Seven Tips For Flu Season

People are referring to H1N1 as the swine flu, however, H1N1 Virus is not the pure swine flu virus of 1976. This virus has chunks of DNA that are consistent with human seasonal flu (influenza type A) and pieces that are consistent with avian flu or bird flu, so it is a new viral entity that has the backbone of swine flu, with chunks of human flu and avian flu inserted into it. The concern is that our antibodies (our T cells and our B cells) haven’t seen it before, so our immune system has to mount a full immune response the first time we are exposed to it. It either takes several low level exposures to the flu in order to develop that ready immunity or, we have to really take care of our immune system and give it tools to use that will let us boost a quicker immune response.

Therefore, we really need to pay attention to prevention techniques. Some of these areas of prevention are not something we start on Tuesday and have full immune armor by Thursday. It usually takes a couple of months, but that doesn’t mean not to start just because we are starting late.

1. Good hand washing technique- Frequent hand washing by scrubbing vigorously with cleanser for 15 to 20 seconds and rinsing with water will wash the bacteria or virus off your skin and take care of most of the surface transmission issues. The alcohol based hand sanitizers are antibacterial so they are useless for viruses. They only work for bacteria and only if scrubbing or in contact with the surface for ten or more minutes. Please do not use these hand sanitizers on little kids that will put their hands in their mouths as the high alcohol content is going right into their mouth, which is much worse than whatever bacteria is on their hands. Antibacterial soap products have become increasingly popular over the years, but are no more effective at killing germs than regular soap. In addition, antibacterial soaps may lead to the development of bacteria that are resistant to the products’ antimicrobial agents, making it even more difficult to kill these germs in the future.
2. If you are sick, stay home. 99% of flu is transmitted by touching the surface or person with bodily secretions that are infected and then touching your own eyes, nose or mouth.

3. Hydration- The human body is about 60% water and needs a continued supply to stay hydrated. Water boosts a general response to a viral attack. Sodas and juices are not helpful to hydrate the body. In fact, they are high in sugar, which contributes to dehydration and depletes the body’s mineral stores. Performance is an excellent source of hydration. It has some nutrition to it so it’s not just like water. As there are concerns with bottled water safety and labeling, as well as environmental issues, water filtration and treatment at the tap is best.

4.  Moderate Exercise – Participation in moderate intensity exercise has been shown to contribute to a lowering of the body’s vulnerability to potentially harmful bacteria and viruses. There are several theories why this might be. First, exercise may contribute to ridding the lungs of airborne bacteria and viruses that are linked to common upper respiratory tract infections. Second, the increase in blood flow helps to more quickly circulate antibodies and white blood cells needed to fight infection. In addition, moderate exercise has been shown to reduce the secretion of stress-related hormones though to contribute to the onset of illnesses such as the flu.

5. Sleep- When we don’t get enough sleep, it has a tremendous affect on all of our hormonal systems and regulatory mechanisms in the body. Our cells communicate through hormones so if we interfere with normal circadian rhythms and the cycle of normal hormone peaks and flows, we interfere with normal cellular communication and cellular function. Therefore, our immunity decreases.

6. Choose quality foods. Remember to shop the outside aisles of the grocery store. Processed foods are usually located on the inside of the grocery store and the healthiest foods are typically found on the perimeter. The more processed a food is, the less nutritious it is. A diet high in sugar lowers your immune response by 30%. Quality soy protein is an excellent addition to the diet. One of the most valuable features of the soybean is that it is a complete protein and provides all nine of the essential amino acids. The body requires these daily to produce antibodies and enzymes. Being deficient in even a single amino acid can lower your immunity by 25%. It is essential to use a soy protein that is checked for quality and amino acid content, especially if we want to depend on the soy isolate to provide a guaranteed supply of the nine essential amino acids. Choose lean meats (free-range preferred) and cut back on excessive carbohydrates. Try to eat several servings of fresh fruits and vegetables (organic if possible) each day. It is worth the time and investment to eat right!

7. Nutritional tune up. Since most of us don’t eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables, we should be sure to take a multi vitamin as well as extra vitamin C to get that nutritional insurance. If we choose good, quality supplements, not synthetic, chemically generated versions of a nutrient, we can fill those gaps in our diet and give our body the tools that it needs to mount a good immune response when it is challenged. Quality antioxidants will help to mobilize and form healthy macrophages and white blood cells. A probiotic, such as Optiflora, will improve the integrity of mucus membranes, allowing the immune system to have a higher alert level. A natural interferon booster may help to accelerate the immune response. When the immune system is under attack, this kind of product may help the immune system to identify, mount and activate a faster response.   An herbal supplement with specific immune supporting ingredients like echinacea, black elderberry, larch tree and zinc may also be beneficial. A garlic supplement containing the active antimicrobial properties of allicin is also one of the best natural remedies.

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