Swine flu and other nasty germs call for special precautions during the flu season.
You’re most susceptible to viruses causing flues and colds during the winter months. The full influenza season stretches from fall to spring, peaking December through early March.
Between 1990 and 1999, researchers found there were 36,000 flu deaths per year in the United States. During epidemic years, the flu infects 10 percent or more of the population, but only 50 percent of those show symptoms.
This year is especially concerning because of the swine flu (influenza A H1HN1) pandemic (worldwide epidemic).
There’s no better time than NOW to boost your immune system and support your natural healing. Here are 9 Tips to do just that!
First, a warning:
These tips are hazardous to infectious organisms of all kinds (including swine flu). Yet, they are so easy to do you may ignore them.
They’re guaranteed to boost your immune system and enhance your life. So, if you find yourself thinking, “Yeah, yeah I know that, so what?” just stop yourself and follow the tips.
Experiment this flu season, test these tips, and experience their awesome power!
1. Wash Your Hands Often.
Washing your hands is the most powerful invention of all time to prevent the spread of infection. It’s way more powerful than taking medications (antiviral and antibiotics) and even supplements for that matter!
- Use soap and water. For maximum effectiveness, keep washing while you sing happy birthday to yourself two times. Treat yourself while singing; imagine soaking up the good feelings of your best birthday ever. Positive moods help immunity too!
- Alcohol based hand cleaners are effective too. Keep a container in your car for after shopping or being in crowds.
- To prevent the spread of swine flu and other viruses wash your hands or use a hand cleaner especially after coughing, sneezing, or touching surfaces in crowed areas (like a shopping cart), or shaking hands with another person who may be infected.
2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
Throw it away in the trash when done and… wash your hands.
3. Avoid touching your face unless necessary.
Germs and viruses like the swine flu can easily penetrate your body’s defense systems when they get near or in your nose, eyes, and mouth.
Here, I want to share a personal story:
I had a habit of touching my nose when nervous. I was catching every virus that drifted through the neighborhood. I was sick all the time. A friend pointed out how frequently he saw me touching my nose.
It embarrassed me, but it changed my life. I replaced that habit with carrying a little worry stone in my pocket. And, guess what… I hardly ever get colds or the flu now!
4. Eat immunity-boosting foods and stay well hydrated with purified water.
To reduce your risk of catching swine flu and other viruses eat healthy foods.
- Citrus fruits are especially rich in vitamin C. Experts suggest taking 1,000 milligrams of C a day. Eating citrus fruits provides the C along with important phytochemicals.
- Drink about 8 glasses of purified water a day to keep the mucus membranes of your nose and throat moist and help your immune system function properly.Include a few cups of tea in your fluids. Tea contains compounds that help break up congestion and prevent viruses from multiplying.You’ll know if you’re getting enough liquids by the color of your urine. It should be light yellow or clear.
- Avoid foods that contribute to inflammation.The worst of these are snacks foods, containing pro-inflammatory high fructose corn syrup, trans fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, and sodium.They make you fat anyhow.
- Yogurt contains good bacteria including, lactobacillus reuteri, that can help stop cold and flu viruses in their tracks.Dr. Duke, retired chief of the Medicinal Plants Resources Laboratory, reports that in one study people taking lactobacillus reuteri supplements reported 56 percent fewer colds. The only yogurt sold in the US with this bacterium at this time is Stonyfield Farm.
- Brazil nuts and fish contain selenium, a mineral that helps boost immunity.An average Brazil nut contains 70 micrograms. Researchers found that having enough selenium in your body increases the production of proteins called cytokines. Cytokines help remove flu virus from your body.
- Onions and Garlic have antiseptic compounds and immunity boosters.They also protect against heart disease and cancer.Besides, garlic fights off Vampires too! Dr. Dukes says, “No kidding about the vampires; in our jungle hammock in Panama, those who ate the most garlic were less liable to be bitten by vampire bats.”
