The flu is no joke. It can keep you out of commission for several weeks, impacting your productivity and potentially your income. There are several factors that can determine a person’s suitability for vaccination, it is therefore important that you discuss with your primary physician whether getting the flu vaccine is right for you. In the meantime (don’t wait too long), here is what you need to know about flu vaccinations, and what is much more powerful than the flu vaccine to boost your immune function:
Flu Vaccine Pros:
- The flu vaccine can’t give you the flu. The vaccine consists of a seriously weakened form of the flu virus, which cannot give you influenza.
- This year’s shots (2019) have three or 4 components. The seasonal flu shot protects against the three or four influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season. The CDC recommends the use of any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine during the 2019-2020 flu season. Options include inactivated influenza vaccine [IIV], recombinant influenza vaccine [RIV], or live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV). Different vaccines are licensed for different age groups, and some vaccines are not recommended for some groups of people.
- You don’t have to get an injection. There’s a nasal spray that’s just as effective as the vaccine injection. The best part? It’s available to healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49!
- If you’re employed, they’re often free. Many companies offer free flu shots. In fact, according to Reuters, 79 percent of employers with consumer-driven health plans offer free flu shots.
- Getting it early will keep you at the office. Why use sick days with the flu when you could avoid getting it altogether?
Flu Vaccine Cons:
- It may not be safe for you. If you are allergic to eggs, then the flu shot could be no-go for you. Why’s that? The vaccine is cultivated inside of chicken eggs.
- Being flu-free isn’t a guarantee. I know, it’s a sucky thing. However, just because you get the flu shot doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.
- Protection isn’t immediate. In fact, the vaccine actually takes about two weeks to really kick in.
- The shot contains some mercury. A seasonal flu shot also has small amounts of mercury added as a preservative. Mercury has a link to certain brain and nerve disorders. That fact alone may make those on-the-fence about getting the shot uneasy.
- There can be side effects. Some people develop symptoms ranging from soreness and swelling at the area of injection to low-grade fever and achiness. The good news? Generally these clear up within a day or two.
While the flu shot may provide you some barrier against one thing, the flu, having a strong immune system provides you a robust barrier against a multitude of viral or bacterial organisms associated with infectious diseases like a cold or the flu. There are many ways you can boost your immune system naturally and avoid catching a cold or the flu this season.
My Top 5 Tricks to Boost Your Immune System this Season:
Get Your Zzzzzs
With daylight saving time (Nov 2nd) comes the need to get more shut eyes time. As the sun sets earlier, our body’s Melatonin levels (sleep hormone) start rising earlier than they do during Summer days. This change triggers the need to go to bed earlier. You may need as much as two more hours of sleep per night; compared to the months of June & July. Honor your body, get your beauty sleep. Feeling tired by 3pm? Beat afternoon fatigue with these 3 tricks.
Get Your H2O
Besides reducing your energy levels, dehydration decreases saliva antimicrobial proteins important for immunity. Water makes up a large percentage of blood. It is the life-giving liquid that brings oxygen, nutrients and vital processes throughout the body. This includes the immune system! Lymphatic fluids, also part of one’s immune system, make up four times the volume of blood. These fluids are designed to remove waste products from one’s body.
Essential systems throughout the body can become impaired if the body doesn’t receive a safe and reliable supply of water. The vast majority of people are chronically dehydrated, and over time, long-term health conditions can develop.
The average 64oz a day the media keeps telling us about is NOT enough for most of us. The accurate formula to boost your immune system is: half of your body weight in ounces per day. So, if you weight 200lbs, you need to drink 100oz of H2O every day.
Get Your R&R
Stress is a silent killer that shuts down the immune system. Not only because many people cope by engaging in unhealthy behaviors (eating sugar, smoking, taking drugs, etc…) but also because when the body senses stress (whether it be emotional, physical or else), our Cortisol levels go up, affecting our sleep, our blood pressure, and our ability to digest nutrients from our foods.
Too much cortisol results in lower amounts of a protein and lymphocytes in the blood and lymphatic systems, which are critical to boost your immune system and tell those cells that they need to get active. Without these reinforcements, the body is susceptible to contacting acute illnesses, and prolonged healing times.
Find an activity or a combo of several to do on a DAILY basis (even for 5 minutes!) that relaxes you. My favorites are: reading, walking on the beach, doing some gentle yoga (these are all FREE!) or getting a massage. I also get a chiropractic adjustment every 4-6 weeks, to make sure my spine stays aligned and I am not suffering from structural stress. We are all different, so, some strategies may appeal to you more than others, pick what feels right to you, and DO IT!
Get Your C, D & Zinc
- Vitamin C – It is a well-known fact that foods rich in Vitamin C like citrus fruit help boost your immune system quickly, but there are many other foods that will also help boost your immune response mechanisms and get you back up and feeling great in no time: strawberries, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, pineapple, squash, spinach, collard greens.
- Vitamin D – The research is quite clear on this point: The higher your vitamin D level, the lower your risk of contracting colds, flu, and other respiratory tract infections. The best source for vitamin D is direct sun (UVB) exposure. If natural sunlight is not an option, then eating foods rich in Vitamin D3 will help. Using an oral Vitamin D3 supplement is also recommended. Just remember D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means you will need to take it with food that contains a little bit of fat in order for your body to absorb it properly. Best foods are: whole grains, fatty fish, fortified dairy, fortified cereals, cheese.
- Zinc – Research has shown that when taken within one day of the first symptoms, zinc can cut down the time you have a cold by about 24 hours. Zinc also greatly reduces the severity of symptoms. Suggested dosage to boost your immune system: up to 50 mg/day. Zinc was not recommended for anyone with an underlying health condition, like lowered immune function, asthma, or chronic illness. Food high in zinc are: alfalfa sprouts, garlic, whole grains, mushrooms, barley grass, wheatgrass.
Other Ways to Boost Your Immune System
- Echinacea – It is one of the most widely used herbal medications in Europe to combat colds and infections. One review of more than 700 studies found that using Echinacea can reduce your risk of catching cold by as much as 58 percent. This herb a fantastic choice if you want to boost your immune system.
- Garlic – It is a potent antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal agent. Ideally consume it raw, and crush it just before eating. A garlic soup can help destroy most viruses and help you recover a little quicker.
- Coconut Oil – It contains lauric acid that your body converts into monolaurin. Monolaurin is a monoglyceride with the ability to destroy lipid-coated viruses such as influenza, HIV, herpes, and measles. The monoglyceride can destroy gram-negative bacteria as well.
- Fermented Foods – They help “reseed” your gut with beneficial bacteria. Examples of fermented foods that can boost your immune system include raw kefir, kimchee, miso, pickles, and sauerkraut. A probiotic/prebiotic supplement can also help you meet your goals. I recommend one with at least 5 billions of 10 different strains as maintenance; more if you have been on antibiotics or have had surgery in the last 3-6 months.
- On Guard®– Protective Blend – As one of doTERRA’s most popular essential oils, doTERRA On Guard Protective Blend is a powerful proprietary blend that supports healthy immune function and contains cleansing properties.
To schedule your personalized wellness consultation on how to boost your immune system with Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Certified Wellness Consultant Isabelle Simon, call 727-239-9443 or fill out the form below.