Most of us are exposed to cold or flu viruses on a fairly regular basis, but we only get sick when our bodies are in a weakened state. A weak immune system means that cold & flu viruses are able to get a foothold in our bodies and proliferate.
So if colds/flus are simply a matter of our individual immune systems being weakened why is there a cold/flu season? There are a lot of interesting theories regarding cold/flu seasons, like the cold nose idea, but I think it just boils down to an end of summer. Summer has a slower more relaxed pace – we take vacations, entertain casually, and we take time to enjoy sitting outside. Generally, we take better care of ourselves in the summer. In the fall everything seems to ramp up to a hectic pace as we get the kids off to school, head back to the gym, and tackle the piles of stuff we procrastinated all summer. In addition we spend less time outside getting our vitamin D and the weather is erratic which means that we get chilled often.
5 Things You Can Do To Survive The Cold & Flu Season
1. Eat well
Food is your fuel. Crappy food equals crappy performance. Strive to eat only real food – nothing processed. Keep your diet high in fresh vegetables and fruits all year round. Many people recommend increasing your garlic intake during cold/flu season and for good reason.
2. Drink well
3. Consider Supplements
I always hesitate to suggest supplements – healthy bodies should be able to get what they need from healthful foods. However, unless you are eating fatty fish regularly (sustainably harvested only please) or traveling to sunnier places, if you live in a northern latitude you will likely need a vitamin D supplement in the winter months. The research is inconclusive and individual needs vary, but between 600IU and 1000IU daily during the low light months of natural D3 (cholecalciferol) should be sufficient. You can increase your intake of vitamin D to 2000iu for 3-4 days when you are feeling sick. Avoid synthetic vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).
Sleep is essential of your immune system to function. Adults require 7-9 hours of quality sleep, teens need 8.5-10 and children need 10+. Getting enough sleep must be a priority during cold/flu season. Making the time to get an extra 30 minutes of sleep a night may be inconvenient, but not as inconvenient as a cold/flu that lasts 10 days! If getting quality sleep is an issue then contact me, I can help.
Rest is different than sleep. Kudos if you are getting lots of sleep every night, but if you are falling into bed every night exhausted having run yourself ragged then chances are you are setting yourself up to get sick. We all need to balance our productivity with resting– do something daily that recharges you. Chances are the chores can wait for another day…and if they can’t ask for help.
…on that note, I am off to rest and recharge. Another day I will post Cold & Flu Season - Part 2 Treatments. Hint: rest & sleep & homeopathy all play a role!