It’s Flu Season.
How to stay healthy whether you get the flu shot or not.
When I first started studying medicine I was in awe. Our first classes were about the magic of the human body. I felt so privileged to be allowed this incredible honor of being able to help people heal. In medical school I realized just how fragile we are and how many things could affect our health. Your body needs to protect itself from something all the time but we learned very little about taking care of ourselves so that our immune system remains healthy and strong. It wasn’t until years later when I was studying Chinese medicine that I learned it’s possible to strengthen and fortify our bodies. That’s the reason we have an immune system.
In the next few blogs, I’m going to focus on how to take care of your immune system – starting with today’s which will be about flu season and how to stay healthy throughout the season whether you get a flu shot or not. If you take proper care of yourself during flu season, you build your immunity and get stronger rather than sicker.
In Chinese medicine – the lungs rule your entire respiratory system. It starts with the nose, throat, airways, lungs, large intestine and skin. They rule your sense of smell, the emotion of grief, and the desire to be in a physical body. Most importantly – they rule your ability to protect yourself from things that come in from outside your body – in other words your immune system.
Fall is the time of year the lungs are most active – it is the time of year they are most vulnerable and the perfect opportunity to build and strengthen them.
Here are six things to do for your immune system to keep yourself protected from the flu.
- Keep your energy balanced. This means not overdoing it, especially during the holidays, when we tend to stress emotionally and over do it to make sure everything gets done “right”. Instead focus on having fun with the people you love.
- Make sure that you are properly nourished – certain foods are bad for your immune system, and others support your good health. Sugar, gluten, and dairy, tend to suppress your immune system. Lots of vegetables, greens, high quality proteins, and good fats, help your immune system.
- Get plenty of rest – as the days get shorter, its good to follow the season- pay attention when you notice that your body needs more rest – it will help you stay balanced. If you do start to get sick, rest right away. It’s tempting to try to push through it, especially when you’re busy, but don’t do that, give your body a break.
- Get acupuncture tune-ups – they help your body stay in balance with the season. Even if you don’t normally have acupuncture – it’s a wonderful practice to get a treatment during the change of season.
- Take the right supplements for your body – certain supplements have been scientifically proven to be beneficial for your immune system, if you have problems with getting sick, or have lots of exposure to sick people, boost yourself by taking the right supplements. Things to consider include: Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and Omega Fatty acids. These all have documented evidence of protecting you from illness. Additional supplements to consider include immune building herbs – one of my favorites is Host Defense by MyCommunity – a blend of organic medicinal mushrooms.
- Be conscious about exposure – When you get exposed to someone who is sick, increase your self care, and wash your hands frequently, and up your supplement intake. The flu is transmitted via mucous, not the air you breathe. Just breathing the air around someone who is sick will not make you sick.