It’s THAT time of year again, when everybody seems to be coughing, sneezing, and sniffling in the collective chorus of congestion we all recognize as “flu season.” But why is it a season, and why this time of year? Is there anything you can do to avert it?

In the temperate zones, this is the change of seasons and the onset of cold weather. This is the time we tend to congregate indoors, sharing heated dry air and viruses with lots of other folks. It’s a time when our metabolism shifts focus from protecting the outside to just keeping it warm.

We are surrounded by viruses all of the time. If our defenses are strong enough to repel their invasion, we don’t get sick. If they are stronger and overwhelm our defenses, we lose the battle and get sick. What can turn the tide of that battle is a good healthy immune system.  These simple dietary and lifestyle adjustments can protect and strengthen your immune system.

  • When it’s cold outside, stay warm within. Foods should be eaten body temperature or above. Drink a cup of hot clear liquid (water, tea, ginger tea, broth) before each meal. Switch from the salads and smoothies of summer to soups and stews. Add immune boosting herbs like turmeric, garlic or ginger. Lightly steam or stir fry veggies. Spicy foods promote sweating and mucus drainage, which fends off attacking microbes. Avoid processed, sweet, cold, & creamy foods.
  • Get plenty of rest. Keep a regular bedtime and rising schedule.
  • Breathe. Do it a lot, and then do it some more. Microbes like stale, stagnant air.
  • Stay hydrated. It’s easy to forget when the weather turn colder, but we still need water in cold weather. Moisten the air in your home when the heat comes on, as well.
  • Exercise. I know, it’s cold outside. Just do something. Get up and move it. This circulates energy and blood and brings nourishment and defenders to the surface.
  • Get sunshine on your skin for 20-30 minutes a day. Yes, I know it’s cold outside. If you accustom your skin to changes in the weather, though, it can do its job protecting you from the elements. If there’s not enough sun, consider taking a vitamin D3 supplement.
  • Be happy! Find some joy & laughter wherever you can.
  • Just for a little insurance, we recommend the Chinese herbal formula Yin Chiao for colds, and Gan Mao Ling for flu with fever & body aches. If taken at the first sign of a cold or flu, it will usually knock it out in a day. I take a few when I’m exposed to someone who’s sick.
  • Regular chiropractic and acupuncture treatments will keep your immune system strong and resilient.
  • Stay home when you’re sick! Don’t spread it around to others.