Posts Tagged ‘cold and flu prevention’

10 Tips For Staying Healthy This Winter

January 23, 2013

and one of them is NOT getting the flu shot. The following comes from an article from mercola.com: see the  ENTIRE ARTICLE (which goes into great detail about why the current flu shot is not such a great idea).

    • Optimize Your Gut Flora. This may be the single most important strategy you can implement as the bacteria in your gut have enormous control of your immune response. The best way to improve your beneficial bacteria ratio is avoid apply avoid sugars as they will feed the pathogenic bacteria. Additionally, processed foods and most grains should be limited and replacing with healthy fats like coconut oil, avocados, olives, olive oil, butter, eggs and nuts. Once you change your diet than regular use of fermented foods can radically optimize the function of your immune response.
    • Optimize your vitamin D levels. As I’ve previously reported, optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best strategies for avoiding infections of ALL kinds, and vitamin D deficiency may actually be the true culprit behind the seasonality of the flu – not the flu virus itself. This is probably the single most important and least expensive action you can take. Regularly monitor your vitamin D levels to confirm your levels are within the therapeutic range of 50-70 ng/ml.

Be sure to take vitamin K2 if you are taking high dose oral vitamin D as it has a powerful synergy and will help prevent any D toxicity.

  • Avoid Sugar and Processed Foods. Sugar impairs the quality of your immune response almost immediately, and as you likely know, a healthy immune system is one of the most important keys to fighting off viruses and other illness. It also can decimate your beneficial bacteria and feed the pathogenic yeast and viruses. Be aware that sugar (typically in the form of high fructose corn syrup) is present in foods you may not suspect, like ketchup and fruit juice. If you are healthy than sugar can be consumed but the LAST thing you should be eating when you are sick is sugar. Avoid it like poison while you are sick.
  • Get Plenty of Rest. Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you’re tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu. Be sure to check out my article Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep for some great tips to help you get quality rest.
  • Have Effective Tools to Address Stress. We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. If you feel that stress is taking a toll on your health, consider using an energy psychology tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique, which is remarkably effective in relieving stress associated with all kinds of events, from work to family to trauma.
  • Get Regular Exercise. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads. Be sure to stay hydrated – drink plenty of fluids, especially water. However, it would be wise to radically reduce the intensity of your workouts while you are sick. No Peak Fitness exercises until you are better.
  • Take a High-Quality Source of Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats. Increase your intake of healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in krill oil, which is crucial for maintaining health. It is also vitally important to avoid damaged omega-6 oils that are trans fats and in processed foods as it will seriously damage your immune response.
  • Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don’t use antibacterial soap for this – antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm than good. Instead, identify a simple chemical-free soap that you can switch your family to.
  • Tried and True Hygiene Measures. In addition to washing your hands regularly, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. If possible, avoid close contact with those, who are sick and, if you are sick, avoid close contact with those who are well.
  • Use Natural Antibiotics. Examples include oil of oregano and garlic. These work like broad-spectrum antibiotics against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your body. And unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, they do not appear to lead to resistance.
  • Avoid Hospitals. I’d recommend you stay away from hospitals unless you’re having an emergency and need expert medical care, as hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds. The best place to get plenty of rest and recover from illness that is not life-threatening is usually in the comfort of your own home.
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Wash Your Hands!

January 12, 2013

This article came from Yahoo news, and is succinct, full of great info, and shocking…the hand-washing rates of all of us (but especially doctors secretly being observed) is SCARY.

GO HERE to read about hand washing. As the article states: cheapest and easiest way to stay healthy.

More Info On Staying Healthy This Winter

January 9, 2013

Here’s some good advice about which foods to eat more of to help prevent colds and flu.

Prone to respiratory infections? Check out this Swedish study on Vit D.

Here’s the summary from a great, fairly detailed scientific article on boosting immunity and immune response:

To read the entire article, go HERE.

Summary

Basic nutrition can make a profound difference in fighting the flu. Generally improved nutrition in our country would reduce the spread and severity of any seasonal flu, reduce the severity of flu symptoms, and reduce the overall number of flu cases.

Whether or not you get a flu vaccine is your choice (I’m no fan, as outlined in my article, The Narrow Scope of Flu Vaccine Usefulness). Regardless of whether you do or don’t get a flu vaccine, nutrition is profoundly beneficial to help your immune system perform in a time of need.

An idea as simple as making immune cells is of extreme importance and requires protein, iron, folic acid, and B12.

