Keep Your Immune System Running Optimally
Updated: May 3
We are in some freaky, crazy times, my friends. Grocery shopping is a surreal experience as we hunt for items on bare shelves. Never in our lifetimes have we experienced a pandemic of such large proportion and it's leading to a feeling of chaos and panic as we try to gain some stronghold over the spread of COVID-19. It certainly doesn't help that with "non-essential" businesses shut down such as the gym, theaters, etc., we have little else to do but to sit at home and wait it out.
One of the best ways to prevent the spread of any virus is to be proactive and maintain a strong immune system. Obviously if we are out living our lives and going to public places, we can't completely avoid being exposed to viruses. As of this writing, it's important to mention to impose your own quarantine even if you're feeling well, to lessen the chances of contracting the virus. In addition to staying at home whenever possible, here are just a few simple precautions that you can take now to lessen the chances of contracting those nasty immune system invaders.
Frequent handwashing for 20-30 seconds with warm, soapy water is the first line of defense. Anytime you touch surfaces such as door handles, shopping carts, handrails, etc., be sure to wash your hands and if possible, disinfect the surface before making contact. Avoid touching your face unless your hands are clean.
Minimize stress, as it weakens the immune system. Heightened, prolonged states of stress creates a situation where your body is only focused on survival and keeping you alive at the most basic level, shuttling resources you could use to fight viruses toward just everyday necessary functions. You can address this in the following ways: Get adequate sleep every night, avoid or limit consumption of inflammatory foods (such as excess sugar, processed grains, allergens such as gluten, nuts, dairy).More stress management tips include getting some sort of daily exercise but avoid over-exercising. It's also worth noting to be mindful of stressful situations and take action to reduce it using techniques such as meditation and breathwork, lessening commitments and reframing your mindset to overcome the stressor. Diffusing essential oils such as lavender can be helpful to create a calmer state of mind.
Drink plenty of water and be sure to take in electrolytes, especially if you've been sweating. That being said, sweat! Keep your body's natural detoxification pathways open and clear. Working up a good sweat via exercise, using a sauna or infrared sauna, and keeping lymphatic fluid flowing (using a rebounder (mini trampoline), plyometric/jumping movements, dry brushing) are all good options.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. (I know, obvious, right?)
Get outside! Adequate sun exposure means spending at least 15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen so your body can use cholesterol to make vitamin D, an essential hormone for so many bodily processes. Do this just long enough to feel the warmth without burning your skin. The best areas to keep uncovered are the thighs and the belly but your face, hands and back can benefit from it too!
Take a quality multivitamin daily--especially if your diet is not on point nutritionally--and consider homeopathic supplementation. Consistency is key for success with homeopathic remedies. When exposed to a cold or flu, or if we feel an onset of symptoms, our family takes a dose of aqueous zinc and Oscillococcinum and it usually lessens the severity if not completely blasts our early symptoms. Daily intake of either elderberry extract or vitamin C (elderberry is a vitamin C source) has helped us as well. Garlic and oregano may be powerful remedies when taken in concentrated doses.
What are your favorite tips and tricks to keep yourself well during cold and flu season? Let me know your thoughts!