What is FLU SEASON?

28
Oct
2016

The flu is not actually a season.

What?  But you’ve heard of flu season your whole life! There must be extra germs in the air right now, passing along from person to person!! That’s what I’ve always been told!

Germs, bacteria and viruses will always be present in our worlds. That will not change because of the time of year. But what DOES change is whether they find themselves in an environment in which they can take hold and grow, OR a hostile environment in which they are unable to take up shop and duplicate. What is this environment?? Our bodies, of course!! If our body becomes bogged down with things that weaken our immune system defenses, and we are depleted of nourishment and vitamins our body needs to be an unfriendly breeding ground for these invaders, we at at risk for illness. However, if our bodies are well nourished, low in stress, exercised often, and well rested, it becomes very hard for a virus or bacteria to live inside us. We become a hostile environment for those invaders.

It seems an ingrained part of our culture that assume we will get sick each winter during this dreaded flu “season”. But it’s not so much a season of higher prevalence of flu, as much as it is a time of year when many risk factors for becoming ill present an opportunity. A better name for it, really, is “Flu Susceptibility”. Let’s dive into WHY flu attacks have a seasonality, and you’ll see what I mean.

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When your immune system and body are rockin’ it, you can be (and are frequently) exposed to bacterium and viruses, but you don’t GET SICK!! Why? Your strong body kicked those guys to the curb because you created an environment in which they could not thrive. So what makes our defenders weak during this time period of four susceptibility?

Decreased sun exposure:

Vitamin D is EXTREMELY important to for your immune system to work properly. Where do we get Vitamin D? The best and primary source is created by our body when our skin is exposed to sunlight. It’s a built-in body system that uses natural light to protect us! Very cool. Sadly, an estimated 60-70% of Americans are chronically deficient in Vitamin D, and this only worsens as the weather grows colder, the days grow shorter, we spend more time inside, and covered in warm clothing when we are outside. So what can you do? You can try to spend more time outside during the daylight of those winter months, but this is often not enough. We also recommend supplementing with a high quality Vitamin D3. This makes a SIGNIFICANT improvement in the chances of you getting sick. If you do end up sick, it will help you fight it off faster. How much do you need? Approximately 5,000IUs for an adult is recommended. We sell a very high quality liquid Vitamin D in the office: $30 for a 100 day supply. It’s a no-brainer 🙂

Decreased water intake:

Dehydration is a problem when it comes to fighting off invaders. Your body needs adequate hydration for proper cellular function, as well as excretion of waste. You need to think of hydration as a way to escort unwanted invaders out! Unfortunately, in the colder months, we don’t always FEEL as thirsty as we do in the hotter summer days. Remind yourself to drink by using alarms on your phone, or a great water app like Water Your Body.

Increase in stress:

Stress wreaks HAVOC on both your nerve system and your immune system. These 2 systems need to be running at full capacity to fight off those microscopic attackers and the sickness they cause. We recommend several things: Become aware of your stresses. This is the first step in minimizing them. Spend time in relaxation. We tend to be a society stuck in “fight or flight” and don’t give ourselves enough downtime. GET ADJUSTED. This takes the effects of those stresses OFF your body! Very important.

Increased sugar intake:

Holidays, warm nights by the fire, football season and family get-togethers typically all have one thing in common: FOOD! And not always the fresh vegetables, clean proteins, and light options that keep us enticed during the summer months. We kick off the fall and winter season with Halloween — a holiday basically built around insane level of sugar consumption. Then we dive into Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s – all opportunities for decadent and rich desserts, treats and sweet offerings. Not to mention all the alcohol that goes along with the big game each week, the travelling, and the parties.

Inability to adapt:

The 4 factors listed above create one situation. A lowered ability of our body to ADAPT to stress or invaders. It means your body is in a state in which a virus can breeze by the early defenses, sneak past your mid-level defenses, and set up shop and replicate before your other defenses know what’s happening. It means you are very likely to get sick this season… and possibly more than once!

This also means, if you work a tough and stressful job during the night shift, never getting to enjoy the sun, snack on cake and Reese’s cups, spend your days drinking beer instead of water, and don’t get adjusted, you could have flu “season” AKA flu susceptibility smack dab in the middle of July! The risk factors just happen to be more common on a grand scale during these winter months.

Did I bum you out?!

I hope not! This is actually GREAT news! This means your health status is — at least in large part — in your control! You can make choices and changes in the categories listed above that will keep you from getting sick, or at least decrease the time it takes you to recover, if you DO get sick! Creating better health creates resistance to these invaders.

Want to learn how regular chiropractic adjustments are a part of staying healthy by boosting your immune system? Give us a call: 970-232-9258


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