It’s that time of year again, cold and flu season! I get lots of questions on this topic this time every year. People ask me: what do I need to do to not get the flu? Do I need to get the flu shot?
I am not fearful of short-term infections that come and go, like the flu. In fact, I think exposures to these bugs are a good thing. I think of it this way, if you get the flu you are now left with natural lifetime immunity to that strain. Which is truly a beautiful gift because when that pesky little bug comes around again you will not get sick!
Now, I am not telling you what to do, flu shot or no flu shot. But what I am telling you is that it is not bulletproof protection from getting sick! No vaccine is 100% effective. Last year’s flu vaccine was 56% effective in adults and children and only 9% effective in the elderly.
What I am going to talk about what you can do to help boost your immunity during cold and flu season. If staying healthy is important to you then here are some simple things that can help you:
Drink warm drinks
Drink warm drinks, not just when you are sick! It’s not just folklore that warm drinks help the body! Hot tea is one of the best things you can do. Get into a daily habit of drinking warm drinks, it really does make a difference!
Stay away from sugar
Have you ever noticed that cold and flu season starts shortly after everybody eats all that Halloween candy? Eating or drinking too much sugar weakens immune system cells that attack bacteria. Eat healthy during cold and flu season, it really does make a difference.
Try to get regular, moderate exercise, like a daily 30-minute walk. Exercise can help your immune system fight infection.
Take Vitamin D, regularly
Vitamin D has been being used to help fight infection for ages! Remember hearing about drinking Cod Liver Oil back in the day? Well that stuff is full of Vitamin D! Research is now catching up and showing how vitamin D helps with protective immunity! I often suggest to my patients in my practice this vitamin D
Take probiotics, regularly
Probiotics are the new buzz word in health. Probiotics appear to be popping up everywhere, you find products that have them in butter, chocolate and even pet food! Probiotics are best known for their role in digestive health, but what is less well known is about 60% of our immune cells are located in our digestive tract. Emerging science shows they are powerful components of immune system health as well.
In short, keep warm inside and out, eat healthy, move more, and take some vitamin D and probiotics! Adding these tips into your routine can truly make a difference during cold and flu season!
Connect with DrMarina on Google+