The Flu season, caused by strains of the Influenza virus, has arrived! The current epidemic is caused by the H1N1 strain of the virus. If your body has not been exposed to this particular strain before you are more susceptible to becoming ill.
This YouTube video is a good illustration of how the virus invades our cells.
Having the flu can be an unpleasant experience. It consists of high fevers, aching, fatigue, and can cause pneumonia and even death. These symptoms can develop very quickly and last for several days. Some people are even more susceptible to becoming really ill such as young infants, the elderly and patients whose immune systems are compromised by another illnesses.
Seven tips to boost your immune system and keep you well:
1. The Flu Vaccine. This is formulated each year according to the strains of virus that have been circulating in the Southern hemisphere. It’s not always an accurate guess as to which strains will be in the USA for our winter. The vaccine this year covers the strain of H1N1 that is circulating in the USA.
The vaccine is made by growing the viruses in eggs, then formaldehyde is used to kill the virus to make it inactive, and low doses of antibiotics are added to prevent any bacterial contamination. Mercury (Thimerosal) is used in many as a preservative, and other ingredient such as sucrose, gelatin and polysorbate 80 are used as stabilizers. So there is a lot more in this simple vaccine than just the inactive virus that is targeted to stimulate our immune response to prevent an infection.
The goals of the vaccine are to reduce the flu from spreading, reduce the amount of time that people have to miss work, reduce mortality and hospitalization. Few studies actually support this data. Our suggestions are that infants, elderly, immune compromised individuals and anyone in close contact with these patients have the vaccine. We also suggest getting a mercury free vaccine, if possible.
2. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
3. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and rest.
4. Choose to eat nourishing food, especially a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Avoid over processed, refined and sugar-laden packaged food and beverages. Also avoid alcohol if you are feeling sick.
5. Add supplements to your regimen that are known to enhance our immunity. These are ones we suggest.
- A high quality probiotic with a colony count of at least 2 billion.
- Vitamin D3 – dosage depends on your blood levels and can vary from 2000-5000 international units per day.
- Buffered Vitamin C – 1000 mg per day
- Zinc – 15 mg per day
- Mushroom Extracts – Our favorite is Immucore by Metagenics that contains these with D3, Vitamin C, and Zinc.
6. Have an acupuncture treatment that specifically improves your defense against viral invasion called a “WEI QI” tonification.
7. Get treated. If you get symptoms of the flu make sure you react promptly and treat your self with these options:
- Tamiflu – a prescription anti-viral medication, best used within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms.
- Yin Qiao, a Chinese herbal formulation – Start as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms. Our favorite is Essential Defense taken every 2 hours whilst awake in the first day.
- Andrographis – taken in same way as Yin Qiao.