Dendritic cells are vital players in the response to any flu challenge and especially when the type of flu coming around has not been seen before. Dendritic cells must function under very high stress, and so need the ability to tolerate excessive antigen presentation and inflammation.

The key nutrients that allow this are vitamin D and vitamin A; lactoferrin can also be used. Quercetin works synergistically in this picture to reduce inflammation involving front line troops. Many other nutrients have anti-inflammatory properties that would lend support to better balance within this vital system.

Improving the efficient function of immune cells is vital. Zinc and vitamin C head the list, and are supported by the entire antioxidant network (NAC, vitamin E, etc).

Managing stress, improving digestion, reducing any inflammatory health problem (not with immune suppressing or toxic drugs), and losing weight healthfully are all extremely beneficial toward creating the likelihood for a healthier immune response in a time of need.

 

How to Avoid Getting the Flu

December 19, 2012

Evidently we are having an early and intense flu season. Not the kind of holiday gift anyone wants. So here are a few suggestions to help prevent getting ill:

SLEEP enough. Yes, there are parties, relatives, visiting, yummy holiday food, movies, end of the year to do lists. However, even healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night…and many folks need more that their usual amount in the dark time of the year. Do not skimp. If you feel tired, nap or go to sleep a little earlier. Check in with yourself: do I really want to do whatever it is that I’ve planned and said I’ll do. Taking care ahead of time: prevention is easier than curing, though not always as much fun as pushing ourselves…until we get sick!

In the Chinese medical system, winter is about nourishing our kidneys, as well as keeping them physically warm. Try eating a bit more of the following foods: cranberries, spinach, sesame seeds, sardines, broccoli, garbanzo beans, garlic, parsley, celery, and fish (especially Pacific salmon). Green tea, lemon water, shiitake mushrooms, ginger, and vinegar are very nourishing and helpful.

Drink enough water, and hold the ice. Now is the season for warm teas, bone broths, and soups.

Moderation: not too much protein, sugar (well, I am hardly going to say none, as even I eat the Christmas cookies my 84-year-old mom bakes), starches or fast food. Try substituting winter squash, pumpkin, yams, sweet potatoes, and purple potatoes for bread and sugary starches.  Go ahead and add a small amount of molasses, raw honey or maple syrup to your yams or baked apple and call it desert instead of ice cream or other cold sugary sweets.

Herbs that boost immunity: Astragalus, Suma, Rhodiola, Jiaogulan, Tulsi (Holy) basil, Brahmi (Bacopa), and most medicinal mushrooms. If you feel something coming on, or have been exposed to coughing and sneezing, take Echinacea, Elderberry and/or Olive leaf.

WASH your hands and keep them away from your face.

Laugh. Take time for yourself. Breathe deeply. Walk. And for some helpful tips on how to stay healthy if you are out in public places, check out this article from Rodale HERE.

Happy Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year! May this season be a healthy and happy one for you and all whom you love.

 

Keeping Our Lymphatic System Healthy

January 20, 2012

I had another request: info on the lymphatic system, and how to insure that we keep this aspect of our bodies healthy, especially detoxification during cold and flu season.

First: an extremely short explanation follows that shows us just how important this little known system of our body is to our overall health:

The lymphatic system has multiple interrelated functions:[3]

  • The lymph transports antigen-presenting cells (APCs), such as dendritic cells, to the lymph nodes where an immune response is stimulated.
The blood brings nutrition and oxygen to the cells and the lymph removes the waste, debris, and disease components such as viruses. The cells are bathed in lymphatic fluid. Fluid retention in the tissues suffocates the cells so that the nutrients can’t get in and garbage accumulates.
The lymphatic system is a specialized component of the circulatory system that doesn’t have the advantage of a central pump. The flow inside the lymphatic vessels is unidirectional because of one-way valves that keep the lymph from traveling backwards but the circulation of the lymph depends largely on movement.
How can we assist our lymphatic system:
First:

