Thursday, 22 October 2015

Flu season is almost upon us!

It's that time of year when the flu virus is becoming a topic of discussion.

Many people who are considered vulnerable to the flu are offered the flu vaccination - the NHS states that the viruses that cause the flu change every year, so this winters flu will be different from last winters. As the flu vaccine is created by previously known flu virus strains it may not be 100% effective against all strains of flu this year.

If you choose not to have a flu vaccination or you are not in the vulnerable section of the community who are offered one what can you do naturally to keep your immune system on red alert to fight any flu bugs that come your way?



Practice Good Personal Hygiene

The most easiest and obvious to follow and likely standard practice in your life already, but a reminder can be helpful:
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Sneeze into your elbow rather than your hand - prevents spreading any virus so easily
  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly
  • Avoid touching your eyes/nose/mouth as this is a quick and easy way to spread the flu germs

Take care of yourself

If you want your immune system to be strong enough  to fight off the flu and other viruses and bugs over the winter season you need to keep yourself healthy - all the basic rules apply:
  • Eat a balanced healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables
  • Sleep 7-9 hours every night
  • Exercise several times a week 

 

Vitamin C for immune system boosting

 

There is no clinical evidence that ingesting Vitamin C can prevent you from developing a cold or flu but there are several cells in the immune system  that can accumulate Vitamin C and need it to perform their functions, so a deficiency could result in reduced resistance to certain pathogens.

Good sources of Vitamin C include:
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Peppers
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Kiwi Fruits
  • Brocolli
  • Berries
  • Tomatoes
  • Peas - fresh contain more than frozen

Happiness

Some studies show that happiness can boost your immune system, so get involved in any activities that make you happy - playing with a pet, positive thinking or any other activity that you love.

 Take in as much sun as you can

 Hard enough in the summer this year, let alone as we get into the winter months - the reason we are talking sunshine is actually for the Vitamin D that your body produces as a result of exposure to the UVB rays in the sun. So our favourite choice for boosting your Vitamin D levels is a lovely winter sunshine holiday - if this isn't a viable option for you then supplementation is a good choice - always take care when choosing supplements and check with your GP if you are unsure whether supplements are suitable for you. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased susceptibility to infection. You can get more information on this topic from the Vitamin D council. Vitamin D Day is on November 2nd, you can get involved here. 

Stay well!

None of these suggestions can guarantee that you won't pick up a flu bug over the winter months but we hope that they will keep you generally healthy with a strong immune system.

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