Written by Dr. Sean Reese of Sea Coast Chiropractic & Wellness
The most effective way to maintain our health during the winter months including fighting off the flu, is not necessarily prevention…but rather going on the offensive. We need to supply ourselves and our children’s body’s with the natural resources required to maximally perform fighting off viruses, bacteria, etc.
It’s a fact that disease-causing viruses and bacteria are all around us, both at home and school. Whether we come into contact with the flu or some other pathogen, we need to focus on maintaining a robust and well-functioning immune system to maintain our strength and vitality and not get sick.
This is certainly not an exhausted list but should serve as a guide to move your family in the positive direction.
- Diet – Nearly 80% of our immune cells that fight infection come from our gut. It is imperative that we maintain healthy digestion by eating live foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, oils (extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil). Your child’s immune system requires vitamin C as a catalyst to run efficiently however, there is a molecule that competes with vitamin C to get into the cell and if this competing molecule wins the battle then the immune system gets shut down. Can you guess what this identical molecule is? You’re right….it’s glucose or SUGAR. If your child’s diet contains a lot of refined sugars, grains and processed foods, this will unbalance for their gut flora. Sugar is “fertilizer” for pathogenic bacteria, yeast, and fungi that can set their immune system up for an easy assault by a respiratory virus.
- Stress – Emotional stress crushes the immune system. It’s common to see students of all ages fall prey to illness during the examination time. Give your children time for love and laughter. Give them big hugs…we need it more than they do most the time, right 😉
- Exercise – Movement, especially of the axial spine is clearly the number one thing that re-charges our children’s batteries. Let them run around and be active and help minimize down time in front of all the electronic media.
- Sleep – Holy cow is this important. This is the time their immune system is recharging from the day. Therefore, it is imperative they get to bed/sleep early especially during the winter months. To help with this it is important to understand the body loves rhythm. Therefore, getting to bed the same time each night and waking up the same time each morning would be most beneficial. Create an environment where there is minimal light if any at all (of course this requires no technology in the room–iPad’s, phones, computers, etc.). This will allow the body to naturally secrete melatonin to create the drowsiness for sound sleep.
There are other fundamental factors that can come into play too, of course:
- 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 using synthetic chemicals for this – conventional 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. Our local ‘Out of Eden’ soap shop is a great place to start.
- Tried and True Hygiene Measures. In addition to washing your hands regularly, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, ideally with the crook of your elbow (to avoid contaminating your hands). If possible, avoid close contact with those who are sick…unless it is your child. Then hug him/her for hours…and feed’em grandma’s soup.
- Grandma’s chicken soup. One of the most powerful immune boosting foods is Grandma’s chicken soup. Why? Because she put the whole chicken including the bones in the pot. It is the marrow of the bone that is chock full of incredible sources of energy of which one is vitamin C.