Building Your Immunity Defenses

NOTE:  All blog postings on the AFWC website are intended for purely educational purposes and not as personalized medical advice.  We advise you to speak with a healthcare professional before making any health or lifestyle decisions.

The last 2 weeks have seen a sharp upsurge of people complaining of infections of all kinds but especially colds and sore throats.  No big surprise, we are a few weeks into the school year and kids are bringing bugs home to their families and passing them on to neighbors!  There are some things you can do to protect yourself:

  1. Quality diet – Focus on whole foods, fruits, vegetables, quality lean protein, plenty of fluids in the form of water.   Choose the most colorful and freshest foods your budget allows for the best nutrition.  Avoid  sweets ( in general a good idea).
  2. Sleep –  For most of us 7-9 hours is ideal. Few people can truly stay well with less and some  people need more.
  3. Exercise – Something vigorous daily if possible and outside if possible – it will help you fight infections but if you are acutely ill it is likely best to put  that energy into recuperating so hold off on exercise for a few days.
  4. Change of clothes – Have the members of your family turn over clothing frequently during the cold and flu season to reduce transmission of viruses in your household.
  5. Wash hands and door knobs frequently – Once again to reduce the viruses visiting your household.
  6. If you are sick, stay home and get well! - The temptation is for us to “tough it out” and go to work but that just means we expose our coworkers to the bugs.  Stay home to rest which tremendously helps your immune system.
  7. Influenza vaccination – I think this is a simple measure that can help many people avoid significant illness.
  8. Botanical support – I have found that the Chinese herb astragalus along with the extract of the black elderberry plant make a good combination to boost immune function to reduce risk of infection or shorten the course of a viral illness.  IMPORTANT: people with autoimmune diseases  should not use Astragalus but the black elderberry extract would be safe.
  9. Fever – If you become ill and develop a fever, consider not medicating it away to allow your body to more effectively fight the infection.
  10. If you develop a high fever( greater than 101.5) especially with sharp chest pain and/or shortness of breath or develop a sore throat with swollen nodes in your neck, persistent thick foul sinus drainage for over 7-10 days, you need to see your  health care  provider.
  11.  Good luck!