Written by: Dr. Michelle McConnell
As we say at Live Well, its not about the bug its about the terrain. If you take for example some one that is contagious with the flu virus or any virus for that matter and put them in a room with a group of healthy people not all of those healthy people will come down with the flu. Why is that?
Staying healthy during cold and flu season is particularly harder this year with the novel coronavirus emerging. It has been determined that it is much more contagious compared to your common cold or the flu. But yet all of those people that a sick person encounters will not themselves get sick. Those that do not end up getting sick may just have healthier terrains or constitution. How do you strengthen your constitution?
Here are ways to increase your likelihood of staying healthy this season.
1. Avoidance is key. Decrease public travel as much as possible. Obviously don’t travel to those areas that are most at risk and decrease travel when possible. If it is short distances consider a car trip rather than airplane travel. If you must travel touch as few things as possible such as taking an escalator. Try to balance yourself rather than holding a rail and if you do need to touch the rail use some hand sanitizer gel or wash your hands well. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/hand-washing/art-20046253 )
2. Eat a healthy diet with plenty of dark green and array of colors. Many of the veggies that are purples, reds, yellows and greens have a whole lot of nutrients in them. As a matter of fact this is the largest source of nutrients in the foods we eat. Purple items have the most antioxidants. Try to eat organic in those veggie items that matter using this guide to know what fruits and vegetables are most important to purchase organic. The Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen (hyperlink: https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/ )
3. Take your vitamins. Nutrients are important, some more than others when it comes to preventing the flu. Zinc is well known to block the receptor on cells that the flu enters. The best form is lozenges and nasal sprays. Vitamin C is important for immune function along with vitamin A (as beta-carotene). In some cases, when you are around people who are sick, it is appropriate to take high doses of these. Consult with your doctor to learn what doses are optimal for you or consider getting an immune boosting IV.
4. Natural herbs can help fight viruses. Some herbs to consider are Echinacea and Elderberry. These are both very safe and have been shown to be effective at helping to clear viral infections and keep the immune system strong. There are many other anti-viral herbs that can be more potent, but you should consult with a doctor prior to taking them.
5. Masks as a physical barrier can be used if you are sick or if other people are sick. The only mask that has been shown to be effective is the N-95 mask that actually has to be custom fit. Most surgical masks can actually increase your chances since many people end up touching their face more when they use a surgical mask.
We wish you health and wellness through this season! If you find you need care for a viral infection please consider visiting us at Live Well Wellness Center. Our Naturopathic Medical Doctors will provide you with the tools you need to keep your immune system strong and decrease your chances of getting sick.