Flu Fighting Tips | Mobilize Your Immune System


Be prepared for flu season. Protect yourself and your children from cold and  flu viruses. Mobilize your immunity and improve both resistance to and response to infections this season. Here are foods, nutritional and herbal supplements and basic self care tips that can make a huge difference.

Drink Plenty of Fluids: The Immune System works best when we are well hydrated. The linings of our nose, throat, lungs, digestive tract must be moist to do their jobs as effective barriers to infection.  Getting dried out means trouble. Include water, juices, soup broths, teas.

Keep your home environment moist and not too hot. If the heat is too high, your home will be dry as a desert. Artificially dry air dries up our mucus membranes and makes it easy for virus to penetrate into the blood stream, invade and infect. Keep the heat a little lower and place a bowl of water in your main rooms or in the bedroom if you are ill with a few drops of aromatic oil added (thyme, eucaplyptus, lavender for example or even a few drops of vanilla extract). The water will slowly evaporate into the air in your home, adding moisture and reducing dryness.

Protect against extreme changes of temperature. Make sure you are dressed properly and have your neck and head, hands and feet protected  with scarves, hats,  gloves, socks, etc. Don’t shock your system!!

Prevent Spreading Infections: Wash Your Hands, Wipe off Door Knobs, Sink Faucets, Keyboards and Phones Don’t share towels, eating utensils, cups and glasses.

Lower Your Sugar Intake: Remove all sweets, refined sugars, concentrated fruit juices, products containing high fructose corn syrup. Sugar fuels the growth of infectious organisms. You want to eat nutrients that support immunity, not those that fuel infections.

Eat Plenty of Protein: Protein is required to build antibodies, natural killer cells and keep the barriers to infection (the linings of your nose, throat, lungs, digestive tract and skin) in tact. 3-4 serving of high quality protein daily will improve your ability to fight off infections.

Cook with Herbs that Support Normal Anti-Inflammatory FunctionTumeric, Ginger, Garlic, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme

Get Plenty of Sleep and Manage Your Stress  Getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night increases your Natural Killer  (NK) Cells. These are the cells of your immune system that target virus infections.  Ongoing stress lowers your immune response and your NK Cells.

Exercise Regularly to keep your immune response robust.  Studies show that a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise (about 30 minutes 5 days per week) boosts immune capacity.

Acupuncture can increase levels  of virus fighting NK Cells, modulate immunity, promote sleep and help you to manage your stress.

Vitamin D3: During the H1N1 flu epidemic several years ago, the Canadian government instructed people to supplement with Vitamin D3.  Higher blood levels of Vitamin D improve the immune response to viral infections such as cold and flu, especially in vulnerable children and the elderly.  Taking Vitamin D3 throughtout cold and flu season can lower the rate and frequency of infections.  Vitamin D can be taken in liquid or capsule form.  A minimum dose is 1000-2000 iu daily.

Olive Leaf Extract has been used for centuries as a natural and non-toxic promoter of the immune system, especially for supporting a healthy immune response to viral infections. Olive leaf is found in capsule and liquid extracts.

Propolis is a bee resin rich in caffeic acid and in apigenin as well as in a broad spectrum of compounds that aid immune response and support resistance to infections. Propolis is found in liquid and in capsule form.

Oregano Oil: Carvacrol in oregano oil is active against micro-organisms. Oregano oil can be found in drops or capsules. Also add oregano to your food.

Garlicsupports normal immune resistance to bacteria and virus. Garlic also provides pre-biotic fibers that promote the growth of healthy friendly bacteria in the digestive tract. Garlic can be added to soups, vegetables dishes, sauces and dressings or taken in capsule form.  Garlic can also be eaten raw, chopped up into little pieces and swallowed like pills.  Garlic honey (garlic cloves soaked in honey) is a traditional garlic remedy for children.

Mushrooms contain polysaccharides that boost normal immunity.  Shitake Mushroom is both an edible and medicinal mushroom that can be added to soups and vegetable dishes or taken as an herbal tea or in capsules. Ganoderma and Cordyceps Mushrooms are famous in China for their safety and their potent immune modulating effects.

Astragalus Root is a famous Chinese Herb traditionally used to support normal immunity and support normal lung function.  Astragalus is known to support the production of infection fighting immune cells. Astragalus root can be found in capsules, liquid extracts and can be taken as a warm tea or added to soups.

Vitamin C Improves the integrity of your protective mucus membranes and is also crucial to the production of interferon produced by the immune system in response to viral infections.

Probiotics/Fermented Foods: Having healthy friendly bacteria in your intestines is part of of normal immune function.  Use probiotic supplements containing acidophilus and bifidus species daily.  Eat fermented foods that naturally contain these healthy bacteria on a regular basis including yoghurt, kefir, miso, natto, kim chi, sauerkraut. (Be careful if you have intolerance, allergy or sensitivity to dairy or soy products)

Be sure to consult a knowledgeable health care professional before taking any nutritional or herbal medicines.

When to call your doctor immediately:

  • Fever  of 102’ F or 38.9’ C or higher
  • Severe Headache
  • Intense Eye Pain or Pressure
  • Severe and persistent neck pain and stiffness
  • Severe and persistent ear pain
  • Difficulty Breathing/Shortness of Breath
  • Uncontrollable coughing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Persistent Green or Yellow discharge from nose or from coughing
  • Photo credit: Wikipedia: Woman sneezing