- Elderberries contain more that a dozen antiviral compounds and flavonoids that stimulate the immune system.They contain anthocyanins, that help reduce inflammation and the aches and pains of a cold or flu.You can eat the berries, drink them as a juice, or as elderberry extract under the name of Sambucol.Dr. Duke says that one study showed that 93 percent of flu patients given Sambucol were completely free of symptoms within 2 days.
- Red wine and grape leaves contain resveratrol. Resveratrol has many healthful effects including stopping flu viruses from multiplying.Rome researchers also found that the polyphenols in red wine have a strong effect on the replication of viruses.Experts recommend limiting the amount of wine consumption though. Women should have no more than one drink a day and men two.Dr. Duke notes, “You can get even more resveratrol from grape leaves, the red inner husks of peanuts, or the edible Mexican bamboo.”
5. Get outdoors; get sunshine, and fresh air!
Research is finding what we intuitively know: It’s good for us to be in nature.
- Elderly adults live longer when their homes are near parks.
- College students do better on tests when their windows view natural settings.
- Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have fewer symptoms after outdoor activities.
- Patients get out of the hospital sooner and use less pain medication when they look out a window with a view of nature.
- Patients with TB and other diseases do better when exposed to lots of fresh air.
- You need sunshine to make vitamin D, an important hormone whose deficiency is linked cancer, susceptibility to infectious diseases (such as swine flu), and a host of other health concerns.
6. Pump up your immune system with these supplements.
- Vitamin D3 is critical for the health of your immune system.Most people in the US are deficient in this important hormone. Have your vitamin D level checked and get started on a D3 supplement soon.Some experts report that having an adequate vitamin D level may be the most important thing you can do to protect against swine flu.
- A high quality multivitamin supplement helps fill in the gaps of essential vitamins and minerals you may be missing in your diet.Andrew Weil, MD recommends a comprehensive antioxidant and multivitamin as the foundation for nutritional insurance. This includes daily vitamin C, natural vitamin E (mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols), selenium, mixed carotenoids, and coenzyme Q10.
- Astragalus is a Chinese herb that has antiviral and immunity-enhancing properties.It has long been used as a tonic and treatment for colds and flues.Dr. Weil says that if you tend to catch everything that comes around during the winter season, this herb can safely be taken daily to help build up your resistance.
- Mushroom-based immune modulators such as Host Defense or Mycosoft Gold available at Fungi Perfecti or the Weil Immune Support Formula are also suggested to help build immunity by Dr. Weil.
7. Reduce your stress.
No question about it, stress hampers your immune system making you more vulnerable to swine flu and other viruses. And…relaxation is the antidote to stress.
You might enjoy releasing stress with yoga exercises or progressive muscle relaxation.To find out more about the various stress busting methods explore these articles:”Getting Fit,” “Mind Body Healing,” “Relaxation Techniques,” and “Meditation Techniques.”
8. Stay Informed.
You can keep track of the pandemic and national recommendations (including vaccination) for swine flu at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
9. Stay away from sick people and take immediate action if you get sick.
See the article “Flu Recovery Tips: Beat Down Nasty Viruses ” for tips on what to do if you get a cold or the flu.
There’s nothing fun about having a cold or getting the flu, let alone swine flu. So take up the challenge and follow these immunity-building tips this year.
Boost your immunity so you can repel swine flu and other nasty germs.
Sources and Resources
Andrew Weil, “12 Cold-Weather Remedies” at http://www.drweil.com/
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, “2009 H1N1 Flu: Situation Update,” at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/update.htm.
James A. Duke, The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods: Proven Natural Remedies to Treat and Prevent More Than 80 Common Health Concerns (Rodalestore.com: Rodale, 2008).
Mario Roxas and Julie Jurenka, “Colds and Influenza: A Review of Diagnosis and Conventional, Botanical, and Nutritional Consideration,” Alternative Medicine Review12, no. 1, (2007).
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2009, February 19), “Science Suggests Access to Nature Is Essential To Human Health, ScienceDaily, retrieved February 22, 2009 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090217092758.htm