots of pure, filtered water: Fluids are important for the body to heal and get rid of toxins. Coke, ice tea, and other fluids do not count. What you need when you are sick is pure water without anything else added. If you are throwing up or have a fever, it is extremely important to drink fluids so you don't become dehydrated.
Vitamins that help support your immune system and prevent illness:
Adults suffer from this deficiency due to lack of outdoor exercise, indoor office jobs, sedentary lifestyle, watching TV, Video games, or internet. Our children spend too many hours playing video games, Facebook, and their computer. Kids should get exercise in the sunshine on a daily basis. This lack of exercise is also why American children suffer from obesity, Diabetes, and heart disease. The other problem is winter weather which keeps people from outdoor activities. We need as a family to take part in more walks and outside games. Softball and other sports played out side in the sunshine should be the norm. I get my Vitamin D taking care of our livestock. My chores keep me outside some two or three hours during each day. My chickens and ducks are also allowed to wander all day on the property which keeps them well.
During the winter and cold season, I suggest that you take a quality Vitamin D supplement on a daily basis. Since I am not a doctor, I am including quotes from an article written by Dr. Mercola on the subject.
This is a quote taken from Dr. Mercola on Vitamin D deficiency and immune function,
"One reason for the widespread prevalence of colds and the flu may be that vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common in the United States, especially during the winter months when cold and flu viruses are at their peak. Research has confirmed that "catching" colds and flu may actually be a symptom of an underlying vitamin D deficiency. Less than optimal vitamin D levels will significantly impair your immune response and make you far more susceptible to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections.
In the largest and most nationally representative study of its kind to date, involving about 19,000 Americans, people with the lowest vitamin D levels reported having significantly more recent colds or cases of the flu -- and the risk was even greater for those with chronic respiratory disorders like asthma. At least five additional studies also show an inverse association between lower respiratory tract infections and vitamin D levels."
Vitamin D is an amazingly effective antimicrobial agent, producing 200 to 300 different antimicrobial peptides in your body that kill bacteria, viruses and fungi. So optimizing your levels will not only help send a cold or flu virus packing … it will prevent them from invading your body in the first place.
For example, in one study, published last year, researchers investigated the effect of vitamin D on the incidence of seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. For over a year, they conducted a study comparing the effects of vitamin D3 with placebos. They found that influenza A occurred in just 10.8 percent of the children in the vitamin D group, compared with 18.6 percent children in the placebo group.
High Quality Vitamin Supplement:
It would help most people to take a good quality vitamin supplement every day. The truth is the major majority of Americans do not eat nutritionally. If this was not the fact, we would not have the high rates of obesity and diabetes we do. Junk food is more the norm for both adults and children. All you have to do is visit a 7-Eleven in the morning or at lunch. It is a tragedy how obesity and diabetes will affect our health care system and death rate over the next few years.
Most research studies you will find on the net state Vitamin C is ineffective for preventing colds. If you look at how the research study was conducted, you will find they used low dosages of Vitamin C (200 to 500 mgs). It takes high doses of Vitamin C to work.
When I first got into herbal medicine at about 23 years old, I had been using allergy tablets and allergy medication for years. As a child and teen, I had suffered through allergy tests and shots for months at a time. After a few weeks of taking every allergy medicine, I would either find that it didn't work or it would cause such drowsiness that I could not function. I was working for doctors then as a medical assistant but had begun to doubt standard medicine. I had begun to explore alternative therapies. I was married and we owned a house. A house with a huge front yard. I always ended up with the chore of mowing the lawn. Every time I would mow the lawn, my eyes would itch and swell. My mentor herbalist, Keith Smith in Escondido, Ca told me to take 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams a half hour before I mowed the grass. It worked the first time I tried it. I never again had my eyes swell shut mowing the grass. I began taking at least 1,000 milligrams a day at that point. I have never had to take allergy medications since then. That was in the 1970's. I can mow, garden, and work with hay and straw with no problems. Low dosages do not work for allergies or colds. You will find in those research studies, that they do admit that Vitamin C decreases the days sick. I rarely get sick with flu or colds, so I must be doing something right.