06 Dec It Is Flu Season! Here Are 6 Tips To Avoid Getting Sick
It’s the time of year when us Minnesotans start wrapping up the fall festivities. The dreaded winter is coming, and not only do we need to begin preparing for snow and falling temperatures, but we also need to begin preparing our bodies for the coming “flu season”.
The flu season typically runs from October through May with the peak being in February. During this time there are outbreaks of the flu virus that can last up to six weeks as the outbreaks ebb and flow throughout the “season”. There are three types of the flu virus (A, B, and C) and the virus constantly mutates from year to year, which makes it hard to predict which types will be present this season. As the virus mutates, it challenges the immune system in different ways and can eventually lead to an infection and symptoms. So,what are the flu symptoms?
If you become infected with the flu virus, your body will respond to the infection. Our body’s immune system is strengthened through “combat”. Every time it fights off any kind of infection the system becomes stronger. It does this fighting in a couple of very specific ways, ALL of which are coordinated and regulated by the nervous system. The first thing we notice is a rising body temperature (fever). The body does this to support the immune system by raising the rate of white blood cell production while also making it harder for the invading microorganism to flourish within the body. The second thing the body does is putting all of those white blood cells to work by marking the invaders with antibodies so the white blood cells can identify and destroy them. As this process moves along the body eliminates the invaders and returns to homeostasis (normal body physiology).
There are many ways to deal with a flu infection, and the key is to choose a manner that works for you. There is the traditional medicine route with fever suppression medicines like acetominophen or ibuprofen and anti-viral medicines like Tamiflu. There are also vaccines available that seek to prevent an infection in the first place, although vaccines come with mixed results. You could also seek out the care of a naturopathic doctor and they would likely prescribe some herbals and other nutritive supports. Sometimes, your body needs some external help with its nervous system function, and that is where we at Specific Chiropractic come in. With our focus on Structural Correction, we make sure your nervous system is communicating correctly with your immune system to help your body fight and recover effectively.
In addition to coming in and getting checked, below are some great general tips on how to avoid getting infected and how to help your body fight off the flu if you do happen to get sick.
- Wash your hands regularly. The majority of infections come from contaminated surfaces coming into contact with your hands and then your hands touching your face.
- Drink plenty of liquids, especially water and an electrolyte drink (a sports drink such as Gatorade). This is especially true for those individuals that are suffering from diarrhea or vomiting.
- Make some soup. This sickness food staple is great at supplying the raw materials needed to rebuild the body during and after the infection. Make sure you have some bones in the broth as that is where the real benefits lie. The bone marrow is where red and white blood cells are made and, therefore, the marrow provides those precious nutrients.
- Rest as needed. When you are sick, it is a good idea to let your body fight the infection without stressing it further.
- Use nasal irrigation to clean out mucus in your nose and/or throat. The use of a neti pot is great for clearing out congestion in your nasal passages and the back of your throat. The slightly saline solution doesn’t irritate already bothered mucosal membranes as well.
- Increase your intake of Vitamin D3 and Vitamin C. The antimicrobial action of D and the antioxidant providing C are a great one-two punch to help combat the flu.