November means the start of the holiday season and along with this comes cold and flu season. You want to make sure you are prepared and your body is strong and resilient.
Dr. Laura’s go-to for cold prevention and treatment
My #1 go-to is definitely making sure your body is supported with day to day. What does this mean?
Here’s my list of top lifestyle tools:
Sleep – studies have shown that less sleep results in you being more likely to get a cold or flu. I recommend between 7 – 8.5 hours of sleep each night. If you are having trouble sleeping make sure your room is cool enough, you stopped drinking fluids by 6pm, your room is dark, there are no devices in the room, and you have stopped screen time at least 1 hour before bedtime (ideally 2 hours).
Exercise – moderate exercise is a fantastic way to support your overall health and well-being. It helps to improve your mood, in fact it is my first treatment for depression – and who hasn’t been a little depressed this year? Moving your body also moves the blood and lymph which means more oxygen getting to your organs and the toxins are being moved out.
Water – every cell in your body needs water to function and when you’re dehydrated your body’s ability to get rid of toxins and waste is significantly limited. Also insufficient water means more stress on your body which can translate into headaches, kidney issues, fatigue, poor sleep, and immune suppression. I recommend half your weight in ounces.
Food – what you eat matters! Fresh vegetables, some fruits, some whole grains, clean protein (wild fish, 100% grass-fed, organic), healthy fats (olive oil, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, raw nuts). What you put in your body has a direct effect on your immune system.
Stress management – whether that’s meditation, exercise, crafts, creating art, prayer – all of this works to help manage stress. I also HIGHLY recommend turning off the mainstream media/ news and taking a break from social media. Try it out for 1 day a week and see how you feel – then try increasing it weekly.
Mucococcinum – this is a safe, gentle way to boost the functioning of your immune system and stimulates your body’s own natural defenses against potentially harmful viruses. It’s a homeopathic remedy that has been successfully used in Europe for decades. I like to use it as a prevention but it can also be used as a treatment.
Probiotics – studies are showing that your gut biome (those bacteria that live in your large intestine) play a role in your immunity. Making sure that you have a good healthy microbiome is crucial
Mycommunity – one of my favorite supplements because it is so effective. Using it for prevention is great too.
b – n-acetyl-cysteine has been specifically helpful to support lung health this year – keeping the lungs healthy and preventing more drastic interventions (think ventilators).
There are other fantastic supplements, like unda #s, herbs, vitamins (C, D, A, E), and minerals specific for what’s going on for you or your loved ones. If you do get sick please don’t hesitate to call the office for support, I am here to help guide you. To find these supplements you can go to my online store – Fullscript.
What about the flu vaccine?
I want to share some facts with you about it so you can make an informed decision. Every year a large number of people get the flu vaccine but still contract the flu. So what’s going on here?
How is the flu vaccine determined?
First, let’s look at how the vaccine material is determined. According to the CDC, the flu strains selected for the vaccine are based on “surveillance data indicating which viruses are circulating and which viruses are most likely to circulate during the upcoming season.” The other piece in selecting the viruses to include (usually 3-4 viruses) is whether a suitable vaccine virus is available. Meaning can the virus SAFELY be made into a vaccine. So, you can see this is based on forecasting – not hard, fast science.
How effective is the flu vaccine?
The effectiveness varies year to year. Last years flu vaccine was 39% effective. Over the past 10 years the overall effectiveness of the vaccine has been an average of 44% effective. Make your own conclusion.
Your immune system
Looking at your immune system is important when thinking about your overall health. There are two main parts to your immune system – the INNATE and the ADAPTIVE branches. The Innate is the part that you are born with and includes the skin, mucous membranes (sinuses, vaginal tract, lungs), and the adaptive is the part that kicks in when you get sick or exposed to something foreign like a bacteria or virus (these are called antigens) and your body then makes an antibody specific to the antigen which starts the immune response.
How do vaccines work?
The idea with vaccines is that you are injected with a small portion of the antigen – in this case the virus or bacteria – and your body will make antibodies. The bits of the antigen don’t always stimulate a response so the vaccines also have adjuvants included which do stimulate an immune response. Here is what is included in the flu vaccine (Beta-Propiolactone, Egg Protein, Neomycin, Polymyxin B, Polyoxyethylene 9-10 Nonyl Phenol (Triton N-101, Octoxynol 9), Thimerosal (multidose containers)). The current flu strains that are included in the 2020-21 vaccine are swine flu H1N1, swine flu variant H3N2, 2 influenza B strains.
I encourage you to make the right choice for you by doing the research and consulting with your healthcare provider. Only your doctor has your full health history to help you make an informed decision. Your doctor’s perspective will of course be influenced by whether they use other supportive therapies.
Regardless of your choice, focusing on my go-to lifestyle recommendations will support your innate immune system! This is good because your innate immune system doesn’t need to predict what viruses are going to be put into the flu vaccine 🙂 your body will just know what to do. AND, strengthening your innate immune system puts you ahead of the game!