It’s that time of year again – the flu season hits the United States between October and April.
Cooler, drier air makes it easier for the flu virus to spread from person to person. Research suggests that the flu virus becomes tougher at colder temperatures, making it easier to transmit. So if you are wary of becoming sick in the winter, you may be correct that viruses are more active and resilient at this time.
Plus we tend to spend more time indoors. It’s also likely that when you stay inside in a room with the windows shut and people sniffling, that you are more likely to be exposed to germs. The central heating and dry air dries the nasal passages which increases the risk of infection. With the shorter sunlight hours, we make less vitamin D as well, a strong supporter of our immune system.
Make time to take care of yourself now:
- Optimize your vitamin D levels. Come in and get a simple blood test to measure your vitamin D. Take a high quality Vitamin D supplement from a naturopathic physician. The right type of vitamin D and the right dose matter.
- Avoid antibiotics. The flu is caused by a virus so antibiotics won’t be effective. Antibiotics only kill bacteria. Use natural plants and herbs to boost your immunity instead. Your immune system is your strongest ally.
- Probiotics, good bacteria, can be helpful and found in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt and pickled vegetables.
- Eat healthy foods to boost your immunity such as garlic, ginger, turmeric, green leafy vegetables and herbs such as rosemary, thyme and oregano. Add spices to warm up the body and get the circulation going. Fruits also contain antioxidants that will protect against infection.
- Reduce sugars and refined carbohydrates such as baked goods. Sugars drain your immunity and make you susceptible to infection. Increase healthy fats in your diet such as avocados, walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, fish oils and coconut oil.
- Use stress management techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, tai chi, qi gong and mindfulness to prevent stress from depleting your immunity.
If you’d like to beat the flu, come in and see me. I’m Dr. Tim Kuhlman, Naturopathic Physician, at www.chehalisnaturopathic.com. We are accepting new patients by appointment at phone 360-996-4761.