• Cold & Flu Season is Back!

    by Dr. Jeanette Altieri
    on Oct 10th, 2013

Beware the Return of the Cold & Flu Season!
Fall is here and that means cooler weather, trick or treating, leaf raking and yes, the return of the cold and flu season! It seems like we are bombarded daily with the public health announcements to get our “yearly flu shot”, as if this is something we’ve got permanently scheduled in our smart phones. Add to that the feeling that we are helpless humans amidst this annual “flu war”, with only over-the-counter pain medications and special “flu” mixtures to defend ourselves. So what’s wrong with this picture?

What we hardly ever hear in main stream marketing is the adaptability of our amazing immune system. Believe it or not, we are the proud owners of a built-in, state-of-the-art “biowarfare system”, able to defend the body 24/7 from microscopic foreign invaders who threaten our health and well-being. Once our immune system has detected an invasion it in it prepares an immediate defense, attacking and destroying the alien molecules. And, the memory of that particular invader is permanent, enabling a future immune response to be swift and effective.

The big concern with influenza is the ever increasing and changing strains that appear each year. As they adapt to various medications, these “super bug” germs become harder to fight something we have never encountered before. However, the good news is that our immune system is created for strength and flexibility and specially designed to respond quickly to new attackers. That is why it is so important to keep our immunity working at its optimum, so that it can be an effective tool.

In the real world, our daily habits, circumstances, and stress can weaken our immune systems. Stress is notorious for downgrading the immune defenses. And, let’s face it, our days are filled with plenty of stress from the time we wake until the time we go to bed. When we pile our emotional worry and anxiety on top of not-enough-sleep, processed food and a sedentary lifestyle, there’s a good chance you’ll end up sick.

Our diet is not always the best given our fast paced lifestyles, and that’s where supplements can help. Have your integrative practitioner help identify which supplements are right for you and that can improve your immune defense. Taking the right supplements can be tricky, so allow your doctor to recommend the best ones for you and monitor the correct dosage.

When we start to feel sick, we tend to want to “rest more”, but another way to fend-off an illness, is to get moving. Exercise will help speed up your heart rate and pump more blood through your body; increase your oxygen flow as you breathe faster; and heats up the body, forcing you to sweat and release toxins. The surprising reward for doing exercise is that it actually helps increase the body’s natural virus-killing cells. Maintaining healthy habits of living and finding successful strategies for managing stress is really the key to protecting yourself.

Here are some basic prevention tips.

• Wash your hands frequently – particularly in public areas
• Eat more vegetables each day
• Take high quality, whole food supplements – especially vitamin C, vitamin D3, and
pro biotics which help support immune system
• Keep regular sleep pattern – get a minimum 6-8 hours each night
• Exercise regularly – five days per week, at least 30 minutes each day
• Try some quiet time – Meditate and/or “quiet” your mind to help let go of
the day’s stresses

As always, we recommend that you visit your doctor when you begin to experience symptoms to make sure you’re just battling a common cold. There are many viruses that tend to spread during the fall, and common cold could be mistaken for something else.

When your immune system is working properly, it can effectively fight off the latest flu threat. If you do the simple things that keep you healthy through the fall & winter months you have the best chance for keeping the flu away from you. And if you do become sick, go back to the basic principles of resting, hydrating, and eating healthy foods will get you back on your feet in no time at all.

  1. Sompayrac L: How the Immune System Works, 2nd ed. Blackwell, 2002.
  2. Wein H: Stress and disease – new perspectives. NIH Word on Health, October 2000.
  3. The Truth About Your Immune System – What You Need To Know. Harvard Health Publications, 2007.
Author Dr. Jeanette Altieri Dr. Jeanette Altieri is a licensed Chiropractor serving the Lawrenceville community for more than 20 years.She is certified in the Webster technique, a safe and gentle technique for turning breech babies, with specialty areas in Nutrition, Pediatrics, and Pregnancy. She is an international speaker, speaking to chiropractors, their families and staff about the care of infants, children, pregnancy and motivation. She also co-hosted a local radio talk show, “Health Talk,” to help educate people on the benefits of alternative therapies and wellness.

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