Deep diaphragmatic breathing is possibly the best way of circulating the lymph. Breath in slowly and deeply pushing the belly out and then let the breath go slowly and completely. The dramatic pressure variance with the lung expansion and contraction moves the lymph and helps to open the ducts to allow the lymph to reenter the bloodstream at the subclavian veins at the base of the neck. Deep, slow diaphragmatic breathing for 10 minutes a day will oxygenate the blood and circulate the lymph.
Second:
A Rebounder, also known as a mini-trampoline, is a great way to exercise. A simple, gentle walk in place without even lifting the feet off of the trampoline will suffice to circulate the lymph. At the top of the bounce the body experiences a moment free of gravity and at that time all of the one-way valves in the lymphatic vessels open to allow the fluid to move up. This can even be done without a rebounder just by bouncing on the toes. Also, be sure to swing your arms, as this also helps act as a pump.
Third:
Specialized massage by a trained massage therapist is a great way to work with the lymphatic system; however, we can do this at home as well. Massage the skin in the direction of the heart. Any kind of movement such as walking will circulate the lymph because of the muscle contractions. Even laughter works well to get the fluid in motion. Iris Herbal has a couple of massage oils that greatly assist this process. If you go HERE you’ll find more info on these lymphatic massage oils.
Fourth:
There are several herbs that assist the body in keeping the lymphatic system healthy. If you have been sick, a tea or tincture of either Red Root or Red Clover Blossoms will be helpful. Adding a little Calendula Flowers to your herb tea is also a good tonic.
PS…every once in a while, no matter what one does, WordPress does what IT wants and not what I want in regards to layout…sigh.

Cold and Flu Prevention For Kids (of all ages)

January 14, 2012

When I went to look at my stats for this blog, especially what folks were searching for, I found cold and flu prevention for kids…and I thought, oh good, now I know what I’m blogging about!

First: limit sugar as much as humanly possible. Why? (other than we all know it’s not good for us, empty calories, mood swings, etc.) Because the nasty micro-organisms LOVE sugar, and our immune systems are compromised almost immediately after consuming sugar, and can take hours to rebound back to their robust selves….

Second: everyone needs to sleep WAY MORE than they realize, and children especially need sleep to be regular: same time every night; a dark room if possible (night lights may help anxiety, but if your child is a poor sleeper it may be too much light in the room); bedtime stories really work (for adults, too), and leave plenty of time to brush teeth, etc. so family members aren’t unduly stressed before bedtime.

Third: for children who get frequent ear infections, there is good research showing that prophylactic use of xylitol based nose sprays help prevent ear infections by destroying bacterial cell walls. Iris Herbal’s Mullein Garlic Oil really helps clear infection if used at the first sign of ear infection. Many folks (parents for their children, and adults for themselves) have found this combo safe, easy and effective. Mullein oil (made by infusing mullein flowers in olive oil) and garlic essential oil (a very strong anti-bacterial oil) together are quite potent; just don’t use if the eardrum is perforated.

Fourth: WASH YOUR HANDS, often. Before meals, after the bathroom, after blowing one’s nose, after being in a public space where folks are coughing and sneezing. Teaching children the hand washing habit really helps because kids touch their faces a lot (well, so do adults, but we’ve often curbed some of those tendencies…), and hands deliver germs to the eyes, ears, and mouth.

Fifth: in one of the latest AARP newsletters, a very simple remedy was mentioned: gargling! Although young children may not be able to do that yet, anyone of any age who can: do so several times a day with warm water. It really lessons the number of time folks get sick.

and Sixth: take a supplement to increase immunity. Some folks swear by Echinacea and/or Elder berry at the first signs or if exposed. Some people are helped by herbal immune adaptogens like Astragalus, Bacopa, Eleuthero, and/or Spikenard. But often children don’t like the taste. So I recommend a supplement called Epicor (easily found on the web) which really does have good science (and my clients’ experience) to back it up. You can order this from me through my supplement buying club, whose next order is this coming Monday morning (and happens every month around the 15th). Just call (toll-free 877-286-2970) or email (irisherbal@yahoo.com) me this weekend and I can order you either adult strength or kid strength at a more affordable price that just about anywhere on the web.

pS: it’s also good to drink water…and if plain water is too boring, then add the juice of lemon or lime: tasty and helpful both!

The Politics of Educating About Flu Prevention

December 19, 2011

Just when we think Big Pharma/Big Medicine has played all the dirty tricks we can possibly imagine them doing, they surprise us with yet another spin…I don’t believe that particular group of corporate folks will be satisfied until their message is the only one the public can hear….

