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  • dr.morgan

The Flu isn't a Season

While ads everywhere are proclaiming that we are entering flu season, I disagree. The flu is not a season. It is a virus that is transmitted a little more easily in the fall and winter. Why does it thrive this time of year though? Well, as one meme I saw on social media put it, we have a sugar holiday followed by a pie holiday followed by another sugar holiday followed by an alcoholic holiday, all in the span of about two months. So, lots of refined and artificial sugar also combined with the stress of the holidays. At the same time, we're staying indoors more often.

Sugar lowers your immune response, stress lowers your immune response, and staying inside gets you less Vitamin D (necessary for a healthy immune system) and fresh air (as opposed to recycled indoor air). Seems like a recipe for getting sick more easily, yes?

Instead of just attributing getting sick to a "season" of the year, how about we attribute getting sick to whether or not our internal environment of our body is a ready host for the virus? A strong, robust immune system is going to fend off an illness much more easily than a weakened one.

Ever get sick right before a big event? Definitely feels like crummy timing on life's part! I remember in undergrad going to take an exam, and the professor commented how he always noticed at midterm time how many more people were coughing and blowing their noses in the lecture hall. The stress of an event can make you more susceptible to getting sick.

What can you do to give your immune system a helping hand? Watch your sugar intake. Avoid unnecessary stress (don't go to all of the events if that's stressful, don't worry about gifts for every extended family member, no need to go all out on holiday traditions, etc). Spend more time outside. Supplement with Vitamin D (ideally 3000-4000 IU during the winter months). Have things like Vitamin C, Zinc, and elderberry on hand. Incorporate gut healthy foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, and bone broth into your diet. Make sleep a priority (I know this is difficult when family is visiting, but it is SO important for your health).

As you may remember from a previous post, we cannot necessarily prevent every illness, but we can certainly prepare our bodies to meet illness head on. The ways mentioned above are a fantastic way of doing so.

Any other ways that you keep your immune system working at its best? Let me know!

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