Six ways to stay healthy during the holidays
Did you know that the reason for the increased incidence of illness during the “flu season” is unknown? Did you also know that the CDC recommends flu shots which are between 10-60% effective according to studies on their website? The CDC also pointed out that the more vaccinations you get the effectiveness decreases, and that the shots are less effective for seniors.
CDC recommendations for the flu season are a flu shot, anti-viral drugs, and wash your hands. A 2014 British Medical Journal study of Oseltamivir the active ingredient in anti-viral drugs found it caused nausea and vomiting, and increased the risk of headaches, kidney and psychiatric disorders.
There are other methods to decrease your risk of getting sick. We need to focus on the most effective disease fighter we have, which is our own immune system. We have far more control over our susceptibility to colds and flu than we realize, so we do not need to feel helpless or fearful. Here are six proven steps to improve your immune function.
1. Get adequate sleep; according to WebMD, lack of sleep will increase our risk of catching a cold or flu. When we are sleep deprived our immune system T-cells are decreased and inflammatory cytokines which are cells that increase in inflammation go up. Sleep deprivation also decreases our fever response, which means that we are less effective at fighting an infection once we are sick.
2. Eat less sugar: WebMD also pointed out that your immune function decreases immediately after consumption of a sugary meal. The reduction is immune function lasted for two to four hours after consumption.
3. Exercise: According to Medline Plus, exercise helps to flush bacteria out of the airways. Exercise also improves antibody function and increased circulation helps the antibodies to detect invaders more quickly than if circulation is more sluggish. It is important to note that while exercise is good doing too much can actually weaken immune function so if you already exercise increasing the amount does not mean that you will get even more immune boosting.
4. Reduce stress: The American Psychological Association stated that chronic stress will weaken T-Cell response. Another study followed students and measured the stress hormone cortisol, it found a weaker immune response in those that had a higher level of cortisol. One study found that students that reported higher levels of loneliness and depression had weaker immune response. Ways to reduce stress would be
c. Improve social network
d. Look for what you can feel gratitude, because you can’t be grateful and sad at the same time.
5. Get more vitamin D. in the winter we get less sunshine and our vitamin D levels decrease. Vitamin D has been shown to reduce our risk of infection.
6. Get adjusted: According to chiro-med.ca inflammatory based disease is influenced by the nervous, endocrine, and immune system. The nervous system directly affects the growth and function of inflammatory cells which we noted above in #1 affects immune function. It has been shown that disease fighting white blood cells increase immediately after a Chiropractic adjustment. We also know that lymph flow improves with adjustments and lymph carries the immune cells.
You can see that you have many ways to improve your immune function and overall health while reducing your risk of getting sick during the “cold and flu season”. When we get sick we should not look at “who got us sick” but how did we weaken our immune function. The cold and flu “season” is more a reflection of how our lifestyle becomes stressful and our diet becomes filled with sugary treats than cold and flu viruses all of a sudden showing up. Health does not come from just adding some drug into our body, it comes from within, our lifestyle habits determine our level of health and susceptibility to colds and flu.