From the Mercola site:

Story at-a-glance

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) receives millions of dollars from big pharmaceutical corporations selling vaccine to pediatricians, money that has even been used to help build the AAP headquarters
  • The AAP recently attempted to intimidate and persuade Delta airlines to remove an influenza prevention video that was created and sponsored by the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) for Delta’s inflight programming, which offers sensible health options for staying well during the flu season
  • NVIC’s educational video highlighted proven ways to avoid getting sick, such as washing your hands, covering your mouth when coughing, getting enough sleep, exercising and eating right and mentioned flu shots but the AAP protested that the video was “putting children’s lives at risk” because it did not primarily focus on telling people to get vaccinated
  • The AAP’s outrageous attempt to censor good disease prevention information, which simply seeks to educate Americans about the many options for staying well and encourages everyone to speak with trusted health care professionals about vaccine risks versus benefits, should not be tolerated in a free society.

To read the entire article and see the video in question, please go HERE.

And whatever Holy Day / holiday you celebrate, may you and your loved ones enjoy with health and happiness.

More On the Flu Shot & Some Natural Ways to Fight Colds and Flu

December 2, 2011

In a just-published shocking study virology researchers at the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands have demonstrated that a regular flu vaccine in children actually worsens a key aspect of their flu-fighting immune system. This research was not conducted by vaccine-disliking scientists. Rather, it was conducted by pro-vaccine researchers who have spent their careers trying to develop better vaccines. Lead author Rogier Bodewes delivered the sobering message as he explained that flu vaccines “have potential drawbacks that have previously been under appreciated and that are also a matter of debate.”

Please send this info to anyone you know who has children and is contemplating a flu shot. Please go  HERE for the whole story.

Here is a question for you. What do grapevine leaves do when they come under attack from a viral infection? Answer: make more quercetin for their natural defense. There is no question that quercetin is active against many viral infections including the flu. If this sparks your interest,  HERE is the whole article.

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is an important nutrient for respiratory health and immunity, including defense against  the flu. The nutrient has been used longer than four decades to help break up and clear mucous from the airways. The latest research continues to show that it is a potent anti-viral compound warranting widespread use in the winter months to help ward off the common cold as well as the flu. I’ve been recommending NAC for all my clients with any kind of breathing issues. You can go  HERE to read more about this inexpensive and wonderful supplement.

And then there’s the simple, elegant, and tasty habit you might cultivate this winter of drinking warm lemon or lime water every morning when you first wake up. Delicious, nutritious, alkalizing, and a bit of Vitamin C…

Increasing Our Immunity, Stabilizing Mood As Winter Approaches

November 8, 2011

Autumn is in full swing and winter is around the corner. With these changes, vitamin D levels among the population on the North American continent north of the Mexico border drop. The fact is above the 45th parallel it is reported that from November to February/March, even on a sunny blue-sky day, the angle of the sun is such that vitamin D production when bare skin is exposed is dramatically diminished.

Many of us experience shifts in mood during the winter months. To offset winter mood imbalances, alternative health practitioners recommend that folks have their vitamin D 25 OH levels measured. The range is 20-100 for most laboratories. Yet, falling within the range does not necessarily mean you are good to go. For many, a target  blood level of at least 55, for a 25 OH vitamin D blood test is considered beneficial. Of course the target blood range is different for everyone, and one’s health care provider can best determine what the best range is for a given individual. Also, it’s very important to take the blood test now through December, as Vitamin D declines in fall and winter if one isn’t taking any supplemental D.

From GreenMedInfo comes this great compilation of natural substances to take to increase immunity, or to hit a cold or the flu at the first signs:

While there are a broad spectrum of natural substanceswhich have been studied for their anti-influenza properties, vitamin D deserves special consideration due to the fact that it is indispensable to produce antiviral peptides (e.g. cathelicidin) within the immune system, and can be supported for pennies a day.

A study  published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010, revealed that children receiving 1200 IUs of vitamin D a day were at 59% reduced risk for contracting seasonal Influenza A infection. Moreover as a secondary outcome, only 2 children in the treatment group versus 12 for the control group, experienced an asthma attack.

There are actually a broad range of preventive strategies that are evidence-based, and available without prescription.

    1)   Echinacea Tea: J Altern Complement Med. 2000 Aug;6(4):327-34
    2)   Elderberry:  J Altern Complement Med. 1995 Winter;1(4):361-9.
    3) American Ginseng:  J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Mar;12(2):153-7.
    4) Green Tea: J Nutr. 2011 Oct ;141(10):1862-70. Epub   2011 Aug 10.
    5) Probiotics: Pediatrics. 2009 Aug;124(2):e172-9.
    6) Vitamin D: PLoS One. 2010;5(6):e11088. Epub 2010 Jun 14.

And be sure to take Vitamin D3, which is the natural, assimilable form. Vitamin D2 is synthetic, and does not work as well.