Let’s Get Your Immune System Ready for Cold and Flu Season

First off, I am so excited that fall is here. Fall is my favourite season for many reasons like pumpkin spice latte’s, warm scarves, wool socks, apple picking, cozy book reading, pumpkin patches, thanksgiving….and most importantly, a return to routine, schedules and getting healthier! Do you share the same sentiment?

Although there is much to enjoy when it comes to fall, as it pertains to health, we must be ready to brave colder temperatures, which means cold and flu season is also approaching.

In this blog post, I would like to highlight some of the ways you can help prepare your immune system to have a more enjoyable, energized fall – minus the cold and flu!

One of the best ways to prevent against the cold and flu virus is proper hygiene and hand washing. Always wash your hands before eating or touching your face as this can aid in reducing 80% transmission of germs. 

Sanitize your home and work station often to keep germs at bay. Did you know that germs can last on surfaces for up to a few hours?  Did you also know that virus’ that are airborne (after someone has sneezed or coughed) can also hang around for hours in the air? Unless you are wearing a mask, chances are, if someone around you is infected, you could be walking into a virus cloud and contracting what they have. If you are sick, it is best to stay home and rest. Quarantine yourself and enjoy some rest and relaxation. Your co-workers will thank you.

Get good sleep. Getting enough sleep and resting well are important when it comes to helping your immune system, especially if you are fighting off the cold or flu virus. Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

Probiotics have been highlighted in several research articles suggesting a causal link between healthy gut integrity and enhanced immunity. Did you  know that more than 70% of our immune system is linked to our gut? With this information, we must then be mindful of our digestive habits, which are tightly linked to our food choices. If you suffer with indigestion, bloating, pain, constipation or diarrhea, these are some signs that your gut health is in need of some support. Naturopathic doctors do a great job at helping people get to the root cause of their gut issues. In my office, we are proactive in determine food sensitivities, removing sources of inflammation, healing the gut and restoring normal function.

Are you vitamin D deficient? Getting your daily dose of vitamin D may help you ward off the cold and flu. Also known as the “sunshine vitamin”, vitamin D is an important immune booster.  As the days become shorter in the fall, we are being exposed to less sunlight and therefore less vitamin D. Vitamin D has so many wonderful benefits in the body. Not only does it help keep our bones strong, but several studies suggest vitamin D helps prevent colon cancer, prostate and breast cancer. Other studies may suggest it helps prevent heart disease, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. There are many ways you can get vitamin D into your body, whether it be sun exposure, diet or supplementation.  

Some foods that are highest in vitamin D are:

  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Swordfish
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Orange Juice fortified with vitamin D
  • Milk fortified with vitamin D
  • Egg yolk

Eating these kinds of foods is not always easy for some people and this is where supplementation can fill in the gaps. Before getting on supplemental vitamin D, I would recommend that you have your levels assessed to know how much your body needs. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning that if you take it in excess, it will be stored and can be potentially toxic. This is why it is important to know your current levels before supplementing.

A study conducted in 2018 showed that supplementing with vitamin D showed a reduced duration of those suffering with upper respiratory tract infections, cold severity and improved quality of life. Another study showed that vitamin D supplementation protected against cold virus’ and those patients who were deficient in vitamin D and not getting high dose supplementation experienced the most benefit.

Natural Immune Booster 

  • Back again in popular demand, I am offering “natural flu shots” for my patients.
  • Safe and effective for all ages
  • Combination of Echinacea and several other active ingredients great for immune strengthening.
  • Oral dose and well tolerated
  • Great for prevention and treatment of cold and flu symptoms.

Reach out if you would like to get “immune prepped” this fall.

Happily here to help you feel your best.

Dr. Jen Cisternino, ND

416-301-3477

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